“If you don’t see me for the rest of this trip, it’s because I’ll be at the spa.”
I echoed that statement to my travel companions more than once during a recent trip to Stein Eriksen Lodge. Effortlessly classic with a vivacious charm, this Norwegian-style resort sits poised 8,200 feet in elevation at Deer Valley Resort’s Silver Lake Village in Park City, Utah. Its alpine landscape is splendidly integrated on a grand scale in every element – a distinctiveness that’s apparent in the striking three-story Spa, a soothing respite to stay well-balanced even when vacationing so high up.
Interiors are handsome and European-inspired at this spa, where wet and dry treatment areas aglow with naturally detoxifying salt lamps, a mani/pedi salon and outdoor swimming pool complement relaxation lounges complete with blazing fireplaces, day bed loungers to tuck into and snacks to nosh and teas to sip. Men’s and women’s locker areas encourage spa-goers to spend hours alternating among the steam room, sauna, cold plunge and whirlpool. For the 2011-12 ski season, a 3,000-square-foot wellness studio, dubbed Verdandi (after a Nors Goddess), will open, featuring seasonal programs such as pre- and après-ski stretch.
The spa menu reflects classic services, along with a twist of the regional culture: Select rituals incorporate locally crafted products, such as the stimulating Salt of the Earth, fused with native cedar, sage and salt ingredients, and alpine-inspired treatments accommodate the dry climate and high altitude. I was lucky enough to indulge in the Nordic Facial (great for addressing the dry climate), the Stein Signature Massage (the quintessential treatment after a morning’s hike) and the Stein Body Polish Vichy Shower (this invigorating ritual is truly a must-try).
Resort with a View
Despite my earlier statement, to spend all your time at the spa would be a true disservice, as the Lodge beckons with endless outdoor adventure, fine dining at the Santé-awarded Glitretind Restaurant and tasteful guest accommodations against the backdrop of exquisite mountain views. As the only Forbes Five-Star, AAA Five-Diamond property in Park City, Stein Eriksen has garnered the prestige of everything from being named one of the top U.S. Family Hotels by Travel + Leisure to ranking as the number-one resort spa in the continental U.S. by Condé Nast Traveler readers – and after a few days here, it was simple to see why.
Stein Eriksen gets its name from the former Olympic-winning skier (he can be spotted from time to time schussing the surrounding slopes), and, like its inspiration, abounds with opportunities that inspire the novice to the pro athlete, from hiking the miles of trails – some that lead into the Uinta Mountains – mountain biking the rugged terrain and, of course, skiing. The chair lift is available for sporting pursuits or for a picturesque ride year-round; during the winter, skiers will appreciate the resort’s ski valets, ski-in/ski-out access and locker room with boot warming fixtures and current weather info.
To soothe sore muscles or to merely unwind, après-outdoor activities include revitalizing at the spa (of course!), taking a dip in the pool or curling up in the main lobby, a stately room that displays its presence with beamed cathedral ceilings yet evokes a cozy, communal vibe with plush seating, a constant flurry of guests mingling and an oversized stone fireplace (there are actually more than 145 stone fireplaces found throughout the property.) When it’s time to retire, there are award-winning guest rooms and suites, all unique in décor, with jetted tubs, decks, and in some cases, gas or electric fireplaces, gourmet kitchens and private, open-air whirlpool tubs.
Old Meets New
A visit to Park City, host of the international Sundance Film Festival, is just minutes away and worth a trip to ride the trolley, browse the boutiques and galleries or stop over at the High West Distillery for a twist on typical wine tasting – whiskey tastings! – as well as discover the historic attractions of this former mining town. The area prides itself on culture, too: Numerous classical musical festivals or hillside concerts continuously draw in large crowds.
Photograph © Stein Eriksen Lodge