Top 10 New US Hotels 2012
This former schoolhouse now serves as a stylish boutique hotel in historic Park City.
Park City hasn’t always been the winter and summer sports mecca it is today. The city’s fame originally developed through the discovery of gold, silver and lead and the establishment of silver mines in the 1860s. To provide for the influx of migrating miners and their families, three schools were built: Washington, Lincoln and Jefferson, with Washington School House the only one remaining today.
After a series of tragic events — World War I, the Great Depression, a fire that almost destroyed the city and an explosion that killed 34 miners — the local mining industry collapsed. Luckily, the city was able to capitalize on something that would prove to be more profitable and long-term: ski tourism. Its first ski resort opened in 1963, and today, Park City houses more tourists than residents. That explains the metamorphosis undergone by the Washington School House in its 120-year history, from school to bed-and-breakfast to ultra-luxe boutique hotel.
The Washington School House Hotel has a way of making you feel like you’re staying in a luxurious private home. Its contemporary yet rustic interiors feature reclaimed wood floors, antique furniture gathered from several parts of the world, plenty of natural light and a color palette of mostly white and "greige" (a soft combination of gray and beige), accented by colorful pieces from the hotel’s private art collection. The 12 comfortable rooms are fully stocked: Pratesi bed linens, hooded robes, slippers, Molton Brown bath products in the marble bathrooms, 42-inch flat-screen TVs with 100 or more satellite stations and free Wi-Fi. Additional on-site amenities include a ski valet with heated racks for boots, 24-hour concierge, lift ticket purchase, in-room massage and iPads/iPods (loaded with movies and music) upon request.
The property is centrally located, just one block from Main Street, making it a convenient base for accessing the city’s best bars, restaurants, galleries and shopping, as well as a multitude of outdoor activities. Winter sports are the main draw and include skiing, snowboarding, dogsledding, snowshoeing, tubing and ice skating, while summer fun consists of hiking, fishing, river rafting, rock climbing and mountain biking. Hotel activities fall more into the “rest and relaxation” category: swimming in the pool, soaking in the hot tub, lounging on the pool deck or reading on the patio.
The dining room, located on the second level, serves complimentary evening snacks and a hearty breakfast with daily selections, such as an organic egg scramble with local farmer’s market vegetables and house made granola with seasonal berries, yogurt and honeycomb. A selection of teas from local purveyor Atticus is also on offer, from an energizing yerba mate with lemongrass, mint, ginseng, ginkgo and nettle to a calming Egyptian chamomile that acts as a gentle pain reliever, ideal after a day of pushing yourself to the limit on the slopes.
In this intimate hotel setting, exceptional and attentive service combined with indulgent amenities make for a true luxury experience, creating a place you’ll want to call home while discovering Park City and its inviting surroundings.