The Stein Erikson Lodge is the epitome of old school charm and luxury, and given the price tag, it knows it. But even I was amazed at the flawless service and attention to detail.
The Lodge is an easy 45 minute drive from Salt Lake City airport, and is known as one of the top luxury ski resorts in the nation. In Park City it competes only with the St. Regis and the Montage. The Stein Erikson has the charm of an exclusive European lodge (it should, it’s named for Norwegian Olympian Stein Erikson) and so is the preferred choice for many discerning skiers. With a ski rental shop right on the premises and an unbeatable in and out location right on the slopes, one can see why it’s such a great choice. You can really get used to dry and heated ski boots in the am and someone to peel them off your frozen feet at the 4pm bell, I’ve heard.
But skiing is not all the SEL does well. While the main restaurant has restricted open hours, the more casual cafe which lies adjacent is constantly buzzing with people popping in for a mid-morning hot chocolate or an apres-ski cocktail, enjoyed to live music of course. If you’re feeling weary from the slopes, the spa runs over 20,000 feet and offers all manner of face and body treatments, as well as classes in the am and pm. You can also hit the gym, sauna or outdoor heated pool.
For our family of four we booked a basic room with 2 queen beds and I have to say we were a little disappointed. I was able the next morning to pay an upgrade fee and move to a room that was almost double the size, with a hot tub on the balcony overlooking the mountains. Best decision ever. I also really appreciate that every group of rooms had a washer dryer and free detergent for personal use. As a traveling parent, nothing scares me more than running out of clothes and having to pay $50 to wash a pair of pants at hotel prices.
Kids are very welcome and well entertained at the SEL. From delicious kids’ meals to apres-ski s’mores, from the game room to 7pm movies with popcorn in their very own 60-person theater, the SEL ensures that kids are kept busy enough not to get into any trouble. They can also organize a sitter for you through Park City Sitters should you need to. It’s $30/hour with a minimum of 4 hours (I know, pretty steep). I found that after a full day of skiing, the last thing my kids wanted to do was explore the nightlife of Park City (of which there is quite a bit). Did I mention the welcome gift? I little stuff for each of the kids and a thoughtful goodie bag with dark chocolate, an SEL water bottle, hand warmers (which we discovered on our last day) and a box of local granola. Very nice touch indeed.
If I were to point out a gripe with the SEL, it is that it’s spread out, and you have to walk outside to get from one part to the other. For instance, to get from the arrival lobby to the restaurant or fitness center, you have to brave at least 2-3 mins of pretty cold weather (10 degree f/-10 c). There is a heated underground parking garage that you can walk through, or get a ride on a golf shuttle, so at least there’s that.
I was also a little peeved that it seemed like a really popular spot for skiers to stop at, for a morning hot chocolate, for lunch or even for apres-ski. They do try to always accommodate hotel guests but it did feel like we were in a monument full of tourists more than a hotel sometimes. The comfortable room was a good escape during those times, as are the more isolated nooks in the hotel.
All in all, the Stein Erikson takes its luxury status very seriously and we were very happy for it.