I wasn’t particularly looking forward to the trip my husband planned for us. I usually do the planning, and normally I don’t send us north. Nor do I consider myself a ski-bunny, never having strapped snow skis to clodhopper boots. And the six-plus hours to fly from Miami, Florida, to Deer Valley, Utah, was no picnic, especially with a two-hour layover in Texas.
However, and it’s a big “however,” upon arrival, we were greeted by the most breathtaking full moon ever. It seemed so close, almost as if it were stuck on top of one of the mountains, lighting our way toward a winter wonderland. As we approached Hotel Montage, the Christmas-decorated pine trees (it was April, but the holiday spirit remained apparent) that lined the drive to our home for the next four days guided us to superb accommodations and unforgettable dining experiences. Deer Valley and Hotel Montage are near the top of the list of the best family vacations (second only to Paris).
A word or two about the resort: First of all, it exceeded our expectations. The staff was super-friendly and accommodating. The recommendations from the concierge pointed us to superb dining. The hotel sits on one million square feet of beautiful snow-covered land, and the spa occupies 32,000 square feet of the hotel’s floor space, making the largest and, I might add, my most favorite spa in the world.
Day One – Tuesday
Monday’s long flight and a touch of jet lag didn’t stop me from rising early to shop (What girl wouldn’t get up to shop?), and there was ample opportunity: Hotel Montage offers many shops, the best brands, and almost a guarantee to keep any girl très chic et heureuse. I didn’t feel chic when I strapped on my ski boots, but I decided to forgo chic for useful. I was ready for the adventure of learning to ski. A complimentary shuttle took us to the Deer Valley ski area, where my son, to my great surprise, and I would take three days of instruction. Dead tired afterwards, we all repaired to the hotel and some needed jacuzzi time. Then, at the recommendation of our charming concierge, we dined at Firewood, in nearby Park City. This huge restaurant (9,000 square feet, two stories) maintained intimacy. We were seated across from the open wood-fired kitchen, where we could see chef John Murcko grilling, or smoking, or flame-broiling succulent dishes. Our table was festooned with soups, salads, and scallops. Lovely dinner!
Day Two – Wednesday
Still unaccustomed to the time change, we were off to the early morning slopes. I was still doing “pizza” (keeping my skies pointed toward each other to slow things down) and not quite ready for “French fries” (parallel skiing – zoom, zoom). My mission was to ski down the mountainside, not just on the beginners’ slope. I won’t tell you if I accomplished my mission, but I can tell you that I did not leave Utah with the help of crutches.
The weather was interesting. Although there was a lot of snow on the ground, there was a lot of heat in the air. Now I understand why some insta-chicks post bathing-suit selfies in the snow: They were able to tan. I was able to sunburn.
My best times were evenings, when I could sit in the hotel lobby, listen to a piano player offering John Legend songs to us, and drink Meiomi brand Pinot Noir. (Meiomi is a Wappo and Yuki word for “coast,” by the way, for those of you who are interested in Native American culture. You know what Pinot Noir is.) I also enjoy massage, and I was pleased to suffer through a deep-tissue massage that led to a warm, relaxing herbal clay wrap while simultaneously receiving a luxurious face and scalp treatment. A Vichy rinse and an application of a rich, hydrating lotion left me relaxed and balanced, too relaxed and balanced to leave the hotel for further adventures. We found a kid/man-cave heaven, boasting of bowling lanes, a ton of TVs, an arcade, and a kids’ buffet – the holy grail for any parent.
Day Three – Thursday
The last day on the slopes. I would like to tell you that I did accomplish my mission of expert, downhill skiing, but I can’t – unless I lie. I did graduate to the advanced beginners” slope, though, so I have something to boast about, but I was more pleased with how well my son Matthew did. He did start from the top of the mountain. That evening we again went to Park City for dinner, this time at River Horse on Main. It was an unforgettable experience of eclectic American cuisine, intimate and relaxed dining, and live music from a guitar-playing virtuoso. A “must” to enjoy: the Wild Game Trio, which includes North American buffalo, local venison, elk, port wine, huckleberry, and duck-fat potatoes.
Day Four – Friday
We saved our last day to explore the charming and historical sections of Park City. At the Park City museum, we learned of the mining and ski history of the area, especially great for kids who might be interested in Minecraft. The museum is in the “old town” district, a treat in itself. Lunch at Café Terigo, serving modern Italian cuisine, famous for its wine list and its signature bread pudding for 28 years. Next door is a charming bookstore, offering, in addition to books, knick-knacks and candy apples.
Boutiques, galleries, theaters, and antique shops abound in the area. Looking for vintage skis or stuffed buffalo heads? You’re in luck. There is the Cake/Boutique we visited and did not do too much damage to our waistlines. We did burn off a few calories walking about. Back to the hotel, we found “Dory” at the spa movie room.
If you visit the Montage make sure to meet the ambassador dogs twice a day at the lobby of the Montage Deer Valley at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. daily, black furry lumps appear in the Montage Deer Valley’s sumptuous lobby surrounded by adoring hotel guests and staff. Bernese Mountain dogs, two gentle giants
My thanks to Sotheby’s
I was able to visit the site office for Montage residences. There are 81 residences, with limited current availability. They are located on the upper six floors of the hotel and are designed to reflect a comfortable, relaxed, and elegant lifestyle. Traditional furnished interiors match the style of the grand ski resort, and unfurnished options allow personal design ideas to come to life. With various floor plans, including dens, lock-offs, and multi-level possibilities, not to mention the incredible views, a Montage residence could be a paradise for you and a legacy for your family to treasure.
For more information, contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.