GOING FOR GOLD IN SILVER LAKE VILLAGE
The snowfall seemed to have a sedative effect on an already sleepy village. Breaking the silence, an army of Snowcats were hard at work on nearby Bald Mountain. Diffused by the glittery flakes, their headlights reminded me of ethereal beams cast by an expedition submarine as it traverses the depths of the ocean floor. A sentiment likely inspired by the fact that I was watching the scene unfold from the edge of a glass-walled hot tub that cantilevers over the side of the rooftop at the newly opened wing of the Goldener Hirsch in Park City, Utah’s Silver Lake Village.
Having just opened in mid-December of last year, we were the first people to stay in the handsomely appointed studio room, making the oft lauded “new car smell” a distant second to “new hotel smell”. The 40 residences in the new wing, ranging in size from 570 to 3,720-square-feet, are connected to the iconic Goldener Hirsch Inn— the only family-owned luxury hotel in Deer Valley— via a Bridge Plaza that provides a spacious mountain view outdoor gathering space.
In contrast to the 20-room Inn’s dominant Bavarian influences, the architecture of the $120 million expansion, designed by the vaunted firm Olson Kundig, is decidedly modern, rendered in steel, glass, and faux bois concrete walls. Todd-Avery Lenahan of TAL Studio, whose work has been described as “cinematic,” conceived the interior design. In the lobby level, where fireplaces bookend a pair of seating areas, a beguiling blend of touchstones from bygone eras are filtered through a contemporary lens. Surveying the space, I took on a directorial role, envisioning myself as a silver screen siren in this chic environment, complete with pin curls, a bias cut silk sheath dress, and looking wistfully at the camera while lounging, martini in hand, on the sleek moss-colored sofa.
Lenahan’s ability to ricochet from a flair for the dramatic to a proficient eye for placidity was evident in our spacious studio room. Boasting a largely neutral color palette, white oak paneling dressed the wall behind both the bed and a sinuous cream-colored sofa that anchored the seating area near a floor-to-ceiling window. Artwork, both paintings and black and white photography, nodded to Austria’s alpine landscape. After a day on the slopes, I much appreciated the bathroom’s soaking tub and steam shower.
On-property amenities include an eye-popping ski-prep room designed in black and white with impactful pops of red. With on-snow ski storage at the base of the mountain, guests don’t have to trek their gear back and forth. The 2,026-acre Deer Valley Ski Resort is one of a handful of properties in the United States that doesn’t allow snowboarding. As a bad skier on a good day, the one-on-one coaching from a ski school pro, one of the largest in the country, as well as ample beginner runs, certainly increased my confidence, and kept me amply occupied while my better half schussed steeper slopes. Even with six mountain peaks and 21 chairlifts, it’s essential to plan ahead for skiing as Deer Valley caps the number of lift tickets sold each day to maintain optimal social distancing. After a day on the slopes, we were elated to find a plate of warm cookies waiting for us when we returned to the room.
While I reveled in the modern marvelousness of the expansion, it’s well worth a trip across the Bridge Plaza for dinner at the Bavarian-influenced Goldener Hirsch Restaurant. Here, classic Austrian dishes meet the best of what’s fresh and local. Beginning with fondue, a traditional Swiss winter meal, we moved on to wiener schnitzel and a stunningly plated Utah lamb loin with lingonberries, which are native to Scandinavia.
Another cheesy Swiss classic—raclette—is the star of the show at nearby Empire Canyon Lodge’s winter-only Fireside Dining restaurant. Made in the traditional fashion in front of a stone fireplace, the restaurant reportedly goes through 700 wheels of cheese every winter; the simple deliciousness of warm melted cheese is a reminder that food needn’t be fussy to be fabulous.
The Goldener Hirsch provides complimentary on-call shuttle service in Deer Valley and to Main Street in Park City, which is less than three miles away. As easy as Uber, we used the app and never had to wait more than a few minutes for our ride to arrive. For an even more elevated experience and great insider information, hire private transport through Four Seasons Concierge.
While wandering Main Street, we stopped into Gorsuch and overheard a salesgirl making her pitch: “We are a store of wants, not needs.” By the end of the day, I’d done my part to support the local economy, returning to the hotel with a shopping bag full of wants.
We fueled our retail therapy with lunch at High West Distillery & Saloon, operating out of a historic livery stable and garage. More than one person had recommended The Burger, a delectable blend of Nimon ranch short rib and bison, and we were glad we heeded their advice. At Grappa, opened in 1992 and located in a former boarding house, the eccentricities inherent in an old house make for intimate and unique dining spaces. We went all-in on the Italian offerings. After shamelessly indulging in grappa antipasto, spaghetti arrabbiata, and pistachio affogato, I debated walking the few miles uphill back to the resort!
A fun day trip that’s ideal for families and open year-round is Woodward Park City. Opened in 2019, it’s an action sports facility encompassing skating, BMX, trampolining, skateboarding, skiing, lift assisted mountain biking, snowboarding, and tubing (the only place for tubing in Park City). After struggling on skis, I have to admit that it was quite a treat to effortlessly glide down the hill in an innertube.
Each evening, almost on cue, a gentle snow shower coincided with our post-dinner stroll through Silver Lake Village. Catching an ephemeral flake on my fingertip, I marveled at its fleeting form. Just like the Residences at the Goldener Hirsch, its architectural uniqueness is a thing of beauty.
For reservations and more information visit https://www.goldenerhirschinn.com/