Washington School House
Posted on November 20, 2018
If mega ski lodges, crowded condos, and hit-or-miss Airbnbs leave you cold, consider cozying up at Park City’s intimate Washington School House. The historic property was built in 1889, one of three original schools in this former silver mining town, but has since “graduated” to a 12-room boutique hotel with a heated pool and chic common rooms decorated with custom furniture, fine art, and antiques. Guest rooms have hand-wrought iron beds, vintage furniture, ice white marble baths, and snowy linens. Owned by Tom and Marcy Holthus of La Jolla, the property is part of the couple’s recently launched Pilot Hotels, a luxury boutique brand that will soon debut Hotel Château du Grand-Lucé in France’s Loire Valley.
The Washington School House is so luxe, you’ll want to linger by the stone fireplace in the rustically elegant living/dining room crowned by a massive antler chandelier, painted white and dripping with crystals. Here, Chef Ryan Frye serves bountiful breakfasts at a banquette or at a communal farm table surrounded by white linen slip-covered chairs. In the afternoon, Pastry Chef Callie Mundy prepares scrumptious après-ski fare with your favorite beverage. (With advance notice, chefs will also cater three-to-five course dinner parties.) After dinner, retire to the downstairs ski lounge for a drink while engaging with newfound friends from around the country. The hotel also offers a ski valet, 24-hour concierge, and transportation to venues around town.
Washington School House is just steps from Main Street, bustling with shops and restaurants, as well as skiing and snowboarding at the nearby Park City Mountain Resort. Also close by are the Deer Valley Resort and the Montage Deer Valley with its luxurious Spa Montage and a popular Après Lounge serving the Champagnes of Veuve Clicquot. Winter excursions include hiking or snowshoeing followed by yoga and meditation, and even paddleboard yoga in a 10,000-year-old hot spring led by Park City Yoga Adventures. In the evening, bundle up in a sleigh pulled by a snowcat for a bracing trip up the mountains for dinner and drinks at the Viking Yurt, where the Aquavit is sure to warm you up. Popular restaurants in Park City include Tupelo for globally-inspired fare from such American producers as Bear Lake lamb and Idaho trout. Firewood on Main, as its name suggests, serves seasonal, locally sourced food prepared over wood flames.
For browsing, check out Dolly’s, a charming old bookstore where you can settle into a well-worn couch to read. An adjoining candy store sells handmade bark, caramel apples, and even doggie treats. Flight Boutique, owned by grade school friends Blair Isleib and Kristen Doyon, carries everything from T-shirts to cocktail dresses, mixing a little glam and grunge. Brands include Cameo, Free People, For Love & Lemons, Wildfox, and such Aussie labels as Keepsake and Minkpink. Cake, owned by San Diego native Katie Hammond, carries casual, contemporary clothing that blends West Coast style with mountain living. Top brands include Vince, ALC, Rag & Bone, Frame, Elizabeth & James, and 360 Cashmere. Hammond’s companion stores include c2, offering cosmetics, skincare, bath and body items, lingerie, and sleepwear, as well as Monroe for men, stocking such brands as Citizens of Humanity, James Perse, Malin + Goetz, and Rails.
After a day of shopping and skiing, dining and wining, head back to the classy comfort of the Washington School House, where there’s something for everyone, whether you’re on a family vacation, romantic retreat, or a girlfriends’ getaway. The house and grounds also provide a lovely, intimate venue for weddings, executive retreats, and special events year-round. More than a century after it opened, the old school is now refreshingly new. 800.824.1672, washingtonschoolhouse.com Andrea Naversen