If you’re looking for an escape to the great outdoors, Park City, Utah — a Forbes Travel Guide pick for one of the Top 16 destinations for 2016 — should be on your shortlist. A skier’s paradise in the winter, this mountain destination offers countless choices for open-air activities during the warm summer months.
And unlike other mountain destinations which require lengthy commutes, even after spending hours in the air, this former mining town is just a 40-minute drive from Salt Lake City International Airport.
Here’s the Forbes Travel Guide itinerary for a luxurious, two-day idyll filled with invigoratingly fresh air and picturesque Alpine landscapes.
In the winter, Park City is the destination for fantastic powder skiing and snowboarding. Summertime is more of an adventure with nature, with activities such as lift-served hiking, mountain biking and scenic rides on the gondola filling your schedule.
For this particular itinerary, choose the 181-room Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The St. Regis Deer Valley Resort for its mid-mountain location, close proximity to town and the brand’s renowned service.
After checking into your beautifully appointed, Western-accented room with gorgeous views of the Wasatch Mountains, freshen up with your delightful-smelling Laboratoire Remède toiletries. Leave your baggage for your St. Regis Butler to unpack and head to the hotel’s Four-Star J & G Grill Park City, named after famed chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. There, indulge in a mid-morning brunch consisting of the Instagram-worthy smoked salmon pizza and a signature 7452 Mary, a Bloody Mary topped with wasabi, celery espuma and a dash of cayenne pepper.
Replete from brunch, your first day on the ground is all about getting acclimated to your surroundings (the higher elevation can cause dizziness and shortness of breath, and can take some getting used to). Go on a quick tour of the property to admire the heated, split-level infinity pool, scope out the Four-Star 14,000-square-foot Remède Spa, and then take the complimentary house car for the five-minute, one-mile ride into Park City’s historic district.
The center of the historic district is Main Street, a collection of buildings and businesses that date back to the late 1800s, when Park City was a silver mining town. Looking like a movie set from the wild, wild west, this stretch is the hub for Park City’s best restaurants, boutique shopping and art galleries.
Exploring the street on foot, stop by notable art houses like The McCarthey Gallery (Russian Impressionism collection), the Mountain Trails Gallery (extensive Western art) and the J Go Gallery (contemporary portfolio).
For shopping, you’ll want to visit Burns Cowboy Shop for the latest in Western wear. Stop by Gorsuch for its selection of designer mountain wear and gift items. And you have to stop by Sock City to pick up several pairs of knee-high socks in playful designs, ranging from Marvel Comics to the Mona Lisa.
When you’ve finished exploring, hop on the free Main Street Trolley, which runs up and down Main Street throughout the day. Ask the driver to take you to local favorite, No Name Saloon. Once inside, pull up a seat at the bar to chat with the bartender or head upstairs to the outdoor patio to order one of their famous half-pound bison burgers paired to a craft beer of choice.
With lunch out of the way, it’s time to enjoy more of Park City’s local scene. A short, 15-minute cab ride away is Utah Olympic Park, where you can try a scenic Alpine slide, get in some extreme zip-lining, have fun summer tubing or take the Summer Comet Bobsled down a real Olympic track.
If it’s a Sunday, shoppers will want to spend time with a leisurely walk through the Park Silly Sunday Market’s arts and crafts stalls, or nibble on gourmet bites at one of the many food stalls.
When you’ve had your fill there, return to your room, where you can luxuriate in front of the fireplace, take a nice hot bath in the sunken tub, or nap against high count bed linens, before getting ready for the evening.
At 6:30 p.m., make your way to the hotel’s Mountain Terrace for the nightly champagne sabering ritual. The spectacle is straight out of the history books — one of the staffers will hold a champagne bottle and theatrically chop off the top with a sword, releasing a free-flowing stream of bubbly, which is then poured among guests.
After toasting, all that’s left on the agenda is a meal at one of Park City’s newest restaurant darlings, Tupelo. When chef Matt Harris’ establishment reopens on Memorial Day weekend after some spring cleaning, expect to feast on a spread of locally sourced, globally inspired cuisine such as handmade pappardelle in braised rabbit and mushroom ragout.
To make the most of your 48-hour sojourn, book a one-hour sunrise hot air balloon adventure with Morning Star Balloons, a local company that will pick up your party at The St. Regis Deer Valley Resort at a designated time before dawn. The excursion itself will take approximately three hours, so plan to order a hearty breakfast from room service before you leave. Also, dress in layers and bring your camera so you can commemorate the occasion with some gorgeous snaps.
Back from an exhilarating morning ride, you’ll want to catch a quick nap and recharge before heading out again to enjoy Deer Valley, this time through a lift-assisted hike or mountain biking. With elevations up to 10,000 feet and 400 miles of trails to explore, you can spend the late morning at one with the wilderness. The St. Regis provides guided hikes and can assist with guided mountain biking as well, if you want an expert hand guiding you through the wilderness.
When it’s time for lunch, head down to the mid-mountain Silver Lake Village and grab a seat on the scenic deck at Royal Street Café, one of the on-mountain eateries that’s open year round. Your lunch can be as simple as a roasted butternut squash, red quinoa, meadowlark brie and kale salad, or as hearty as the Niman Ranch short rib mole tacos. The food break will give you enough strength to do a bit more sightseeing before heading back to the resort for a trip to the hotel’s sumptuous spa.
While it might be tempting to get a body massage, this might be the only time you’ll ever get a chance to experience the Bear Dance Ritual. Based on an indigenous tradition, the two-hour treatment uses Ayurvedic principles to purify and exfoliate the body, incorporating herbal poultices and massage techniques that will ultimately leave you relaxed and revitalized.
Though your time in Park City is coming to an end, you can still make one final pit stop before you go. Popular among locals and visitors alike, you won’t go wrong if you visit High West Distillery, located right next to Park City’s Town Lift. Be it at the bar or on the patio in front of the fire pit, sample a fleet of rye while chatting it up with locals and munching on Western-inspired dishes like the crispy pork ribs in jalapeno pepper glaze or the braised short ribs served with smoked chickpea polenta.