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The St. Regis Deer Valley is a pricey, luxurious resort nestled in the mountain, meaning it’s ideal for a ski-in Utah stay. Pros: ski-in entrance, luxe ski services. Cons: detached service, fully booked restaurant and the rooms could use a refresh.
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available – Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Credit Card from American Express, Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
I’m a sucker for a luxury ski-in property right on the mountain. You know, the kind of place firmly out of range for most paying with cash that suddenly becomes a reality with points?
Such is the tale of The St. Regis Deer Valley in Utah — a high-end resort that, thanks to location and amenities, makes the entire process of skiing and dealing with ski gear easy. It’s also the kind of place that sells for thousands (yes, thousands) of dollars per night on peak nights, making Marriott points worth their weight in Platinum.
Now, before we get into the nitty-gritty of the review, I have a confession: Though this was slated to be a family ski trip for my daughters and me based out of The St. Regis Deer Valley, and though we did rent skis and even got one daughter to Deer Valley for a lesson, an unfortunately timed illness hit my youngest daughter and me hard. That smacked into the majority of our ski dreams like a cold, wet snowball. So, while we stayed upright just long enough to get a good flavor of the resort, there are aspects of the hotel that will have to wait for next time.
There are many winter weekends when The St. Regis sells out of absolutely all of 180 rooms even when prices soar above $4,000 per night for a standard room. Other nights can be had for around $1,000 per night, but rare is the winter night available for much less than that. But once you get to the off-season, when the snow melts, you can pick up nights for a couple hundred dollars.
For winter weekends, we let award availability be our guide, as clearly 60,000 Marriott points per night was more realistic than $4,000 per night for our budget. While not every winter weekend was available using points during our search, many were, even during the Sundance Film Festival in late January. In fact, we ended up booking a stay during Sundance using 60k Marriott points per night, even though we didn’t plan to have anything to do with the film festival.
The standard room at this hotel was a superior king room rated for three people. They did offer to bring in a rollaway bed, but one king bed was fine for the girls and me. I did see dates that had a room with two queens available for four people for 68,000 points, though that was largely during the off-season. There was also a $35-per-day resort fee and $35-per-day parking fee to factor into the equation.
Be aware that winter stays at The St. Regis Deer Valley come with a 61-day cancellation penalty, so be sure of your plans before locking in a stay. We were only staying for a weekend, but those staying for five nights on Marriott points just pay the award cost for four nights.
This property will become more expensive on points once Marriott introduces an eighth category in March 2019, so book stays for roughly the next year before that happens.
You can earn Marriott Rewards points to fund your next St. Regis stay via the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury card, Starwood Preferred Guest® credit card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business credit card from American Express. However, note that the SPG Amex closes for good to new applicants on Feb. 12.
Apply for the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express here before it closes applications forever on Feb. 12!
Fresh off a successful big family ski trip to Colorado, which was the first time on skis for my 3-year-old, we were anxious for a repeat adventure on the snow. However, since it was my first time managing a ski trip as the only adult available for two little skiers, I wanted to be sure we were staying somewhere convenient to the mountain.
The Deer Valley/Park City/Canyons ski area is pretty darned convenient, at just 45 minutes by car from Salt Lake City Airport (SLC). Compare that to the several hours of driving you may face to get to some Colorado ski resorts and you’re already ahead.
The St. Regis Deer Valley itself sat on one of the Deer Valley ski runs and was about as ski-in as it gets.
If you weren’t skiing into the back of hotel, though, it did have some locational quirks to be aware of. The property was on a mountain and used a funicular to transport guests from the entrance of the hotel shown below to the main portion of the hotel with the lobby, rooms, restaurants, etc.
We pulled up to the first portion of the hotel, handed our keys to the valet (who also arranged for our bags to be transported to our room) and then entered the bottom portion of the property, which simply existed to get you to the main property. It was kind of weird at first.
After going up an elevator, we entered the funicular (a gondola-like tram that climbed the slope), which took us the couple of minutes up to the main portion of The St. Regis.
The funicular was great for getting a brilliant view of the area and will likely be quite popular with your kiddos, but it did add time to the process of getting in and out of the hotel. It also got quite crowded during peak times.
Once we reached the top of the funicular, we still weren’t at the lobby. We had to go down a level and around a corner to reach the lobby. There were elevators available, but this is probably not the best hotel if you have mobility issues, as it had a unique layout where most things were not particularly close to each other.
You could get to the base of the Deer Valley ski resort either by taking the funicular down to the bottom level and walking a couple hundred yards or taking the hotel’s free shuttle from the lobby. The shuttle would drop you off at the base of the ski resort after a five-to-10-minute drive down the mountain. We did both, but if you have gear and kids, I recommend the shuttle.
We arrived at the hotel after a morning flight to Salt Lake City and a quick drive to Deer Valley in our rented Silvercar in the early afternoon. After finding the lobby (which took a minute), we soon learned that a room was ready for us for a slightly early check-in.
This was much appreciated, especially because one of my kids was already starting to not feel so great.
But before we made it to the room, we learned a bit about the resort’s included activities, like daily s’mores from 5pm to 8pm, Champagne sabering daily at 5:30pm and a kids club open from 10am to 7pm.
The highlight of check-in (other than the room being ready) was the gift bags that were given to my 9- and 3-year-old daughters. St. Regis has a strong Family Traditions program that crosses all of their properties and usually includes a goodie bag with gifts for the littlest travelers. In this case, the bags each included a cute stuffed deer (or elk?) and a neck warmer for my 9-year-old, while the 3-year-old got a sticker to accompany her new stuffy.
The entrance to the room had a small foyer with a wood floor and doors that could go to other connecting rooms. It served as the perfect storage area for our ski gear.
The superior king room was relatively spacious, with a king bed, chair, desk, balcony and large bathroom.
The bed was comfortable, and the decor had a bit of a Southwestern flair.
The room was comfortable and cozy for the three of us, but probably due for an update of some sort, given the high-end nature (and rates) of the resort. I have read that the resort has secured $60 million in financing for the next phase of the project, which hopefully includes a refresh of the existing rooms.
A high point of the room was the bathroom, which had a large vanity area with soaking tub, as well as a separate room for the toilet and a shower.
Housekeeping got five-star marks for keeping the room very clean and even arranging the toys in adorable ways. However, on the day of checkout (when I was spiking a crazy high fever), someone was at our door about every 30 to 45 minutes trying to see if we were still there. At one point they opened the door without even knocking!
Even with Marriott Platinum status, we were unable to secure a checkout that was even one hour later than the posted noon checkout time.
Food and Beverage
A downside of staying at The St. Regis during Sundance was that eating on site for dinner meant eating in your room. There was nothing else within easy walking distance, and the one onsite restaurant, J&G Grill, was fully booked for dinner for the whole week and week following (so make reservations in advance). However, we were able to enjoy the hotel’s restaurant for breakfast.
Marriott Platinum status covered breakfast for two in the restaurant. The card said complimentary continental breakfast, but we were invited to enjoy the full buffet at no additional charge. We could also add items, such as pancakes, from the menu with no surcharge. If we were paying with cash, the adult buffet would have been $38 and a child’s buffet $25.
The dining room was truly beautiful, and the service was exquisite.
The food, coffee and juices were also very good. I actually prefer a buffet option when traveling with kids on a ski trip, as there is always an early-morning rush to get everyone ready and on the mountain to ski school.
Other than breakfast in the J&G Grill, our other onsite meal was dinner via room service, since there was no other option (and one kid was down for the count by this point). The Caprese salad and the berries were very good, and the kids enjoyed their kid meals.
The price tag was painful at around $100 for a pretty modest meal for three, but there wasn’t another viable option that evening.
On our second evening, we ate dinner immediately after picking up our 9-year-old from her ski camp at the ski lodge.
The lodge was geared more toward apres-ski snacks and drinks, but we made it work for a dinner for around $50, instead of over $100 like the evening before.
The St. Regis Deer Valley may have been light on meal options, but it was heavy on amenities.
Let’s start with the pools. The hotel had a multilevel pool complex with heated pools and two hot tubs directly next to the ski run that took you into the hotel.
On our cold January stay, there were plenty of warm, fluffy towels to dry off in, and the hot tub was the perfect temperature for the kids and me — which was to say that other adults complained it wasn’t hot enough. We found the hot tub to be the perfect way to transition from afternoon to evening, especially if you could go just before it got busier around 4:30pm.
The next over-the-top amenity was the ski valet and adjacent ski-rental shop. Notice I am saying “skiing” instead of “skiing and boarding,” as Deer Valley is a ski-only resort. If you want to board, you can head to nearby Park City or Canyons.
While many higher-end hotels have ski valets, I’d never been to a ski resort that took it to this level, with heated boots that they helped you put on and take off. Seriously.
Also in this ski valet room was a Deer Valley ski desk that could help you with tickets and lessons, plus it had plenty of complimentary bottled water and even sunscreen.
While I often like to rent gear from Ski Butlers, as they come to you, there was no need when staying here, as a rental shop was right next to the ski valet.
Our rentals were ultimately several hundred dollars in wasted money as two-thirds of us got too sick to ski, but the shop’s staff was very helpful and made the whole process easy. Expect to pay $69 to $85 per day for adult gear rentals and $44 per day for junior packages.
Your rented gear got transferred to the ski valet, who made it ready and heated for you each morning and whisked it back away each afternoon. They even sent it up to the lobby level if you decided to take the shuttle to Deer Valley or a nearby ski resort. There was no hauling your own gear at this resort. (Speaking of gear, here are the best credit cards to use on ski trips.)
The evening s’mores and Champagne were well done at this resort and not to be missed. The s’mores here were anything but standard. They had everything neatly arranged for you to take out to the fire pit, and the offerings even include Reese’s — which go quite well on a s’more, as it turns out.
We made these our dessert each night, as they were that good (and free).
The hot-chocolate bar and hot apple cider put out each afternoon were also the best I’d ever seen. If you go, remember to snag a glass of Champagne during the nightly sabering at 5:30pm up near the funicular’s entrance.
The St. Regis Deer Valley had the most unique kid’s club arrangement that I’ve come across. It was on the same lower level with the ski valet and rental shop and was open from 10am to 7pm.
The kids club was staffed on our weekend visit, but you couldn’t leave your children there unattended, or at least you couldn’t leave your young children. Those ages 8 and above seemed to be able to hang out without parents for periods of time. The woman staffing the club on our visit was a gem, and seemed to know most of the kids, as they were weekend regulars at Deer Valley.
She would watch movies with them, get the game system going and helped my girls get going with craft projects.
On the final morning (when I could barely get out of bed), a babysitter from Mother Goose of Utah (who was amazing) took my girls to play in the playroom for a couple hours, and they loved their time in this bright, well-decorated and fun space.
Just keep in mind that if you have young kids, this is not a kids club that you can hire to mind them while you ski or head to dinner or the spa.
The hotel had a 14,000-square-foot spa with 11 treatment rooms on the second level. I’d heard nothing but great things about the spa, but didn’t make it in on my family visit. Expect to spend $230 to way more for a 50-minute massage.
There was a 20-minute oxygen treatment for $55 that probably wouldn’t be the worst idea if you have trouble adjusting to the altitude.
A highlight of most previous St. Regis stays has been their butler service. While butlers are said to come with suites, I’ve never before stayed at a St. Regis that didn’t at least have a welcome coffee or tea service from a butler, even in a standard room. However, in our standard room at this property, we never once had an interaction with a butler, which follows the letter of the terms but was a departure from our previous norm.
There is no denying that the location and ski amenities offered by The St. Regis make it an amazing pick for a ski trip that requires virtually no effort — heck, they even help you put your ski boots on. Looking back at the photos to write this review, I’m sad we didn’t really get to experience the highlight of the property: skiing at adjacent Deer Valley using an Ikon Pass or similar. My oldest did get one day of Deer Valley’s Ski Adventure Club, which she really enjoyed.
However, the rest of us were left to order $30 room-service juice and raid the hotel gift shop’s medicine section, trying to get well enough to get home.
While I would love to visit the hotel again on a healthier stay when we could actually ski, I would avoid Sundance weekends if you aren’t there for the film festival, as the hotel just felt overwhelmed, with nowhere to even eat for “normal” folks.
For the rates the hotel charges, it also feels like it’s missing something. It’s hard to put the finger on what’s missing, as the hotels gets lots of things right, but every interaction seemed like a one-off as opposed to a cohesive stay where your needs were catered to and met. At $200 per night, you wouldn’t expect that level of service, but when the rate is thousands of dollars per night, perhaps a butler periodically checking in on each room wouldn’t be the worst addition.
Regardless, my only real regret at The St. Regis Deer Valley is that we didn’t get to enjoy more of it. Perhaps we can make an award reservation for the 2020 ski season at the 60k-points-per-night rate before the hotel increases its award rates in the near future.
All images by author except where indicated.
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