Spending a long summer weekend in Deer Valley, Utah at the St. Regis Deer Valley is a breath of fresh air. Literally! The altitude of 7452′ (also the name of their Bloody Mary!) guarantees the freshest air where the Uinta and Wasatch converge. The 181-room hotel looks like a modern castle nestled in the mountainous terrain.
When you arrive you feel like royalty, from the tailored butler service to the friendly mountain guides. I stayed in one of the 66 mountain suites, which come with the famous butler service the St. Regis is known for. My fun butlers, Thomas and Gayla, brought French press coffee every morning and offered to press clothing, pack my bag or ship home a box of goodies.
I could get used to this!
The combination of modern luxury and outdoor adventure is the best of both worlds. Deer Valley is known for world-class skiing in the best powder—but summer is so spectacular! The blue, blue sky and lack of humidity attracts mountain bikers and hikers. It’s so easy to access the trails either on foot or by taking a chairlift to the top. Nearby Park City has the charm of the old mining town and is home to winter Olympians who train at the Center for Excellence. During the winter, St. Regis guests have the chance to ski with silver-medalist Olympian Shannon Bahrke. I was lucky enough to spend an afternoon with Olympians Mac Bohonnon and Shannon at Utah’s Olympic Park.
I took the St. Regis’ Swiss-made funicular (the only one at a ski resort in North America) to get down to the hiking trails quickly and enjoyed the beautiful view. I hiked with White Pine Touring, led by Norwegian Tom Cammermeyer, whose philosophy—“the unselfish and simple life in nature”—along with his anecdotes and jokes make hiking all the more pleasurable. His Argentine associate guide Victoria Ritzinger takes the stress out of planning a hike, and, along with Tom, shares her knowledge of the flora and fauna.
Fly-fishing with Jan’s Experts (located in the St. Regis) got me in touch with my inner fisherwoman! Being surrounded by other Sunday fishermen and -women was a rare treat. I saw and heard ospreys and yellow-headed blackbirds and I caught and released three trout with the help of handsome guide and ski patroller Brian. Jan’s Experts helps everyone have fun and catch fish in idyllic scenery. I have to admit I got hooked!
I had no need for a car at the St. Regis Deer Valley, as their Cadillac Escalades are available for local trips to town, but really, staying on property is the best. The incredible scenery, from the outdoor pools manned by bartenders Ian and Gayle to the 14,000-sq ft Remedé Spa to the excellent J&G Grill make it the place to be. Here, outdoor adventure is right in your backyard.
The traditions started by founder John Jacob Astor IV, one of America’s first aristocrats, continue on at all of the St. Regis hotels. A “Champagne Sabering” takes place every night at sunset with head butler Thomas Crawford leading the way as the night’s first bottle of Veuve Cliquot is severed at the neck by a sword. Guests are encouraged to participate and enjoy the fruits of their efforts! I really had fun “beheading” the champagne bottle!
“Tea at 4″ is a tradition that originates from the sinking of the Titanic, where John Jacob Astor IV lost his life after making sure that his wife and children were safe on lifeboat #4.
Finally, the Bloody Mary tradition: Each St. Regis has a signature cocktail. The Bloody Mary was originally called the Red Snapper and invented by a French bartender who was imported along with the New York bar from France by the New York St. Regis. The Deer Valley Bloody Mary is especially delicious, with 13 different ingredients including a celery, green apple and wasabi froth at the top, and black Hawaiian volcanic salt around the edges.
J&G Grill’s freshest ingredients takes farm-to-table to a new level! The J&G Grill is an unpretentious Jean-Georges restaurant where most of the food is sourced locally, and all the meats come from Niman ranches (which treat animals humanely). The vegetables and fruits are sourced from nearby organic gardens and seafood is flown in the day it’s caught from Hawaii and Maine.
Breakfast at the long community table or out on the deck overlooking the mountains is a great way to start the day. I loved the gruyere omelet with heirloom tomatoes and basil. A continental breakfast or an array of smoothies and soy or regular cappuccinos are also a great choice. Restaurant manager Yuniz hails from Turkey and personally oversees every meal.
For special occasions, the St. Regis Wine Vault has carefully selected premium wines to match every course. I love that in Deer Valley and at the St. Regis, mountain casual is the dress code and jeans are acceptable everywhere!
I was there during the summer solstice and was lucky enough to participate in the Savor the Summit dinner that takes place outside on Main Street in Park City, with one long table and all local restaurants participating. What a wonderful way to enjoy a beautiful evening!
I think my favorite moment was sitting on the balcony in the quiet early morning, drinking French press coffee, trying to get a glimpse of grazing moose, and watching the mountain bikers traversing the terrain. I love the St. Regis Deer Valley in the summer, and can’t wait to go back—anytime of the year!