“Make sure you ask concierge for the Mary-Kate and Ashley tour,” a local Utah skier told me when she heard I was staying at the Stein Eriksen Lodge in Park City. I had mentioned to her that much of my Utah ski knowledge came from the lauded film Getting There, which starred the Olsen twins as they journeyed to see the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Little did this former MK&A movie aficionado know, they actually filmed the movie at the hotel I’d be staying at in a few days. Score.
And that isn’t the only accolade the Stein Eriksen boasts. It is also Utah’s first Forbes Five-Star hotel and houses Utah’s only Forbes Five-Star spa. Not too shabby.
Opened in 1981, the resort is named after the “father of freestyle” and “skiing’s first superstar,” Stein Eriksen, a Norwegian Olympic gold medalist who moved to Park City and served as the director of skiing at the Deer Valley ski resort, where the hotel is located, for over 35 years.
So, whether you’re a Full House or Winter Olympics fanatic, the Stein Eriksen will impress.
The curved and tree-lined Stein Way leads to the hotel’s a circular driveway. In the center sits a bronze statue of Eriksen holding his skis and wearing his medal, standing next to a mini torch with real flames shooting out. Sandstone columns on that plot hold up one end of the peaked wood awning with exposed rust beams. Pull up underneath and you’ll find yourself in front of the hotel’s main entrance. The lobby wraps around this circle, creating a European-esque piazza, setting the tone for the rest of the property. Inspired by the Norwegian athlete, the hotel’s design is heavily influenced by Norway’s traditional style. The driveway is outlined in a sandstone portico, taking a very European design element and giving it a Utah spin by way of material. The rest of this building features peaked roofs, and is made of this stone. A deck above the driveway features big wood-framed windows.
The reception area is surprisingly narrow, given the grand entrance. The wall to your left is piled high with gray stone, and the one to your right, which is where the reception desk is, opposes with wood. The reception desk is also wood and the wall behind it features delicate hand-painted red and green floral murals of Norwegian design. The arch above the desk is ornately carved to match. The bellman’s desk, which sits in front of the stone wall, has a matching red painting. The floor is simply large slabs of stone, but a few steps in, an Oriental rug with seating awaits. On the far wall, directly facing the entrance, is a fireplace, one of 145+ on the lodge’s 10 acres. This stone and wood filled space is the perfect example of the hotel’s desire to incorporate nature into every nook and cranny. As you get closer to the fireplace, you’ll notice the wood ceiling stops, and you can see up to the second floor, in a sort of “ahhh” way.
After you check in and get your mountain-shaped key, turn left at the fireplace, walk past the grandfather clock and up a set of stairs to do a little more exploring. However, if you want to see a really intricate and impressive lobby, walk through the courtyard to the ski lobby, where a case of Eriksen’s trophies sit, as does a few of the property’s Norwegian-themed restaurants. A floral carpet covers the vast multi-section space, assuring that no wood will be damaged due to dripping ski boots. The low ceilings feature exposed wooden beams and couches dot the floor, introducing that typical cozy lodge feel. However, keeping in theme with the main lobby, in the center of this space the ceiling opens and wood beams crisscross all the way up a few stories.
Behind the restaurant, you’ll find a very important nook: where the Olsen twins sat with their co-stars as they filmed a scene from Getting There. Go ahead and play checkers or eat s’mores in front of the massive towering stone fireplace, as they did.
Outside the ski lobby is a long courtyard, which many of the guest rooms surround. These rooms are sectioned off in pairs, and each pair has it’s own foyer within low buildings designed to match the lobbies, with peaked roofs, sandstone and brown railings made of logs. So, while your key will open the door to 202, inside is a mudroom of sorts, and you have access to either 202-1 or 202-2. The lowest level Deluxe Rooms are all courtyard facing. The 178 units consist of 60 suites and 118 guest rooms, each with its own unique design. The Deluxe Rooms are the smallest on property, with approximately 375 square feet and one king or two queen beds. The largest rooms are in the forthcoming Residences, condos and homes that can reach up to 7800 square feet.
And while you wouldn’t guess it from the pristine appearance and luxurious Molton Brown amenities, each unit is privately owned, which explains the unpredictable design. What you will find in every room is lots of wood and stone (surprise, surprise), a fridge and microwave, an oversized jetted bathtub, a separate toilet (there’s that European edge again), window seats, plush robes and earth tones. The owner of my unit enhanced the space with an antler chandelier, a bright red credenza and photographs of skiers and snowboarders on the walls.
While the Deluxe Rooms are the most affordable, I highly recommend upgrading to a Luxury Suite, as they come with fireplaces, full kitchens, multiple bathrooms, balconies and private hot tubs on said balcony. Nothing you really need, but everything you want. Especially that hot tub, which will come in very handy after days hiking or on the slopes. Sometimes even a jetted bath can’t sooth your aching bones. Treat yourself.
It’s safe to say the tie to the Olsen twins will forever frame this property in my mind. However, it was the private hot tub that garnered it a spot in my top five hotels of all time. The abundance of wood and the courtyard—in which I highly encourage you traipse as you may stumble upon a bunny—are also highlights.
However, I must mention the spa. While a treatment might not be in your budget, that doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy this renowned facility. Guests have complimentary access to the spa throughout their stay. And no, that doesn’t mean you are limited to a walk around the locker room and “relaxing” on a chaise lounge. While you can do those things, you can also retreat from the cold in the steam room or sauna, treat your muscles in the indoor plunge pool followed by a dip in the adjacent hot tub or get even more exercise off the slopes in one of their fitness classes. They also have an outdoor heated pool and hot tub with views of the surrounding slopes that can’t be beat.
Being ski-in, ski-out gives a property major bonus points. The Stein Eriksen earned all of them, sitting mid-mountain near some of Deer Valley’s restaurants and lodges and at the bottom of a gondola and a handful of runs, making it extremely accessible and your regular shoes not too far away. The Ski Valet on property sets guests up with rentals and overnight boot-warming (yes, that’s a real service). The hotel is a quick 10-minute drive to downtown Park City, and offers free shuttles there and to anywhere else in Deer Valley.
Address: 7700 Stein Way
Website: Stein Eriksen Lodge
Rates: From $550