The Frostwood Gondola isn’t for everyone—only Waldorf Astoria Park City guests have earned the right to ride their dedicated *chair lift, referred to on Google Maps as the Waldorf Gondola. Of course, with no source of security, and a handful of hotels right at the bottom of the ride, everyone cheats the system and takes advantage of Waldorf’s pampering ways, no matter where they’re staying (and we don’t blame them; we would too, it’s so convenient). While you might be annoyed to see someone get off the Waldorf gondola and walk into the Wyndham, don’t let it bother you. Sure, they got a free and easy ride down from the mountain even though they didn’t technically pay for it, but they don’t get to walk into the Waldorf Astoria after. And while anything with a seat is a treat after a long day on the slopes, the real reward lies within this hotel.
*Note: We don’t actually feel this way, or care. Or even know if the Waldorf gondola is limited to Waldorf guests. In fact, we think it’s a great way to tighten the skiing community.
If you’re staying at one of the hotels at the base of Canyons Village at the Park City ski resort, the Waldorf Astoria is the first hotel you’ll see as you drive up to this cluster. About four or five hotels make up a little neighborhood at the base, with the Waldorf Astoria dominating a corner as the largest one, by far. They all have the same exterior design typical of an upscale ski lodge—about five stories, wooden peaked roofs, stone detailing, wooden balconies, lots of chimneys for the endless fireplaces, etc. So, don’t be embarrassed if you walk into the wrong hotel after a long tiresome day on the slopes.
The dramatic overhang jutting out from the lobby, rich brown drenching the building and outdoor fire pits right next to the front entrance are easy ways to remember which is the Waldorf Astoria. When I first laid eyes on those firepits, I knew I was going to like it here (just don’t make the mistake of thinking those are the only outdoor firepits they have).
The drama continues in the lobby, where dark brown doors, wooden beams in the ceiling and strips of marble on the floor contrast with the mostly off-white walls, marble and furniture. Your eyes will immediately dart to the grand staircase to your left and the massive chandelier hanging over the center of this front room. To your right, checking in is a much more intimate experience than usual, with individual desks and attendants for each guest. You’ll likely want to rush through this part of the process though, so you can make your way to those tufted leather and velvet couches in front of a fireplace calling your name in the room extending off the lobby. Here, a pair of sculpted deer guards the fireplace, another chandelier hangs and the color scheme of browns and whites continues, giving the lobby a very velvety and chocolaty feel. And not just because you can sink into the smooth couches.
Luckily, the comfort continues in the rooms.
The property’s 160 guestrooms are appointed with custom designed furniture and carpeting in colors that match the lobby—brown and white. Brown frames dot the white walls while brown and white kitchen cabinets hold Viking appliances (if you’re in a suite). Clearly, they picked a theme and they were sticking to it. However, caramel colored leather seating and carpeting diversify things a bit.
All rooms have welcome post-ski amenities like fireplaces, spacious baths and steam showers. Many feature private patios or balconies that frame views of the surrounding Wasatch Mountains or the outdoor pool area that sits in the heart of the wraparound hotel.
They’re not the typical cozy rooms of a ski lodge, but elegant thanks to textured headboards and cream coloring throughout.
The presence of this property is powerful. With only a few other hotels in the immediate vicinity and a desire to match the environment, it’s also almost impossible to stand out. It’s not like they can paint the front of the building bright turquoise to make sure they can be recognized from the top of the mountain. This isn’t Club Med, it’s the Waldorf Astoria. Any effort has to be tasteful. So how does a classy brand differentiate itself from the rest without disturbing the niche? Well, with a size that almost doubles the second biggest property in the area, a grand entrance that puts front doors to shame, restaurants that will attract non-guests, exclusive ski gear from Rossignol and what might be the largest spa in the area. Oh, and a dedicated gondola that takes guests up to the slopes. We’d like to see another hotel on the block top that (and please invite us over when you do, unless it’s a Trump property).
Waldorf Astoria Park City sits within the largest ski resort in the United States, Park City Resort. Their dedicated Frostwood Gondola provides year-round access to the Canyons Village base. It’s also a 10-minute drive to Park City’s Main Street.
Address: 2100 Frostwood Drive
Room Rates: From $279
Website: Waldorf Astoria Park City
Maggie Parker is Paste Magazine’s assistant travel editor.