Friday, August 6, 2010

The Park City Waldorf Astoria

The Sweet Life in Park City

To me the concept of branding the name "Waldorf Astoria" just seems odd. Here in Arizona The Arizona Biltmore will always be The Arizona Biltmore and in Rome The Cavalieri will always be The Cavalieri.

I do not understand the desire / need to try to add more cachet to these luxe properties via branding them as "Waldorf Astoria this" or "Waldorf Astoria that". I sort of find it hard (and pretentious) to say the "Waldorf Astoria Arizona Biltmore".

But, despite what I might think, branding is now a fact of life. And the gaggle of private equity geeks running around these days buying everything in sight know it is costly and time consuming to create prestige brand names like "Ritz Carlton", "Four Seasons" or "Conrad" from scratch. Conversely, it is cheap to simply buy provenance.

In order to jump start the new Waldorf Astoria (WA) line of hotels, Hilton began by acquiring and re-branding a carefully assembled selection of ultra-prestige and much loved properties.

The process has been successful and Hilton now has a critical mass of celebrated properties carrying the "Waldorf Astoria" name. Now, instead of merely buying and/or re-branding existing properties, Hilton has begun developing new properties in high-end destinations (where suitable prestige properties are not available to buy and re-brand).

One of the first of the "from scratch" WA properties is the new Waldorf Astoria Park City.

I got to enjoy a stay there last week.

Although all of logo's and paperwork at the hotel lists its official title as The Dakota, once you are away from the property itself, you will only see it referenced to as Waldorf Astoria Park City.

At first I was a bit surprised that the hotel was not located in posh Deer Valley and was instead sited in The Canyons resort. In retrospect I think this was a very good choice. The WA is next to the ritzy Miner's Club and a new tram. So, although it lacks the ski-in / ski-out feature of Deer Valley's new St. Regis, this location allows you to simply walk across the street and be whisked to mid-mountain.

The Canyon's location is easy for guests to find. It is a far more family friendly hill since kids can snowboard here, but not at stodgy old Deer Valley. Finally, this location will soon feature direct access to a brand new golf course.

Across the Street - A New Tramway That Whisks Skiers Direct to Mid-Mountain

It offers a Golden Door spa, great pool area, a beautiful restaurant, and a great fitness area.

 Standard Cliche "Mountain Chic" Architecture 

The uber-cliched "Mountain Lodge" architecture of the hotel is so overdone everywhere in Park City it now provokes a gag reflex in me and the furniture choices in the hotel can only be described as gold dust epoch meets kitsch.

Note to WA, try to restrain your electrical engineer. Every room (including each bathroom) had no fewer than five light switches! In an era of sustainability do we really need such excess?

That said, the rooms are amazing. Many offer the equivalent features of a full condo. My room for example had two full bathrooms, two fireplaces, a full size washer dryer, and a spacious kitchen outfitted with full-sized Viking appliances.

I was ready to move in!

The Living Area

The Kitchen

The Bedroom

The Ultimate Family Luxury 
A Full Sized in-Room Washer Dryer!

Roadboy wishes he could have spent about three days here (with his mountain bike, a good pair of walking shoes, a couple of books, and a swim suit!)

They still have to get some bugs out (service in The Spruce restaurant was slow, the coffee cold, and the prices high). But those are just birthing pains.

The rates in the summer were wonderfully low. Even with the silly "Resort" fee tacked on, my daily rate was only about $175/nt. However, when the snow flies, prepare to listen to your wallet scream. The posted rates for this very same room in January start at an almost completely unbelievable $825/nt!

Between the new St. Regis and the New Waldorf Astoria, my beloved Stein Erickson Lodge has taken a quick one-two punch. 

Roadboy's Travels © 2010   

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