Park City is, without question, one of the country’s most dynamic ski destinations, drawing visitors from all over the world with its sought-after slopes, world-class dining, and picturesque town center surrounded by a panoramic dreamscape. Sprawling, luxury resorts make up the bulk of Park City’s hotel scene, but for those who prefer something of the boutique variety, there’s an equally luxe address tucked away on Park Avenue, just steps from the action of the town’s main drag.
Washington School House Hotel is a quiet haven for discerning guests all year round. Beyond its stately stone façade, a sparkling, newly renovated interior sets the stage for a hospitality experience in a class of its own. Pilot Hotels CEO and founder Marcy Holthus gives a behind-the-scenes look at the history and design journey that’s made the property what it is today: “The concept was to create a design-driven hotel in an iconic, historically significant property, providing an authentic, out-of-the-box level of chic sophistication with our own brand of intuitive service that is unparalleled,” she shares. “The 1889 building was gutted to its limestone exterior, and all windows, dormers, and historical architectural features [were] reclaimed and restored with a resolute respect and deference to its historic roots and mining town provenance.”
Holthus cites a “near-obsessive vigilance” that shaped her team’s approach to the project, trickling down to every detail, from selecting the perfect shade of white paint to curating the hotel’s piecemeal antique and vintage silver collection. “Everything is intentional, relevant, and provides context to the guests’ experience. We particularly love the locally-sourced reclaimed oak barn wood floors, Utah quartzite quarried nearby, and the antler chandelier, purchased in Park City and then dipped in white lacquer and draped in Swarovski crystals.”
It’s a living, breathing work of art–and we haven’t even gotten to the guest rooms yet. Here, Holthus brings us to Washington School House Hotel’s most coveted room type.
What’s your most requested room?
Definitely the Penthouse suite. This suite can be configured with cleverly designed adjoining rooms as either a one-bedroom, two-bedroom, or three-bedroom suite.
What makes that room so special?
This suite is really special and is a darling, particularly with our high-profile guests. The private-keyed elevator with direct access into the suite allows our guests looking for privacy a way to slip in and out unnoticed. The suite is fabulous, with a fireplace, galley kitchen, and a sleeping and media nook with some pretty great views. The suite is on the top floor (of course) with easy access to the heated pool that is chiseled into the hillside. The design is gorgeous with white wood-clad walls, reclaimed barnwood floors, loads of crystal chandeliers and sconces, and a great mix of antique, vintage, custom, and modern furniture and art that give this suite an amazing mountain-chic feel.
What is the usual rate for that room?
Winter Rate: $2275. Summer Rate: $1,000.
What makes a stay here so special and unique?
Park City is truly a world class destination, no matter what experience our guests seek! Historically, Park City has been well known for its vast array of outdoor activities from alpine skiing, mountain biking, fly fishing and hiking, which have lured outdoor enthusiasts to the area for decades. However, as Park City’s popularity has grown, so has its thirst for art and culture. Today numerous artists and sculptors call Park City home spoiling our guests with exquisite galleries along Historic Main Street. No matter the experience our guests seek in Park City, they are always greeted at the Washington School House Hotel with a roaring fire, sophisticated design, and staff that will stop at nothing to exceed our guests expectations.
Any notable/celebrity guests or regulars that you can share with us?
We have had hundreds of celebrity/high-profile guests–that we, of course cannot share! That is the allure for these guests–the privacy in this enclave. Many of our celebrity guests come time after time and we have gotten to know them and their families well. In addition to the multitude of Hollywood names, we have become a haven for high-level corporate retreats, and host CEOs and upper-echelon management in the tech industry, and of course in filmmaking, with the Sundance Film Festival being synonymous with Park City.
Can you share a bit about the dining experience on property?
Dinner at the Washington School House Hotel is an experience that cannot be found elsewhere in Park City. When a guest decides to stay at the hotel, they are given the option to have a private dinner in the hotel dining area, or in the comfort of their own room. The guest receives the menu before their stay begins; [it is tailored] to each palate and dietary restriction. The chef prepares a six to eight course tasting menu, using as many locally sourced, seasonal ingredients as possible. Each menu changes monthly to capture ingredients at their peak flavor. Our chef is classically trained, and is extremely creative. Elevated Rocky Mountain, regional dishes are expertly created to make the guest experience bold and bright flavors, which are designed as beautiful works of art for each course.
Each morning, our guests can wake up to the smell of freshly roasted local coffee beans. At the Washington School House Hotel, breakfast is prepared fresh to order every day. The menu changes seasonally to capture the best flavors of the year. Any and all ingredients that can be procured locally are used to create bright and beautiful breakfast dishes. The aim is to provide delicious, locally sourced dishes, such as our summer succotash and the local mushroom hash. However, we still cater to the American classics, including smoked bacon, locally cured ham, and fluffy sourdough pancakes. Growing up in Tennessee, our chef is all too familiar with preparing freshly baked biscuits and southern gravy, which can be found as a rotating daily special.
Every day, guests can find their way down to the cozy fireplace after a long day of mountain activities. Here, they will find a daily selection of locally sourced cheeses and cured meats accompanied by house made pickles and jams.
Tell us a few fun facts about Washington School House Hotel.
It is really a walk-out, ski-in location. In the morning, you can walk downhill two or three blocks to the town lift. Located on the northeast face of the mountain, the Park City Mountain Resort-run Quit’N Time drops you nearly at our back gate above the pool at the end of the day.
We are creative thinkers with new ideas who are setting new standards. One of our best new ideas is our welcome gift to each guest that includes a fabulous new silver-grey polar fleece throw blanket wiht our logo that is for the guest to keep and take with them. The four two-story suites were the result of an incredible design challenge to preserve and restore the original two-story double-hung schoolhouse windows.
Our team’s uniforms are not uniforms! Everyone is dressed based on a curated lookbook our design team creates with the help of some NYC designer friends twice a year. Our team is always fashion-forward and sophisticated, with a mountain-chic style that is uniquely ours.