Just 12 rooms and suites make up the accommodations at the Washington School House Hotel in downtown Park City, Utah. The boutique property is so named because the 1889 building was originally a school for pioneering families who settled in the mountains rich with silver ore. Today the hotel, totally renovated in 2011, welcomes discerning guests who appreciate the attentive service from friendly staff, comfortable rooms decorated with antiques, and excellent location just steps from fab restaurants and quirky shops on Park City’s Main Street.
Here’s why I’d highly recommend a stay at the Washington School House Hotel:
Classy rooms in a historic setting
The overall decor at the Washington School House Hotel is a sophisticated mix of European antiques and unexpected accents that pay homage to its mountain location (think a massive white antler chandelier adorned in shiny crystal pendants). Walls and trim are white, and grey and silver furniture take center stage, especially in the high-ceilinged living room, where guests gather on a shiny-grey velvet couch and period chairs in front of a roaring fireplace. This gathering area has a decidedly classic feel, whereas the downstairs ski lounge (pictured above) is more modern. Historic schoolhouse photos hang on the hallway walls next to antique benches, tables and armoires. The classy look all comes together beautifully.
Each room is decorated differently. My two-story “lofted king suite” featured a king-size bed with comfy white duvet; an antique, marble-topped desk from France; a vintage Swedish chair; and an awesome iron spiral staircase leading up to a small sitting area. Upstairs, a period radiator and replica wall fan reminded me of items one might have found in the schoolhouse decades ago. This is where children can sleep on a pull-out sofa (or where I might send my husband if we were sharing this room and he wanted to watch early morning television).
Personalized service, included food and drink
Because the property is so small, the hotel staff will know you by name within a few hours of check-in. Friendly faces greeted me each morning during the included breakfast service, and in the afternoon when it was time for complimentary snacks and drinks in the living room. While I visited with a group of other journalists, servers remembered that one was allergic to cantaloupe (and omitted it from her daily plate of fresh fruit) and another ate only gluten-free meals. Breakfast by talented Chef Ernesto is hearty: daily egg scrambles, delicious granola pancakes, or Irish oatmeal. But first, guests can call for French press coffee, served on a silver platter, in their rooms whenever the mood strikes (for me, it was about 7 a.m. daily).
One afternoon, after an epic snowshoeing adventure all I wanted was a cold beer and a hot tub. Front-desk staff offered to deliver my drink to the outdoor pool area. Heavenly. In the late afternoon we also enjoyed small bites by the fire in the living room — tasty crostini, cheese puffs, and other savory nibbles, but my favorite was the day I found espresso shortbread cookies waiting for me — again on a silver platter. Yum.
In addition to the included apres-ski snacks and drinks, other nice touches include a travel-sized Evian spray (to refresh parched skin) and Molton Brown lip balm in the room, as well as generous bottles of Molton Brown bath products. Wi-fi is included in the room rate, and guests can ask to borrow iPads (loaded with movies) or iPods (loaded with music) to use in the in-room iPod docks. A wonderful evening surprise: sweet treats or little presents left on my turned-down bed each night. I was told the nighttime gifts are individualized to each guest (i.e. children might receive toys, while I got a quality sketchpad and pencil).
Thick robes and slippers are provided for padding to the small pool and hot tub that are set into the hillside next to the hotel (there’s also a fire pit on the pool deck). Bottled water is everywhere for the taking, which is so important in the dry mountain air).
Excellent downtown location
Just one block from Main Street, Washington School House Hotel occupies a perfect location in Park City, whether you’re in town for a romantic mountain getaway or a girls’ ski trip. I appreciated being able to walk to premier dining venues like Silver and the High West Distillery & Saloon. Nightlife is lively in this ski town, namely at the No Name Saloon, where it was elbow to elbow with the locals when I was there at 10 p.m. on a Friday night — definitely the place to see and be seen.
The Washington School House Hotel is also within walking distance to Park City Mountain Resort’s Town Lift. While accommodating hotel staff will happily drive guests to the ski resort (and anywhere else in town, with its on-demand shuttle), guests who don’t mind walking a few blocks with their gear can scoot to the lift and be on the stellar slopes in minutes.
Concierge staff at Washington School House Hotel is also happy to arrange dinner reservations or make recommendations for outdoor adventures in Park City. These folks are well versed in places to eat and things to do in the area, so when you visit the Washington School House Hotel, be sure to take advantage of their knowledge. From experience, I know they are on hand to help make your stay oh-so-special and memorable.
Thanks to the staff at the Washington School House Hotel for hosting me in your “home.” I truly hope to return someday.