Best of the Best 2011: Resorts: Montage Deer Valley

    From the air of permanence in its great room, and the ease with which guests settle into the space’s couches and chairs, Park City’s newest resort seems to have always been the best place in town. And though it just opened in December, Montage Deer Valley also appears to have had the area’s first choice of location: a 13-acre mid-mountain site a few dozen feet from the Empire Express lift at Deer Valley Resort.

    Montage Hotels & Resorts debuted in the mountains of Utah as successfully as it did on a California beach in 2003. The company’s original property, in Laguna Beach, which has since been joined by a hotel in Beverly Hills, combines the service standards of top international brands with a California sense of style. That style translates surprisingly well at Montage Deer Valley, with its craftsman-inspired architecture and emphasis on healthy living.

    Montage passed up a dozen opportunities in California, Colorado, and other top U.S. ski locations before settling slope-side at this posh, skiers-only resort. Seven years in the making, the 13-story hotel holds 220 accommodations plus 81 residences (priced from $2 million). Every guest room has a fireplace and estate-quality furnishings; each suite has two full baths.

    Most captivating, however, are Mon­tage’s public spaces, which are always well attended by staff members: making your morning latte at Buzz, scheduling your lane time at the in-house bowling alley, or recommending a soft pretzel flown in from Germany with a pint of the hotel’s microbrew, Montage Mountain Ale. The resort’s spa has 29 treatment rooms, a mosaic-tiled lap pool, a wellness center, and a full dance card of yoga and fitness classes that are free to guests.

    Also complimentary are shuttles to the Park City area’s two other ski resorts, but the easiest and best option is just steps away. Empire Express offers direct access to everything from beginner runs to double-black-diamond chutes, and Montage’s in-house ski shop will set you up with everything you need for a day on the slopes. ($345–$5,000)

    Montage Deer Valley, 435.604.1300, www.montagedeervalley.com

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