At The Lodge at Blue Sky, Auberge Resorts Collection on a wintry day in February, I meet a couple who’ve returned to the resort to stay a second time within two weeks. Perhaps this wouldn’t be odd if they had just been coming from across the state, or perhaps even from a neighbouring state. But the couple hailed from Philadelphia. At this time of year, at the very least, I would have thought they’d be in search of warm weather. And, they aren’t even skiers. “We loved it so much we couldn’t even wait a month to return,” they tell me one day after we share time in one of the resort’s complimentary yoga practices.
That’s the general vibe at The Lodge at Blue Sky, Auberge Resorts Collection, which opened during the pandemic’s darkest days, immediately supplying a lucky handful of travelers a remote refuge in Utah, secluded away from the world’s shared malaise. Not only do guests not want to leave this inspirational retreat when their stay ends, but they want to return as soon as possible. A place that has a nearly instantaneous medicinal effect on the soul, the unique property spans some 3,500-acres of forested mountain terrain—a haven of pine tree-riddled valleys, rushing creeks and rivers, meadows, and elk-dotted slopes. It lies about 30 minutes by car from Park City, close enough to allow curious guests (or skiers) to play in town, but faraway enough to encourage guests to hole up and use Blue Sky as a sanctuary of sorts. Its the kind of well being-centered resort that provides myriad tools for self discovery, entertainment and education, while also pampering with stellar gastronomy and shelter. It showcases (and refuses to compete with) the surrounding nature. Essentially, Blue Sky gives you what you need, which may well be different for every visitor. Likely, most guests take something unexpected home: a new talent, a novel way of thinking, less stress, a resolution they hadn’t known they sought or simply an ability to count their blessings.
Central to Blue Sky, the onsite Saving Gracie Equine Healing Foundation at Gracie’s Farm, a home for rescue horses, dogs, chickens, cows, cats and goats epitomizes the spirit of the resort. A place where guests can connect with and interact with rescued animals on a profound level plus learn gardening skills, it marks the heart of Blue Sky, owned by animal lovers and nature buffs, Barb and Mike Phillips. Their ranchland-turned-sustainable-resort, aptly managed by Auberge, reflects the Phillips’ deep commitment to the land and local culture, as well as their generosity at sharing a transformative space.
Guests can choose between three types of understatedly elegant rooms, each with windows that frame nature. Adult’s only Creek Houses sit on the water’s edge, the sound of the burbling brook as their background music. Earth Suites (715 square feet huge), nestled into a hill, open to immense mountain views, with large terraces. And Sky Lodges occupy the top floor of the retreat’s main building, with some larger, two bedroom suites, ideal for families. House-made soaps and amenities, devastatingly comfortable beds and free minibars are highlights. Compelling art in the suites and throughout the resort pay homage to rescued animal and chic design redefines the rustic mountain lodge experience.
At Yuta, the all-day-dining, farm-to-table restaurant led by James Beard nominee Executive Chef Jason Franey, Gracie’s Farm’s own bounty supplements fresh ingredients gleaned from local growers, farmers and ranchers. Drop into the moody bar for a clever cocktail, such as the signature Horse Thief.
Workout in the state-of-the-art fitness room, practice yoga in an evocative room with panoramic windows or swim in the lap pool, which caps a hill Edge Spa, poised on a cliff above the creek, offers a meaningful menu of rituals from facials to massages to sleep therapy to energy readings. Its tranquil space has been artfully enhanced with special touches from handmade teabags to journals left to be mulled over, which offer pages full of hand-penned inspirational quotes.
Activities abound. Seasonally, they include an array of options from clay shooting to snowshoeing. The Little Vaqueros Club, a kids haven, free for the morning session, provides farm time with the horses, yoga opportunities, hiking and much more; while teen activities embrace adrenaline pumping jaunts from axe throwing to wildlife tracking. Guests can learn beekeeping, organic farming, stargaze or dog sled. Parents can have couples’ massages in a glamping tent, hike to a yurt for a romantic lunch or take an Alpine art class. Some folks may just want to sit by the fire in the lodge building or on the terrace. However guests spend their time, they’ll find that The Lodge at Blue Sky has awakened something inside. Maybe like the couple from Philadelphia, they’ll be back for some Utah ranchland therapy.
Location: Utah, near Park City
Food + Drink: Roused by the verdant mountain landscape, Lodge at Blue Sky has only one real restaurant: Yuta, helmed by Jason Franey, a three time James Beard nominee. Elevated farm to table cuisine, highlighted by the resort’s own Gracie’s Farm, turns head and pleases the tastebuds. Guests can also eat at The Bar or at a variety of on-property experiential venues, such as a mountain top yurt.
Our Favorite Part of the Hotel: Impossible to commit. I loved my Earth Suite with its views, terrace fire, complimentary mini bar and sensational housemade amenities. I also loved The Edge Spa, an utterly unique healing space, and Gracies’ Farm, the soul of the hotel, where rescued animals await, ready to inspire healing. Oh—and that pool— a swimmer knows a dynamic pool and this one that crests a hill has super powers.
Amenities: Pool. spa, dining, fitness, complimentary activities such as yoga, WIFI, Pets allowed, ski shuttles and room service.
Both Park City and Salt Lake City are less than an hour away.
Any personal neighborhood recs? Besides going into Park City to ski or play, this hotel has created the prefect indulgent stay at home atmosphere.
Rooms: 19 rooms in three different categories, set in diverse spots: They are known as Creek Houses, Earth Suites and Sky Lodge Suites.
Pricing: Starts at 1500
Closest Airport: Salt Lake City International Airport
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