This Intimate Boutique Hotel Inside an Old School House in Park City is a Masterclass in Refined Design

Park City got its start as a silver mining hub. Workers and their families flooded into town. The community built a schoolhouse and named it after our first president. The building, which was constructed from hammered limestone, survived the Great Fire of 1898 with only a few char marks and carried on educating youth until 1936 when it was sold to the Veterans of Foreign Wars. It then sat in disrepair for a few years before becoming a homey B&B. After a full-scale renovation that included gutting everything down to the studs while preserving the historical integrity of the structure, Washington School House was reborn as an intimate boutique hotel in 2011. Today, it stands as a beacon of luxury and refined style that gives guests the feeling of staying at a super chic house where the hosts are warm, and welcoming, and cater to every single need, whim, and want. 

The foyer resembles a high-end home with a staircase straight away and a little sitting area to the left. Only, it’s a reception/concierge area with a beautiful building-in cabinet that’s appointed with antiques and keepsakes and fresh-baked pastries sit on a silver platter. Walking a few paces further, the grand living/dining room is jaw-dropping. Every single detail inspires awe. An enormous white lacquered antler and crystal chandelier hangs from the 16-foot-high ceiling that gives the space a lofty ambiance. A giant gilded mirror from an opera house in France—one of two like it in the world—adorns the mantle of the roaring fireplace. 

Light cascades in through the giant windows in the morning as guests fresh from a restful slumber glide downstairs to fuel up on veggie hash with a perfectly fried egg and fluffy pancakes. (If you need a little extra time in bed, do not worry. Just request to have French pressed coffee delivered.) Chef Ryan Frye also makes his own hot sauce, mixed berry jam, and seeded sourdough bread—all of which are divine. In the late afternoon, guests gather around the velvet sofas for aprés cheese, wine, and cocktails.

The pool area is also really special with its paved stone patio punctuated by a heated piscine, grey stones, sleek yet comfortable seating, and a cauldron from the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. (How the owners scored such an important piece of memorabilia…just wow. And also not unexpected based on the other items they’ve been able to procure.)

While the property shines in every season, winter brings the wow for skiers and snowboarders who have direct access to the mountain. Downstairs is a cozy red room with a fireplace for warming up after hitting the slopes as well as gear storage—done in a stylish way, obviously. 

Washington School House has 12 rooms in the main building. Some show off the soaring ceilings, original windows, and spiral staircases. All accommodations are fitted with bespoke furnishings, antiques, and reclaimed oak barn wood flooring. Between the fresh mountain air and the down feather beds and pillows fitted with Pratesi linens, it’s impossible not to get a good night’s sleep. The discriminating sense of luxury extends to the bathrooms, which flaunt white marble, heated floors, walk-in showers, and Molton Brown toiletries. There’s also a stand-alone apartment across the street that’s part of the hotel and done in the same refined style.

In keeping with the above-and-bought thoughtful service, the turndown amenities are not the average chocolate on your pillow. Though, surely artisan sweets do make the cut every now and again. Puzzles, moose stuffed animals, rulers, and caps. Guests also get to take home a cozy fleece blanket as a gift to bring back along with all the fond memories.

Top Takeaways

Location: Park City, Utah

Rating: Five-Star

The Vibe: If your most stylish friend bought a historic schoolhouse and turned it into an intimate boutique hotel. 

Food + Drink: The hotel doesn’t have a full-service restaurant or bar, however, guests are invited to enjoy breakfast, drinks, and a happy hour spread with wine, cocktails, and cheese. Dinner and room service are available upon request. It’s really an ask-and-you-shall-receive type of place. Oh, and all the F&B is included in the rate. 

Amenities: Breakfast; happy hour; pool; rec room; gear storage; turndown treats; concierge

Our Favorite Thing About the Hotel: It’s impeccably styled—I’m still swooning over the 10-foot crystal antler chandelier in the main living room. 

5 Nearby Attractions: Park City Museum, Town Lift, Park City Mountain Resort, Deer Valley Resort, Bloods Lake

Any Personal Neighborhood Recs? 

One of my favorite restaurants in town, Courchevel Bistro is an atmospheric spot for elevated French fare with an impressive wine list and an outdoor terrace. Order the clafoutis with pistachio ice cream for dessert. The omakase at Yuki Yama Sushi rivals what you’d find in major metropolitan cities. Open seasonally from June to September, Park Silly Sunday Market takes over the bottom of Main Street with handicraft vendors, food stalls, booze, and live music.

Rooms: 12 suites and rooms within the original structure, plus a one-bedroom apartment across the street that’s still part of the hotel.

Pricing: Rooms start at $675/night  

Closest Airport: Salt Lake City International Airport

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