This Utah Hotel Is As Close As You Can Get to an Austrian Ski Vacation Without Leaving the U.S.
Those looking for a taste of an Austrian ski vacation and the small-town Tyrolean charms of Kitzbühel or Alpbach need only to secure a domestic flight to experience Goldener Hirsch, part of the Auberge Resorts Collection. Located roughly 45 minutes from Salt Lake City airport in Utah, and therefore ideal for travelers seeking mountain time closer to home, the hotel quickly transports guests to a cozy European ski chalet with a plethora of modern delights.
Arriving at one of the front doors in Deer Valley Resort's prime Silver Lake Village, guests will feel the immediate welcome of Goldener Hirsch, thanks to the ornate sign hanging outside, which resembles a royal emblem. While the check-in process now occurs on the residence side of the building, those who wander through to the original inn's lobby will find a one-of-a-kind wood front desk decorated with both antique and recently created Austrian painted "targets" that were once used for sport shooting practice.
Gilded room keys hang behind this front desk in individual cubbies — a way of keeping them stylishly on display and discouraging guests from losing them. In fact, not one key has been lost since the hotel's opening in 1990. The keys also remain in the same style as those at the unaffiliated Hotel Goldener Hirsch, the Salzburg property housed in a building dating back to 1407 and the inspiration for the Deer Valley property.
All of the wood furnishings in the inn's rooms, as well as the hand-carved dining room chairs in the restaurant, were similarly imported from Austria and are from the same craftsmen who made the Salzburg hotel's furniture. Guests passing through the lobby or staying in a residence also have the chance to see splendid antique armoires and chests, including trousseau armoires — traditional matching chests that a bride and groom would be gifted to take to their new home. Many such treasures are hand-painted in a Tyrolean or Bavarian style and were hand-collected by the Eccles family, who have been the owners of the hotel for the past 25 years and recently brought on Auberge Resorts Collection to manage it.
Other highlights that add to the inn's Austrian alpine atmosphere include antique skis, skates, snowshoes, sleds, and old bamboo ski poles, plus charming wood-carved doors, embroidered chairs, antler heads in various sizes, hand-painted arches, and hearth-style fireplaces.
The inn's 18 rooms similarly enchant guests with traditional wood furnishings, Mongolian lamb-style pillows, and wood-burning fireplaces; some even include balconies overlooking Deer Valley's prized slopes. With recently refreshed bathrooms and wood details, the guest rooms are currently undergoing a light renovation that will include new dry bars, artwork, linens, drapery, carpets, and upholstery all while retaining Goldener Hirsch's signature Austrian ambience.
A short foot bridge connects the existing inn with two new modern buildings, a recent expansion for the property. Contemporary and posh, these new buildings were designed by acclaimed architect Tom Kundig and include 40 alpine-chic residences by resort and estate designer Tal Studio.
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Studio and one- to three-bedroom units are available for guests looking to spread out, each outfitted with giant chef's kitchens and separate living and eating areas, not to mention cushy entryway seating convenient for quickly remove ski boots.
Soft hues and gorgeous light exposed by floor-to-ceiling windows are hallmarks of each residence, as are beveled marble stone fireplaces, rich woods, original artwork, and subtly patterned carpets and accent wallpaper. Bathrooms have steam showers with banquet-style seating, soaking tubs, and beautiful marble double sinks, plus plenty of closet space to store bulky winter gear.
In the morning, guests congregate in the original inn around a large fireplace for omelets and hearty breakfast trout dishes, and are also met with jovial, personalized service. The Euro-inspired alpine cuisine with American touches is popular for lunch, but comes alive for dinner with soul-warming fondue and raclette, both staples on the menu as much as the hotel's namesake chicken schnitzel dish. The hotel has just welcomed a brand-new executive chef, Nicolas Lebas, who plans to introduce a new style of cuisine that will lighten up the menu a bit, too.
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While Goldener Hirsch's new rooftop saltwater hot tub and sundeck further make it the ideal Austrian-inspired ski getaway, its location and access to outdoor activities like mountain biking, hot-air balloon rides, and golf keep it a fantastic destination year-round. For the spring and summer seasons, Goldener Hirsch plans to launch a Bavarian-inspired pottery class, a fire and smoke cooking lesson with its chef, and excursions to prehistoric archeological sites to uncover dinosaur fossils.
While there's no current spa on the property, Goldener Hirsch does offer various wellness experiences, including in-room skincare rituals in partnership with local brand Khalm and bath meditation journeys.
Guests itching for a massage are also steps away from more — albeit slightly different — cozy mountain vibes at the neighboring Stein Eriksen Lodge. With a world-class spa and wintertime igloo dining in a luxe, sophisticated setting with mountain views, we couldn't think of a better neighbor to travel to by foot.