What is the most up-and-coming ski resort for today's glitterati? It may be Deer Valley, Utah, which was just named North America's top ski resort by Ski Magazine. It's noted for gourmet food, limiting the number of skiers on the mountain and premium services like FedEx delivery of your skis and curbside valets to help you unload your gear.
Now it is getting a new five-star St. Regis hotel, which costs $260 million to build and will be finished in late 2007. I spoke yesterday with the developer, Stan Castleton, chief executive of DDRM Great Place LLC.
"For years Utah skiing was kind of a secret," he says. "But since the 2002 Olympics, the world has discovered how accessible it is." In contrast to the more remote Western ski resorts, Deer Valley is 40 minutes from the Salt Lake City airport so you can leave New York in the morning and be on the slopes that afternoon, he says.
Not surprisingly, the real estate market is hot, says Castleton. The hotel will include 67 condo suites that range between $1.55 million and $3.5 million and another 26 residences that cost up to $5 million. Owners of the condos hopefully get appreciation, but the hotel guests feel like they are in a full-service hotel. "The guests won't know the difference," he says.
For a five-star resort the "condo-hotel" model is the only way to make it work, says Casselton, who built the 1,600 room Anaheim Hilton. "It really is about the only way you can build a new, upscale hotel," he says. "Otherwise the numbers don't work."