Sunday, April 13, 2014

Hyatt Escala Lodge Park City

Hotel Stay Details 
Hotel: Hyatt Escala Lodge Park City
Dates: March 12-13, 2014 
Rate Paid: 1 Free Night Certificate
Regular Room Rate: $245/night 
Point Redemption Value: N/A

My father had the weekend off from his work meetings, but had to be back on Monday for more meetings. Since it was such a small window, he didn't fly back home to New York to spend time with me. Instead, he and Paul took a few days to check out Utah, namely Salt Lake City and Park City.

Located only about 30 minutes from SLC Airport, Park City was a quaint little town (population of under 8,000 people) that locals and travelers used as a base for their skiing and snowboarding, but when the Sundance Film Festivals started getting more popular among the East/West coast socialites, the small ski town started to have an economic renaissance with tons of boutique art galleries and expensive condos popping up among the neighborhood coffee shops and ski equipment stores along Historic Main Street.

About 10 minutes away from Main Street, you'll find another developed section of the Park City region called Canyons where some of the ski lodge complexes are. There you'd find Canyons Resort, which has a section of their multiple buildings that are managed by Hyatt as a hotel/timeshare property. In fact, getting to the "front desk" was a bit more difficult than usual, since there were 3 separate buildings with unique names such as Wasatch, Uinta and White Pine, but none of them with a "Lobby" sign in front. Note: Wasatch (1st building to your immediate right as you pull into the driveway) has the lobby and front desk.

After they finally found the front desk, the staff checked them in and informed them that April 12-13 was the very last weekend before the resort lodges shut down for the ski season. It was already starting to get to about 50-55 degrees and the snow was slowly melting. After that weekend, prices for the hotel would have dropped significantly below the $245/night they were for April 12, but it didn't matter for my father since he was using his Annual Hyatt Free Night (Category 1-4) Certificate from his Chase Hyatt Visa card.
Recall that back in February 2013, my father applied for the Hyatt Visa and it earned him 2 free nights in ANY Hyatt hotel in the world (Category 1-7) after spending $1,000 in three months. My parents and I used up those certificates for 2 nights at the Park Hyatt Vendôme in Paris (a Category 7 property) which retails for $800-1,000/night! While that is just a one time sign up bonus, the Hyatt Visa card comes with another Annual Free Night Certificate to use at any Category 1-4 Hyatt property each year you hold the card. Of course, keeping the card for another year would cost my father a $75 annual fee, but the Free Night Certificate came early enough where he could redeem it and then still cancel the card during the 90 day grace period so he wouldn't have to pay the annual fee. Though, even if he had kept the card for another 12 months, $75 is a nice discounted price to pay for a night at a beautiful ski resort. But I digress.
The Hyatt Escala's lobby was very ski lodge-ish, but with a slightly modern twist of sharper lines and edges. It reminded us of the super modern Westin Riverfront at Beaver Creek we visited in August. My father didn't really spend any time by the Hyatt's lobby fireplace, but it would have been a nice indoor area for me to run around as my mother sat reading a book.

My father found out that their room was in the Uinta building across the driveway from Wasatch.

They first drove our rental car to the underground parking garage, making sure to find signs to the Uinta section of the garage. From there, he took the elevator right up to the 3rd floor in Uinta. His room was the C room in the 3 room suite, so there an initial front door that opened into a small room with 3 more doors. They finally made it into the room and found a very nice, but modestly decorated room. It had a small desk in the corner (with inconvenient electrical plugs) and a small working fireplace. Wifi was complimentary for Hyatt Platinum members, but it was pretty weak most of the time. But the place was definitely a resort and a welcome change from the "business" hotels they had been staying at for the past week.

A nice touch for families was that they had a small kitchen area (including a small sink, mini fridge and microwave). But other than that, the room more like a guest room of someone's house than a real hotel room. If I had to guess, they were given the second bedroom of the connecting suite, and not the master bedroom. Also, no balcony for them, but there was a decent view of the other Canyons Resort buildings down the side of the mountain.

The bathroom was surprisingly large relative to the size of the bedroom area having a separate bathtub and stand up shower. If my mother and I had joined my father there, we probably could have used a double sink, but for 2 guys, sharing one sink would be more than enough.

Another key feature was the hourly shuttle from the hotel to Historic Main Street so you could enjoy a few hours there without having to worry about driving back home. After a long week of work meetings, my father and Paul were anxious to let off some steam.

The other amenities at the resort was a heated outdoor pool, a hot tub and a steam room in the gym. There was Après-Ski each afternoon at 4PM and also had a nice bar/restaurant by the lobby. Overall, the Hyatt Escala Lodge is definitely somewhere my family could enjoy a long weekend at.

But truth be told, I'd much rather spend a few nights at Starwood's St. Regis Deer Valley (see photo below) just a few minutes away.

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