Gemstone, a Park City-based hotel firm, seen as next Sky Lodge operator |

Gemstone, a Park City-based hotel firm, seen as next Sky Lodge operator

A Park City-based hotel operator is expected to manage the Sky Lodge once the Old Town property emerges from bankruptcy, a spokesperson for the financiers who will have control of the lodge said, a scenario that will keep the day-to-day operations under the supervision of local firm.

WestLB AG, the financial firm that plans to control the lodge through an affiliate after the bankruptcy proceedings, indicated it has selected Gemstone Hotels & Resorts to operate the Sky Lodge. Gemstone Hotels & Resorts is based on Sidewinder Drive, but it has not been a player in the local lodging scene, instead focusing on properties outside of Utah.

Connie Kain, a spokesperson for WestLB AG, said the firm selected Gemstone Hotels & Resorts through a competitive process. She declined to discuss how many other operators were under consideration.

"We want the manager of the property to be on the ground, and they’re familiar with the town," Kain said, noting that WestLB AG sees the operator as being a professional outfit and as having the experience needed for the Sky Lodge operations.

WestLB AG anticipates the Sky Lodge will emerge from bankruptcy in mid-August, giving Gemstone Hotels & Resorts a few months at the property prior to the start of the normally busy ski season. WestLB AG, based in Germany, has said it wants to "relaunch" the Sky Lodge in anticipation of the next ski season.

Gemstone Hotels & Resorts has a portfolio of properties that stretches across the United States, but the operator lacks name recognition inside Park City. It operates or plans to operate 15 hotels and resorts across the United States, one of the co-owners of the firm said.

Jeff McIntyre, a co-owner of Gemstone Hotels & Resorts, said the firm dates to 1994 and has been based in Park City since 2002.

It acted as a consultant to the Bill Shoaf-led Easy Street Partners, the previous owner of the Sky Lodge, during the bankruptcy proceedings, but it has never operated the property, McIntyre said.

"It’s consistent with the rest of our portfolio — four- and five-star hotels that are independent, each with (its) own personality," McIntyre said.

The Park City location of Gemstone Hotels & Resorts gave the firm an advantage, he said. McIntyre said his firm was "extremely flattered" to have been considered for the Sky Lodge.

Its website lists it being involved in hotels or resorts in Beverly Hills, Calif., New York City and Orlando, Fla., among the others. Mountain properties it is involved with include places in Lake Placid, N.Y., and Lake Tahoe, Calif., according to the website.

McIntyre said Gemstone Hotels & Resorts also opened and operated two Texas locations of a hotelier known as Hotel ZaZa in the 2000s. The Hotel ZaZa brand had briefly been mentioned early this year as having an interest in the abandoned Claim Jumper building on Main Street, but there have not been indications since that Hotel ZaZa could open in the historic building.

The 22-unit Sky Lodge occupies a high-profile location at the corner of Main Street and Heber Avenue, and it has been billed as being among Old Town’s most exclusive lodging properties.

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