The grand opening of The Sky Lodge
December 24, 2007
Park City, make way for The Sky Lodge, the brand new, 33-condiminium complex and hotel located at 201 Heber Avenue and the corner of Main Street. Today, Wednesday, Dec. 26, The Sky Lodge celebrates its debut.
Parkite and CloudNine Resorts Club President and Founder Bill Shoaf started making plans to build his new five-star luxury hotel in historic Old Town about five years ago. Shoaf has also reinvented several resort destinations, including Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows in Hawaii, the Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas and Bermuda’s Elbow Beach Resort.
Shoaf said he couldn’t resist when Robert Redford, who frequently visited Shoaf’s hotel in Santa Barbara, asked Shoaf to move to Utah to improve his Sundance Resort.
"I used to run a place in Santa Barbara called San Ysidro Ranch, an exclusive luxury hotel. Robert Redford would visit there and I was approached by him and his associates to leave there and come to Sundance," Shoaf said
Shortly after, Shoaf and his family moved to Utah in 1991. He visited Park City and enjoyed what he experienced. He moved with his family to Park City in 1995.
"I fell in love with this little town," Shoaf said. "I had the opportunity to pick up the lease on what is now Zoom [restaurant]. That is part of what I did while I was at Sundance."
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Shoaf assisted Redford in purchasing the property for Zoom on Main Street.
The area adjacent to Redford’s restaurant, where The Sky Lodge is presently located, is considered to be a significant historical site on Main Street. In the old mining days, it functioned as the Park City Train Depot and Coalition lumberyard.
After helping Redford build his restaurant, Shoaf started thinking about development plans of his own.
He became interested in obtaining the deeds for the land behind Zoom in order to build a new luxury hotel right on Main Street.
"We got the final deeds for the property in 2000, and then we spent almost four years going through planning development part of it, and two years getting it built," Shoaf said, adding that, when he would travel to other premier ski resorts in America, he noticed something was missing.
"I noticed in other towns, there were historic centers that didn’t seem to match that of Park City’s," Shoaf said. "Unlike Park City, [in other] historic centers, there seemed to be one of those landmark hotels and that seemed to be missing in our town."
Out of respect for the historical nature of the depot area on Main Street, Shoaf frequently met with the long-time landowners of the land, including the Powell family and Philo Smith, to discuss his building plans.
After meeting with Jim Powell, Sr. one night over dinner, Shoaf said Powell personally volunteered to take Shoaf’s plans to the city council for approval.
"Mr. Powell gave an eloquent recommendation to what we were planning to the city council," Shoaf said.
Shoaf said Powell would often visit the construction site for the hotel during the planning and building periods and said he made sure he was involved in the planning process.
"The site is a very prominent site," Shoaf said. "It has a lot of historic structures on it and everyone wanted to be very careful. This was a very difficult site because it was so old. It had 14 or 15 different lots on the property, many with differing zoning histories that went back 100-plus years. The first thing we had to do was get that cleaned up, then we had three historic buildings that were very important to the city that they were not to be overshadowed."
After working with architects and designers to create various models and 3-D simulations of what the building should look like, Shoaf frequently hosted community outreach meetings to allow the public to know what his plans were.
Two years ago, Shoaf started building The Sky Lodge in Park City’s Old Town.
He said he wanted to incorporate the style of the property in the building, to maintain its historic prevalence.
"The whole idea came from the fact that where the building is now used to be part of the railway and coal mining [industry of Park City] way back when," Shoaf explained. "We started with the premise of studying the focus at that end of Old Town, the manufacturing end of town. From there, we went forward with a concept that there probably would have ended up being a factory-oriented building there. Sort of like the loft buildings in the older industrial areas of Chicago or New York that are [now] residential or commercial."
Instead of using the typical European or mountain styles that are prevalent in Park City, Shoaf said he gave his hotel a contemporary edge, but said it’s still comfortable.
"We took inspiration from the idea that Park City has been a melting pot for a lot of different cultures over the years," Shoaf said. "Inside of the building, there is a sort of loft design to it where we’ve integrated new with old, with steel doors and contemporary furniture and very modern appliances."
Shoaf said, thanks to The Sky Lodge’s interior designer, Nola Chase and the Chase Associates team, the atmosphere of his high-end hotel is just how he imagined it.
"It has vibrant colors, it feels a bit more contemporary, but it still feels comfortable," Shoaf said. "[Chase] was able to pull that off."
The Sky Lodge is also a part CloudNine’s propriety ResortsClub ownership program, where guests have the ability to own a deeded one-eighth fee simple interest in one of the exclusive luxury residences on the property.
The Sky Lodge hosted a preliminary media tour and presentation of the new facilities a couple weeks ago.
There, general manager of the hotel, Steve Koerselman, pointed out some of the unique features at The Sky Lodge that sets it apart from other high-end accommodations in town.
The Sky Lodge features The Amatsu Spa, a Japanese traditional spa, containing wooden soaking tubs, steam rooms and choice of western or Japanese showers, as well as a Japanese tea room and personalized treatment sessions.
The Sky Lodge also features four dining venues on site, including Easy Street Brasserie, Easy Street Bakery, Fin and Zoom.
Fin is a new seafood restaurant Shoaf included on the hotel’s campus, located on lower Main Street. Fin has only 45 seats so Chef Scott Boberek can take care of each diner, individually.
Boberek said the restaurant’s menu is 80 percent seafood.
The Easy Street Brasserie will contain most of the same favorites from the original menu, including the French Onion Soup and burgers made from
Boberek said the culinary staff hopes to provide the best menus in town.
"I’m looking at menus as ever-changing. A living entity," Boberek said.
Other restaurants associated with The Sky Lodge include Zoom, Redford’s restaurant showcasing the Sundance Film Festival, Bar Boheme, "a classic intimate bar and wine cellar with live music and live food," a press release states, and the Sky Plaza, an outdoor dining and dancing venue with fire pits, water features and live music, available only to members and guests. Easy Street also has a bakery that will serve breakfast to guests each morning.
Guests can choose from five two-bedroom, 12 three-bedroom and four three-bedroom SkyHome Townhouse units with family rooms and kitchens, as well as one top floor three-bedroom Penthouse, with unique "Rocky Mountain Loft" designs, a press release states. Each unit features fireplaces, two-person Euro glass showers and designer soaking bathtubs.
The Oriental-style sliding doors of the bathroom also contain handmade beads from women suffering from AIDS in Africa. Koerselman pointed out during the tour that this is a special and unique feature incorporated in each room. The proceeds for the beads in the Chinese doors went to support these women and the movement for the cure for AIDS.
Sky Lodge rates are $925 to $3750 per night. Shoaf said the hotel is completely booked for the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. He said he expects his new hotel to only continue to grow in popularity.
"We were sold out for Sundance within four days of opening up the lines," Shoaf said. "We’ve had over 500 Realtors tour the building in the last three weeks, so the interest has been amazing."
Shoaf also mentioned The Sky Lodge has already been selected as the newest member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, adding that The Sky Lodge is one of the first to be accepted before it even opened.
"It’s already a four-diamond property," he says. "We’ll have one of the only two small luxury hotels in Utah. The Sky Lodge was the first property in 35 years of history to be accepted prior to opening."
Shoaf lives in Park City with his wife, Carrie, and has four children, Jake, 17, Elizabeth, 18, Christina, 22 and Andrew, 24.
The Sky Lodge is located at 201 Heber Avenue, on the corner of Main Street. For more information about The Sky Lodge, call 658-3336 or visit http://www.theskylodge.com .