I first experienced Sun Valley Idaho 15 or so years ago during a memorable Idaho – Montana – Utah trip. Who knew about Idaho? I guess that’s one of the reasons that while Sun Valley might not quite a ‘kept secret’, it still gets more attention from Hollywood types, those who have second homes there and well, ski-aholics. The truth is that Sun Valley has a totally different vibe from Tahoe, Aspen and Vail, which all have exclusive resorts and plenty to do on or off ski season.
Above, The Sun Valley Lodge
Forward wind the clock to last year, my first return to Idaho since that road trip so many years ago. It started in Boise where I got to visit an old friend who moved there from Phoenix and wound up in Sun Valley, where the DENT Conference was being hosted for its second year, an event which has not only grown on me, but its community integrates you in a way that feels like family, all while educating you and leading you through the world of technology and innovation. Read my write up on last year’s DENT Conference and this year’s event, which also includes a link to a CNN segment where my friend Daniel Kottke was interviewed on-site about his time with Steve Jobs and Apple in the early days…..and I mean very early days.
Because the conference is held in the Spring (purposely so), attendees get an opportunity to tap into Spring Skiing at Sun Valley, which was so amazing last year, I had to pinch myself when I looked at the views and the mountain’s beauty in my ever so stylish ski gear (Thx to Therese Magner, who set me up with all things chic). We also went on a wolf walk, led by industry pal Oliver Starr and learned about the heart and value of wolves, likely something most yanks know very little about, such a fitting activity given Sun Valley’s natural environs. While Sun Valley is most certainly about the environment and outdoor activities from skiing to hiking, its main town Ketchum, which is the cultural hub for the area, has no shortage of great restaurants to dine at, regardless of your preference.
A lot of the activities are held at the main Sun Valley Lodge, which had just announced a major renovation project last year. Below will give you an idea of the front exterior of the lodge today, which won’t be impacted – it’s the behind the scenes details which went through an overhaul, including the rooms, spa, pool and so on.
I signed up a bit late last year so didn’t have a chance to stay at the Lodge but luckily got one of the last rooms in the main building this year and despite the fact that renovation was still underway, we didn’t feel it — they did a great job at keeping renovation under the hood so we could still enjoy the facilities, including the fabulous massive soaking tub, a hot tub the size of a swimming pool where you can relax with a cocktail and unwind at the end of your day (a HUGE plus)!
Renovation was much further along and while we missed the grand opening by a few months, people who head to Sun Valley this summer will be able to experience all the benefits and new decadent trimmings of the NEW Sun Valley Lodge. Originally constructed in the mid-thirties as America’s first destination ski resort, the project refurbished guest rooms as well as updated the lobby, restaurant and other guest amenities. Some of the smallest rooms were combined to create suites with fireplaces and expanded bathrooms with large showers, baths and vanity areas. Bravo!
The lobby was enhanced to provide space for more gathering and visiting while enjoying the views of the terrace, ice skating and the ski mountain. I chatted with the team both years and there’s no doubt that they’re committed to maintaining the Lodge’s original character and essence of this magnificent historic building that was originally designed by Stanley Underwood in 1935. For nearly 80 years the Sun Valley Lodge has been recognized as an icon of architecture, hospitality, comfort and entertainment. As the pictures in its hallways display, it has been a place where movie stars, dignitaries and other celebrities have visited with their families from around the world.
An adjoining 20,000 square foot full service spa and salon have been added, offering resort guests and the local community access to a wealth of relaxing treatments, health and wellness activities, salon services and more. The spa area is designed to harmoniously interact with the Lodge pool and the spectacular views of Baldy Mountain in the distance. The spa now has 15 private treatment rooms for both individuals and couples, large locker rooms with steam and sauna facilities, relaxation lounges, a yoga studio and a large fitness facility with the most up to date aerobic and strengthening equipment.
The goal of the interior is to create a mixture of creative, cozy, traditional and warm. All guest rooms will be upgraded and refurbished, and many combined to create larger rooms (king and double-queen suites) where as all bathrooms will be enlarged & modernized, with plumbing upgraded throughout. The public areas (i.e., Lobby, Gretchen’s, Duchin) will be refurbished to make them brighter and more welcoming. Take a look at the photos below.
The spa has been expanded and now resides in a separate 20,000 square foot building adjacent to the Lodge, together with the salon and fitness center. The main entrance and reception for the spa is now in the new building, which also houses the salon, treatment rooms that have great views overlooking the pool, and, on the top floor, a few guest suites. The spa is accessible from the first floor of the Lodge and the spa lobby and reception area has a large granite fireplace on each side.
They now have an expanded game area and new bowling equipment. What you might notice by the priorities they had during renovation is that much attention was paid to improved accommodation and comfort for families, which makes sense given the area’s appeal. Whether it’s summer season and you want to head to Sun Valley for hiking, biking and water activities, or ski during the winter and spring, there is now more space for families who wish to stay at the Lodge, which is a huge plus when you have kids in tow.
The area around the existing pool will be expanded to provide a more spacious terrace and an inside poolside café will feature both food and drinks.
For longer stays or if you have a larger family with you, you may want to consider one of their Deluxe Condo’s or Apartments (shown below in order). More informaton can be found here: https://www.sunvalley.com/lodging/deluxe-condos/
Whether you are traveling with your family, want a long weekend getaway or simple some solo R&R, the newly renovated Sun Valley Lodge a great go to place, where you can be pampered while taking in the area’s natural beauty. Personally, we LOVE it here and give it two thumbs up — highly recommended for your bucket list!!
Sun Valley Lodge
1 Sun Valley Rd., Sun Valley, ID 83353
Hotel Reservations: 1-800-786-8259