Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sun Valley Idaho: The Lodge

First things first: when booking this hotel I didn't *quite* know what I was getting into. I don't necessarily mean that in a bad way, but the Sun Valley website isn't very clear about a lot of things, and the couple of times that I called with questions the women I spoke to (yes, women, all 2 or 3 times I "deigned" to call) acted as if I had no business to be asking them questions.

It's like something from The Shining! Kidding ;)
That said, I assumed that this would be like every other ski resort I stayed at - as in, the Sun Valley *Lodge* would be right at the base of the ski mountain. Not the case. Though they have a free and fairly convenient bus service, you have to plan to leave your room OR the mountain to avoid waiting more than a few minutes for a bus and also plan on 10-15 minutes travel time each way depending on where you're going (Dollar Mtn, Ketchum, Bald Mtn.) This is just something I wish I'd known before going out there.

Suite 206, where Hemingway wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls! (well, some/most of it)
We used the shuttle service from/back to the airport and it was convenient, especially as it's free. It started snowing on our last night there, and because the Sun Valley Airport is so tiny as to be practically nonexistent the hotel had to wake us up at 5:15 AM to drive us to the airport at 6 AM, where the airline was busing us to Twin Falls for our diverted flight. I mention this in regards to the hotel because they were great about notifying us the night before that they would probably be calling us, and on top of that they had a shuttle there at 6 AM to cart us to the airport two hours earlier than we'd all originally thought.

The Sun Valley Lodge lobby
As for the lodge as a whole - it's historical and honestly that makes it really cool to stay there. For us the price was right; we got a 4 night stay and two 3-day lift tickets for about $1,000 (with taxes and everything) and of course didn't have to rent a car. I saw some reviews on Trip Advisor that mentioned the decor being a bit aged, but personally I didn't notice things like stains and rust and mold, which some people also mentioned. A lot of the chairs and couches are definitely very OLD, but I think it just adds to the charm because you know they're antiques.

The closest thing I got to a picture of the room - Steve and I in the provided robes, ready for the giant hot tub!
We booked a medium king room (a.k.a. the least expensive type of room) and stayed in room 165, which is a corner room on the first floor (there is a small set of maybe 6-8 stairs you have to climb to get to the "first floor" rooms, though). The bathroom was a bit small (single sink, low toilet, okay amount of shelving for just two people, tub & shower combo) but the room itself was certainly big enough and the closet was huge. The bed was comfortable and the bedding very nice. It did take a while for our room to warm up when we turned the heat up but that may have been because we had two outside walls and it was below zero outside every night/morning. There is also [decent] free WiFi, which is not clear on their website - it merely says something about the ability to "hook up to an ethernet connection".

Amazing giant outdoor hot tub - more on that later ;)
Unfortunately, every female employee that I dealt with at the front desk was bordering on rude, and the man who was running the bell hop desk for about 70% of our stay was even worse. They obviously despised anyone asking them questions, gave very impudent/sarcastic answers when I did work up the courage to ask, and when they saw us bring in our skis on our first night they never even told us they had a storage room for them until we could get them to the mountain (where you can store them for free if you stay at the Lodge). Just not the type of service you would expect from bell services and the front desk at a "four star hotel", and it left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth.

Just another view of the lobby - Steve & I on our last night in Sun Valley (booo)
All in all, I may have booked a condo in Ketchum if I'd known how much closer they were to the mountain, but in general I'm glad we stayed in the Lodge if only for the knowledge that we were staying in the original Sun Valley hotel.

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