Every January my husband and I take some time off and spend a few weeks in our favorite ski resort, Sun Valley, Idaho.  We always mix a little business with pleasure, so this time around I decided to check out the recently renovated Sun Valley Lodge, a place we had stayed at several times in the past.


Sun Valley was developed by Averell  Harriman, chairman of the Board of the Union Pacific Railroad and was America’s first ski resort, opening in 1936.  The Sun Valley Lodge has always been connected to movie stars and famous people visiting there, and has several hallways lined with wonderful pictures from way back when.


AND many a to-be-famous ice skater has practiced on it’s outdoor and indoor rinks located behind the hotel. Even we have done a few revolutions around  the outdoor rink when the mood strikes us and we are not challenging ourselves on the ski slopes nearby.


The Lodge has always exemplified mountain elegance…traditional leanings with sophisticated rustic pieces made from wood, wrought iron and horns.  The colors are warm and dark and the upholstery pieces large and comfy looking.


I had been hearing that Mountain Minimalism…think Mid-Century Modern/ late 20th Century design and contemporary architecture…had finally caught up with  the interior design and architecture of Sun Valley.  I was curious and wanted to see for myself if this new trend had manage to take over the recent renovation of the hotel, so I convinced my husband to join me for a quick tour.

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Well, The Lodge hasn’t quite caught up with true Mountain Minimalism, but it certainly has expanded it’s look and services and gotten rid of a lot of the dowdy/ dreary aspects that had made it look time warped…think elegance gone shabby. The fireplaces are simpler and more monolithic…there is even an ultra-modern gas fireplace in one room. The old photos in the corridors have all  been reframed and have been curated down to a group more oriented towards the new generation of guests.


The main lobby has been deposed of Harriman’s portrait, which used to hang over the fireplace…although, I did find it hanging on a corridor wall. I mean, the man is the original juice behind the development of Sun Valley, so we can’t disrespect him completely, right?


The accessories and lighting are more contemporary and a bright new glass walled sitting room area faces the skating rink in the back.  There is also a very chic new bar, which has a dark seductive kind of a vibe to it…much sexier than the one my husband and I used to call “the wrinkle room” because the decor and the patrons all seemed so very old!


The big highlight is the new Spa, which has a beautiful store attached to it, replete with very high ceilings and interesting marble wall decorations and lighting.  I have to admit that I adore the addition of copper to the front of the building and the entry door to the Spa.


Unfortunately, I did not get to tour any of the rooms, which I have been told have also been renovated and updated to go with the lovely new lobby areas.  My memory recall of those rooms when we stayed there was that they were pretty ordinary for such a fancy place. However,  you can check them out on line and see what they look like today for yourself (Sun Valley Lodge.)  My take is that they pretty much match the feeling of the public areas down stairs…light traditional…but they are all definitely fresh, new and comfortable looking.


My walk away interior design rating was “good job!”  The Lodge has managed to maintain its feeling as an institution in the hospitality industry in Sun Valley and add just enough new bells and whistles to make it appealing to the ever younger guests visiting the area.  Most importantly, they have kept the sophistication level high and one still senses the history and significance of this wonderful old hotel located in glamorous Sun Valley.


 FOR THE FUN OF IT: Here are a few of the photographs of famous people lining the walls of the lobby  area…See how many you can recognize:

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Ciao, ciao ’til next time!