It has reached that point in the summer when schedules are packed full of barbecues, warm get-aways, weddings and family reunions. Indeed these are the high points of summer that we look forward to all year long, especially during those long winter nights when we’re craving sunny days and starry nights, but sometimes it all gets a little exhausting.
My girlfriends and I planned to go on a trip hoping to repeat last year’s Sonoma vacation, but finding a week when four women are simultaneously free is no easy task. With all of our busy schedules, it was impossible. So we decided on a staycation. But not just any staycation, a staycation at The Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City, the city’s most luxurious hotel.
What was most appealing about The Grand America, besides its beauty, was that we could spend the entire time without ever leaving the hotel—nor would we get cabin fever with the endless amount of things to do.
The Grand America has a luxurious spa, an amazing pool, a classic bar, a lounge, restaurant and an award-winning bakery. Not to mention shopping, a fitness center, numerous ballrooms and enough unique art to constitute an actual art tour.
We checked in on Friday evening after another stressful week and as soon as I walked into its gorgeously elaborate lobby I felt the tension slip away from my shoulders.
Our huge room had the biggest bathroom I’ve ever seen in a hotel—with two full sinks and mirrors. (They were really handy when we all got ready at the same time.) Our room was so massive I wondered if we’d somehow booked a suite but later learned it was just a standard premier room at the Grand. Grand, indeed.
We started our staycation with wine in the Lobby Lounge, where a jazz trio serenades guests on Friday and Saturday evenings. The space is adorned with a large mirror, rumored to have been recovered from the ruins of a century-old Chicago hotel, with large paintings hanging nearby and comfy chairs and couches dotting the floor. During the day the lobby hosts afternoon tea and light fare is available all day.
We made a quick stop at La Bonne Vie, the Grand’s award-winning pastry shop, a brightly colorful patisserie modeled after the finest bakeries in Paris. The shop serves gelato and house-made pastries wrapped in cute boxes. Not only are the pastries absolutely to die for, they are as beautiful as works of art.
Next we moved onto dinner at the Garden Café, the Grand’s main restaurant serving American cuisine all day. It’s classy, yet casual atmosphere makes guests feel welcome in whatever attire they happen to be wearing. The floral-patterned carpet combined with flower-covered walls feel a bit like being stuck in the Secret Garden, but it’s not called the Garden Café for nothing. The food is well-executed home-style dishes like pot roast, pork osso bucco and roasted chicken; comforting food in a comfortable setting.
After dinner we finished our night with cocktails at the Gibson Lounge, modeled after the classic golden age hotel bars. The menu of handcrafted cocktails is inspired from the same era, where many classic cocktails got their start, designed by Salt Lake City expert mixologist Amy Eldridge. The Astoria, a classic dry gin martini, is deliciously refreshing (and this is coming from a whiskey lover!).
The next day we started out with a relaxing morning in the Grand Spa getting pedicures designed to pamper queens. The spa is like stepping into a modern oasis, with a completely different feel than the rest of the hotel. Trickling fountains and soft ambient music float through the several-story spa, creating an atmosphere capable of transporting even the most stressed person to peace.
We refueled with lunch back at the Garden Café, then headed outside to the pool, snagging a cabana and lounge chairs for a perfect mix of shade and sun. The best part about the Grand America’s pool? It’s the only pool in the city with a liquor license! It’s also surprisingly quiet considering two of the city’s busiest streets surround the hotel—you don’t hear any traffic while sitting outside!
While I could have lounged at the pool until sunset, we had a wedding to attend, so we vowed to return for a full weekend when we could finish exploring the rest of the hotel and participate in some of their weekday activities, like free yoga in the courtyard, movie nights at the pool and afternoon tea.
Not only does the lavish decor at the Grand America Hotel make you feel like you’re far from Salt Lake City, the service and selection of amenities is something you won’t find anywhere else, making it a perfect pick for a staycation.
Note :: Even if you’re not staying at the hotel, events like yoga, afternoon tea, live jazz and access to the spa, shops, restaurants and bakery are open to the public. (Access to the pool requires staying at the hotel or a service at the spa.)
Disclaimer :: I was graciously treated to my hotel stay by The Grand America Hotel, however, everything else was personally paid for. As usual, all thoughts and opinions are my own.