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Yesterday I posted about my ski vacation this past weekend, but really never got into the hotel review. For my trip to Park City, Utah I decided to try out the relatively new Hyatt Escala Lodge. It is only a category 4 hotel (which means 15,000 points a night) so I figured there was nothing to lose! This ultimately was a FREE trip to Park City as I used both points and miles (although lift tickets can get pricey). The hotel is located at the base of the Canyons mountain with a ski lift right outside. This is truly ski-in/ski-out. It is a beautiful property and does give you that lodgey feel. The Hyatt has rooms ranging from standard hotel rooms to 1,100 sq. feet 2 bedroom suites.
As a Diamond member, I was upgraded to a 1 bedroom suite. I really was blown away by the room as it had a full kitchen, washer/dryer, and electric fireplace. While it was much more than we needed, it would be perfect for someone on an extended stay or a family. The bathroom was HUGE, which was very nice. It even had two double sinks which is always preferred! The occupancy rate seemed pretty low so that could have helped my chances with an upgrade. This is a full ownership property, which means that owners are able to place their unit in the hotels rental program if they so desire (no, this is not a timeshare).
As a Diamond member I was given a $20 credit per guest per day to be used for breakfast. On the weekends there is a buffet that costs $20, so essentially they are covering the cost of your entire meal. I actually was not a huge fan of the buffet and the 2nd day opted to order off the menu. The buffet did not have too much to offer, but it did have an omelet station. If breakfast was not included in my stay, I actually would have stopped at the local 7-11 (literally down the street) and just purchased food for the mornings.
The best part of staying at a ski resort is the heated pool and hot tub after a long day of skiing. The Hyatt had one heated pool and two pretty large hot tubs. The unfortunate part was the location. The area is located in the front of one of the buildings so you miss the view of the snow top mountains at night. Regardless, this is always the most relaxing part of the evening and quite possibly my favorite part of skiing!
The hotel also has a ski valet room where you can pick up/drop off your skis. From here you can get your ski gear on and hop right onto the mountain. The lift is only 20 feet away and from there you will need to take some side trails down to the base of the mountain. The main disappointment was that upon your return to the hotel after a day of skiing there was no hot chocolate or hot apple cider. While this is not a must it is absolutely an added bonus (and something that the Waldorf hotel offers)!
The hotel does have a $20/night resort fee, however, was waived for my stay – not sure if this was because I redeemed on points or because I was a Diamond member, but either way I will take it! There is complimentary valet parking and an hourly shuttle to take you to Main Street in Park City. They also have a van to take you to/from the base lodge if needed.
While I would never pay the $425/night best available rate, I did think 15,000 points was a pretty reasonable redemption for my stay. Last year I stayed at the Waldorf Astoria, also located at the Canyons, and if all things were equal, I’d suggest the Waldorf over the Hyatt. However, at the Waldorf I was not upgraded to a suite (as a Diamond guest), there is no complimentary breakfast, and it cost 60,000 points during ski season for a free night. From a points perspective 15,000 points at the Hyatt is MUCH better than 60,000 points at the Waldorf. Since you earn 5 points per dollar spent at Hyatt and 15 points per dollar spent at Hilton (with the double dipping), 15,000 Hyatt points is equal to 45,000 Hilton points, making the Waldorf a pretty pricey redemption. Thus, if redeeming on points, I would go with the Hyatt.
Can’t wait to go back next year!
UPDATE: SniqueAway is currently offering the Hyatt Escala Lodge at an extremely discounted rate. Rates vary per day, but is worth looking into. In April you can stay at this hotel for $99 through this site. Additionally, open signing up you will get a $25 credit to use towards your first reservation. This promotion expires at 12pm EST on February 9, 2012. If you do not already have an account register here (this is a referral link where the referrer gets a $25 credit). Or find a friend/family member and ensure they get the $25 credit!