Every summer has a soundtrack -- the music that best accompanies long days spent in the sunshine and warm nights spent under the stars. It is the music that when you hear it weeks or even years later, brings you right back to the moment. For the summer of 2018, these memories will be made at the Sun Valley Pavilion and at River Run with more than 25 live concerts planned between June and September. No matter if your tastes run to classical, retro, or up-and-coming, Sun Valley is the place to be all summer long.
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Right now, everywhere you go in and around Sun Valley, people are buzzing about the re-imagined Sun Valley Lodge. With only about 18 days to go until the doors are flung open, welcoming guests back to the historic property, people can’t wait to see the renovation for themselves.
I was lucky to get a sneak peek of what we can all look forward to when I toured the building as it entered its final phase of construction, polishing and perfecting. We have all heard about the exciting changes – the state-of-the-art 20,000-square foot spa, modern and beautifully appointed guest rooms, and a new, spacious open lobby and public areas -- but seeing is believing.
The beautifully renovated Sun Valley Lodge will welcome guests into soaring new public spaces that still retain the original building’s history and charm
And I couldn’t wait to see it for myself. After all, I have a long personal history with the Lodge. I held my wedding reception in the Lodge Dining Room; was a regular at Sunday brunch for decades; ate many meals at Gretchen’s during or after my girls’ skating lessons; and was a huge fan of hiding away in the Duchin Room to enjoy live music or comedy with my favorite date. So while I am, of course, so excited for the gorgeous new Lodge renovation, having heard a great deal about the new open lobby floor plan, I hoped many of my favorite haunts would retain their character.
I needn’t have worried. Even through the construction dust and paper covering the polished floors, the soaring new public spaces of the Lodge were easy to imagine populated by guests warming up with a hot chocolate by the impressive fireplaces, sipping a cocktail with friends in the Duchin Room, or enjoying a meal at Gretchen’s beside floor to ceiling windows that bring our glorious outdoors in. Though this is definitely the new and improved version of the Lodge’s public spaces, they remain recognizable. The charm and history are clearly visible.
Gretchen’s Restaurant will be connected to the rest of the gorgeous new Sun Valley Lodge with open walls
The changes that have been made to the Lodge lobby should be very impactful. For instance, while Gretchen’s Restaurant remains a self-enclosed room to the right of the main lobby, it is now tied to the rest of the building through open walls that run down the hallway toward the new spa area. Diners will be connected to the excitement and energy outside the restaurant and passersby will be able to peek in and enjoy the sights and smells of Chef Derek Gallegos’ sublime fare.
The lobby itself has been expanded by a full 16-feet toward the iconic outdoor ice rink creating spacious new areas to congregate and relax. As of my tour, it was still a blank space awaiting finishing touches and furniture, but the dark rich wood walls and floors and huge windows easily allowed me to imagine how welcoming it will feel year-round. Classic, classy, elegant and eminently recognizable, the Lodge lobby promises to be a gathering space for guests and locals alike for years to come.
The Duchin Room is perhaps the space that has changed the most but the changes are all good. Still boasting a beautiful, long bar to accommodate the cocktail crowd, the room will also offer lots of seating, new dining options, and even opportunities for amenities like a continental breakfast. The Duchin promises to be put to great use both day and night.
The re-imagined Duchin Room features dark wood, a beautiful new bar and plenty of space to gather and socialize
In the warm weather months, the broad terraces off the Duchin Room and Gretchen’s will continue to serve food surrounded by gorgeous flowers, mountain views and lots to watch at the ice rink. Traditionalists will also be pleased to hear that the Sun Room on the Lodge’s second floor will remain largely unchanged. Even the gift shop is located in the same place, but benefits from more square footage that will offer guests wonderful memories of Sun Valley, as well as practical items like snacks and drinks.
I was so excited by the tour that I booked a room for my family when the Lodge opens on June 15. We can’t wait to reserve a table at Gretchen’s, people watch in the lobby, swim in the new pool and enjoy the beautiful new guest rooms. Please check back to this blog for a first-hand report from a guest perspective and book your Sun Valley getaway, too!
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