A Dream Reborn: the Sun Valley Lodge remodel nears completion

There once was a time when the Sun Valley Lodge was nothing more than a dream. The lavish Lodge that would attract the famous and the glamorous, the best and most passionate skiers and mountain sports fans from around the world was once nothing more than a cow pasture.

Of course, it wasn’t just any cow pasture. The Brass Ranch, as it was known, was located on one of the most gorgeous mountain valleys on God’s green and snowy earth. That’s why it didn’t take Count Felix Schaffgotsch very long after his first visit to report that after searching far and wide he’d finally found the ideal location to create a European-style ski resort in America. Averell Harriman’s dream finally had a place to call home.

Opened to much fanfare, positive press and unabashed enthusiasm in late 1936, the crown jewel of the resort was its stunning and elegant Lodge designed by Stanley Underwood, famous for his work designing lodges for National Parks. Produced—much like the remodeled version will on a short schedule—legend has it that as the last construction workers shuffled out the back door of the original Lodge, celebrities and movers-and shakers of the day settled in the front door to kick the resort off in style!

Nearly 80 years later, the Sun Valley Lodge is now halfway through a major renovation, including adding a world-class spa. With the Grand Re-opening scheduled for June, people are already booking rooms, and the excitement is starting to grow.

Thanks to the Holding family, which has owned Sun Valley Resort since 1977, the Lodge will once again have that magical and exciting energy Harriman and his team first brought to Sun Valley so many years ago. By all accounts, the Holding family’s ownership has not only continued upon Sun Valley’s stellar reputation for quality and class, but they have expanded upon it.

The Lodge remodel is the latest enhancement in what has been a steady and impressive list of improvements the Holdings have made to Sun Valley, which includes building the River Run Lodge in 1994, a remodel to the Sun Valley Inn in 2003, building Carol's Dollar Mountain Lodge in 2004 and the magnificent Sun Valley Pavilion in 2008.

When asked what most excites the team at Sun Valley Resort about the Lodge remodel, Jack Sibbach, Sun Valley’s director or marketing and public relations, had a tough time answering. “Everything about it is pretty exciting and brings a new positive energy,” he said.

The new Sun Valley Lodge includes a plethora of improvements, so here’s a rundown of by the numbers and notes of interest:

-A 20,000 square-foot state-of-the-art, full service spa and salon is being built that will include 15 private treatment rooms for both individuals and couples, large locker rooms with steam and sauna facilities, relaxation lounges, a yoga studio, and a large fitness facility. The famous outdoor Lodge pool and spa are also being redone, but will retain their size, looks and location.

-94 bigger and more spacious guest rooms will replace the 148 the Lodge used to have.
65 rooms will have fireplaces and all of them will have bathrooms that are four-times larger than the old Lodge.

-The Lobby will be larger, brighter and more open.

-Both the Duchin Lounge and Gretchen’s are getting face-lifts, so to speak, but will still offer their beloved Sun Valley elegance, class and mouth-watering appeal.

-The Bowling Alley will now have regulation length lanes, but will retain its retro 50s-era feel and look.

 -The Boston-based design firm of Frank Nicholson, Inc. and local architects Ruscitto, Latham, Blanton have teamed up to remodel the Lodge while retaining its historic style, integrity and character. Mrs. Holding is even personally overseeing the design!

-The Hemingway Suite (former room 206), where the beloved author penned “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” will also be included in the new Lodge.

-The hope is to have big Grand Reopening Party sometime early this summer. Stay tuned to sunvalley.com or sign up for the Blog Sun Valley emails for more details, or for great deals on Stay and Play Packages and other promotions.



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