by Stephen Jermanok
Each winter, families pour into the Salt Lake City airport to experience the legendary powder of the nearby ski resorts. Park City, Deer Valley, Snowbird, Alta, The Canyons, Solitude and Brighton are all within an hour’s drive. All you have to do is rent a car and get out of Dodge. But numerous people are starting to get wise to the fact that Salt Lake City is a great family destination in its own right. Actually, it’s the best of both worlds, especially for family members who don’t want to spend every waking hour on the slopes.
Salt Lake has unveiled one of the premier natural history museums in the country, displaying dinosaurs from bones found at Utah’s archaeological digs, along with Native American baskets, beadwork and other art created in the state. City Creek Center is more than a mere outdoor mall featuring high-end stores. Bridges lead to streams full of fish and fountains created by the same designer who dreamed up the imaginative fountains at the Bellagio Resort in Las Vegas. Add the Leonardo (a hands-on science, arts and technology museum), the 3.5 miles of trails that wind through the wildflowers of the Red Butte botanical garden and a slew of excellent family-friendly restaurants, and you realize why Salt Lake City is becoming a popular getaway in the Southwest.
Best of all, you can stay at affordable hotels, such as University Guest House & Conference Center, and use it as a base to try as many ski areas as you’d like. Smack-dab in the center of the University of Utah, the Guest House has a wonderful locale in the foothills of the Wasatch Range of mountains. Grab a room in the west end, overlooking the Salt Lake Valley, and your kids will undoubtedly be asking to go to college here.
Our Editor Loves
- Complimentary breakfast, Wi-Fi and parking
- View of Salt Lake Valley from your room
- Free shuttle to any site within five miles of hotel
Rooms & Rates
The hotel's 180 rooms are spread out over three floors. Ask for a room in the west side of the building and you'll have wonderful views of the valley. The majority of families stay in the Double Queen rooms. Each room has two queen beds, a refrigerator, microwave, flat screen television, coffee maker, ample closet space, hair dryer, free Wi-Fi, an iron and ironing board and a bathroom with a shower, tub, and Rusk body products. Ask the front desk for a newspaper and USA Today will arrive at your doorstep each morning.
The King Suite Deluxe units, with are corner rooms with exquisite views, are the hotel's largest rooms. The bedroom features one king-sized bed, television, and adjacent bathroom with a tub and separate shower. Open the bedroom's sliding doors and you'll be in the living room, which houses a sofa bed, second TV, microwave, small stove and sink.
The hotel is so very professional. We enjoyed their continental breakfast and slept well. I would have stayed there throughout the hospitalization but they were already booked. Wonderful site to stay.
by Mid W
A very reasonably priced, clean hotel to stay right on campus and just over the Legacy bridge from the Light Rail Stop at Ft. Douglas. If you have kids at school it's very near most of the dorms as well. We took the Rail from the airport and it was all very convenient. No car necessary!
The University Guest House is not a resort hotel. It's a place to enjoy the complimentary breakfast in the morning and unwind in the late afternoon and night, after a day of skiing or seeing the sights in the city.
Upon arrival, children are given a small toy from a red wagon at reception. In the lobby are a slew of board games, and the hotel will supply a DVD player to play movies in your room. Wi-Fi is also complimentary throughout the day. The Guest House has a state of the art fitness center, or you can ask for passes to swim at the University's Aquatic Center, within easy walking distance from the hotel.
Then it's time to hit the city. The hotel will provide a free shuttle to all sites within a five-mile radius.
Complimentary breakfast is available daily, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Expect to find French toast, pancakes, eggs, sausage, bacon, homemade oatmeal with fruit toppings, bagels, toast, cereals and yogurt. Starbucks coffee is available all day, along with hot chocolate, apple cider and ice water.
The University of Utah's cafeteria is open to the public if you want to grab lunch nearby. Otherwise, check out the slew of local favorites in town.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Most families come to the University Guest House solely for the extras. Complimentary breakfast, Wi-Fi and parking are included in the price. Reserve in advance and a shuttle will drive you to sights within a five-mile radius. There are also two computers in the lobby to check your email. The fitness facility downstairs is spacious and features a good selection of ellipticals, treadmills and bicycles. Lastly, take advantage of the free passes to the University of Utah's Aquatic Center.
The Art of Smart Timing
January through March is when most skiers descend on the city to carve those perfect turns at the area's ski resorts. In April and May, wildflowers are in bloom and the city hosts the annual marathon. Even in summer, when temperatures can hover in the high 80s, it never feels too hot because of the mountain air. Whatever time of year you choose, know that University Guest House remains affordable.
For Mom and Dad
Many university professors and students reside in the 9th and 9th neighborhood, at the junction of 900 East and 900 South streets. The lively hub is only three blocks long on either side, yet houses a number of intriguing shops and restaurants to peruse.
Orchid Dynasty grows hundreds of orchids in a garage transformed into a greenhouse. Purse Dreams is a boutique shop in a Victorian home that sells only designer purses. Hip & Humble, owned by two sisters, sells an eclectic mix of gift items, from bathrobes to journals to cuckoo clocks. For dinner, Pago, one of the city's best-loved restaurants, acquires all produce fish, and lamb from local sources.