Last weekend the stars aligned and my husband and I found ourselves with a rare childless 24 hours. But instead of hitting the Red Box, we decided to treat each other to an early Christmas present and booked dinner and a night’s stay at Deer Valley’s Goldener Hirsch Inn.
As soon as I was handed our room key, I knew I was somewhere very different. “We don’t use electronic keycards in any of our rooms,” said the front desk concierge in impeccable English peppered with what I guessed was a thick German accent. Constructed in the early 1990s as a replica of the original Goldener Hirsch Inn in Salzburg, Austria, all 20 of the charming hotel’s rooms are affixed with antique iron closet bar latches on solid wood doors. Utah’s well-known Eccles family purchased the hotel just as it was being finished in 1996 and have remained owners ever since. “The Eccles family have taken great care to maintain the hotel’s quaint, European feel and attention to detail,” says Kelley Davidson, Goldener Hirsch general manager. Tirol décor dominates the well-appointed space from antique mantels adorning most of the buildings multiple wood burning fireplaces to the European king-sized beds and hand-milled wood wardrobes in each guest room.
Our evening began with a meal that was nothing short of unforgettable. Goldener Hirsch Inn Chef Ryan Burnham aptly balances rustic and modern, fresh and hearty. A few of the dishes we chose included the seared Maine diver scallop, Morgan Valley lamb sausage and roasted Brussels spouts starters; the American Wagyu beef bavette served with a mouth-watering bacon and potato ‘rosti’ for the main course; and a lovely citrus and olive oil cake and pumpkin cheesecake for dessert.
Burnham honed his craft at Salt Lake City’s acclaimed Pago restaurant and in Park City at Wahso and Stein Eriksen Lodge’s Glitertind before joining the Goldener Hirsch Inn team in 2012. I am certain that his elevated technique, deftly walking the line between tradition and innovative, not only helped e Goldener Hirsch earn it’s recent prestigious accolades—ranked the best ski boutique hotel in the U.S. by the World Ski Awards—and will likely garner both he and the Goldener Hirsch many more in the future.
After a very peaceful night’s sleep, my husband and I made our way back down to the dining room for breakfast (included with each night’s stay). Fresh fruit, croissants, homemade granola, and locally roasted coffee were on the buffet; made to orders eggs, hot oatmeal, and whole wheat waffles were a few of the items available from the kitchen.
Even if you don’t stay the night, no ski day at Deer Valley is complete without an après ski cocktail and appetizer at the Goldener Hirsch. The French onion soup, antipasto board, pretzel, or traditional bratwurst are a few of the satisfying options on the afternoon menu (served from 2 to 5 p.m.), but the fondue, accompanied by crisp apples and a chewy baguette, is quintessential, and easily shared by up to four people. The best part of skiing’s golden hour at the Hirsch isn’t what’s on the menu, however. Yodeler and accordionist Elsbeth Gugi performs traditional Austrian songs every Saturday afternoon in December, and Thursday afternoons from January through the end of ski season
The Goldener Hirsch Inn is indeed one of those rare places that’s quaint without being kitschy and luxurious but not stuffy. Whether for another romantic evening away or a post-ski-day snack stop with our kids, we’ll definitely be back.