HOSPITALITYDESIGN: Auberge Introduces the Lodge at Blue Sky near Park City, Utah


Matt Dougherty • Photography courtesy of Auberge Resorts Collection •
June 1, 2020

The Wasatch Mountain Range is a natural backdrop for the Lodge at Blue Sky

“We wanted to share what we have in a thoughtfully designed hotel,” says Mike Phillips, who, along with his wife Barbara, decided the Rocky Mountain West land they owned was too beautiful to keep to themselves. With part of the area dedicated to animal rescue and sanctuary Saving Gracie, the site is also now home to the Lodge at Blue Sky, an Auberge Resorts Collection hotel that seamlessly blends with the Wasatch Mountain Range near Park City, Utah.

In collaboration with local firm AJC Architects, husband-and-wife team Dean Singer and Megan McFarland, founders of Santa Monica, California-based Design360 Unlimited (the firm was also behind the property’s High West whiskey distillery) crafted a high-end resort that revels in a modernist simplicity with bespoke details and a European design sensibility.

Guestroom bathrooms are clad with natural materials, like silkwood stone

The experience begins upon arrival, where steel doors open up to a black steel-wrapped foyer that conjures the entrance to a mineshaft—a major part of Utah’s history that the firm also celebrated in a 30-foot-tall sculpture made of small, rough pieces of locally mined copper, crystal, and coal near reception in the double-height lobby. “[It brings] people down in scale, volume, and color,” says Singer. Home to the reception, restaurant, wine room, boardroom, and 46 guestrooms, the Sky building is one of four on the 3,500-acre ranch.

Twenty-two suites reside within the Earth House, while the five one-bedroom, cabin-like Creek Houses open, aptly, to a creek. In guestrooms, beds are placed in front of windows to maximize unobstructed views of the mountain. “The minute you wake up in the morning, you’re looking at this incredible landscape,” Singer says. “You’re not looking across the room at a TV; your view is your TV.” Art comes in the form of a wood-carved topographical property map and black and white photos of the horses and chickens Barbara has raised on the grounds. Among those is Gracie, the first horse she rescued, whose portrait welcomes guests to the restaurant.

The black steel-wrapped lobby includes details such as a double-height fireplace

Situated on the edge of the cliff overlooking Alexander Creek, the Edge Spa, a wellness sanctuary befitting its name, occupies the fourth building onsite. Adopting a moodier aesthetic, “it feels like you’re entering a secret bunker,” says McFarland. The black reception desk resembles a piece of coal and is surrounded by stacked slate walls that recall a diamond emerging from the rough. “It’s [not like] a regular spa,” Singer adds, “you come into a mineshaft, and by the time you leave, you’re a polished diamond.”

Kemper Hyers, Auberge’s chief creative officer, says the design is a reflection of the diverse community the Phillips have created on the mountain. The hotel “is the living room for all those different disciplines and passions to come together,” he says. “There’s a real authenticity to that story, and that’s the lens you see the hotel through.”

Perched on the cliff and framing views of Alexander Creek, the Edge Spa recalls a mine

The infinity-edge pool embraces the resort’s landscape; guestrooms open up to the mountain views

This article originally appeared in HD’s May 2020 issue.

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