Rahim Kanani

The Perfect Winter Escape: Montage Deer Valley, Park City

Rahim Kanani
The Perfect Winter Escape: Montage Deer Valley, Park City

“Having lived and worked at Ski-in/Ski-out resorts in Aspen, Vail and Tahoe, I can say the ski access Montage offers is unparalleled with 360 degrees of skiing around the building. I have never experienced or seen this at any other ski resort,” explained Allen Highfield, general manager of the Montage Deer Valley. In an interview, we discussed the history of the property, top-tier accommodations, a variety of dining options on-site, their 35,000-square-foot spa and wellness space, and much more.

Montage Deer Valley appointed Mr. Allen Highfield as the General Manager in July of 2014. Before establishing his career with Montage Hotels & Resorts, Highfield served as the General Manager for The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, where he was instrumental in helping the property receive the “Top 20 Best City Hotels in the World” recognition by Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report.

Tell me a little bit about the origins of Montage Deer Valley, and what makes this property unique among other ski-in/ski-out luxury resorts?

Montage Deer Valley is a true vision of our developer, and also of Montage Hotels & Resorts CEO and Founder, Mr. Fuerstman. The design is a reflection of the refined craftsman of the great mountain lodges of the West, and was built to be Utah’s first LEED certified hotel.

Our location within Park City is one of my favorite aspects of our hotel. Park City is more than just a ski resort town, and our guests can feel the sense of culture in the community when they arrive. Year-round, the town feels alive with all of the activities and events that extend far beyond skiing. With our position atop of Empire Pass, we are fortunate to have Deer Valley Resort as our backyard. The extraordinary service, amenities and culinary of Deer Valley are a perfect match to the Montage experience. Having lived and worked at Ski-in/Ski-out resorts in Aspen, Vail and Tahoe, I can say the ski access Montage offers is unparalleled with 360 degrees of skiing around the building. I have never experienced or seen this at any other ski resort.

Due to our ease of accessibility to Salt Lake City International Airport and our location within Deer Valley, the amount of year-round adventure one can experience is truly endless. I secretly tell our guests that summer is even better than winter, although winter is what most people know us for.

In terms of accommodations, how would you define the space, decor and design of your specialty, top-tier suites?

At Montage Deer Valley, our suites were constructed and designed to provide an authentic mountain retreat for our guests to experience a mountainside ‘home away from home’. All of our suites take on the destination of being in the mountains with 2100 square feet of space; you will find all of the essential room and comfort, while taking in the breathtaking views. Whether you have a view of the ski slopes, or a Peak view that looks out over sixty-five miles of the expanding mountain range, our suites are meant to accommodate all travelers. Additionally, our guests have the opportunity to book our Residences, which due to the size and space of the living room and kitchen, can accommodate a private in-room chef experience.

With regard to on-site dining, of which there are several options, what would you recommend as signature dishes across the board from Apex to Yama Sushi?

Although our guests will find that our menus change with the season, there are definitely some signature dishes you will find year after year due to the popularity. In Apex, our signature refined dining restaurant, the Chicken Schnitzel is considered to be our signature item. It comes served with braised red cabbage, herb späetzle and lemon caper butter.

In Burgers & Bourbon, one of our guests’ favorite dining establishments, you will find our signature Big Rob burger on the menu. Not only does the size and taste of this burger make it famous, with a double patty, fried egg, bacon and tomato jam, but its name was inspired by our five-star Security Supervisor, Rob Oaks. Rob has been a part of our team at Montage Deer Valley since opening and has made such a positive impact on so many of our guests that we decided to craft a burger with all of his favorite ingredients.

New for this season, we have redesigned the menu in Daly’s Pub to represent a more gastro-pub experience, and are quickly discovering the Croque Madame is a guest favorite. This dish takes a mountain American twist on the classic Croque Madame, by adding local Creminelli prosciutto cotto and cheese fondue, and topping it with a fried egg.

Last but not least, also new for this season is our enhanced menu in Yama Sushi. While still offering our specialty rolls as well as some unique hot items, our signature item is by far the Japanese Wagyu Beef Hot Rock. The hot rock creates an interactive dining experience where you are presented with raw Wagyu beef that you dip in garlic soy butter and house-made kimchi, and cook to your own preference. This happens to be my daughter’s first pick when dining, so even the little ones can enjoy it!

What strikes you as the most special aspect of the 35,000-square-foot “holistic-minded retreat” spa and wellness space?

What particularly strikes me as the most interesting aspect of Spa Montage I would have to argue are the associates on our team. I can truly say that I feel we have some of the best in the entire state. Spa Montage believes in the philosophy that health and well-being are essential to living an authentic life and we incorporate this into our spa employee training with ASTECC, Advanced Spa Therapy Education Certificate Council. We believe in putting all of our therapists through this program as an investment in the level of service we can offer our guests. It trains our therapists how to offer an extended range of treatments that they may not learn in their typical education programs as well as creating a personal experience that is tailored for each guest. I have had many of our guests come to me and say that they’ve had the best massage ever received while staying with us, and I really believe it is because of this extensive training. If you were to advise potential guests planning a winter escape to the property, what would constitute the perfect stay?

Having a family of my own, I would have to say that in order to experience the perfect stay at Montage Deer Valley, I would highly encourage our guests to spend a full five night stay with us to experience all of the amenities we offer within the hotel. With our ski-in/ski-out access to Deer Valley Resort, and some of the best snow on earth, our guests can fully take advantage of our ease of ski access. Our on-site ski rental, Compass Sports, provides a true five-star experience for our guests with overnight boot heating, ski storage, private lockers, and a staff that will bring your skis outside while someone assists with putting your boots on, as well as your children’s. Compass Sports also offers the opportunity to experience adventures beyond skiing, with snowmobile excursions, cross-country skiing, and our Montage to Moab flight, which takes guests on a one day visit to the sun and desert of Moab for hiking or mountain biking, with enough time fly back for dinner.

I like to think of our resort as an all-encompassing experience where your whole family can find their favorite activities, restaurants, or relaxation hideouts, which makes for planning an overall harmonious family adventure.