In a town where a High School can be a library, a barn can be a gym, and an auto shop can be a restaurant, it only makes sense that a boutique bed and breakfast would have at one time been a functioning schoolhouse. And like the town itself, which has played host to everyone from miners to Olympians, Washington School House Hotel has survived 132 years through adaptation and reinvention.
Built-in 1889, Washington School House Hotel has felt the heat of the 1898 Park City Fire, the devastation of the 1929 stock market crash, and the swing of the 1940’s dance halls all before opening to the public as a bed and breakfast in 1984. By 2011 the hotel had changed hands a number of times and was entirely renovated to the posh bit of luxury it is today. “We really try to showcase the history of the building,” says General Manager Jared Gentile, “In the hallways, there is some really nice artwork and black and white photos of students that went to the school, along with old photos of Park City. The hardwood floors are all oakwood reclaimed from Utah. We tried to keep even the materials as local as possible.” And for those hoping to dodge any trace of homework while on vacation, not to fear, they’ve removed the desks.
Ideally nestled amongst the colorful houses of Old Town Park City, Washington School House Hotel is easily missed, but not soon forgotten, especially by the guests who’ve spent their days and evenings doted upon like a member of Downton Abbey. “A lot of people compare it to renting a house with a whole staff to wait on them the entire time they’re here,” says Gentile, “It’s all brought on a silver platter. We really try to take care of the guest like it’s our family staying with us, going over the top and realizing all of our guests have a different idea of what they’re going to get from their vacation, [but our] ideal guest is someone who is looking to vacation in the sense of let go, let other people plan things for them, and truly relax. We really like to anticipate our guests needs, and even in the rush of wintertime, we want everyone to enjoy every aspect of their stay.” Something easily done in a hotel with just 12 rooms, and a full-time staff available 24 hours a day.
Guests can enjoy in-room massages, private dining, luxury shuttle service, and a staff ready to suggest adventures and cuisine based on experience, not just hearsay. “[We’re] constantly going to concierge dinners and spoiling our front desk staff, that way they know what they’re actually suggesting to guests and can speak to the services,” says Gentile, “We have a lot of repeat guests, they want that locals insight and connection.”
From the year-round heated pool and spa next to an Olympic torch to the complimentary breakfast, Evian, WIFI, and shuttle service, to the lavender pillow spray and uniquely procured facial products, Washington School House Hotel is an experience all its own. “We just switched all of our soap and lotions,” says Gentile, “and are now getting them from a teeny tiny farm in France. They make it custom, it’s all extremely high-end goods you can’t get anywhere else.”
And it’s not just the goods that are unique, Washington School House Hotel has 4 multi-story suites each showcasing a spiral staircase, a penthouse with a fireplace and surround sound, and a single unit across the street perfect for those looking for complete privacy. “A lot of guests are sometimes weary and think, ‘oh you’re just a bed and breakfast,’” says Gentile, “but everything we provide is of the highest quality, from our sales to our ownership.”
Everything in Park City is seasonal, and depending on your adventure du jour, booking a room at this luxury boutique hotel, can be the key to experiences and memories that can last a lifetime. “We have unique experiences around the holidays,” says Gentile, “Thanksgiving Dinner, New Year’s Dinner, and from a local standpoint, always check us out in the summer and off-season for lower rates, deals, etc.”
So, whether you’re looking for a piece of history, a nightly turn-down service, proprietary products, or the luxury of living like a local, Washington School House Hotel is prepared to help you make the most of your vacation in Park City, and they promise, absolutely no tests.