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2 luxury hotels up and running in Park City


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PARK CITY -- In plenty of time for the Sundance Film Festival, a fresh dash of glitz and glamour in the form of two luxury hotels has come on to the scene in Park City.

The businesses carry renowned brand names that attract world travelers, and there will be some extra deals thrown in for the locals.

The Dakota Mountain Lodge and Golden Door Spa is part of the Waldorf Astoria Collection, and opening Friday: St. Regis Deer Crest.

One of the most unique features of the St. Regis Deer Crest is probably how you get there -- riding in a funicular, which is similar to a tram, from the base of Deer Valley Resort. In the hotel, it's tough to find a detail that's been overlooked.

"It gives some additional offerings to people who are looking for a luxury 5-star, 5-diamond experience," says Carmen Martin, director of sales and marketing for St. Regis Deer Crest Resort.

Inside is a plush lobby, and there's a heated pool and a fire garden. The J and G Grill offers spectacular views along with a menu created by signature chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

"We work with a lot of local farmers. We're using local goat cheese, local honey, some buffalo meat," Vongerichten says.

But coming off a tough economic year, will there be enough guests? According to the St. Regis: yes. Reservations are filling up, with several days around Christmas nearly booked. The resort is also offering a deal to locals -- 50 percent off room rates for the ski season.

St. Regis is opening in plenty of time for Sundance. After a slower season last year, film festival organizers say registration numbers are up locally this year; press credential requests are up overall.

When the festival draws to a close, the glamour won't go with it. Instead, locals and travelers will enjoy luxury in places like the St Regis Deer Crest and the Dakota Mountain Lodge, near the Canyons Resort. The lodge opened this summer.

"It was a surprise to me when I first heard but I think it was a master stroke. The area was, I think, waiting for some really nice properties," says Michael James Ascheson Jr., sommelier for Spruce restaurant.

The 175-room Dakota Mountain Lodge boasts a heated pool and award-winning restaurant Spuce. Also in San Francisco, it was selected as one of Esquire's Best New Restaurants for 2008.

"Our wine program, in particular, offers a real depth and breadth of selections," Ascheson says.

The properties also provide jobs for the area. For example, about 1,000 jobs were created by the St. Regis project.

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Story compiled with contributions from Sarah Dallof and Mary Richards.

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