After months of hard work, Sun Valley Resort was ready to show off the newly remodeled Sun Valley Inn on Saturday evening—just in time to light the Christmas tree in the village.
The resort has also revived the Inn’s historic archway, which connects the village to the southerly parking lot and the tennis courts beyond. The archway was set up when the Inn was initially built in 1937, but was filled in during a remodel in 1984, Sun Valley spokeswoman Kelli Lusk said.
Crews reconstructed the archway for this most recent remodel, and on Saturday it once again served as an entryway for guests to the village. Green and red lights added a holiday-themed hue to the archway’s white walls.
In Sun Valley’s early days, most guests arrived by railcar at a depot in Ketchum. They would be ferried up to the resort by horse-drawn carriage and other means of transport, and would then walk under the Inn’s archway to get into the village, said Mike Fitzpatrick, director of marketing and public relations.
“That was the way they came through,” Fitzpatrick said. “It was like, ‘Welcome to Wonderland.’ There’s nothing like Christmas in Sun Valley.”
The Inn had 105 rooms before the remodel, but that number will shrink to 97, as some were expanded to host more luxurious accommodations. The Sun Valley Lodge has 108 rooms and underwent a remodel in 2014-15.
The new Inn has 54 luxury king rooms, 21 two-queen rooms, nine two-queen rooms with a sleeper sofa, five executive suites, four three-bedroom apartments and a mix of other accommodations.
Sun Valley has 68 of those rooms ready for the Christmas season, and the final 29 will be done by Feb. 1.
The year 2018 has been a busy one for construction at the resort. After
the Warm Springs Lodge was heavily damaged in a fire in April, the resort pledged to repair and remodel it in time for the winter ski season. It succeeded—the day lodge opened Saturday (see story on Page 3), and a grand opening celebration will be held Saturday, Dec. 22, at 10:30 a.m.
“We were determined from that day that we would have the lodge open,” Fitzpatrick said, recalling conversations from the day after the fire.
The remodel of the Inn accompanied construction of a new employee dormitory, and the planned installation of a new lift and expansion of skiable terrain in the Cold Springs Canyon area of Bald Mountain, a project that will extend into 2019.
Lusk said the resort installed new flat-screen TVs in rooms in the Inn, and has enhanced wireless internet service. She said the rooms fit with what modern travelers have come to expect, whether they’re in town for a week of skiing or a business conference.
Lusk said the resort has been thrilled with the response to the creation of the Village Station restaurant in 2017, which replaced the Bald Mountain Pizza restaurant in the village, as well as support for the renovation to The Ram Restaurant and The Ram Bar.
With all the changes happening inside the village, the resort emphasized retaining the historic, Austrian design to its buildings’ exterior.
“It’s just another example of Sun Valley providing the best guest experience that we can,” Lusk said. “I love the way it retains that feel when you’re in the village.”