Located mid-mountain in Deer Valley’s Silver Lake Village, the Goldener Hirsch Inn consists of its original building with log porches and a row of modern “residences” beyond.
David Jackson/Park Record

In the early 1990s, Spence Eccles was skiing at Deer Valley with his old friend Stein Eriksen. A hotel had just been built in Silver Creek Village and was for sale. It has been called the Goldener Hirsch Inn, and features the architecture of the same name in Salzburg, Austria.

“My father was skiing and took a look at it and thought it might be a fun investment for the family. He stayed at the original Goldener Hirsch in Salzburg in 1951.” She said the name seemed serendipitous to their family.

“We love Salzburg. We’re all skiers and (love) the Alps and the mountains. So when the opportunity arose here, we were excited to take advantage of it,” she said.

More than 30 years later, the Goldener Hirsch Inn has become the Eccles family jewel, with rooms and halls filled with Austrian antiques and artwork collected by the family over the years, and an interior that embodies the high Alpine feel that the family loved so much, both homey and luxurious.

This summer, the Goldener Hirsch Inn took home a slew of awards from the Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards 2023, a voter-based competition. He ranked their list into three categories, the most notable of which was Goldner Hirsch, who won “No. 1.” 1 Best Resort in the Continental United States“, along with “No. 4 The best hotel in the world“And no. 1 best hotel in Utah“.

How did this boutique lodge gain such global recognition? In part, dedication to reputation.

For Hope and her family, being a family-owned business motivates Goldener Hirsch Inn to achieve excellence.

“Our name is closely associated with it. We’ve been in Utah for a long time, we’re very committed to Utah and the entire region, and we intend to be here for a long time. So our reputation is important,” Hope said.

The Eccles name is common in Utah, and circulates around Salt Lake City, especially with an air of influence. With roots in the state since the 1800s, Eccles Stadium has been a significant contributor to the development of the region as well as the country, from various buildings to trophies and theaters – such as Rice-Eccles Stadium at the University of Utah, and George S. the Dolores Dore Eccles Center Theater in Park City and the Mariner S. Eccles Federal Reserve Building in Washington, D.C

Hope Eccles sits in the new lobby of the Goldener Hirsch Inn where she serves as president. The inn is named after a hotel in Salzburg, Austria, and has been owned by the Eccles family for more than 30 years. It was recently recognized as the #1 Best Resort in the continental United States by Travel + Leisure.
David Jackson/Park Record

This is the only hotel owned by the Eccles family, but Hope said management and development were almost a no-brainer.

“We enjoy traveling. We enjoy traveling as a family…so, working in hospitality was kind of a natural fit. What we’re looking for is to develop a project and an experience that we want to enjoy,” Hope said.

In addition to friendly professionalism, the Eccles family is dedicated to creating a luxurious, family-friendly experience as well.

“We’re family-oriented. (We wanted) a place where you feel comfortable with your family, a place that invites family and a place that entices kids to come and be with their families,” Hope said.

Now, in partnership with the Auberge Resorts Collection, Goldener Hirsch Inn continues its commitment to excellence and an enchanting alpine atmosphere, Hopp said, explaining that Auberge shares similar values.

In November 2020, the Goldener Hirsch Inn opened a modern addition, adding another 50 rooms to the inn’s original 18, connected by a series of bridges and stairs.

“As we developed the new ending, we knew we couldn’t just replicate it. We needed to find something complementary,” Hope said.

She pointed to my shoes, a pair of oversized, tasseled Dr. Martens, and made the analogy: “You know, these (shoes) are very popular and they’re like loafers, but they have a modern sensibility. And I think that’s some of what we tried to achieve here as well.”

The modern sensibilities felt in the new aspect were subtle – sprinkled with Austrian elements such as the Edelweiss-inspired chandelier in the foyer with gold spikes and clusters of white rocks, old Austrian ski posters recreated on canvas, and a wood-cut wallpaper scene showing deer among Trees and wall panels depicting a sepia-toned map of Salzburg.

Hope, who had just returned with her family from Salzburg and had stayed at the original Goldener Hirsch a few weeks earlier, joined a tour of the inn. She navigated the maze of new and old with the ease of her home, pointing out antiques and pieces of art with little snippets of information — “These are from an Austrian photographer,” “These are cranberry-picking tools,” “These were thrown away.” From an old tree truck.”

The hotel’s restaurant, as award-winning as the hotel, is located in the original inn and serves fresh, seasonal farm-to-table food alongside Alpine favorites such as fondue, weinschnitzel and apple streusel. As for the dining area, “It was designed to be sophisticated, but not obtrusive,” Hope said.

While Hope is the main person, the Eccles family is all involved, she said.

“My sisters Lisa and Katie are especially involved in the decor and atmosphere.” For the interior design, they aimed to create “the warmth you get when you’re surrounded by things that have stood the test of time…and to make sure that while you’re enjoying the charm, you won’t have any of the annoyances ‘of old times,'” Hope said.

In the original inn, this was created by architecture and antiques, collected by the Eccles family over the years. Tumbling antler chandeliers, wood-burning fireplaces, hand-carved wood furniture, and Hope’s favorite, hand-painted hardware — traditional wedding wardrobes sent with brides as they move in with their new husbands — are placed along the halls.

“You just imagine the life these couples started. In this day and age where we have so much stuff and it’s disposable, they could get by with what they had, and they felt really lucky,” she said, pointing to the slightly tilted closet. Which you use. Particularly fond of.

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