The Cliff Lodge, located at the base of Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort, is an area landmark. Built in 1974, the lodge has managed to remain current thanks to updates over the years. Now the 350-room facility has received another massive update as part of a $35 million capital improvement project. In addition to the Cliff renovations, the project includes the new Summit at Snowbird, a mountaintop cafeteria, lounge, patio, and event space. Additionally Snowbird is adding a new RFID ticket system, increased snowmaking capabilities, and expanded meeting spaces.
I headed up Little Cottonwood Canyon to the Cliff Lodge this week to see what they had done and to write this overview of the property. My goal was to offer potential guests an inside look at the resort so that they could decide if it’s a good fit.
What the locals say…
“The Cliff Lodge epitomizes bunker chic.” The Cliff Lodge looks like it was constructed to withstand the forces of an avalanche while keeping guests safe, warm, and comfortable.
While the exterior of the Cliff Lodge looks strong and burley, inside it is elegant and sophisticated. The 11-story lobby atrium is light and bright with clustered seating inviting guests to hang out and enjoy the mountain views. This is a large property with 350 rooms, shopping, ski rentals, multiple dining options, and more.
Overall the vibe is warm and friendly thanks to a personable staff. That said, the service is highly attentive. Something I really enjoy at the Cliff is that the employees talk and share with guests without sacrificing customer care. During my last visit, Lodge staff happily shared tips on everything from where to find the best drinks and live music, to challenging rock climbing spots. From the bartenders to the concierge, everyone takes personal interest in providing a great guest experience.
Pack your bags with whatever feels comfy to you. While jeans and leggings would be perfect, you could dress up for a romantic dinner and fit in as well.
In a sentence, the vibe is relaxed sophistication.
Odd facts and history
Prior to the recent renovation, every room had a full-size window looking out from the bathroom into the bedroom. The theory was that you could open all of the curtains and enjoy a throne with a view. Now each bathroom has a simple subway tiled wall with a handy inset shelf. I almost miss those windows…almost.
The Aerie Restaurant isn’t just another pretty view, they deliver the goods. The cuisine, described as modern-American gastropub, focuses on local, seasonal and organic ingredients. The atmosphere is elegant, featuring killer mountain views, and is worthy of a special occasion. I’ve been impressed every visit. Most recently I sampled (okay gobbled up) the tomato tart with goat cheese, followed by a wild mushroom ravioli entrée with brown herb butter and roasted tomatoes. My partner tried the kale “Caesar” and maple-cured salmon with risotto cake and curried fennel relish. The beef tenderloin gets great reviews, so if you’re a steak-lover, this one is a “don’t miss.” Oh and they serve really good chewy warm rolls…
The Aerie Lounge also serves delectable bites along with a full, beer, and wine cocktail menu. Hint: the nightcap options worth saving room for and watch for live music on the schedule. The seating is arranged as cozy groupings, perfect for deep conversation with a view. I’ll admit…we stayed passed closing.
Something not obvious on the resort website is that there is a small, but good, sushi bar tucked in between the restaurant and lounge. It seats maybe 12 people at the bar with a full view of the mountain. Yu can also order sushi in the restaurant or lounge.
For more casual dining, head down to the El Chanate Mexican restaurant and tequila bar located on the first floor, where head chef Perez serves up authentic Mexican dishes (he’s originally from Chihuahua, Mexico). Hint: The “Chef’s Favorites” are a good pick. Breakfast is served in The Aerie and The Atrium in the lobby.
While I’m only listing dining options in the Cliff Lodge here, keep in mind that Snowbird has a variety of choices throughout the resort.
As I mentioned already, the Aerie Lounge is inviting with an inspired list of cocktails, beer, and wine. However, they also have some sweet specials, such as Martini Mondays. Order any Pinnacle vodka martini for $5! They have other specials too, so make sure to check for details.
Get your Après on at the EL Chanate with their award-winning menu of smooth tequilas and specialty margaritas served alongside a full menu. Located at the base of the lodge, the atmosphere is festive and the views are big.
The big news at the Cliff Lodge right now are the remodeled rooms. As a frequent traveler, there are certain features I’ve come to appreciate in a thoughtfully designed room. The Cliff nailed those details!
First off, it can be tough sleeping away from home, so the bed, linens, and pillows had better be comfy. In particular, I want to choose the firmness of my pillow, and have quality linins top to bottom - no stale bedspreads, I like a fresh clean duvet cover. Check, check, and check.
Next up, a good room has modern tech features, like lots of outlets, USB posts, and solid WiFi. All of these features were thoughtfully planned into the remodel.
Last, but certainly important, clean attractive finishes just feel good. The new rooms include marble counters, new furniture, imported tile and details such as in-room coffee makers.
Naturally all of this means nothing without the help of a pro housekeeping crew. I’m a tad compulsive about having a clean space, so when I say the rooms immaculate, it’s not meaningless. If you’re picky, this is a good choice for you.
Families need day care will appreciate Camp Snowbird, a state licensed daycare located in the Cliff Lodge and ski lessons for ages 3 and up. During the summer, the Bird opens the roller coaster, climbing wall, and more, making this an excellent option for families.
The Cliff Lodge rooftop pool and hot tube has been a favorite of locals and visitors alike. Seriously, a relaxing in a heated pool after a long day of skiing is the bomb! The pool is located in the spa, which requires an additional fee unless you are booked in a spa level room. Additionally it is limited to guests aged 16 and older.
There are a lot of features to list at the Cliff Lodge including, complementary ski lockers, ski rental and repair, shopping, room service, powerful WiFi, day care, and exercise facility with a canyon view. The spa offers over 30 services, sauna, eucalyptus steam room, and yoga studio.
Location is one of the biggest selling points of the Cliff Lodge. Ski-in and ski-out to the base of the mountain. Additionally, the views from the lodge are great. Depending on which side of the building you’re on, you’ll have either a mountain or glacier carved canyon view.
Snowbird is ranked one of the top ski areas in the west thanks to its snow, variety of terrain levels, and collection challenging runs. During the summer, it becomes a retreat from the heat for the whole family, offering activities such as hiking and lift-served mountain biking. Other fun activities include the mountain coaster, ropes course, trampoline, aerial tram rides, and more.
Need to Know
Snowbird loves holidays and usually hosts a number of activities to celebrate. For example, Thanksgiving dinner at the Bird will leave you weak in the knees and stuffed like a turkey (did I just go there…how cliché!) Closer to Christmas, watch out for Santa rappelling out of the tram. One of the biggest off-season events is Oktoberfest, which runs from mid August to mid October.