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Salt Lake City Travel Guide

About Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City, the capital of Utah, boasts a spectacular setting. Cradled in a natural basin below the Wasatch Mountains and extending to the southern shore of the Great Salt Lake, its natural allure is evident.

This must certainly have been true in 1847 when Mormon Pioneer Brigham Young arrived here and established the famous home of The Church Of The Latter Day Saints. While Salt Lake City is intrinsically linked to the temple erected at the heart of Temple Square, the city still follows its own trajectory.

Today, less than half the population is Mormon and it’s the student and immigrant communities that thrive. Add a flourishing dining scene, eye-catching museums and astonishing number of bars, and Salt Lake City really starts to surprise you.

In their struggle against discrimination, the Mormons have gained an unlikely ally in the LGBT community, and the three-day Pride Festival has become one of Salt Lake’s biggest celebrations.

You can bag your share of culture at the excellent Utah Museum of Contemporary Art or at the Natural History Museum of Utah, based in a sleek 21st-century home conceived to be an extension of the local landscape.

The lure of the mountains is what brings many visitors to Salt Lake. Catch sight of a licence plate and you might spy Utah’s claim to have the ‘greatest snow on earth’. Over 12m (500-plus inches) of super-fluffy white stuff blankets the region annually, and you can ski a different mountain every day of the week. Four major resorts are so close you can take a local bus and be back in town for après at the opera or the symphony. In summer, hiking and camping takes over, along with road trips to Utah’s iconic national parks.

And you can forget all you’ve heard about Utah being a dry state. For years, smart brewpubs and innovative microbreweries have succeeded in watering the thirsty with local ales in the face of restrictive Utah booze laws – let’s drink to that.

Key facts

Population:
181,743 (city); 1.2 million (metropolitan area).
Latitude:
40.759551
Longitude:
-111.888204

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The Anniversary Inn

Popular with couples looking for a romantic getaway, this is a themed room hotel designed to fulfil an array of fantasies. Options include sleeping in a sultan's palace, an Egyptian chamber, or hunkering down in a covered wagon. The inn was once the old Salt Lake jail and every suite is now luxuriously equipped with themed spa baths and down duvets - there may even be a room that’s themed to look like the old jail. A romantic continental breakfast delivered to your room is included.

The Grand America Hotel

Built in time for the 2002 Winter Olympics, the Grand America Hotel offers 775 rooms, including four presidential penthouse suites. All rooms have balconies and views of the city skyline or exotic fountain courtyard, internet and 24-hour room service. The plush hotel is filled with antiques, and there's a full service spa, indoor and outdoor pools, and elegant lobby lounge and bar. It’s also within walking distance to all downtown attractions.

Hotel Monaco

This expansive property offers some of the most stylish accommodation among the category of boutique hotels in Salt Lake City. Seductive guest rooms and suites set in a meticulously refurbished landmark 14-story building are filled with dazzling décor flourishes, featuring bold geometrics that appear to be an extraordinary cross between art deco and Native American tribal. The establishment has an upbeat feel and staff are attentive and will able to arrange most facets of your stay.

Marriott Salt Lake City Downtown

This is one of the biggest hotels in Salt Lake City, offering 510 well-equipped rooms and suites, arranged over 16 floors right in the centre of town, and just a few steps away from Temple Square and Symphony Hall. All the reassuring comforts expected of this global chain can be found here, including a decent on-site restaurant, swimming pool, fitness centre, and internet access.

Radisson Hotel Salt Lake City Downtown

This is another classic high-rise hotel in the popular Downtown district offering reasonably priced contemporary accommodations. The hotel recently underwent a full-scale renovation and now provides modern, clean guestrooms feature luxury bedding, entertainment centers, high-speed Internet access and great views of either the city or the Wasatch Mountains. Additional hotel comforts include an indoor pool, a spa, a fitness center, a popular lounge and the High Rock Steakhouse.

Royal Garden Inn

A classic American-style motel set out over two floors around a central swimming pool, open seasonally, and terrace. The downtown location is just four blocks from Salt Palace Convention Centre, a complementary continental breakfast is served daily, and airport transportation and hotel parking are provided free.