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Cue Montage of Ski and Sundance in Park City

PARK CITY, Utah (TheStreet) -- Founded by Alan Fuerstman in 2002, Montage Hotel & Resorts has managed to create a formidable luxury brand within a relatively short time by specializing in a comfortable luxury aesthetic. What started as just a singular Craftsman-style beach resort in Laguna Beach -- albeit a very large and impressive one -- Montage now with three locations in the Western United States and has come to dominate a strip of California coast that already had no shortage of luxury brands, including St. Regis, Ritz-Carlton and the newer Pelican Hill.

Montage Beverly Hills opened last year, complete with a rooftop pool and collection of pricey private residences, on a pricey strip of downtown Beverly Hills real estate. The brand didn't flinch despite the competition -- not one, but two Four Seasons-managed properties, the Peninsula and Beverly Hills Hotel -- and when its eatery, Parq, failed to become a local hotspot, it was replaced with the more stylish outpost of New York Italian eatery Scarpetta by Scott Conant.

Montage Deer Valley combines the worlds of ski and Sundance: It's only 10 minutes outside Utah's Park City, but with a ski lift literally at the back door.

Now, almost two years later, comes Montage Deer Valley, an impressive destination ski resort on the mountainside next to Empire Canyon Lodge, 10 minutes outside Utah's Park City. It is, perhaps, the most ambitious U.S. ski resort to open in a decade. At an ideal remove from much of the action of Park City, Montage Deer Valley joins no less than three other luxury brands that have debuted in the region since the 2002 Winter Olympics, including St. Regis, Waldorf Astoria and the Sky Lodge.

Guests are welcomed in the heated cobblestone motor court by a dapper, mostly local staff in woolen coats and pinstripe-detailed uniforms and Montage's resident canine ambassador, Monty, a 6-month-old Bernese Mountain Dog still in full puppy mode despite his impressive size.

Heavy doors open to a baronial entry hall laid in natural stone flooring with throw rugs. There are communal seating areas under a 30-light chandelier, and a distinguished Herb Mignery bronze sculpture of a Wasatch skier by a double staircase better for Uggs than chunky ski boots.

Similar to such grand hotel palaces as the Banff Springs Hotel and Chateau Lake Louise built by the Canadian Pacific Railway in the 19th and 20th century, Montage is a destination resort defined by grand hallways and voluminous architecture. It seems solid, built to for last centuries, including the lobby lounge's vaulted ceiling with exposed beams and a roaring, cast-stone fireplace. The lobby's chocolate leather sofas with nailhead details are home to afternoon tea and evening cocktail service with trays of complimentary nibbles.

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