The great outdoors

The great outdoors

The great outdoors


The Lodge at Blue Sky

A man in a cowboy hat riding a horse outdoors in a field.

Experience an authentic Western adventure with all the comforts of a luxury hotel at The Lodge at Blue Sky

Nestled within 3,500 acres of pristine and remote Utah mountainside, the 46-room Lodge at Blue Sky combines unparalleled luxury with the chance to experience nature at its most astounding. The land here is home to an abundance of wildlife: bald and golden eagles, ospreys, hawks, mountain lions, elk, moose and deer. There is also an on-site regenerative farm of 20 acres, called Gracie’s Farm, and guests can spend time with rescued horses at the Saving Gracie Equine Healing Foundation.

“We take people out for a drive and a herd of 160 elk will go past,” says Michael Phillips, who owns the lodge with his wife Barbara “People think we’ve staged it. We find that there is a sense of peace that comes from the land and nature that decompresses you. If that can be combined with an experience that allows you to learn something about yourself, it’s very good for you. We find that in a short space of time guests start to relax. We take good care of you here.”

The couple bought the ranch for their own pleasure but soon began hosting what Michael refers to as “adventures”, in the form of riding experiences and clay shooting. In 2015, the High West Distillery opened at the ranch, producing high-quality whiskey and bringing regular visitors to the site. The couple constructed the lodge – run by Auberge Resorts Collection – to offer guests a place to stay, combining it with the natural excitement of ranch life to provide a series of unique experiences.

As well as riding, shooting, hiking and skiing, guests can tour the distillery, enjoy massages or yoga in the spa, or take lunch in a yurt perched on the mountainside. After spending a day exploring the wonders of the great outdoors, guests can hunker down in the luxury of the lodge or eat at its fine-dining restaurant, which uses produce fresh from the farm. The Bar is another high point, with profits from its Horse Thief cocktail going towards the animal rescue foundation.

“We wanted the lodge to be luxurious because the mountains are so rugged,” says Michael. “We thought that you would enjoy the outdoors for what it is, but inside you would be in the lap of luxury. The lodge really is unparalleled in terms of the appointment of the 46 rooms, the culinary experience, the bar, the spa, the pool – it’s luxurious and remote, but only 35 minutes from Salt Lake airport.”

Horses are an essential part of the experience, and guests can even learn how to be a cowboy for the day. The rescued animals at the Saving Gracie Equine Healing Foundation are also popular with guests. “We wanted the culture to focus on the West, which includes horses and whiskey and shooting,” explains Barbara. “We ended up rescuing a horse that was in a terrible situation; it was called Gracie and we named the farm and animal rescue foundation after her. That became part of the culture of the lodge.”

Barbara is very proud of the programme they have developed to involve guests in the recovery of the rescued animals. “People can make a connection with horses that is very calming and beneficial. Guests not only enjoy trail rides, but can also learn about natural horsemanship and participate in horse rehabilitation and riding lessons. The more kindness and love you give horses, the more you get back. Our guests don’t just ride the horses, we let them build a genuine connection – and the guests just love it.”