The iconic Sun Valley Lodge was opened all the way back in December 1936, and it was the first destination ski resort in America. Following the creation of Sun Valley Ski Resort through the efforts of railroad magnate W. Averell Harriman, the lodge became an instant success with the rich and the cultured. Created to increase traffic on his Union Pacific Railroad, the plan worked better than he ever imagined it would, and the resort became the preferred destination for celebrities and politicians alike. The world's first chairlifts were installed at Sun Valley Ski Resort just before its opening, creating an exciting new way to get up the mountain when the established ski resorts of Europe were only being serviced by tow ropes. Earnest Hemingway, one of the resort's earliest and most famous customers, completed "For Whom the Bell Tolls" while staying in Suite 206 in late 1939. The halls of the hotel are lined with photos of America's most famous politicians, actors and athletes. This tradition has continued, and there is a small chance you can catch a glimpse of Clint Eastwood, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Hanks or Oprah Winfrey, all of whom frequent the lodge.
Along with this history and prestige comes a 480-room hotel and condo complex with a plethora of amenities and features. It has three heated pools, jacuzzis, a full-sized ice skating rink, a massive nordic center, a movie theater, a performance hall, a day spa, a full service salon, 13 restaurants, and a bowling alley. The massive property can handle up to 1,200 guests and provides year-round fun. During the summer you have access to 45 holes of golf, 17 tennis courts, a trap shooting club, stand-up paddleboarding on the man-made lake, volleyball, and horseshoes. It offers anything you can imagine at a level of quality that rivals any resort in America. There is incredible artwork to be found throughout the lodge, and paintings and sculptures line the walls and adorn the tables. It is truly an experience simply staying here, regardless of the world-class skiing that is only minutes away. The town of Ketchum has grown since the early days of the lodge, but it still maintains its small-town feel. A shuttle service can take you to and from the resort, and if skiing is not your thing, a small shopping village with boutiques stores can be found on-site as well. There is something for everyone here any time of year.