Salt Lake City Trip

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Elizabeth and I took a trip to Utah for fall break this year, and you can read about the part of our stay where we stay in Park City, UT by clicking here. For the first leg of our trip, we stayed in downtown Salt Lake City. We had never been here before, but we are already trying to plan a trip to go back!

We stayed at the Salt Lake City Marriott University Park hotel. This hotel was very pretty, and is currently undergoing renovations. We were immediately greeted and thanked for being Gold Elite members, and our welcome amenity was a jar of homemade trail mix. Elizabeth especially liked the trail mix because it was homemade compared to a pre-packaged item.

Room and Lobby

The view from the room is shown directly below, and we could not believe how beautiful the mountains were at sunrise. The picture is taken from sitting on the bed and looking out.

The hotel has an open lobby, as seen below. Even though it was right next to the University of Utah, we still had deer come up to us as we were eating breakfast.


We paid for the second night of the hotel stay using cash, and it somehow only cost us $79 plus tax for that Sunday night. The prior night on Saturday would have cost well over $250 plus tax (Utah had a home football game next door against Stanford), so we decided to go the points route.  Since this is a category 5 Marriott, the total cost of points was 25,000.  All in all, we paid just under $100 and 25,000 points for two nights.  We paid for our stay using the Starwood AMEX, where were earned 2 points per dollar, but those points convert to 3x Marriott points, effectively earning 6 points per dollar overall. We would have earned 5x per dollar had we used the Marriott Rewards Credit Card.

If you are interested in these credit cards, you can get a 25,000 Starpoint sign-up bonus by clicking here, or you can get an 80,000 point Marriott Rewards sign-up bonus by clicking here.

Gold Elite Benefits

We did receive a room with a better view and on the highest floor because of our status.  The executive lounge is also a perk of being a Gold Elite Member, and we ate evening hors d’oeuvres (pictured below). The lounge was on the bottom floor as part of the restaurant, and the servers were all very polite and accomodating. We received fresh baked cookies at night, as well.

For breakfast, the buffet was extremely large and wonderful! I love breakfast food, and I get especially excited when I get made-to-order omelets, and I was in luck at this hotel!  There were so many toppings to request to put in the omelet that I can’t even remember them all!  But you can see my breakfast plates below.

We found the downtown area of Salt Lake City to be the cleanest of any city BY FAR that we had ever seen.  The outdoor shopping area in the middle of downtown called the City Creek Center was awesome, and if the natural world around Salt Lake City wasn’t so wonderful, we could have spent a whole lot more time here.

We also enjoyed walking around the area of Temple Square, and there were multiple interesting historical signs explaining the history of the Mormons choosing to live in SLC.

Ensign Peak

We had read that we should take a short hike up a place called Ensign Peak in order to get a great view of the city. The drive from downtown took less than 10 minutes to where we parked and started hiking up the “hill.” The hike gained elevation quickly but was pretty short, and as you round the corner to the very top point, you get a perfect view of the city and of the Wasatch Mountain Range in the background. We definitely recommend doing this short hike!

Big Cottonwood Canyon

Even though we would be heading to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone in the coming days, we spent a ton of time in the Wasatch Mountain range driving up to the top and hiking along beatiful paths. The leaves were at the height of changing colors, and to top it off, there was a snow storm at the top of the mountains.  We could feel the temperature drop as we gained elevation, and suddenly the ground would just be covered in snow.  I am not kidding when I say we could spend a full week in Salt Lake City and going to hike in Big Cottonwood Canyon every day!