March 19, 2012
The WSH Top 5 List
Washington School House
From the moment you step into Washington School House, you get a sense that things are done a bit differently around here. There’s just that special something. Well, there are lots of special somethings.

If we were to pick just five things that have made our school house go from old school to new cool, we’d be hard pressed to narrow the list, but those five things might go something like this…

1. Really cool old building
Built in the center of Park City as one of the three original schools in town, the school was named for George Washington, à la cherry tree fame. Though close to going up in flames in Park City’s Great Fire of 1898, the hammered limestone façade of the school house survived. After the stock market crash of 1929, enrollment declined and the school house was sold in 1936 to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, who knew how to have a good time – a bit like us, actually. It was used for dances and social events until the 50s. In 1984 the building was purchased and renovated into a bed and breakfast, The Washington School Inn, and now, in 2012, it has found its true calling as a little slice of luxury heaven.

2. Really cool old architect
No, he’s not really old, but he is cool. Architect Trip Bennett of Bennett & Associates in San Diego is known for his unbridled support and success in restoring historic properties to their former glory and beyond. His brilliance and love of elegant and unique structural design can be seen in each of the properties he’s designed – just stand in our entryway and look up to see what we mean. He also loves to enjoy a good bottle of wine with friends, which might actually be more important than all of the above.

3. Incredibly talented design team with a killer sense of humor
Have you ever met someone and the first thought you have after talking for a while is that this person really should have a reality show of their own? Well, if not, let us introduce you to our designers, Paul and Shannon Wehsener of Paul Allen Design. Not only are they stylish, hip, talented and genius about design, they are hysterical. This is the couple you want on the road trip or sitting at your dinner party. They are also, without question, the couple you want to design your space and find all the pieces to fill it. Perhaps we should create a special package – the Paul & Shannon Package – where you can come stay for a few days, learn about our antique, art and silver collections, have more than a few meals to remember – both for the food AND the company – and go home with two new best friends. Or should we head straight to Bravo with the Paul & Shannon Show? Hmm….

4. Decadent white linens
When you live through the experience of gutting a beloved local landmark, painstakingly redesigning it to it’s magnificent new self, travelling the world to fill it with a collection of antiques and art like none other, and then tracking down some of the best in exclusive, luxury hospitality to staff your new venture, you’re not going to run down to the nearest department store to stock its linens. We cannot tell you how many towels we rubbed, robes we wore, and sheets we laid upon before settling on the ridiculously luxurious Pratesi linens. It all started in 1906 when Remigio Pratesi opened a small embroidery shop near Tuscany. His coveted sheets were made to order and quickly became very popular among the Italian elite. Today, the legend of pure white luxury continues in Park City. In our beds or wrapped in our towels. And the robes. Ahh, the robes. While we encourage you to pack clothing when visiting, we won’t blame you for sticking to the robes. (But you might be a bit cold on the slopes.)

5. Food – glorious food (and drink)
Food is an important part of travel. Before you go to a far away locale, you ask your friends about their favorite spots to dine, you read travel and gourmet magazines and go online. You might call ahead to make reservations or check with a hotel’s concierge. And Park City is known for it’s great restaurants. But, what if – just what if – you didn’t have to do any research. What if you knew you could tuck yourself away in a dream-like haven where you would be fed delicious food from sun-up to sundown without having to go further than a set of stairs or elevator ride and without the need to face crowds, make reservations or angle your way to a bustling bar to place a drink order. This is what our exclusive dining service is all about. Breakfast is served daily to our guests and only our guests. Drinks are ready for you and accompanied by uniquely gourmet-mountain-urban-comfort-food appetizers in our chic après ski (or bike, hike, shop, etc.) lounge, complimentary, of course. And for lunch and dinner? Well, you could go out, if you really wanted to. But you don’t have to because we can serve you whatever your heart (and stomach) desires throughout the day. Just ask and our fabulous Chef Ernesto will have exactly what you are craving. No referrals, research or bustling necessary. Now, that truly does sound glorious.