Can a resort be all things to all people? The Homestead Country Resort is proving it can.
The Homestead is a winter wonderland that offers miles of cross country skiing, snowmobiling, sleigh rides, horseback riding, indoor swimming, hot tubbing and access to nearby ski resorts. Come summertime, the Homestead is transformed into a playground, offering golf, bicycling, swimming, tennis, croquet, volleyball and horseback riding.Good food, classic lodging, an attentive staff and romantic atmosphere are offered year-round at the Homestead, tucked away in the northwest corner of Midway.
After several years of renovation, the addition of several new amenities and consolidation of ownership, the Homestead is coming into its own as a four-season, country resort.
"We trying to provide an overall experience that makes guests feel like they are at home and still have the amenities of a larger hotel complex," General Manager Britt Mathwich said. "We have something for everybody to do."
That philosophy is working. The resort is projecting its 97 rooms will have an occupancy rate of 55 percent this year, up 15 percent from 1986. Businesses are flocking to hold meetings and conferences at the Homestead; last year Valtek, the Downtown Ogden Association, Novell and McGraw-Hill were among the businesses that met at the Homestead. In 1991, business meetings will make up 30 percent of the resort's business, Mathwich said.
During the second weekend in February, the perinatal department at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center and the March of Dimes are hosting a conference for 100 people at the Homestead. Cathy Ellsworth, a nurse in the hospital's perinatal outreach program, said the two groups wanted "someplace different that is pretty," where participants could get away from work but not be to far from home.
"It's hard to find someplace fun to go to in the wintertime," Ellsworth said.
The Homestead had just what they were looking for.
Gross sales for the resort and its new 18-hole golf course will approach $4 million in 1991. With major expenditures behind it, the Homestead is looking forward to a banner year.
"This will be the first year, assuming everything goes well, that we will surpass our budget and begin to make some money," Mathwich said.
That's music to the ears of the Frank Shannon family of Great Britain, who has been the major shareholder in Great Inns of the Rockies Inc., parent company of the Homestead Resort and Golf Course, since last August.
The Homestead will now focus on fine-tuning its operation: building its off-season business, spurring its occupancy rate toward 70 percent, which is considered the success point in the hotel industry, and spreading the word about what the resort has to offer.
"We want to be known as a full-service, country resort," Mathwich said.
Most visitors to the Homestead - 80 percent - are from Utah. The second largest group of visitors is from Southern California.
"They (resort guests) want the atmosphere of the Homestead with ski slopes only 20 minutes away," said Kevin Shannon, son of Frank Shannon and chairman of Great Inns of the Rockies.
It's the little touches at the Homestead - the cuddly stuffed animals on each bed, the smiling, eager-to-please staff - that guests look for and find at the resort.
Here's a guide to winter activities at the Homestead:
Cross country skiing - The 19-kilometer ski trail is new this year. There are three levels of trails traversing the resort's golf course. Trail passes are $3, and the Homestead offers lessons and equipment rentals. The Homestead also operates the cross country ski trail just across the street at Wasatch Mountain State Park golf course.
Snowmobiling - Guided tours on miles of mountain trails. Snowmobiles and clothing are available for rent. Hourly, half-day and full-day packages are available.
Sleigh rides and dinner - Take an old-fashioned horse-drawn sleigh ride through the hills and dales surrounding the Homestead, topped off by a chateaubriand dinner at Homestead's fine dining room, Simon's, or dinner in the Grill Room. Private and group sleigh rides are available.
Sunday brunch - Every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Horseback riding - Weather permitting, one-hour guided rides through the surrounding area.
Shuttles to Park City ski resorts - Five shuttles daily.
The Homestead's indoor pool and hot tub also are open.