The illustrious Anniversary Inn located in Salt Lake City, Utah is known to locals as the preeminent place to spend a romantic evening. Idyllic city setting on a hill with perfect views of the lights across the valley, lush bedding and decor in oversized rooms and whimsical, fanciful and imaginative themed rooms make this 4 star hotel a veritable escape from reality. The only problem is that the reality feels cheap.
► Ranking: #stinkydiaper
The longer you are married the harder gift giving becomes. You know that person better than ever, but you reach an evolution where you already have the things you want and the things you want to spend money on becomes narrower and narrower. One thing Gabriel always remarks on is how nice it would be to have a night out just the two of us. We tried this a few years ago when we just had the twins and we spent the whole night worrying about them, but with a few parenting years under our belt I thought we might be able to try again.
The rooms at the Anniversary Inn vary from a Lake Powell themed suite with a canoe propped against the wall with bungee cords and a cooler wedged between the seats, a Swiss Family Robinson themed suite with a queen sized bed built into the treehouse and an adjacent waterfall cascading into the tub below, to a bed in a covered wagon in the Wild West themed suite. I chose what was esteemed as the most romantic room at the all suite hotel: The Romeo and Juliet Suite. It was the perfect set-up.
The Romeo and Juliet room is billed as one of the largest suites at the hotel and boasts two stories. As advertised on the website: “Climb the sweeping staircase to the second floor of this stunning marble suite. King size bed, jetted tub, surrounded by white columns and marble.”
This is mostly true. The room is large and is in fact two stories, but the sweeping staircase covers half the room and the carpet is worn and frayed from the hundreds of patrons who ascend the stairs over the course of a year. The first floor and remainder of the suite is not covered in marble, but instead cheap home depot large white tiles. The walls are tole painted with flowers that reminded us more of the last beat up house we bought than the most romantic story ever written. Finally, the predominant color the suite was decorated in was maroon which felt more like the unappetizing color of brown than the quintessential color of love.
We began the night by turning on cable TV and sipping on sparkling cider while eating slices of Costco cheesecake provided by the hotel in the jetted tub. It was about as romantic as it sounds. The fridge is just sitting there, not even hidden within decorative furnishings. I’m positive neither Shakespeare nor Romeo and Juliet had fridges. It felt cold and sterile. The room wholly lacked the emotive qualities that the story of Romeo and Juliet possesses.
Eventually we turned the cable off and watched the TV channel with the fireplace. And what could be more wrong than Netflix who describes the experience as: “No need for the real thing when you can replicate the sights and sounds of a warm fire, with or without music.” Before giving up on that and heading to Juliet’s balcony we filled out our choices for breakfast on the provided cards. Our choices were yogurt, oatmeal, and cheerios. You can fill in the blank here about what you’d expect from a Bed and Breakfast.
Nah, we can’t leave that up to you. For a previous anniversary we traveled out to wine country in Yamhill, Oregon about one hour outside of Portland in the Willamette Valley. We stayed at Hideaway Hill Bed and Breakfast in a beautiful home atop a vineyard overlooking a gorgeous landscape. The hosts were impeccable and offered offered lavish creme brulee french toast, extravagant croissants smothered in freshly cooked eggs from backyard chickens who roamed the farm, and beautifully colorful and ripe fresh in season fruit provided with freshly baked muffins cooked by the host that same morning.
That’s kind of what we were expecting for the nearly $300 we spent for less than 12 hours in a room with decorations that felt like they belonged in a High School production of Romeo and Juliet and a bed that felt uncomfortable and old, like someone’s grandma sewed the top quilt in her extra bedroom as opposed to something luxurious and regal.
After that rave review we’re sure you’re ready to book your romantic night at the Anniversary Inn! But, we’re not done! Actually, this is where the story takes a turn. To give the Anniversary Inn some credit, along with all its patrons who gave it rave reviews, as we were departing we peeked into the empty rooms which had their doors open and housekeepers inside.
Now again, we chose the most recommended room, when we are not people who typically go along with the crowd and enjoy the same fanciful appetites as most others. That was our first mistake. If we weren’t already disappointed, we were absolutely devastated at this juncture. After walking into room after room and seeing the whimsical designs in each one, we severely reprimanded ourselves for wasting the evening in the worst room in the hotel.
The room that really caught our eye was Rich’s Drive-In. Sleeping in the bed of a truck with popcorn and a movie screen under the stars. That is as romantic as it gets. The Jungle Safari looked pretty indulgent as well. Wouldn’t have hated sleeping on Treasure Island either.
Even knowing and seeing firsthand how remarkable some of the other rooms are I’m just not sure I can stomach forking over another $300 for the lackluster overall experience. For starters, throw out the Pillsbury canned cookie dough and the Costco cheesecake. Hire a real cook and give your customers a legitimate reason to have a love affair with your establishment.
Book a room at the Blue Boar Inn in Midway, Utah. A swiss escape set amidst the regal Rocky Mountains in Heber Valley, there is absolutely nothing about this exquisite hotel that disappoints. The ambiance, the rooms, and especially the chef offer a true romantic getaway that will ignite a fire even under a blanket of snow.
► For Kids: This is an adult getaway but with food choices for toddlers. Leave the kids at home and pack your own breakfast and cheesecake.
Have you stayed at the Anniversary Inn, or another romantic hotel that you loved? Maybe we are too harsh of critics and would love to hear your take on staying here.
► Nap-Time Version: Our unromantic getaway to the Anniversary Inn in Salt Lake City, Utah left us feeling frigid and sterile.
Despite this review, we are not without any passion. Check out our incredible stay at the Blue Boar Inn, our romantic dinner at Narcoose’s at Walt Disney World, or the fairy-tale Northern Lights cruise we sailed on through the tip of Norway courtesy of the Hurtigruten.