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Sundance 2013: House of Luxury takes extravagance to new heights

January 23, 2013|By John Horn

PARK CITY, Utah -- If you’re looking for a nice winter rental for some ski-in, ski-out fun, Resorts West might have your perfect Park City bungalow.

Renting for $16,500 a night (one-week minimum stay required), the nearly 14,000-foot residence features six bedrooms, 10 baths, 15 fireplaces, two wine cellars, a spiral staircase made from African mahogany, a “Chill Room” with a DJ booth and dance floor and a heated garage equipped with a car wash bay and dog spa.

High-end promotions at the Sundance Film Festival have been flourishing for years, but over the last several gatherings in this mountain resort town the infamous gifting suites have given way to lavish lifestyle compounds that would make any modern-day Rockefeller blush.

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The Resorts West House of Luxury, perched on a dramatic hill adjoining the Deer Valley ski resort’s Mountaineer run, might represent the ne plus ultra of the current trend.

Rather than dole out free Ugg boots and True Religion jeans, the House of Luxury (it’s on the market for $21.9 million, with Resorts West rejecting an $18-million offer) is delivering well-heeled festival guests a cornucopia of excess.

“We’re not giving away bags of swag,” said Bradford Rand, the president of Rand Luxury, which organized the venue. “It’s about the experience, not the cheesy gifting suites where you walk out with bags of garbage. It is a luxury retreat.”

There are test drives of the new Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’ $300,000 Ghost, demonstrations of the $6,000 Lunar camera by Hasselblad (choose between a gold-plated model or one with the more basic walnut grip), tastings of the 100-point 2008 La Muse from Vérité Wines ($450 a bottle), ski demos on Zai Skis with Zeal Optics' GPS-enabled goggles (with the Bluetooth option, you can roll text messages on the lens while sitting on the chair lift) or get a spa treatment at the TIGI Hair Lounge.

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Because it is so far from Park City’s Main Street and is a new player in the Sundance sweepstakes, the House of Luxury isn’t landing the festival’s biggest stars.

On a recent afternoon, director Barbara Kopple and Mariel Hemingway, the actress at the center of the documentary “Running From Crazy,” were promoting their film at the estate, with Hemingway pausing to visit the Vérité Wines location, standing in front of the Rolls-Royce and hoisting a Keurig stainless steel travel mug.

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Most important, pictures of Hemingway doing all three things circulated on Sundance photo sites.

“It’s brand awareness, brand exposure and the right audience,” Rand said. “It’s not wannabe celebrities who go from gifting suite to gifting suite to get a bunch of free stuff.”

Added Tracie Heffernan of Resorts West, which has five other properties in the vicinity renting from between $5,000 and $10,000 a night: “In showing off the home, we want to show off the lifestyle of Park City. And we imagine the people who would want to buy the home would be attracted to that.”

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