This Former Fat Camp is Now the Perfect Place for 'Soft Adventure'
Fat camp. That's a terrible way to put it, isn't it? Well, it's true. Before Red Mountain Resort in St. George was Red Mountain Resort, it was the National Institute of Fitness, a weight-loss, calorie-controlled establishment where people went specifically to change their lifestyles and trim down. There was no snacking, there was no drinking. It was, from the sound of it, hell on earth in the desert.
But that all changed in 1998, when the 106-room property officially transitioned and rebranded to the Red Mountain Resort. It went through a major "chill out" makeover in the process, and today it stands as one of the most impressive soft-adventure home bases we've come across in a while. A lot of you expressed during our editor faceoff last month that active vacations were something you valued and enjoyed. Allow us to introduce you to your next destination.
One of the best things Red Mountain has going for it that it didn't have to reinvent was its location an hour from Zion at the mouth of Snow Canyon State Park, an epicenter of sandstone mountains and red rock scenery where many movies were filmed, including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. There is a private trail that runs from the hotel to the gate of the park, which means you're a stone's throw from some epic hiking and biking. The hotel runs at least one free guided hiking excursion a day in the Park, or you can take one of the free bikes and explore on your own. Red Mountain also manages trips for guests to kayak, canyoneer, and visit Zion.
While the location has always been there to inspire, Red Mountain had a lot of work to do in terms of the food and beverage to help make the resort a desirable destination for people on vacation. What we found was a menu that not only tasted good, but made you feel good, too, because it was both healthy and gourmet. It changed daily, and over our three nights quail, duck, beef, chicken, tuna, scallops, elk, and vension all made appearances on the menu. While the nutritional content of everything is made known and prepared responsibly (aka without a stick of butter), there is no calorie counting -- we had dessert every night and a cookie after lunch.
Oh, and probably the most important thing: The resort now serves beer and wine, and we'll tell you, nothing tastes better than a cold one after you've spent all day outside. We also recommend making use of the on-site full-service spa, as hiking for a few days is a great way to justify a few treatments.
Rates start at $200/night during the fall, which is a great time to visit as the heat subsides in the South Utah desert.
[Photos: Red Mountain Resort/HotelChatter]