We had lunch by the pool at The Garden Cafe, and then I surprised her with a massage at The Grand Spa. Obviously, most of us never had a massage when we were a young teen, but hanging out in spa robes, reading magazines and lounging in the sauna, allowed us to start our bonding weekend. And if you have younger daughters, they will never want to leave JouJou, the over-the-top toy boutique, which offers book readings, jewelry making classes and vintage-inspired candy and toys. The hotel even offers a Princess Getaway package to celebrate a birthday or special event with your daughter.
Friday we decided to play tourist, and hopped on the new Big Bus Utah Sightseeing Tour, which is an open-air bus tour like the red double-decker buses in London. The bus took us around the city’s main attractions including the brand-new Natural History Museum, the Utah Hogle Zoo, the Clark Planetarium, and Temple Square, world headquarters of the Mormon church, and the renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir. You can hop on and off the buses at any of the 19 stops, which allowed us to quickly see the sights at our own pace.
And as with most teenage girls, a few hours of sightseeing is enjoyable, as long as the next “attraction” involves trying on clothes. We hopped on TRAX, the free light rail train that has a stop right outside the hotel, and headed to Salt Lake City’s newest attraction for serious shoppers, the City Creek Center. This open air shopping center, designed using recycled materials, is the only mall that opened in the entire country in 2012, and even has animal tracks scattered throughout the mall, to have families learn more about native Utah animals. If you’re looking for a bite nearby, check out the Blue Iguana for some authentic Mexican food.
Salt Lake City is a gateway for outdoor enthusiasts – in 30 minutes you can be in Park City for summer hiking, biking, and horseback riding, or hitting the base of the mountain to ride the chairlifts or brave the Alpine Coaster or zip lines. In the winter, there are eight world class ski resorts within an hour’s drive of The Grand America Hotel. We chose to head to Park City, where we had a slightly friendly, fairly competitive battle at Jupiter Bowl, a luxury bowling entertainment center, with 16 lanes of bowling and a full service restaurant, billiards and an arcade. Then we took in the Flying Ace All Stars Freestyle Pool Show at Utah’s Olympic Park.
And after all the fresh-air of the mountains, we wound down our day in the lobby of the hotel with their traditional Afternoon Tea. We felt as if we had stepped into a grand European hotel, sipping our tea and eating our scones. It is crazy that a simple cup of tea can make you feel thousands of miles away from home and the chaotic days of sports and schedules.
So did we bond and did we have precious one-on-one time and meaningful conversations? Absolutely! Do I think she will still go through the stage of hating her mother in another month or two….undoubtedly. But it might give us another excuse to plan another mother daughter weekend away.
For more mother/daughter travel, check out:
- Mother’s Day Getaway Mother Daughter Spa Bonding
- Window Seat or Aisle Seat: Mother/Daughter 21st Birthday Celebrations
- Off the Brochure Salt Lake City
- The Family Travel Archives
Text and Photos by Marie LeRose for PeterGreenberg.com