Utah offers a variety of lodging options, from typical American chain motels to luxury hotels -- primarily in Salt Lake City, Park City, and Deer Valley -- plus delightful bed-and-breakfasts, rustic cabins, and pleasant and inexpensive mom-and-pop independent motels.
The chains here are the same ones you see everywhere else in America: Best Western, Comfort Inn, Days Inn, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn, Hilton, Holiday Inn, Motel 6, Quality Inn, Sheraton, Sleep Inn, Super 8, Travelodge, and so on. They look about the same as those found elsewhere, and have the same levels of service. In most cases, their rooms are little more than boring boxes of various sizes, with beds and the appropriate plumbing and heating fixtures. If you're lucky, you'll get a decent view out the window. Since enjoying the magnificent indoors is probably not one of the main reasons you've come to Utah, these chains might be all that you require.
On the other hand, if you are exploring Temple Square and enjoying the numerous cultural offerings in Salt Lake City, the best choice for lodging would be the Inn at Temple Square. At Bryce Canyon National Park, go for one of the delightful Bryce Lodge cabins. And if you really want to be pampered after a hard day on the slopes, you can't beat the upscale properties at Park City and Deer Valley.
Another option is a B&B. Numerous bed-and-breakfasts are discussed throughout the book, and when you take into consideration the delicious breakfasts prepared at most of them, the rates are fairly reasonable. Why spend $90 for a boring motel room and then another $10 to $15 for breakfast when for just a bit more you can instead sleep in a handsome home, often uniquely decorated, and be served a delightful home-cooked breakfast?
Other lodging choices in Utah include cabins and a handful of small independent motels. Both are usually fairly inexpensive, although they often lack the facilities, such as pools, spas, exercise equipment, and so on, that you'll find in most chains. The cabins and independents are still preferable because they're often a very good value, and the rooms usually have at least some personality (can anybody actually describe the decor of the last Super 8 or Days Inn he or she stayed at?) -- and cabins, although sometimes a bit primitive, are often in beautiful settings.
In some areas, like the national parks, your options will be fairly limited: You can either camp, stay in one of the few in-park lodgings, or choose from one of the lodgings in a gateway town. You can save some money at Utah's numerous ski resorts by staying in a nearby town and taking a bus (often a free shuttle to the slopes). The accommodations in Salt Lake City are very reasonable, even in peak ski season, when the room rates at Snowbird and Park City go through the roof. The rates drop precipitously in the winter in southern Utah, and there are many nice days to be had in the national parks when the crowds are sparser and the weather mild.
For camping throughout Utah, you can make reservations through either Utah State Parks (tel. 800/322-3770; http://stateparks.utah.gov or www.stateparks.utah.gov) or the National Parks Reservation Service (tel. 877/444-6777; www.recreation.gov), depending on the park or recreation area. Keep in mind, however, that some campsites operate on a first-come, first-served basis.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.