By Duane Pemberton

Sun Valley, Idaho is a celebrity playground.  At the heart of the Sun Valley is the city of Ketchum, with the Friedman Memorial Airport a short 15-minute drive away, making it easy to get there. Ketchum has been home to such notables as Ernest Hemingway, Tom Hanks, and Bruce Willis.

The reason? Simple. It offers quiet getaways, stunning scenery, great food, adventure and culture.

Hotel Ketchum, Sun Valley, Idaho, Duane Pemberton

Downtown Ketchum on a winter’s evening.

It seems the city of Ketchum is always adding new things to see and do. One of the somewhat more recent changes was morphing the old Clarion Hotel into Hotel Ketchum. Situated near the heart of downtown, Hotel Ketchum offers a nice blend of comfort, amenities, and ease of access.

The remodel done from the previous hotel is nothing short of spectacular.

Not only has it been modernized, but it’s also been done in such a way that exudes comfort. From the warmth of the fireplace in the lobby to that of a friendly smile from the staff, you’ll feel at home, here.

Hotel Ketchum, Sun Valley, Idaho, Duane Pemberton

Breakfast at Hotel Ketchum

Hotel Ketchum, Sun Valley, Idaho, Duane Pemberton

Guest room at Hotel Ketchum

You’ll find comfortable rooms that are well appointed, a friendly staff that’s always helpful, free breakfast in the “Hangout” that serves as a bar in the evenings.

While the greater Sun Valley area offers year-round’ fun, there’s simply something a bit more special about it during the festive winter months. The city lights at night, the energy and warmth of the people will keep you yearning to go back, time and time again.

Hotel Ketchum, Sun Valley, Idaho, Duane Pemberton

Hotel Ketchum in the summer

Getting around:

Perhaps the most economical way to get around — especially to and from the airport — is to use the Mountain Rides bus line. This takes you from the airport, straight into downtown Ketchum. Additionally, there are limited Uber/Lyft options as well, however, these tend to vary on availability and should likely not be solely depended on.

Great places to chill:
Limelight Hotel:

The “Apres-ski” happy hour is one of the coolest around. Live music, a lounge-like atmosphere, and the occasional celebrity spotting make the Limelight a local and visitor favorite.

Sun Valley Wine Company:

An upscale wine shop with a fireplace, community tables set up and inviting staff. There’s an incredible selection of wines to choose from by the bottle and a few by the glass. Additionally, there are some light food selections as well that go very well with the many wines available.

Hotel Ketchum, Sun Valley, Idaho, Duane Pemberton

Sun Valley Wine Company

Where to eat:
Grumpys Schooners and Burgers:

Easily the most iconic place to eat, this bar serves up tasty burgers, beer in massive schooners and is a local favorite for folks like Tom Hanks and Bruce Springsteen whenever they’re in town.

Owner Pete Prekeges, has preserved the original charm, atmosphere, and service. Often rated the “best burger in town” – you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more fun place.

Hotel Ketchum, Sun Valley, Idaho, Duane Pemberton

Grumpys Schooners and Burgers – a local tradition

Warfield Brewery and Distillery:

Home to some of the tastiest hand-crafted beers and spirits, Warfield also serves up delicious food in a comfortable environment. Using fresh ingredients, prepared with love and attention to detail, there is never a bad meal here. The decor is inviting, the staff knowledgeable and helpful.

Hotel Ketchum, Sun Valley, Idaho, Duane Pemberton

The Warfield burger: 8oz double springs ranch grass fed beef, house smoked salmon creek farms bacon, morningstar arising fried egg, ballard dairy white cheddar, bigwood potato bun, fries


Catch a gondola ride up Bald Mountain, for what is easily the best dining view in the area, the Roundhouse restaurant at 7700 ft in elevation and gives breathtaking views of the valley below and surrounding Sawtooth Mountains.

The culinary team sources the most amazing ingredients they can get their hands on and prepares them in a very delicate fashion. Make sure to try the fondue for two, steak and frittes (fries) as well as the Harriman’s Croque Monsieur, a traditional ham and cheese sandwich served in French cafés.

Pioneer Saloon:

Take a step back into the old west at the Pioneer Saloon. Locally known for its masterfully mixed spirits, you’ll also find a delectable selection of wine and beer as well. The food is likened to comfort, laughter and unwinding. Be sure to try their out of this world, loaded Idaho potato.

Hotel Ketchum, Sun Valley, Idaho, Duane Pemberton

Loaded Idaho potato at Pioneer Saloon

Where to play:
Zenergy Gym and Spa:

This world-class gym, spa, training facility is a local favorite as it literally offers about anything and everything you’d want in a gym. There’s an indoor tennis court with a natural-lighting setup, an amazing spa, gym area and an outdoor swimming pool with one of the best vistas in the area.

Hotel Ketchum, Sun Valley, Idaho, Duane Pemberton

Swimming pool at Zenergy Gym

Sun Valley Ski Lodge:

World class skiing/snowboarding awaits you with amazing powder, well-groomed trails, and runs. They also boast some of the best snowmaking machines in the world for those itching to hit the slopes before Mother Nature dumps the natural stuff. Even though the lift tickets are a bit pricey, we’re sure you’ll agree that the experience is top-notch.

While you’re here, make sure to hope the courtesy shuttle back to the Sun Valley Lodge and check out the Duchin Lounge for some great cocktails and a fine selection of tasty wines from around the world.

Hotel Ketchum, Sun Valley, Idaho, Duane Pemberton

Reposted from Communities Digital News.