HUNTSVILLE — From the historical photos to the reclaimed wood, bricks, and doors from buildings in Park City and Marriott-Slatterville in the lobby, there’s a little bit of a Northern Utah everywhere you look at the Compass Rose Lodge.
Even the design of its unusual exterior, with barn red paint and a grain silo-like tower, is a throwback to Huntsville’s farming and manufacturing days.
“We wanted to the community to be a part of it. We tried to honor a lot historical things that have meaning to the town. To us, everything old is new again,” said Bonnie Hyde, one of the developers of the hotel. “There is so much from the past we think is worth preserving.”
Opening Jan. 1, 2019, the Compass Rose Lodge is a 15-room boutique hotel located in the center of Huntsville at 198 S. 7400 East. It is the newest addition to Huntsville Square, a revitalized area of town containing three other businesses, all owned and operated by the Hyde family. Bonnie and her husband, Jeff, started developing this area of Huntsville in 2000, eventually being joined in the venture by their sons Dakota and River.
The lot the hotel sits on had been empty for 10 years, following the demolition of an old school building on the property. The Hydes worked with town officials on proposals for usage of the space for several years before settling on a small hotel and construction began in January of this year.
The initial announcement of the hotel earned some mixed reactions from the community, the Hydes said, but many have come around as the building has gone up.
“I think the reason the town came to us was because they saw how thoughtful we were with our previous projects,” Bonnie said.
“It hugely came down to just a need for it. We felt like it was an underserved market up here,” Dakota Hyde said. “Most of the lodging here is like vacation rentals by owner. There’s no true hotel lodging up here, so we thought that was an important thing to bring to the community for people to be able to come here.”
The two-story hotel has 12 rooms with king-sized beds, one with a queen-sized bed, and two “bunk” rooms that have four beds each. Two queen-sized beds on the floor and two twin-sized beds on bunks above the beds.
Each room has high ceilings and lots of windows, with an attached bathroom that has a sliding barn door styled doors and a walk-in shower. The Hydes wanted the hotel to be an ode to the heritage of Huntsville, so a contemporary agricultural and industrial look is carried throughout the building’s interior.
The idea of a boutique hotel, Dakota explained, is the offer unique features and make guests feel like part of the community. The Compass Rose Lodge is across the street from Huntsville’s park and downtown. Not to mention the close access to Weber County’s three ski resorts and activities at Pineview Reservoir.
If that’s not enough, the hotel also boasts a coffee shop and an observatory. Yes, an observatory.
“We wanted to bring something to the table where we had a unique offering, a unique demand driver, a unique amenity we can use for the guests and for the community. And so we had the idea for the grain silo to become the observatory,” Dakota said.
Dakota is the “master chief” of the Huntsville Astronomic and Lunar Observatory, which sits at the top of the northwest silo. The domed roof of the silo rotates and opens up so visitors can look at the night sky through the observatory’s 16-inch aperture Ritchey-Chretien style telescope. Huntsville’s proximity to North Fork Park, an internationally recognized dark sky park, makes it an ideal spot for an observatory.
“It’s rare to have as dark of skies as we do as close to a population place,” Dakota said.
Hotel guests won’t be the only ones with access to HALO. Dakota said he eventually hopes to host star parties and astronomy parties at the observatory for the general public, as well as sharing use with astronomy programs at Weber State University and area high schools.
The Hydes also hope the hotel’s coffee shop, First Lift Coffee, will serve as another way to connect with the community. Designed with a ski theme in mind, First Lift Coffee will serve baked goods alongside steaming cups of joe to guests and community members alike. After getting their coffee, people are welcome to sit anywhere in the lobby and enjoy the hotel’s WiFi.
“We want people to come in and just blend right in in the lobby. We want it to be a public space. The whole point is to bring people together,” Bonnie said.
For more information about the Compass Rose Lodge, visit www.compassroselodge.com.