All posts by VIPLimo

Going Local: Tucanos

At the top of The Gateway mall complex, the Salt Lake City location of Tucanos looks out across the valley skyline. Photo credit:
At the top of The Gateway mall complex, the Salt Lake City location of Tucanos looks out across the valley skyline. Photo credit:

In 2000, the seemingly sleepy college town of Provo became home to a unique restaurant experience in The Shop at Riverwoods with the opening of Tucanos Brazilian Grill, better known as Tucanos for short. Since then, the business has expanded to multiple locations across the Wasatch Front and around the country, including a brand new restaurant in Orem. It’s a place that owes a great deal to Utah’s ties to Brazil.

The newest location at the University Mall in Orem, Utah. Photo credit:
The newest location at the University Mall in Orem, Utah. Photo credit:

The Pampas region of Brazil is where much of the culinary inspiration of Tucanos comes from, in addition to the coastal regions and continental Europe. The blend of flavors in their food translates as distinctively unique and yet authentic, as does the party-like atmosphere inside, with the flamboyant, brash decor.

Tucanos’ service is a unique experience, too, as the waiters come around with freshly-cooked Brazilian meats, seafood, and grilled pineapple. It’s tough to say no to so many good flavor combinations! Pair this with the salad bar and the premium desserts, and diners are set for a fun night out.

We at VIP Limousine definitely recommend giving this place a try. Great food, friendly service, fair pricing.

Winter is here!

Take a guess as to where this picture was taken...
Take a guess as to where this picture was taken…

Every year, the team at VIP Limousine eagerly awaits the change of seasons. We might be biased, but we love wintertime in Utah, with the mountains above Salt Lake City getting draped in a blanket of that famous powder. People come from all over the world to experience skiing and boarding in the Wasatch.

Locals and visitors alike come to Alta, Beaver Mountain, Brighton, Cherry Peak, Deer Valley, Nordic Valley, Park City, Powder Mountain, Snowbasin, Snowbird, Solitude, and Sundance, or even the further distant locations of Brian Head and Eagle Point for their snow fix, and they deliver in abundance. Literally tens of thousands of acres between them serve over 4 million people every year, and for good reason. Our resort series about some of our favorites can also be found on this blog.

But what about outside of careening out of (or in) control down the majestic slopes of these magnificent resorts? Rest assured, there is plenty to do in Utah in the wintertime.

St. George, for example, doesn’t see nearly as much snow as the rest of the state, since it sits just north of the Arizona border. So there’s still hiking and natural sightseeing for the snowbirds who don’t go to Snowbird. And what if you’re not that far south, or prefer not to see red rock (for some inexplicable reason)?

All of the museum and historical sites in or near urban areas remain open year-round, since snow cannot cover up culture. Lights at the stunning Temple Square and other areas across the Wasatch Front are ready for viewing. There are skating rinks in Park City, The Gallivan Center, and the Salt Lake County Ice Center. The tubing hills of Gorgoza Park, Wasatch Parc, and Soldier Hollow, which also is home to nordic skiing and hosted some events from the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.

Speaking of the Olympics, the Utah Olympic Park in Summit County is also open year-round to visitors wishing to experience some of the history and happenings up close and personal from the Games that almost never happened. They also host Olympic trials, including this year around New Years. The Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns also has public events occurring throughout the season, where visitors have the chance to skate on an oval where many a speedskating record was broken.

Are you hankering for some live performing arts? Utah has no shortage of wintertime- and Christmas-themed masterpieces open to the public. Ballet West is performing their traditional and beautiful Nutcracker in downtown SLC. The Utah Symphony is performing a series of holiday concerts. Utah Opera also has some unique performances up and coming throughout the season. Let’s not forget, too, all of the concerts and shows being held at Vivint Smart Home Arena, the new Eccles Theatre, and the stunning new Hale Centre Theatre in Sandy. Finally, we cannot leave out Utah’s own world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir performing throughout the season as well as year-round.

Speaking of the Vivint Arena, the Utah Jazz are playing continually throughout the winter in downtown Salt Lake. There are also the college basketball games being held at Brigham Young University, the University of Utah, Weber State University, Southern Utah University, and Dixie State University.

If you really want to get off the beaten path in Utah this winter, there’s a wealth of opportunity out and about. The untouched areas of the mountains are home to great backcountry skiing and snowshoeing. If you’re in the mood for exactly the opposite, there are a variety of lodges and coffee shops where one can curl up with a cup of hot chocolate and just watch the snow fall.

Once upon a time, certain members of a visiting basketball team complained that there was nothing to do in Salt Lake City. Respectfully, we beg to differ. And where does VIP Limousine go?

We go to all of them, and have even gone out of state to world-class destinations such as Jackson Hole. So we invite you to join us in enjoying winter in Utah and the Intermountain West, and hope you love it as much as we do.

VIP Limousine Gives Back: Justice League

Sometimes, VIP Limousine gets requests to help with special events and occasions as a donation, where we don’t gain anything for our business. A particular event was for something so touching that we simply couldn’t pass it up. It became one of the most heartwarming things our company has participated in.

Professional photographer Josh Rossi and his wife Roxana contacted us about an event they were hosting in Sandy, Utah at the Jordan Commons Megaplex/IMAX for a group of young children who were permanently disabled or battling rare and/or extremely aggressive cancers and other conditions. Rossi had created a series of Justice League-themed photos featuring these brave kids. His resume includes working with major events such as The Color Run and with major media figures such as Daymond John from Shark Tank.

Since the pictures were originally taken, NowThis News created a video montage from Rossi which quickly went viral, and has been viewed over 47 million times. It’s a touching tribute to these young warriors. When Josh and Roxana asked us to pitch in with a limo, how could we say no?

Rossi and Justice League‘s director Zack Snyder had planned a red-carpet early screening for the children in Utah. Upon arriving at the venue, they had no idea they were in for the treat known as a limo ride. The kids were joined by their families who were all also dressed in the garb representing their young superheroes. The families and the children boarded one at a time before their ride. One could see their faces instantly light up as they realized the limo was for them.

The VIP Limousine white Hummer H2 stretch limo is the flagship of the fleet. Stretching the length of a school bus, it stands ready to chauffeur the biggest crowd in comfort and style. Photo credit: Philip Keeve
The VIP Limousine white Hummer H2 stretch limo is the flagship of the fleet. Stretching the length of a school bus, it stands ready to chauffeur the biggest crowd in comfort and style. Photo credit: Philip Keeve

We decided to treat them to one of our favorites, the white Hummer H2 stretch. With a starlit fiber-optic and mirrored ceiling, sparkling glasses, dark tinted windows, and room to stretch out, the superheroes and their families thoroughly enjoyed their time sipping sparkling cider inside as the powerful V8 hauled the limousine up and down the streets of Sandy towards their final destination.

Upon arriving at the IMAX, we pulled the limo up to the curb in front of bright lights and cameras from supporters and KSL 5, Salt Lake City’s NBC News affiliate. Hollywood is not in Utah, but tonight you wouldn’t have known it with the attention they received. We unloaded each superhero one at a time with their families, whereupon they then took to the red carpet for their special screening. KSL broadcast the full story at 10 PM that night, which can be seen and read here as well as at the top of this page.

The superheroes are ready for their close-up! VIP Limousine's white Hummer H2 limousine makes a cameo. Photo credit:
The superheroes are ready for their close-up! VIP Limousine’s white Hummer H2 limousine makes a cameo. Photo credit:

We at VIP Limousine are very grateful to the Rossi family for this beautiful opportunity to be a part of something greater, something memorable, and something truly special which we will cherish for years to come.

Do you have a charitable occasion? Looking to help give back to someone? VIP Limousine can help make that happen! Please contact us by email or phone and pitch us your idea or event, and we will see what we can do. Our ability to donate depends upon availability, scheduling, conflicts, passenger capacity, date, time, and event length. We work with small one-off events as well as annual occasions staged by various private, public, and/or non-profit actors across Utah.

Going Local: Park City Mountain Resort

Cresting a ridge that previously left the resort in two separate pieces, the Quicksilver Gondola provides access to epic terrain, as well as epic views, at Park City Mountain Resort. Photo credit:
Cresting a ridge that previously left the resort in two separate pieces, the Quicksilver Gondola provides access to epic terrain, as well as epic views, at Park City Mountain Resort. Photo credit:

As ski season approaches, we at VIP Limousine have been taking the time to highlight the local ski areas in northern and central Utah. There are many which we enjoy going to personally and to which we chauffeur guests, but there’s one in particular that simply dwarfs the rest. The daddy, the big kahuna, the monster, the epicenter…call it whatever you want, but for us as a business and for residents and visitors to Utah, it is often considered the crown jewel of skiing and snowboarding since 1963. That place is the beautiful giant known to us as Park City Mountain Resort.

Located a mere 35 minutes from the Salt Lake City International Airport via freeway, and also accessible by public transportation with the Utah Transit Authority and Park City Transit, the tall peaks of Park City beckon to the world. Indeed, they did during the 2002 Winter Olympics, playing host to several of the events. With over 3,000 feet of vertical from top to bottom, the imposing appearance is backed up with the terrain. The hulking sprawl of 7,300 acres is thoroughly impressive and is the largest in the United States, giving skiers and riders new places to explore every day.

Some of the other numbers: 348 marked ski trails; 41 chairlifts with a combined length which could reach Salt Lake City; 13 bowls; 17 peaks; two separate summits around 10,000 feet above sea level; 13 sister resorts including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, Stowe, Wilmot Mountain, Afton Alps, Mt. Brighton, Perisher in New South Wales, Australia, Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada; and over 30 feet of average annual snowfall.

Stretching six miles from end to end, Park City's expansive terrain is easily accessible and is an adventure from start to finish. Photo credit:
Stretching six miles from end to end, Park City’s expansive terrain is easily accessible and is an adventure from start to finish. Photo credit:

To get to that famous Utah powder, Park City has three access points. The southernmost is via the Town Lift and the plaza right next to Park City’s famous Main Street (which we wrote about here), which skiers and riders can simply walk to and enjoy a scenic ride up into the area. Next to the Town Lift are some of the original chairlift towers used to access the mountain.

Just around the corner lies the main village of Park City, home to the Legacy Lodge, some guest lodging and hotels, the lower beginner area, and several other winter activities. It is common for this area to have a lot of skier traffic, but it maintains a bustling vibe at all times with all ages and experiences converging here. The fastest way out and up to higher ground from here is via the Crescent Express, which climbs quickly up to the main ridge along the front of the resort area.

The Bonanza Express rises to the first summit on the Park City village side. McConkey's Bowl can be seen in the background. Photo credit:
The Bonanza Express rises to the first summit on the Park City village side. McConkey’s Bowl can be seen in the background. Photo credit:

For a more laid-back vibe and less skier traffic, we recommend the Park City Canyons Village entrance, the northernmost portion of the resort. This part was originally known as Park West, a sister resort to Park City, but in the last two decades it bloomed into a paradise that became known as Canyons Resort prior to merging with the original Park City. A quick blast up the Red Pine Gondola or the Orange Bubble Express takes guests deep into the heart of the mountain. This side of the resort is quieter but has equally challenging terrain and stunning vistas that have far less attention than the main resort. It is also home to The Colony, a vast real estate development expertly integrated into the hillside with beautiful ski-in/ski-out homes.

Putting all of this together on a map is no small feat, but navigating the resort is actually fairly easy. The vast lift network is also very fast, including two gondolas, a bevy of six-seater detachables, and the aforementioned luxurious Orange Bubble Express, which is equipped with heated seats. The Quicksilver Gondola, built in conjunction with the merger of the two separate resorts as part of a $50 million investment and expansion, links the two sides across Pinecone Ridge and Thaynes Canyon. The two summits at Ninety-Nine Ninety and Jupiter Peak are lift-serviced by namesake chairlifts and have famous expert terrain. The resort is also bookmarked by McConkey’s Bowl and Murdock Bowl, which also contain tough runs.

The Orange Bubble Express, Park City's longest lift, rises up above the valley floor in two stages carrying guests in great comfort and speed. Photo credit:
The Orange Bubble Express, Park City’s longest lift, rises up above the valley floor in two stages carrying guests in great comfort and speed. Photo credit:

All that skiing might make you hungry, but Park City has thought of that. Between the villages and the slopes there are over a dozen restaurants and lodges with a variety of great food options made fresh. They are located at key points across the resort to spread out crowds and increase the ease of access.

The resort is also home to some great après-ski, with an outdoor ski beach area, live music, bonfires, and one of the finest restaurants in Utah, The Farm. If one of these isn’t to your liking, Park City’s famous Main Street is right next door to the main village and a quick fare-free bus ride away from Park City Canyons Village. There are loads of local hot spots to explore and make your time there memorable. Park City is now a year-round resort, too, and it has a plethora of cycling and hiking trails available from the base areas or a chairlift ride to the top.

Once done for the day, Park City is home to a great assortment of hotels for all budgets, from the Best Western Landmark Inn and Newpark Hotel in Kimball Junction, to four different Marriott properties, to Park City’s signature properties, to the The Waldorf Astoria Park City with a private gondola.

The metamorphosis of Park City Mountain Resort, from a small town hill with leftover mining equipment to a world-famous destination on the cutting edge, has been extraordinary. This place is at or beyond world-class in so many ways. And the experts and the public agree; Park City is consistently ranked amongst the best resorts in the nation, and the ski visits continue to increase year over year which brings new traffic. But this place can handle it, and it’s a testament to the resort’s greatness; any wait here is worth it. Between Vail Resorts’ investments, great attention to detail, and the expansive terrain where one can still avoid crowds and escape into sheer bliss, Park City is incredible in so many regards. That’s just part of why when the snow starts to fall, we at VIP Limousine gladly gear up our four-wheel-drive systems to take locals and visitors up to The Greatest Snow on Earth®. Why do they come here? Because, as they say, it’s Park City. There Is Only One.

New website!

It's not a new company, but it IS a new web experience! Welcome to the new online world of VIP Limousine. Why wait to be #drivenbetter?
It’s not a new company, but it IS a new web experience! Welcome to the new online world of VIP Limousine. Why wait to be #drivenbetter?

At VIP Limousine, we are always looking for ways to innovate and provide superior service. This has been a hallmark of our service since our founding in 1989. However, for a long time, there is one part of the company that has lagged behind this: our website.

We will willingly admit that while our website was simple, it looked like it was from the 17th century. Antiquated at best, it was chock full of inconsistent text, misspellings, old information, nonexistent vehicles, inaccurate information…we could go on. It’s the sort of content one would expect from an amateur who owned a company that closed down ten years ago.

Not anymore. With the help of our programmer, we have been able to rebuild a new website from top to bottom, and while it does have some teething troubles and some further tweaks are required, it’s officially launched.

Upon entering VIP Limousine’s webpage, users will first be greeted with a completely new look. Gone are the ancient fonts of yesteryear, the clunky static watermark, and plain yet oddly jarring color scheme of black, white, and gray. It’s been replaced with welcoming, easy-to-read custom fonts, a new menu bar, and soothing colors which indicate different functions across the entire site. Pulsating gently between images across the top is the new marque, showcasing our fleet. Above this are various links to see our social media profiles and contact our office, as well as the company name with the updated slogan. Near the bottom includes a list of areas and cities we service.

Clicking on the “Fleet” tab reveals the various fleet options and the available colors for each option, including our limousines and black cars. If one then clicks on “More Info” on any vehicle option, they are directed to a new page with both interior and exterior pictures, as well as useful details and descriptions. The information provided includes passenger capacity, special features, interior details, and any applicable service add-ons. Our limos, as well as our black cars, have characteristics worth highlighting so that you know what will be featured in each one. There is a tab to scroll through pictures of the vehicle.

The “Services” tab highlights VIP Limousine’s specialties, better known as what kinds of service and itineraries we do. It is constantly expanding, so if there’s something you don’t see, check back or contact our office.

The “FAQ” tab has a listing of some basic questions which are important to limousine and livery companies. Safety is the #1 priority for our clients, so we want to make sure that everybody is properly informed before deciding to book with us or any other transportation company.

Next door is the “Blog” tab, which links straight to this page containing useful information, company updates, and day-to-day activities of our staff and chauffeurs.

The “Contact” tab lists our office contact information and the best ways to get ahold of us, including our email address and office phone number.

Finally, the last tab is “Reserve Now.” This links directly to our reservation software system so clients can request a quote and/or make a reservation electronically without the need to call our office. Everything that comes through here is answered in less than 24 hours, and we will contact clients if there are any questions or details we need to know for best pricing and accurate reservations.

This year has marked the start of a new era for VIP Limousine, with staffing changes, increased standards for chauffeurs, the beginning of fleet upgrades, and now a new user experience for all of our clients. This is all a part of being driven better.

Salt Lake City: Our Home, Part 13

The beautiful Main Street in Park City really lights up the night. Photo credit:
The beautiful Main Street in Park City really lights up the night. Photo credit:

One reason why Salt Lake City is becoming a popular destination is the airport’s proximity to the city itself as well as the neighboring areas. While some places require a lengthy drive to attractions and resorts, this does not. The crown jewel of these hides a mere 40 minutes away: Park City.

Officially founded as a city in 1884, Park City was named after Mormon Pioneer Parley P. Pratt after a few families “parked” there in the late 1840s and Pratt himself explored the canyon leading up to the area in 1848. Park City’s prominence came into play in the 1860s with the discovery of ore, and thus the beginning of the local mining industry. The mines dominated the economy of Park City for about 100 years, including some of the wealthiest mines in the world, but the tide turned in the 1950s and the city fell into decline with the dropping price of silver.

Right at the economic tipping point, the miners proposed “Treasure Mountain,” a ski resort opening up on the former mining acreage behind the town. The original resort featured a lift which combined a mining train with an elevator to take skiers to the summit; it may have terrified its occupants, but it showed those brave enough to step inside what treasure awaited them. Today’s resort, known as Park City, sits adjacent to the downtown and neighboring communities, and it also features a ski lift and runs which go right into the historic downtown.

Speaking of the downtown, Park City has a beautiful Main Street, which functions as the main attraction besides the ski resorts. The town has accolades and attractions in spades; Forbes ranked it as the #1 ski town in the United States, and while we might be biased, it deserves it. Main Street has over 5 dozen buildings registered on the National Register of Historic Places; the sidewalks neighbor many of them and showcase beautiful small restaurants and local stores. Each one is a treat to the senses.

Besides Main Street, there is an unincorporated area near Park City which tends to be somewhat quieter; the bulk of this area is known as Kimball Junction. It is home to the Tanger Outlets, the Redstone Center, and Newpark Town Center. Each of these locations contain local amenities and shopping, such as movie theatres, outlet stores, and even a community athletic center.

Tucked above this western neighboring area is the Utah Olympic Park, a fully-functioning former Olympic event venue and training center with a bobsled track, ski jumps, and a museum dedicated to the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. While they were officially held in Salt Lake City, Park City was a major contributor to the success of the Games, with the usage of two ski resorts and other amenities. The park also features a zip line from the top of the ski jumps and other activities for guests, making it a great summertime stop.

All of the wonders of Park City are fairly easily accessible, whether one lives in Utah or not. For driving, Interstate 80 runs up Parley’s Canyon (also named after Parley P. Pratt) right next to the town, which can be accessed either via Kimball Junction or US-40 a few miles further up. The Utah Transit Authority also runs buses, PC-SLC Connect, up to Kimball Junction from downtown Salt Lake City, which then connect with the Park City Transit system. This local high-frequency bus system includes the new Electric Xpress route, featuring a fleet of 100% electric buses. Not only is Park City a historic and lovely place to visit, it’s also easy to access and get around.

Whether staying for a few hours, a few days, or a few months, Park City is arguably one of the ultimate tourist and local destinations in the United States, and we at VIP Limousine love taking clients up there and visiting it ourselves.

Going Local: Avant Groove

One of the newest hot spots in Salt Lake City, this gem shines on Pierpont Avenue in downtown. Photo credit:
One of the newest hot spots in Salt Lake City, this gem shines on Pierpont Avenue in downtown. Photo credit:

At Going Local and VIP Limousine, we’re taking a moment to deviate our attention from the ski resorts and impending winter season to have a look back at downtown Salt Lake City. Most of the local establishments we have and will be highlighting are mainstays here in Utah, often having been around for decades. For this write-up though, we’re looking at a place which has an age that can still be measured in days, but which also has a promisingly bright, jazzy future ahead.

Avant Groove is the latest and greatest to hit the Salt Lake City nightlife scene. It’s a jazz club that even skin-deep could be straight out of La La Land, but it’s a bit cleverer than that. Owner John Vecchi moved to Salt Lake City several years ago and had contemplated opening a club in his native Bay Area, but he decided to launch Avant Groove a bit further inland here in Utah. As far as we’re concerned, we’re all the more fortunate for it. He successfully created an atmosphere and vibe that befits both the casual and the classy.

Walking up to the premises, Avant Groove’s initial impressions and appeal center around one word: cool. The establishment is in a renovated historic building on Pierpont Avenue just west of the downtown business district. Outside, there’s a large deck framed by big glass windows, which in turn sit next to an old-fashioned revolving door that takes patrons back in time. Inside, the original bare ceiling is left to show itself and the structure within, but has updated additions where needed which meld different periods of design together. The main room is peppered with modern touches and period-style furnishings that wouldn’t look out of place in the 50s and 60s. Definitely cool.

The icing on the decor cake, though, is two-fold. First is the central bar, which resembles an iceberg sculpted by the 20s or 30s; the second is the chandeliers, which have been made to imitate brass instruments. It’s a unique touch that could be interpreted as a physical manifestation of what jazz music can be: twists, turns, and unexpected moments, and thus definitively cool and classy.

A main floor to brag about! The stage is just off to the right of this picture. Photo credit:
A main floor to brag about! The stage is just off to the right of this picture. Photo credit:

And what cool and classy music it is. On the night which Going Local first went to Avant Groove, the club featured a local ensemble which was celebrating the 100th birthday of jazz icon Thelonius Monk. In addition to guest artists, the owner of Avant Groove himself performs with a quintet called Elastic. The music played on center stage here is great fun and is executed beautifully by enthusiastic and knowledgeable musicians.

The architecture, ambience, and sounds should tickle your senses, but Avant Groove isn’t done yet. The kitchen, wait, and bar staff is continually whipping up and serving delicious food and drinks on the ready to delight noses and taste buds. They will even make non-alcoholic versions of classic drinks. The food is excellent and can be easily shared, and is great for satisfying one’s appetite instead of overindulging.

In order to stimulate one’s five senses at Avant Groove, it’s a quick walk west from the Utah Transit Authority‘s Gallivan Plaza TRAX station (on the Green and Blue lines) to Pierpont Avenue, just off of West Temple between 200 and 300 South. There’s also a good amount of parking in the area; for chauffeured patrons, there’s also a spot on the curb for quick loading and unloading.

This establishment’s time in Salt Lake City has so far been very short; as that time gets longer, it will determine how well it does. One thing is for sure though: we at VIP Limousine and Going Local are rooting for Avant Groove’s success and placement on the map of local hot spots. Salt Lake City: listen up and take a bite of this place!