- Associated Press - Thursday, March 6, 2014

SUN VALLEY, Idaho (AP) - Sun Valley Resort plans to close Sun Valley Lodge for nine months starting in September for an extensive remodel.

Plans include a three-story, 20,000-square-foot spa that will be added to the northern wing of the lodge near an outdoor swimming pool. Work on the spa is scheduled to start in April.

The Idaho Mountain Express (http://bit.ly/1iaybwk) reports the plans were unveiled Monday by Carol Holding, the longtime co-owner of the resort with her husband, Earl Holding, who died in April at 86. Also taking part in the announcement was her son, Stephen Holding.

Earl Holding’s estimated net worth of $3.2 billion made him the 423rd wealthiest person in the world at the time of his death, according to Forbes. His business empire included ownership of Sinclair Oil as well as Sun Valley Resort, which he bought in 1977.

The family didn’t say how much the spa addition and renovation will cost. But it’s a big investment and was something of a relief for the local business community that’s heavily dependent on tourism and wondered what would become of the resort after Earl Holding’s death. It’s estimated he spent hundreds of millions of dollars over the years on new facilities in Sun Valley Village as well as the resort’s golf course and two ski areas.

Sun Valley Mayor Dewayne Briscoe said he’s “pleased with the ongoing commitment of the (Holding) family” to Sun Valley. After the family’s announcement, Briscoe said the city would work to ensure the resort’s plans are reviewed promptly.

The remodel of the lodge, built in 1936, will eliminate the Lodge Dining Room.

“No one loved the LDR more than Earl,” Carol Holding said. “That was his most favorite place. . (But) it isn’t what people want nowadays.”

The spa will include “lots of wood and glass” and will have “amazing views of Baldy,” said Stephen Holding, using the term favored by locals for 9,150-foot Bald Mountain, where the resort’s main ski area is located.

The lodge “will still really have the feeling of being the lodge,” he said.

Planners said the number of rooms in the lodge will drop from 148 to about 100 as smaller rooms are combined to make more luxurious rooms that have larger bathrooms.

“A lot of rooms in the lodge are very small by today’s standards,” Sun Valley Resort spokesman Jack Sibbach said.

One room that won’t be reconfigured is room 206, where Ernest Hemingway worked on “For Whom The Bell Tolls,” Sibbach said. But the room will be refurbished.

“The Holding family is very aware of the iconic, historic nature of the lodge,” Sibbach said.

Smaller renovations have been done over the years, he noted, but the one planned to start in the fall will be the most comprehensive. Plans call for a new boiler and air conditioning system.

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