Welcome to the forum, WAJbcn.
I'm no help with SLC, but here's something that should aid with your touring in southern Utah:
This is a travel article about touring the natual wonders of the Grand Circle, specifically focusing on southern Utah.
Moab is a great base for Arches, Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point. That are great hikes of all lenghts in these hikes, but there is also plenty to see from the viewpoints, driving tours and short walks. Keep looking for lodging as I agree it would be a shame to miss Moab. Not sure what you define as a "good hotel" but there are several very nice options in Moab. We stayed twice at the Holiday Inn Express (just north of town). The Best Western Canyonlands Inn (in the middle of town) is a very nice place (never stayed there but did attend an event there and met some of the management who were great).
Cedar City is not the best base due to the drving distance to the parks (Bryce Canyon, Zion). Due to the distance between the parks, it is generally recommended to stay at/near each park.
Question: Where are you heading after Utah? The reason I ask is that will impact the recommendations on the route you might take.
here's one possibility:
After SLC, head to Moab for 3 or 4 days.
Next head across to Torrey with a stop at Goblin Valley State Park and a drive through visit of capital Reef.
Spend the morning in Capitol Reef, then take Route 12 to Bryce Canyon (get there in time for sunset).
Sunrise at BC, maybe a little hike below the rim, and finish with a drive through the viewpoints before heading to Zion.
2 or 3 days at Springdale/Zion.
Where to next?