PRINT PREVIEW
send to printer

Concierge.com

Montana Hotels

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
320 Ranch
205 Buffalo Horn Creek
Gallatin Gateway , Montana
59730
Tel: 800 243 0320
info@320ranch.com
www.320ranch.com

Founded in 1936 by Montana's first female doctor, the 320 Ranch, located five miles north of Yellowstone, draws a steady stream of outdoorsy types in Subarus, bandanna'd Labradors and Clif Bars in tow, eager to explore the surrounding forest and canyons. The 53 one- to three-bedroom log cabins, fitted with antique stoves and patchwork quilts, are pretty rustic, but they're a big step up from a Therm-a-Rest in the woods—and rates start at just $150 in high season. The two secluded A-frame chalets are popular with newlyweds. Guests who are here to fish the Gallatin River—there's a full-service Scott-endorsed fly shop on-site—should angle for a riverfront cabin. It's not uncommon to wake up to see ranchers herding dozens of horses to pasture. Summer's temperate weather is perfect for horseback riding, mountain biking, and rafting, while winter brings sleigh rides and snowmobiling on the grounds. There's also skiing, snowboarding, and dog sledding nearby. The Steak House restaurant and saloon caters to famished adventurers with belly-filling dishes like tender elk piccata and crème brûlée topped with local blackberries. Book at least six months in advance, especially for summer stays.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Chico Hot Springs Resort & Day Spa
1 Old Chico Road
Pray , Montana
59065
Tel: 800 468 9232 (toll-free)
Tel: 406 333 4933
reservations@chicohotsprings.com
chicohotsprings.com

Since the days of the Montana gold rush, people have come to Chico's springs seeking the simple pleasure of relaxing belly-up in hot water. Opened in 1900, Chico's historic Main Lodge maintains the hotel's past in design and spirit (literally—late hotel proprietor Perci Knowles is said to haunt the halls). A blazing fireplace, antique saloon pianos, and a stuffed moose head in the lobby welcome guests upon arrival. Those looking for an authentic setting and who don't mind sharing a hall bathroom should book the Main Lodge (for a complimentary haunting, Perci's room is 346). Rooms have an at-grandmother's-house vibe—if grandma were a rancher—with sparse wood furnishings, floral textiles, wall-mounted ceramic plates, and vintage shots of the springs. For more contemporary country accommodations minus the kitsch, opt for a room in the Warren Wing or the three lodges (there are also 19 cabins spread around the property). Whatever the location, all rooms are TV- and phone-free, though an Internet connection is available in select hot spots. Not to be missed is the rustic low-lit restaurant serving escargot and meaty favorites like New York strip and Duck Grand Marnier, and the famous orange flambé for dessert. The extensive wine list includes well-priced Argentinean, Italian, and Napa wines, plus an expertly selected reserve wine list. After dinner, waddle down to the hot springs for a swim or saloon-side soak in one of the two naturally heated pools (choose between the hot one or the really hot one).—Isabel Sterne

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Gallatin Gateway Inn
76405 Gallatin Road (US Highway 191)
Gallatin Gateway , Montana
Tel: 406 763 4672
Tel: 800 676 3522
reservations@gallatingatewayinn.com
www.gallatingatewayinn.com

The Spanish-style architecture—adobe-looking walls and red-tiled roof—might seem out of context in southwest Montana: Shouldn't it be oceanside somewhere, framed by palms? But the inn has been here for a long time, partner. The two-story building was constructed in 1927 to serve rail passengers headed to relatively young Yellowstone National Park. The sun-splashed tile lobby with high, dark-stained beam ceiling retains a measure of this era's elegance, and the 33 mission-style rooms are tastefully restored with dark-walnut headboards and understated furniture (you won't find dead animals mounted on the wall). The Porter House restaurant, on the ground floor, uses fresh, local ingredients to produce dishes such as "Montana fish and chips" (whitefish from Flathead Lake) and a flavorful buffalo meatloaf. The location is 30 miles north of Big Sky, so you can sample nightlife in Bozeman, fishing on the Madison and Gallatin rivers, wildlife watching in Yellowstone, and skiing in Big Sky, all within an hour's drive. Ski packages are available, too.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Gallatin River Lodge
9105 Thorpe Road
Bozeman , Montana
59718
Tel: 888 387 0148 (toll-free)
Tel: 406 388 0148
info@grlodge.com
www.grlodge.com

To call this a "fishing lodge" would be an understatement. Set on 350 stunning acres of ranch land near the Gallatin River, the luxury boutique hotel offers a secluded location plus an award-winning restaurant (is that Ted Turner at the next table?). Enter into the vaulted-ceiling lobby, done up western-style down to the grizzly bear silhouette outlet frames. Upstairs, the six rooms invite a cozy stay with fir wood floors, Arts and Crafts furnishings, Native American textiles, whirlpool baths, fireplaces, and oil paintings of trout and cowboys (just in case you forget you're in Montana). Six more standard rooms will be available in the Trout Cabin starting in April 2012. During high season—mid-April through mid-October—the lodge fills up quickly, so be sure to reserve at least a month in advance. The restaurant is worth the trip itself. Ingredients are locally sourced or made in-house, like Chef Craig's famous huckleberry ice cream, presented in a martini glass. For an entrée, try the grilled salmon in lemon beurre blanc sauce with a side of Hutterite-grown Brussels sprouts. Wash it all down with a pint of Montana microbrew and a view of the sun setting over the valley and picturesque Spanish Peaks.—Isabel Sterne

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Garden Wall Inn
504 Spokane Avenue
Whitefish , Montana
Tel: 888 530 1700
garden@digisys.net
www.gardenwallinn.com

Whitefish, in the state's northwest corner, has a split personality. The softer side is the town's fine lodging and good food. And then there's the roughin' it angle: the beautifully severe backcountry of Glacier National Park. Devote a couple days and hit both ends of the spectrum. Start at the Garden Wall Inn, two blocks off Central Avenue on a quiet street. The two-story B&B was built by a Great Northern railroad executive as a family home and it's still white-picket-fence cute, clad in white shingles and fronted by an inviting porch. The inside has 1920s Art Deco antiques, maple floors, and flowers from the garden. Breakfast is cooked and served by one of the co-owners (who are also trained chefs): Whatever time you rise, you'll get dishes such as an egg-and-leek soufflé stuffed with smoked Montana trout. After a few days in town, it's time to head to the backcountry. Sperry Chalet is within park boundaries and only reachable by a 6.5-mile trail that ascends some 3,000 feet. This is the perfect launching point for forays into this iconic American wilderness. While its caretakers give excellent advice on trails, we recommend coming well-prepared—this is rough country. The chalet, on the west side of Gunsight Mountain, was built in 1913 of native stone and rough timber and overlooks ten-mile-long McDonald Lake. The 17 spare rooms have no heat, electricity, or running water—and the bathroom building is shared by all—but you'll get clean sheets and three simple and hearty meals a day (Sperry Chalet, Glacier National Park; 888-345-2649, office@graniteparkchalet.com; www.sperrychalet.com/menu.html).

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Lone Mountain Ranch
750 Lone Mountain Ranch Road
Big Sky , Montana
59716
Tel: 800 514 4644
lmr@lmranch.com
www.lmranch.com

Rather than slope-shy ski bunnies working up a wine buzz, this all-inclusive luxury resort in Big Sky attracts hyperathletic types who crave downhill thrills and the cardiovascular challenge of a 50-mile cross-country network. That carpe diem attitude has won Lone Mountain a loyal following of guests who return year-round for skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, fly-fishing, horseback riding, and hearty steak-and-potatoes fare—all of which is included in the room rate. Built in 1926, the seven original cabins have Lodgepole pine walls stained dark with age and wood-burning fireplaces (the brawny staff handles the chopping). Couples should request Porcupine, which has a porch overlooking the creek, or Bitterroot, which is tucked away in the woods. Groups should opt for Hilltop (sleeps 6), Bull Moose (sleeps 5), or Ridgetop (18). All of the rough-hewn pine cabins—there are 23 in all—have heavy down comforters and vintage prints of local geological wonders, but no telephones or TVs. There's a one-week minimum stay, although you might be able to negotiate a four-night stay in the slower winter months. It's a popular place, so book six months to a year in advance.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Pollard
2 N. Broadway
Red Lodge , Montana
Tel: 406 446 0001
Tel: 800 765 5273
info@thepollard.net
www.thepollard.net

There isn't much to it—just four blocks of brick storefronts and ski slopes visible from the main strip—but the town of Red Lodge cheerfully accepts its end-of-the road isolation. A bit of a secret, it's the kind of place Montanans head to for a long weekend in the Beartooths. The best hotel in town is the Pollard, built in the 1890s during the local coal boom. The bar was haunted by characters like Liver Eating Johnson and Calamity Jane, and history still clings to the place, particularly the lobby reading room lined with black-and-white photos of Red Lodge at the turn of the century. The 38 rooms were renovated in 1994, and a few have hot tubs. During the winter, ski packages for the Red Lodge Mountain Resort are available, and in summertime the lobby is sure to have a few Harley-Davidson riders around: The Beartooth Highway is a warm-weather draw for those who love to motor.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Ranch at Rock Creek
79 Carriage House Lane
Philipsburg , Montana
59858
Tel: 877 786 1545
info@TheRanchatRockCreek.com
theranchatrockcreek.com

A ranch, by popular definition, is a place where dedicated hands work to ensure the well-being of the beasts in their care. Replace the livestock with guests, and the corrals with plush accommodations, and you have this 6,000-acre mountain playground of singular solitude. The rate (upwards of $1,000 per person per night) includes all activities, meals, and most drinks, but a hotel has to deliver more than unlimited cocktails and other diversions to justify a price so dear. And the Ranch at Rock Creek does, thanks largely to its relaxed yet professional staff, who aim to please and hit the mark every time. A kaleidoscope of cowhide rugs, leather furniture, and Native American-inspired textiles, the ranch deftly blends a high standard of comfort and the spirit of the Wild West without veering into cowboy cliché. There's no gym and no in-room TV (and, oddly, most rooms lack tubs), but there's also no shortage of activities, which include horseback riding, cross-country skiing, skeet shooting, and fly-fishing in the four-mile ribbon of Rock Creek that flows through the property. A cinema and a four-lane bowling alley are on the premises, and a Jack Nicklaus-designed public golf course and downhill skiing are nearby. The 25 accommodations range from standard lodge rooms (some have balconies) and a few stand-alone log homes to spacious canvas cabins with hardwood floors along the river's edge. But for all of the scenic splendor, what lingers in the memory is the gorgeously presented meals—which makes the sound of the dinner bell even sweeter than the mountain stillness.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Resort at Paws Up
40060 Paws Up Road
Greenough , Montana
Tel: 406 244 5200
Fax: 406 244 5242
theresort@pawsup.com
pawsup.com

This splendid new property on a sprawling cattle ranch outside Missoula has only 19 accommodations, but what choices! The most popular are the 11 Big Timber Homes, handsome two-story pine cabins with stone fireplaces and outdoor hot tubs. Then there's the ultra-secluded Blackfoot River Lodge, a light-filled retreat with stunning views from every window, and the allegedly haunted Morris Farmhouse, built in 1908 and decorated accordingly—except for the flat-screen TVs. In summer, guests can also opt for luxe safari-style tents pitched along the Blackfoot River. Outdoor excursions come with plenty of pampering (elegant picnic lunches on a rafting trip, massages after a bicycle tour). But this is coddling without pretension: Staff are gracious and chatty, the decor is all animal-skin rugs and cowboy portraits, and the Tank & Trough restaurant serves up a mean burger and fries.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Triple Creek Ranch
5551 West Fork Road
Darby , Montana
Tel: 406 821 4600
tcr@bitterroot.net
www.triplecreekranch.com

Yes, it's a guest ranch. Yes, there are serious cattle drives, 24,000 acres to explore by horseback, and fly-fishing on the trout-rich Bitterroot River. But Triple Creek Ranch's main objective is to coddle guests with outstanding food and wine. The heart of the operation, built at the foot of Trapper Peak 75 miles south of Missoula, is the kitchen and glass-encased cellar with 230 wines, many from the Pacific Northwest. A Relais & Chateaux property—the only one in Montana—it earns its culinary stripes with dishes that change daily. A sampling might include Copper River salmon with spring asparagus, or rack of lamb crusted in herbs and accompanied with black truffle mashed potatoes. (Forget about losing weight.) While the ranch is open all year, vintner weekends are a big draw in summer, with tastings and seminars from notable winemakers such as Cyril Chappellet of Napa's Pritchard Hill. The lodge has 18 log cabins, newly renovated in 2010 to embody the American western spirit of the ranch. Several western artists collaborated for the renovation to preserve the rustic decor (the lodge's dining room got an update as well). Log cabins range from studio-size to the massive El Capitan, with its separate dining and living rooms. And with a ratio of almost two staffers to every guest, the service is attentive and highly personal (they'll know your name). Rates include all meals and house wine and cocktails.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.