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Historic Lake Yellowstone Hotel Completes Phase One Of Renovations

July 25, 2013 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

The oldest hotel in Yellowstone National Park, Lake Yellowstone Hotel, has received a bottom-up facelift – literally – that would make any grand dame of 122 years proud.

The project, costing in excess of $10 million, included new lobby décor, major structural enhancements, the addition of an elevator, new business centre and 43 renovated rooms, including four newly created suites in the west wing of the hotel.

Xanterra Parks & Resorts’ Yellowstone National Park Lodges, operator of the hotels, campgrounds, restaurants, tours and activities in the park, has been working since the day the hotel closed for the summer season in 2012 to complete the significant enhancements, Phase I of a two-part renovation program that will ultimately affect every room in the 154-room hotel.

The first order of renovation business was to give the hotel a lift.

“Workers in hard hats were removing flooring and ceilings even as the last of the staff was putting things into storage for the winter,” said Jim McCaleb, general manager of Yellowstone National Park Lodges.  The structural project will protect the building from seismic activities, which are a frequent event in the park, although most visitors never see or feel anything.

What they will see, however, is an expansive lobby with a fresh new look reminiscent of the Colonial Revival period. The heavy furniture sourced from U.S. companies in North Carolina, Ohio and Colorado is finished in light cherry. The workers went through 1,149 gallons of paint, transforming the walls to a light Colonial Revival look with white trim and a soft yellow wall paint from Cleveland-based Sherwin Williams.

Although the crew of some 30 workers was removing wood trim and windows that was more than a century old, they were keeping careful track of each piece. “Great care went into reassembling the hotel’s historic construction materials in the proper place, and the workers were committed to salvaging as much of it as possible,” said McCaleb. “And throughout the process, the National Park Service (NPS) supported the project by sharing their expertise and offering ideas to ensure the hotel’s historical integrity.”

With an emphasis on retaining the historic character of the hotel, the project included authentic touches such as reinstallation the original bellhop call box behind the new bell porter desk and restoration of the original windows.

The 250-seat Lake Hotel Dining Room, centrepiece lobby bar and elegant Sun Room also received a makeover. The Dining Room has long been a favourite park restaurant known for its focus on local, sustainable cuisine as well as its views of the lake. Visitors relaxing in the lounge and Sun Room are treated to nightly live music performed by a pianist or string quartet.

On the second floor, directly above the restaurant and lounge are four newly created suites and the already existing but renovated Presidential Suite, featuring a king bed and sofa sleeper. Each of the new suites boasts king or queen beds and a living room with a sofa sleeper and wet bar. Most also have a deep soaking tub in addition to a shower.

Additionally, Xanterra renovated the remaining 38 rooms in the west wing, including eight new mobility and/or communication-accessible rooms with a variety of bed configurations. All of the renovated rooms also feature wired Internet connectivity.  By August, a new west wing elevator will provide access to all rooms in that section of the hotel, which meets all ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) regulations to provide access to guests of all physical abilities.

Xanterra will launch the second phase of the project after the hotel closes for the summer season Sept. 29. That project will include renovation of the remaining guest rooms in the east wing of the hotel, expansion of the popular delicatessen, renovation of an existing detached building – once used to house boilers – for administration offices and other non-public space enhancements.

Xanterra Parks & Resorts operates nine lodging facilities, four campgrounds and an RV park inside Yellowstone along with restaurants, activities and gift shops.


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