Crown Jewels of the National Parks

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Discover the Crown Jewels of the National Park System

Posted by: Xanterra on February 8, 2018

National Park lodges and inns have played a compelling role in the history of hospitality and the development of tourism in the American West. These crown jewels of the park system offer lodging experiences you’ll treasure for a lifetime.

Glacier Hotel

Many Glacier Hotel, Glacier National Park

There are few places on the planet as stunning as Glacier National Park. And one could argue that the historic Many Glacier Hotel is the ideal venue from which to appreciate the vast and astonishing landscape. Located on the shores of Swiftcurrent Lake with jagged peaks as backdrop, the iconic hotel was built by the Great Northern Railway in 1914 to lure tourists to the Wild West. Today, visitors from around the world find their way to this northwestern corner of Montana, eager to see the disappearing glaciers, hike aside azure-colored lakes and to catch a glimpse of resident wildlife.

This secluded, five-story hotel offers visitors a window into the past with old-world style guest rooms and a Swiss Alpine theme. While dedicated to honoring its historic roots, the 214-room gem has undergone multi-million dollar renovation that included remodeling rooms, updating furniture and lighting and restoring the dining room to historic standards.

Also included was the return of the “missing staircase.” Once part of the grand lobby, sharing space with soaring beams of Douglas fir and a massive fireplace, the original double helix staircase stretched from the lake level of the hotel to the lobby. It was torn out in the mid-’50s to make way for a gift shop. As part of the recent remodel, the magnificent spiral staircase has been restored to its former glory.

At Many Glacier Hotel, Red Bus tours, boat cruises, horseback rides, and evening ranger programs, are offered in an unparalleled lakeside setting,

Visit GlacierNationalParkLodges.com or call (855) 733-4522 to inquire about reservations.

Inn at Death Valley

The Inn at Death Valley, Death Valley National Park

You’ve heard. Death Valley National Park is the lowest, driest, hottest place on earth. True. And, all the more reason you’ll be mesmerized by the unexpected luxury found within the Oasis at Death Valley. The historic Four-Diamond Inn at Death Valley, tucked within a true oasis-like setting, offers updated and stylish accommodations, fine dining, and spa services, all a welcome contrast to a day spent exploring amid salt flats, mud hills, and volcanic craters. A recent multi-million dollar renaissance of the 1920s gem means you will now enjoy sweeping views of the stunning park landscape while sipping morning coffee or evening cocktails on the shaded outdoor terraces. The inviting dining and bar areas have been updated yet retain their historic charm, and are further enhanced by the owner’s world-class collection of renowned paintings of the era. You’ll want to plan time for the historic, one of a kind spring-fed pool, where lush landscaping, cabanas, a pool bar and a café invite relaxation.

Park explorers will find a wealth of ideas and information at the nearby Visitor’s Center. Learn about easy to difficult hikes within Death Valley, including the colorful Mosaic Canyon and a trek through Badwater Basin, the lowest place in North America.

Ask about nearby ghost towns where the curious can step inside old saloons, post offices and abandoned houses, and imagine what life might have been like for these hearty westerners.

Take a Jeep tour to learn about local human, geological and mining history as you wind through Titus Canyon, a 27-mile-long gorge through the Grapevine Mountains.

Later, explore the other-worldly terrain that helped inspire George Lucas’ vision of a galaxy far, far away. Head to the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Desolation Canyon, Golden Canyon, Dante’s View, and Artist’s Palette to see where the Star Wars crew made film magic happen.

And you’d best bring your A-game (and your camera) for a round on the lowest golf course in the world, at 214 feet below sea level. While most tracks have house rules and challenges, the hazards on the Furnace Creek course include coyotes that like to one-way fetch golf balls (you are allowed a free drop) and the perplexing fact that balls don’t travel as far below sea level.

Come nightfall, be sure to look up. You’ll be in awe of what it means to stand in designated Dark Sky country. It’s one of the few places in the U.S. where you can see the Milky Way with the naked eye. Take note: Twenty-two, new dreamy casitas will open at the Inn later this year.

Visit OasisAtDeathValley.com or call (800) 236-7916 to inquire about reservations.

building over looking grand canyon

El Tovar, Grand Canyon National Park

Find inspiration in this National Historic Landmark hotel, perched just steps from the world’s grandest canyon. Completed in 1905 by the Fred Harvey Company, now the Xanterra Travel Collection, to accommodate tourists arriving to this wonder of the world, El Tovar provides a history-rich lodging experience on the South Rim of the Canyon. Charles Whittlesey, Chief Architect for the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway, designed the hotel, to be a cross between a Swiss chalet and a Norwegian Villa, a result he believed would appeal to the elites of the era. Today, El Tovar retains its elegant charm offering guest rooms and suites that reflect the colorful history of the property and its global appeal to visitors that have ranged from Theodore Roosevelt and Albert Einstein to Sir Paul McCartney.

Every season offers a fresh opportunity to put your world in perspective by simply standing at the edge of this visual extravaganza. From your cozy digs, set out for hiking, photographing, journaling and people watching.

Visit GrandCanyonLodges.com or call (888) 297-2757 to inquire about reservations.

Old Faithful Inn

Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone National Park

For those who visit our first National Park, a pilgrimage to the reliably Old Faithful geyser typically tops the list of things to see and do. And thus, checking in to the historic Old Faithful Inn seems like a perfect match. Crafted from local logs and stone in 1903 and 1904, the 327-room historic inn is considered the largest log structure in the world. After a day spent exploring the park, guests relish the opportunity to relax in the iconic lobby, where the massive stone fireplace provides a compelling ambience. During summer months, music often fills the air as guests retreat to comfortable chairs in the heart of the grand room, or on one of three mezzanines, to read, play games, enjoy a snack or people-watch. Open from early May through mid-October the Inn features a full-service restaurant, lounge, snack bar, gift shop and daily tours.

Visit YellowstoneNationalParkLodges.com or call 307-344-7311to inquire about reservations.

Lake Yellowstone Hotel

Lake Yellowstone Hotel, Yellowstone National Park

Captivating views of Yellowstone Lake are best appreciated from this elegant hotel’s Sun Room, where classical music performances enchant guests most evenings during the summer season. The delicate sounds of a string quartet often serve as a delicious backdrop as guests, in multiple accents and languages, share their experiences of the day and plans for tomorrow. First opened in 1891, in an era when guests arrived by stagecoach, the Grand Old Lady of the Lake was restored to her Colonial Revival heritage during a multi-million dollar renovation completed in 2014. A National Historic Landmark, the Lake Yellowstone Hotel update refreshed guest rooms, the dining room, bar, public spaces and redesigned the deli. Guests now have access to wired Internet service and a business center. Walking tours of the hotel are offered for those interested in learning more about the history, hardships, and idiosyncrasies of this National Park treasure.

Visit YellowstoneNationalParkLodges.com or call 307-344-7311to inquire about reservations.


Written by: Lynn O'Rourke Hayes

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