The two-year Lake Yellowstone Hotel renovations are close to completion, as last year’s improvements are being followed up this spring with more room overhauls and other enhancements.
Lake Yellowstone Hotel opened in 1891 and was remodeled and expanded several times over the years, with the most notable changes overseen by Robert Reamer, who also designed Old Faithful Inn. His changes, beginning in 1903, imposed the formal Colonial Revival architecture so unique in Yellowstone National Park, positioning the facility as a high-end hotel with a presidential suite, formal sitting room and more.
The first round of Lake Yellowstone Hotel renovations completed in June 2013 included major structural enhancements; renovation of the lobby, Sun Room and dining room (including the installation of a new bar); restoration of hardwood floors; and installation of period lighting and compatible furnishings of the period. The registration desk, bell desk and bar were renovated and in some cases, redesigned. (As shown above, the registration desk was moved, with the new Sun Room furnishing a definite upgrade over the wicker furniture previously installed.) In the first phase, corridors and 43 rooms were renovated with new finishes, lighting and carpeting. Four suites were added, and the presidential suite was renovated in the west wing of the hotel. An ADA-compliant passenger elevator was added for additional accessible rooms on the upper floors, and a new business center was also added.
The second phase of the project began after the hotel closed for the season in the fall of 2013, and renovation is continuing with completion scheduled for June 2014. This phase of the project includes the renovation of the final corridors and 134 rooms in the east wing of the hotel similar to the other rooms in the first phase. The passenger and service elevators are being replaced. The popular delicatessen is being renovated and expanded. Hotel offices are being relocated into a space outside the main hotel building, allowing for hotel spaces to be expanded for the guest services.
“Lake Yellowstone Hotel is one the most historically and architecturally significant buildings in Yellowstone National Park, and this renovation has returned to the hotel the charm and elegance created by architect, Robert Reamer,” said Jim McDonald, historic preservation architect and principal of A&E Architects PC, the renovation architectural firm. “Xanterra Parks & Resorts along with A&E Architects are proud to complete this renovation to maintain the original integrity of Lake Yellowstone Hotel for future generations of national park visitors.”
While conducting the renovations, the construction contractors placed an emphasis on retaining the historic character of the hotel with authentic touches, including restoration of the original windows, public spaces and rooms as detailed in the construction drawings by the historic preservation architects. Workers removing wood trim and windows that were more than a century old kept careful track of each piece. Great care went into reassembling the hotel’s historic fabric, and the workers were committed to salvaging as much of the material as possible in a sustainable way for reuse.
The Lake Yellowstone Hotel renovations certainly brought new life to one of America’s great hotels, which had faded over time. If you have a chance, check it out even if you don’t have plans to stay there: the Sun Room is a wonderful place to relax over a cocktail or other libation, and it’s a handy place to grab a snack from the deli or a full meal in the dining room.
Bottom photos courtesy Xanterra.