If Yellowstone’s Grant Village feels relatively new to you, get ready for a shock.
Not only is it only 32 years old, the area’s six lodging units have just received a major overhaul and upgrade.
The rooms were stripped of furniture and furnishings right down to the walls and the building exteriors were dressed up with stonework and Western-themed updates, Xanterra Parks & Resorts Trey Matheu, executive director of operations, said recently.
Grant Village sits on a small rise that overlooks Yellowstone Lake’s West Thumb. The West Thumb Geyser Basin is a five-minute drive away, and it’s about a half-hour to 45-minute drive—without traffic, that is—to either Old Faithful to the west or Fishing Bridge and Lake Village to the north.
When construction was completed in 1984, Grant Village was the newest park location providing overnight accommodations since the completion of the “new” Canyon Lodge cabins in the late 1950s. Most of those cabins have been removed in recent years and replaced with two story lodge buildings of about 80 rooms each.
Matheu said an upgrade is due about every 10 to 15 years. He said the rooms were starting to look a little worn, and the exteriors of the buildings take a beating through the long winter months. Grant Village gets some of the heaviest snowfall in the park.
The rooms were all emptied and taken down to the bare walls for a full “FF and E” replacement—furniture, fixtures and equipment. The rooms were painted and outfitted with all new carpets, beds, tables, lamps, chairs, armoires, and soft goods like pillows and bedspreads, and even a new lock system for the doors, Matheu said. Mini-refrigerators, a response to a frequent guest request, were also included in the rooms, along with mini-coffee brewers.
Bathrooms were outfitted with new ventilation systems and four of the six lodges so far have been outfitted with new bathroom vanities.
“The rooms are attractive and comfortable,” Rick Hoeninghausen, Xanterra’s director of sales and marketing, said recently.
Matheu said guest response has been favorable.
“They’re overwhelmingly pleased with the new product,” Matheu said. “The upgrade brings Grant Village into the comforts of what people are used to these days.”
And perhaps of utmost importance to most guests, wi-fi is now available in the lodges. But don’t worry—there’s still no television available in the rooms.
Most of the exteriors have been completed, with two units still slated to get exterior upgrades.
Restaurants revamped, too
Xanterra has two dining operations at Grant Village. (There’s also a large food service operation in the nearby Yellowstone General Store operated by Delaware North Companies.) There’s a dining room with a commanding view of the lake, and Xanterra worked with the National Park Service to thin trees and brush to improve the dining room’s lake view.
The dining room dinner menu—breakfast and lunch are available, too—sticks to old favorites like bison meatloaf and fried trout, always with an eye to sustainably produced and locally sourced products, Matheu said. And with the lake view, fish and seafood entrees fit the bill, Matheu said.
Dinner reservations are required and may be made by phoning the main reservation office at (307) 344-7311 or use this link to making reservations online: http://www.xanterra.net/forms/pub/yellowstone_dinner.php
Here’s the link to the dining room dinner menu: http://www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/assets/Grant-Village-Dinner-2016.pdf
There’s also a second dining facility, the Lake House, a short walk away located at the site of a former marina, right on the lake.
Matheu said Xanterra is always working to revamp menus or try new things. This year, the Lake House is going with an Asian theme including noodle bowls, pho bowls and Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwiches. The theme is not only a “tip of the hat” to Yellowstone’s many Asian tourists, but a response to feedback from visitors.
“We’re seeing more adventurous eaters than we used to get,” Matheu said, and they’re interested in something more than bison meatloaf and fried trout.”
The Lake House does not accept dinner reservations — it’s first come, first served.
Dress for both establishments is casual. Lake House menu: http://www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/assets/GV-Lake-House-Menu-2016.pdf
Grant Village opened for the summer season on May 27 and will close Oct. 2.
You can make reservations and check out other accommodations and activities in Yellowstone at http://www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/lodging/summer-lodges/grant-village/
There are also ranger-led programs at various locations around the park. Find the schedule at: https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/rangerprog.htm