Dreaming of a national park getaway in Yellowstone? The Old Faithful Inn should be at the top of your list!
Daniel and I both love National Parks and their Great Lodges, so when we began planning our adventure to Wyoming, we knew we had to stay at the Old Faithful Inn.
The Old Faithful Inn was designed by Robert Reamer. Completed in 1904, the lodge cost $140,000 to build and was funded by loans from the Northern Pacific Railroad Company. The hotel is a National Historic Landmark and with it’s soaring 76 foot log ceilings, is one of the greatest examples of ‘Parkitecture’ in the world. To this day, the Old Faithful Inn is one of the largest log structures in the world and THE largest log hotel in the world.
Are reservations hard to get, you might be wondering? Well, yes and no. Reservations open about a year in advance, and many folks book that far ahead. We have stayed here on two occasions: the first time was a last minute trip and we were able to book a room with shared bath (our preference) within ten days of our arrival. The second trip we booked about four months ahead and we were still able to book the same room type. Sometimes this is a patience and waiting game. If your room type isn’t available, do not despair! Keep checking back. They have cancellations every day, so with some time and effort, you are very likely to get the room of your dreams, even last minute.
There are two different types of rooms at the Old Faithful Inn: rooms in the the original log building, referred to as the ‘Old House,’ and rooms in the newer addition that was completed in 1927. The look and feel of the Old House and the ‘new’ addition are completely different. The new wing is styled more in the design of traditional hotel rooms, all with private baths and televisions. The rooms in the Old House will transport you back in time, complete with pedestal sink, period furnishings and fixtures, many with beautiful views of the geysers. We prefer the Old House!
We entered the Inn through the old wooden door, stopped to investigate the spiral doorbell, and marveled at the interior of the building. Our first views of the inside of the lodge let us with few words other than…..’WOW.’ There are several floors and even a ‘tree house’ at the very peak of the roof! We loved seeing this whimsical side of Reamer’s design process. The four sided fireplace with its warm glow and hand forged tools commands a powerful presence and is a wonderful place to relax after a day out and about in the Park. We were so excited to be here! What a magical setting in the heart of one of America’s most beloved National Parks.
We proceeded to the front desk and lucky us! We were able to check into our room early and were delighted with our home for the next three nights: cozy, warm, inviting, with views out the front of the hotel to the geysers beyond. No TV. Yay! There is so much to explore in this fantastic old Inn, so we dropped our bags and headed out to poke around and see what we could find.
In our wanderings, we heard a bus driver talking to some other guests about the ‘tub room.’ Tub room? What’s the tub room?! We must find the tub room! Around a couple of corners and we found a small, unobtrusive sign indicating the way. We were not disappointed!
The tub room is actually two rooms, each with it’s own private clawfoot tub. The tubs are HUGE! I could lay down completely with my head resting on the back sloped portion of the bathtub. Both Daniel and I enjoyed these tubs on two of the three nights during our stay. It seems that not very many guests know about this, – it’s not listed in any of the room literature – but I think they must tell parents of small children about them, because at certain times, the tubs were busier than others. This is a definite not to be missed experience!
We wandered around the Inn, found the elevated terrace, and got there just in time to catch Old Faithful erupt from the balcony. In the foreground of the above photo you’ll see one of the 1920s vintage Yellow Buses that offer tours throughout the Park. We have that planned on our itinerary, too, more about that in a future post. It was exciting to see the old car and anticipate our upcoming adventure. The Old Faithful Inn inspires such nostalgia. If you’d like to know more about the history of the building, be sure to take one of the Inn’s free tours. They last about an hour and are scheduled four times a day.
As the afternoon waned and evening was upon us, the night time performer came out to entertain the guests. The Inn features different performers every night playing various instruments, and it was so much fun to sit, soak up the environment, and watch the people coming and going. In days of old, guests would have dinner in the grand dining room then return to the grand hall to dance the night away while the orchestra played in the very top of the Inn. How magical to imagine this scene from our vantage point near the fireplace.
The night we arrived happened to be Daniel’s birthday, so we had a celebratory dinner in the Inn’s dining room. They had a wonderful buffet with prime rib and all the trimmings, we fulled our bellies to the brim!
We finished dinner just in time for a quick sunset walk around the boardwalks surrounding the Old Faithful Inn. What a wondrous sight! The sun dipping down behind the clouds…geysers steaming… the river flowing softly towards other places. It’s been an amazing day at the Old Faithful Inn.
If you have questions about the Old Faithful Inn or Yellowstone National Park, we’d love to hear from you! Drop us an email!