Holiday Inn West Yellowstone Review

Hotels & Lodging, Montana, USA
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A few friends of mine planned a trip to West Yellowstone to ride snowmobiles and invited me. I never did ride snowmobiles ever before but was certainly curious and agreed to join them. I will write more about this in a different post but let me tell you this – I had a blast and it was one of the best days ever in my life so far. I have been to West Yellowstone before while visiting the Yellowstone National Park, but never during Winter when the park roads are closed for traffic.

 

Booking & Stay Details

The trip was just a weekend getaway and I booked right as we agreed on the dates. This meant that I actually booked about five weeks in advance. This is rare for me, as I mostly do not even book five days in advance. I booked the hotel online through Rakuten, to earn extra cashback besides the loyalty points of the hotel and rewards points I will collect with my credit card. I booked the cheapest room available which turned out to be a King Room and was around $130/night. 

Location

The Holiday Inn West Yellowstone is located in the heart of town. It is an easy walk to a lot of restaurants, shops, and tourist spots. This makes the Holiday Inn West Yellowstone the perfect basecamp to explore the town and of course Yellowstone National Park. Our snowmobile rental spot was only four blocks away. Parking is complimentary at the hotel but is also free at most other locations. The hotel is located away from the two main roads going through town, which gives you a more peaceful and quiet stay. 

Holiday Inn West Yellowstone
Holiday Inn West Yellowstone

Check-In

Our trip originated in Salt Lake City, where we met and then rode together to West Yellowstone. From SLC it’s about a five-hour drive to get here. It was a beautiful day and the roads were clear all the way just before West Yellowstone. There we had some slight snowdrift on the roads and a little bit of ice as well. Overall nothing bad and we made it safely to the Holiday Inn West Yellowstone.

On Friday morning, the day of check-in, I received an E-Mail from IHG that my room got upgraded. There was an option to check in online or through the app but I decided to just arrive and see what will happen. 

We arrived just around 5 p.m. and headed inside to check in. I was first in line and after a quick ID check, I had my room keys in hand. Usually, the check-in agents are a bit more proactive during the process and give you additional information about the hotel and its amenities. However, he pointed out what the easiest way was to get to my room. However, I completely missed the first elevator I got told to use and had used the second one, further down the hallway. After that, I had to backtrack a little bit to get to my room.

Front Desk

1 King Bed Executive Suite (Room 326)

The suite has a long entryway with a bench and hangers to the right as you enter. The small niche with the hangers also holds an ironing board and iron. As you continue down the entryway you get to the living area of the suite. It starts with a dining counter and two hair chairs. On the other side of the counter is a little kitchen area. It features a sink, microwave, coffee machine, and refrigerator. There is no kitchenware whatsoever. 

Following the counter is a sofa bed with a cocktail table in front of it. Next to it, in the corner is a comfy sofa chair and a light stand. The other corner of the living area has a window in each wall right at the corner and a dining table nearby. Because of the two windows, there is a lot of light in the dining area. Under one window is the AC unit and it can make it uncomfortable to sit at the table when cold air is blowing in your neck in the summertime. The dining area is immediately followed by an electric fire pit which resembles a wood-burning fire pit. It is controlled with a remote which was sitting on a ledge above the firepit. The floor immediately in front of the firepit is tiled rather than carpeted like the rest of the room. Adjacent to the fire bit is a dresser and above it is a large wall-mounted flatscreen TV. The remote for the TV was sitting on top of the dresser. 

Next to the dresser is the door leading into the bedroom of the suite. The bedroom has one window on the left side of the room. Underneath the window is another AC unit which can be set separately from the living room. The king-sized bed is centered in the room against the back wall. On either side is a nightstand with a lamp on top of it. The inside wall features a pretty well-sized wall closet with sliding doors. The space between the bed and closet is a little narrow. Next to the closet is the vanity with a single sink and a large wall-mounted mirror. It took me a while to find the light switch for that spot as this one hides behind the large flatscreen TV in the bedroom. This TV sits on top of another dresser and is directly in front of the bed between the door to the living room and bathroom.

The bathroom itself only contains the shower with glass sliding doors and the toilet. It’s also a rather small bathroom considering that there is a second door leading into the bathroom. This door leads back out to the living room. In a small niche in the living room is another small vanity with a single sink and mirror. This setup allows the bedroom and living room with the sofa bed to be a separate sleeping area if you share the suite. Everyone will have access to the same bathroom but don’t have to cross through the other side “territory” 😉 This is a bit of a unique setup but a good idea actually. Perfect for families with kids. 

Public Areas & Amenities

Now in terms of amenities, this hotel has quite a few of them to offer. First of all, there is a beautiful lobby space opposite the front desk. It features a wooden table with chairs in the corner next to the main entrance and a few seating possibilities including chairs, benches, and sofas with a TV and firepit. Perfect to meet up for any planned excursion with the rest of the group and it is also the pick-up location for tour buses. Above the front desk, you see a huge painting stretching all the way across the room. It’s one of the favorite landmarks in Yellowstone. Do you know which one?

Lobby

Business Center

The business center is down the left hallway almost opposite the front desk. Inside is a desk with one workstation, a printer, and, to my surprise, a scanner. I usually never see a scanner in a business center, not even in fancy hotels. The use of the business center is complimentary but keep your visits brief so that other guests have also the option to use it. If you are in need of printing or scanning services, these can also be performed by the front desk agent. The business center is available 24/7.

Business Center

Swimming Pool and Hot Tub

As you continue down the same hallway, you will find the large indoor pool on your right. You can’t miss it as there are multiple windows in the hallway allowing a good view of the pool area. The pool is pretty big and there is a whirlpool next to it. This area was highly frequented during my visit. To access the pool area you need your room key. The pool area is open from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m. daily.

Fitness Center

Another door, inside the pool area, leads to the fitness center. It is a rather small fitness center and features just the basic workout equipment. I don’t think you will need many workouts anyway while visiting this region, as there are so many outdoor activities in the area. The fitness center is already open at 5:30 a.m. and closes at the same time as the pool at 11 p.m. daily.

Guest Laundry

Continue on the same hallway and follow it around the little turn it makes. On your right side, you will find the guest laundry coming up. It’s the only door which looks like a room door but has a small window in it. Inside are two washers and four dryers for guests to use. You need your room key to access this area. Laundry detergent, if needed, can be bought at the front desk. What surprised me the most, was the complimentary use of this facility. Correct, there is no charge to either use the washer or dryer. This is an awesome feature. You might not even need it for short getaways but if you are here for a little bit, it’s a great amenity to have. I for sure made use of it after we came back from snowmobiling. 

Game Room

Yes, believe it or not, but there is a game room in this hotel. It is not a casino or adult game room. It’s more geared for kids and teenagers. It is located next to the on-site restaurant “The Branch”. Inside a six large flatscreen TVs and each one comes with an Xbox. But there is more. There is a tabletop air hockey game and a soccer table. Basically, you can play here no matter your age and have some fun. The Game Room is open from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m. daily.

Conference Center

Next to the restaurant is the 10.000 sq-ft conference center. It was used during one evening of my stay for a game of Bingo. Also perfect for bigger gatherings.

Oregon Short Line 1903 Executive Railroad Car

Next to the restaurant, you find something special. If you don’t look close enough you might miss it coming from the hallway connecting the restaurant and hotel. There is a historic railroad car. It has its own part of the building and because it is located inside, it’s safe from the harsh weather which exists here throughout the year. This car was used by Oregon Short Line Dignitaries to travel in elegance and grace. After it got retired from the railroad it became a summer retreat for its various owners. In 1995 it was restored and then moved to its current location where it is now a museum. You can visit this museum railroad car free of charge and you don’t need to be a hotel guest either. This museum is open to the public.

Dining

The Branch Restaurant

is the on-site restaurant of the hotel. It serves food throughout the day. Showing your room key gives you a 10% discount in the restaurant.

Hallway at the front entrance of the restaurant

Breakfast

Breakfast starts early and is every day from 6 a.m. until 10 a.m. The Branch is a full-service restaurant and most of the time you can only order a-la-carte. Sometimes there is a buffet available as well but that seems to be rather rare or only when there are many people staying at the hotel. Breakfast was pretty good here and nobody in our group had any complaints. It is, however, an additional charge and not included in your regular room rate. The prices are fair and you pay about $16 for a good breakfast. Of course depending on your choices. 

Other Dining Hours

The Branch is closed for lunch and you are probably out and about anyway. It re-opens at 4 p.m. for happy hour and dinner service. Food is served until 9 p.m. every day. The bar opens at 4 p.m. as well and closed at 10 p.m. daily. We had dinner here on our last night and the food was and service was great. I had the Bison Stroganoff which was delicious. The advantage of dining at the hotel is of course that you can charge it to your room and earn additional hotel rewards points if you choose to do so. 

Bison Stroganoff

Marketplace

Next to the front desk is a small marketplace. You can buy some snacks, drinks, and other stuff you might need or crave during your stay. It’s a small selection but it can help if you are in need.

Market Place

Coffee and Tea Station

Next to the front desk is a small tea station. I wouldn’t even call it a coffee station as there is only coffee served during the morning hours. Later on, throughout the day, you can only get hot water to either make yourself some tea or chocolate milk which is available in pre-packed packs right there.

Coffee (mornings) & Tea Station

Other Stuff

There are a few soda dispensers and ice machines scattered throughout the hotel. One is at the other entrance almost all the way down the left hallway. 

Conclusion

Well, what can I say other than that I had a fantastic time here? The Holiday Inn West Yellowstone is amazing. It offers a lot of amenities all free of charge, no matter if you are a top-tier loyalty member or just a regular guest. The room upgrade definitely made my stay even more comfortable although I barely ever needed the space as we were always out and about. The service was great as well and consistent throughout the stay. 

Holiday Inn West Yellowstone
Backside of the Holiday Inn West Yellowstone

This will be my new favorite place to go when visiting Yellowstone National Park. You better plan ahead during the summer months as this hotel sells out easily and also can get expensive if you book last minute. I been in town and was looking for a place to stay for the same night and would have preferred to stay here but did end up at the Yellowstone Park Hotel as they were the only ones with rooms available. By the way, both properties are managed by the same company. 

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