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Serene mountain views and the rush of a Virgin River at Driftwood Lodge; a HotelChatter Review
When visiting Zion National Park, many choose to experience this majestic slice of the Great Outdoors, well, outdoors. There are three campgrounds to choose from and, during the height of the summer, reservations are typically a must. Even the "off" season can get quite crowded given the right circumstances.
If your idea of roughing it, however, is staying in a budget motel, there are many to choose from in the adjacent town of Springdale, Utah. Dubbed "The Gateway to Zion," the town's main road, which leads straight to the national park, is dotted with name-brand motel chains, independent lodges and quaint inns. Many are located one right after the other. A bit of Internet sleuthing caused us to choose the Driftwood Lodge for a two-night weekend getaway.
Arriving on a Friday evening as the sun set, the Driftwood Lodge made a postcard-worthy first impression. The lodge, actually a collection of newer and older stand-alone buildings, was aglow in the last rays of light as a majestic mountain ridge and endless blue sky towered in the background.
The main building, right on Zion Park Boulevard, serves as the lobby and check-in was effortless. Renovated in 2013, it fit within the lodge theme, however, a very sanitized version. Wood floors, brick walls, brightly colored area rugs were all present but lacked a lived-in rustic appeal. A completely nit-picky observation, we know, and nothing a few throws and some random chotskies couldn't overcome.
A cheerful representative greeted us promptly and quickly imparted the lay of the land (how to get to our room, where to find the passcode for the free WiFi and a reminder to turn in our room keys at the end of the stay or face a $5 per card fee) before sending us on our way. No bell service was offered, but none was needed. It should also be pointed out that the front desk isn't staffed round-the-clock, however, someone is always available via telephone for emergencies.
Government Shutdown / Hotel News / AH&LA / Katherine Lugar / National Park Hotels / Hotel Industry Woes / → All Tags
If you didn't think the Government Shutdown affected hotels, think again.
The country's national parks are closing during the shutdown. People already inside the parks have two days to clear out. That includes the people who are staying at the Ahwahenee Hotel in Yosemite or the Lake Yellowstone Hotel (pictured above) and all other national park hotels (here's a full list here.) This could also affect business at hotels that are open near National Parks as the visitor numbers come to a screeching halt.
The Government Shutdown will also affect air travel which in turn always has a direct impact on hotels. Flight cancellations may happen, leaving folks in need of a hotel stay or unable to make their hotel reservation.
So far, we haven't seen much on the hotel side to freak out about. Indeed, it seems like business as usual for this hotel guest.
The government is shutting down and I'm over here trying to get more towels for my hotel room. #shutdown— Mathurin (@iqmatt) October 1, 2013
Keep reading for more tweets about the government shutdown affecting hotels!
It may not look like much, but trust us, this is an upgrade from the existing rooms.
The $10 million renovations have updated the lobby, the iconic dining-room and 43 guest rooms in the West Wing of the hotel. With an emphasis on retaining the historic character of the hotel, the project included authentic touches such as reinstallation the original bellhop call box behind a new bell porter desk and restoration of the original windows. The lobby also stays true to the Colonial Revival design with American-crafted furniture made with hardwood.
No grand hotel would be complete without some grand suites. Lake Yellowstone now has four completely new suites and the refurbishment of the existing Presidential Suite that might even make Theodore Roosevelt happy. The added suites feature queen or king beds, a living-room and a wet bar for entertaining in the woods. All new rooms still feature WiFi to stay connected and take it from us, this is a big deal.
One place that is quintessential Americana is our first and oldest National Park, Yellowstone. There are a handful of lodge-type accommodations in the park that boast uninterrupted views of mountains, lakes and some curious wildlife. Today, we bring you Lake Yellowstone Hotel, the butter-hued wooden building on the shores of the namesake glacial lake.
As part of its 120th birthday celebrations, the giant Colonial building is undergoing a facelift of which Phase 1 will be complete for the summer season. The majority of the hotel will see a modernization with the lobby, front desk, dining room and about half the rooms all getting a refreshed look. But one thing that will still be a unique feature is this vintage tour bus that takes guests to excursions around the lake. The White Model 706s are a blast from the early days of Yellowstone.
For those of you who aren’t National Parks-savvy, we must formally announce that January is a Big Deal, event-wise, for the West Coast’s biggest NPS hotel name. Northern California's famous Yosemite National Park, and in specific the iconic Ahwahnee Hotel on the Yosemite Valley floor, has been drawing ever-bigger crowds and marquee-name chefs with its annual Yosemite’s Chefs' Holidays series, which runs for eight sessions in 2013. JustLuxe.com got a peek at the first session, which ran January 6-8, and there are seven more to go including the finale January 30-31. Look for the complete schedule on the Ahwahnee page.
The Ahwahnee, for those not familiar, was finished in 1927, and is a masterpiece of grandiose traditional Arts & Crafts architecture, with some Native American elements, plus vast sweeping interior lines that reflect the vast mountain outside. It's a Historic Hotel of America, and management company Delaware North has taken every measure to preserve that "You just stepped back 90 years in time" feeling. In the wintertime, this translates to traditional recreation activities like the Curry Village Ice Rink (opened November in 2012) and guided full moon snowshoe walks (starting January 23rd in 2013--rates around $415 per night).
We, however, prefer the newer tradition of Chefs' Holidays, in which chefs and winemakers and foodies from coast to coast get cozy and chatty, sipping all kinds of wine and whipping up delicious morsels and enjoying those chilly wintertime Glacier Point views through the window.
If you thought Yellowstone National Park was only a place to visit in the summer months (along with throngs of tourists) think again.
An unexpected, but thrilling time to take a tour would be in the winter, and especially if you take advantage of Spring Creek Ranch’s new Winter Wildlife Safari program.
You’ll still get to see Old Faithful erupt, but due to lower temps (yes, it does get cold) the geyser bursts will be bigger than ever—and you’ll share the sight with fewer people. Then there’s the second best reason to come during the December-March season—riding around Yellowstone in a snowcoach for animal watching.
What kind of art do you stick in your lobby if you're a Great Lakes resort perched near the entrance to a major harbor, with several famous lighthouses within easy driving (or boating) distance? Well, if you're the Maumee Bay State Park Lodge, you don't just hang a giant painting of a stormy lighthouse scene; you take the entire lens of one and install that.
This is the original 1904 glass lens for the Toledo Lighthouse, made in Paris by Barbier and Bernard. Its beam of light was visible 16 miles around. Eventually it needed replacing and was removed in 1995, eventually ending up here at Maumee Bay in 2008. These days the lighthouse utilizes a lens made of plastic.
Hotel lobby design is something that hoteliers have been focusing on to wow guests upon first impressions. Grand lobbies are nothing new and the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park is no exception. Walking into the log cabin lodge certainly elicits oohs and ahhs and might cause some stick necks from gazing upwards. While the lobby is quite impressive, the awe inspiring design isn't left just for the lobby. The uniqueness and 'wild west' feel is carried through the guest rooms, dining room, and gift shop.
The Inn is smack in the middle of Yellowstone's most visited geothermal attraction, Old Faithful. The accommodation is as consistent as the geyser since it has been open for business since 1904, when it boasted steam heat and electric lighting. It has seen almost as much as the surrounding land, by successfully dodging forest fires, earthquakes and the throngs of tourists coming to admire the timber hotel.
Happy Independence Day! This year, we're celebrating with a patriotic look back at one of the United States' most historic hotels: the McKinley Park Hotel in Mt. McKinley National Park, Alaska. Really, what's more "nuclear family" traditional Americana than a National Park?
We recently came across a vintage pamphlet from a stay at the hotel in the summer of 1957. The yellowed pages tout the 86-room property as "a friendly hotel in Alaska's scenic land of the midnight sun" and a perfect location for spotting the multitude of wildlife of the park, whose land measures an impressive 1,939,493 acres.
Death Valley may not be the most attractive vacation prospect right now, what with the obscene gas prices, but if you want to see it soon (and you should), we couldn’t help but notice that temperatures right now are a pretty mild 90 degrees, with a high of 99 for tomorrow and back to 96 for Sunday.
Which, seeing as summer temperatures are normally soaring by now, really isn’t bad. Maybe it’s suffering from the same cold weather front as Vegas (currently a miserable 79) has been for the past few days.
If you want to make a run for it this weekend, we’d advise bypassing the swanky Furnace Creek - because you don’t go to Death Valley to play golf and live in a resort, do you?
No, you go to Death Valley to soak in nature, escape civilization and contemplate the magnitude of the earth and all that jazz.
And for that, we recommend Stovepipe Wells. It used to be the official National Park property in the Valley, before they switched to Furnace Creek (heresy!), and it’s just what you think of Death Valley as. Half an hour from the bustle of Furnace Creek, there’s just a motel, a restaurant and a general store.
Hotel Packages / Hotel Deals / Washington Hotels / National Park Hotels / Nature Retreats / → All Tags
The Quinault rainforest, as seen by HotelChatter last week. Sadly we failed to find Edward Cullen
Sometimes you want to end the year by partying your brain into a gutter and sometimes you want to turn your back on all the fake-happy Christmas parties and ignore the fact that another year is about to finish. And if you’re leaning the latter way this year, then you’re in for a treat, because two of the properties within Washington State’s Olympic National Park are offering a pretty good deal for the tail end of the year.
Stay one night for $99 at either Lake Quinault Lodge, in the middle of the Quinault Rainforest, or Kalaloch Lodge, on the coastal road up to Forks, and you can book a second night for $20.10 (because it’s the end of 2010, see).
We knew there was something fun in Wyoming! Get this: a cool hotel has popped up in Cody, Wyoming and features six themed suites. Among them: Annie Oakley and Lewis & Clarke.
The Cody, whose walls are made with lumber taken from planks that once surrounded Old Faithful, is also hardcore eco-conscious. Says the owner:
We have no paper products in the hotel except for tissue paper and that is biodegradable. Our breakfast has cloth napkins, china, and glass wear. So we're washing a lot of dishes.
You know, we might consider going totally paperless if we were to stay in the Lewis and Clark room. When in Rome, do as the Romans do ... and when in a themed room, you might as well apply the theme to your -- okay, we're done.