MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, WYO. — A beloved, historic hotel in Yellowstone National Park has reopened following a $30 million renovation that included room upgrades and major work to overhaul its electrical systems and stabilize the structure in the seismically active park.
While the Mammoth Hotel has already been reopened and hosting guests for several days in August, the National Park Service made it official Friday, with a ribbon-cutting, room tours and a morning celebrating the history of the hotel that serves as the hub of Mammoth Hot Springs, where the Park Service’s Yellowstone headquarters are located.
“We’ve got some of the most important cultural resources in the world in this park, and this is one of them,” Superintendent Cam Sholly said of Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel during Friday’s festivities.
The multi-year renovation and upgrade was in the planning stages for nearly 20 years, and preserved the building’s late 1930s art moderne style, as originally designed by architect Robert Reamer, who also designed the Old Faithful Inn and redesigned Lake Hotel.
The latest changes are part of a long line of upgrades to the hotel that reflect changes in transportation, park management, visitation, and facility conditions. It reduced the total number of rooms from 97 to 79 by adding new private bathrooms to every guest room, new windows and new conference rooms.
Many of the changes are apparent, but some may not be so obvious to first-time visitors, said Yellowstone spokeswoman Morgan Warthin. That includes seismic stabilization, a complete electrical rewiring, the addition of a newly excavated mechanical room and a series of accessibility upgrades, like new public restrooms and a new elevator.
But it also includes detailed craftsmanship like the restoration of historic mahogany woodwork and a custom-made staircase handrail that features a historically accurate bronze inlay, she said. The park service also did major preservation work on the hotel’s iconic, wall-sized, wooden U.S. map, and the map room now includes a small bar, where guests can order coffee and cocktails.
About a dozen rooms include refurbished hardware from the hotel’s original construction, including elements like sinks, doorknobs, hinges and even clawfoot bathtubs, said Peter Galindo, Yellowstone project engineer.
One of those historic rooms was a hit with Jan Riemek and Deborah Saegesser, who were visiting the park from Switzerland and spent Thursday night in Mammoth.
“We love the room. The beds were really comfortable and the bathroom is really nicely done in the old style” said Riemek, who booked a one-night stay after watching rates drop online while staying in West Yellowstone.
Galindo recounted the hard work put in by park employees, contractors, concessioners and others, including one point where more than 70 people were working on the project in sub-zero weather.
“This is our chance to get it right,” Galindo recalls thinking at the time. “You start working on these old buildings and they kind of become like children. You start to take ownership of them, because they belong to you and the American public.”
Park County Travel Council Marketing Director Claudia Wade said the “history of Yellowstone National Park is fascinating, and it’s important that we share it with visitors.”
“The Mammoth area with its museum and military history provides an opportunity for travelers to learn about the early days of Yellowstone,” Wade said. “The renovation of Mammoth Hotel offers a historical aspect, as well as many amenities that are expected by today’s travelers.”
That includes amenities like Internet service for hotel guests, and even televisions with satellite programming in the hotel’s high-end suites, said Rick Hoeninghausen, director of sales and marketing for Xanterra Collections. The company operates the hotel as Yellowstone’s primary long-term lodging and activities concessioner.
Hoeninghausen said Mammoth is the only hotel in the park with TVs, and that the addition was made in suites because some guests expect it, and the hotel will be open in winter months, when people are spending more hours in their rooms.
New meeting space built in the former Xanterra offices over the hotel lobby should help attract off-season groups, as the property aims to stay open nearly year-round, Hoeninghausen said.
Nightly rates for a standard room will typically top out around $210, he said, but will rise somewhat according to market demand during busy weeks.
Visitors looking to stay at Mammoth should book early, because demand is apparently already surging for Summer 2020. A check online Saturday for a Wednesday stay in mid-July in a standard room shows a nightly rate of $277 plus tax.
Contact Ruffin Prevost at 307-213-9818 or [email protected].