Photo courtesy of Yellowstone National Park Lodges/Xanterra
Old Faithful Inn
First things first: You don’t stay at Old Faithfull Inn for the luxury or the amenities (there’s no wifi, no AC, no TV’s in the rooms, and some don’t even have private bathrooms). You stay at the lodge to watch bison graze nearby, nonplussed by the busloads of tourists pulling up, and to be mere steps from the namesake geyser. And also, to sleep under the roof of the massive log-and-stone building that launched the iconic architecture style seen in parks across the West – from Yosemite to Glacier, Zion and Mount Ranier – known as National Park Service Rustic, or, “Parkitecture.” The original hotel was completed in 1904, constructed of lodgepole pine and stone from within the park; an east wing was added in 1914, and a west wing in 1927. But for the most part, the lodge remains much as tourists saw it a century ago, with it’s soaring, open lobby surrounding an enormous 4-sided, 86-foot stone fireplace. The original “Crow’s Nest” that leads to the roof terrace is off limits now, but the two mezzanine-level interior balconies are coveted seating areas for the nightly entertainment provided by park musicians. While the two “wings” have better views of Old Faithful and the geyser basin, you can’t beat the “Old House” for it’s historic charm.
By Deb Hopewell
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Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone National Park, WY
It’s quirky and creaky, but this historic (1903) lodge is still worth a stay. One reason is the location: You can slip out during the early-morning hours to enjoy rare solitude at Old Faithful, and from here, you’re a quick drive from the majority of the park’s other geothermal features. The other reason is the architecture. Considered to be the world’s largest log structure, the Inn uses tree-trunks in astonishingly creative ways (like the forked log railings of the balconies rising up from the hotel lobby). Rooms in the oldest, most authentic part of the property don’t offer private baths (guests there use shared facilities) but accommodations in the newer wings have full bathrooms and even sitting areas (in the suites).
By Kelly Bastone, AFAR Contributor
Old Faithful Inn
Old Faithful Inn was built in 1903-1904 with local logs and stone, the Inn is considered the largest log structure in the world. The towering lobby features a massive stone fireplace and a hand-crafted clock made of copper, wood and wrought iron serving as focal points. With 327 rooms, the Old Faithfull Inn is open from early May until mid-October and features a full-service restaurant, lounge, snack bar, gift shop and daily tours. This is one of the most beautiful and historic lodges in the park. Even if you can't stay in the lodge plan a dinner or lunch. The restaurant is great. Tasty meals, great atmosphere and don't forget, Old Faithful will entertain you while you visit.
By Jayne Davis
1 Grand Loop Rd, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190, USA