At the Kalispell Grand Hotel in the Flathead Valley of Montana, you can get a taste of frontier America while sleeping in a comfortable downtown room.
Just north of Flathead Lake is the attractive city of Kalispell, which makes a great base for exploring the northwest part of the state. It’s just seven miles from the lake, 17 miles from Whitefish ski mountain, and 31 miles from Glacier National Park. Lodging rates here are a better deal than some of those other spots though, including at the central Kalispell Grand Hotel.
It’s not very common to find a hotel in the Western USA that has been open for more than 100 years, especially outside the big cities. This one opened less than two decades after the city was founded though, in 1912. It was able to get away with then-high rates of $2 per night because it boasted “such privileged services as running water, door locks, and wake-ups.”
After some ups and downs over the years, a new owner renovated the building in 1989, reducing the 51 rooms with shared baths to 40 rooms and suites with private baths. As the only remaining hotel right downtown in Kalispell–walking distance to the great local brewery and multiple restaurants–it’s once again the premier place to stay in the city.
The entrance is right off the main drag with complimentary parking behind the building. The first floor contains the lobby, restaurant/bar, and kitchen, while guestrooms are up the original grand staircase or via an elevator.
The Kalispell Grand functions like a bed and breakfast, getting you on your way to activities in the morning with a couple of hot items, divine pastries or muffins, yogurt, cereal, fruit, juice, and coffee or tea. You can admire some of the antiques, historic photos, and original artwork that are placed sparingly around the lobby and dining area.
The standard guest rooms are named the Glacier category here, in honor of the national park up the road a bit. They have very comfortable king beds or two doubles with pillowtop mattresses and several pillows. The closets (some open) contain quality wood hangers that are removable, iron and ironing board, cable TV, and complimentary WiFi. Unlike some historic hotels, these have been revamped to give you five USB outlets and a few regular ones you don’t have to crawl around to find. Baths come with some standard toiletries.
The Grand and Grand View rooms have more space and the ones with views look out at nearby mountains. They face the street though, so there’s a bit more noise if you’re sensitive. The Family Rooms are set up with three beds: a king in one room and two beds for the kids in another connecting room. The Executive Suites are one large room but also have two beds: a king in one area and a queen in the other.
All rooms are shower-only except the top choice: the two Linderman Jetted Tub Suites. These are named after the original founder of the hotel and are the largest rooms. They have a jetted whirlpool tub in a larger bath of course, plus more furniture for lounging.
This is a pet-friendly hotel and there’s no surcharge for bringing your four-legged creature inside for the night.
Optional services on site include massages in a dedicated spa area, a hair salon, and a combination art gallery and co-op gift shop right off the lobby. The best thing about this location though is that after some long drives across Montana, you can leave your car parked and stretch your legs for a while in the compact downtown.
Standard room rates at the Kalispell Grand Hotel start below $100 per night in the off-season ($75 for the “Economy Queen”) and top out at around $185 for the best suite in summer. Book direct at the hotel site or you can check online at Hotels.com or Expedia.
Review and photos by editor Tim Leffel, who was hosted one night at the property while researching articles in Glacier Country, Montana for another publication.