There are a lot of great places to stay in Montana, but very few that are as cool, playful, and Instagram-ready as the RSVP Motel BZN in Bozeman. Located a five-minute drive or 20-minute walk from downtown, it’s a re-imagining of the motel concept for 2020 and beyond.
The new owners left the old Rainbow Motel neon sign for a touch of the retro, but the other aspects of this Bozeman motel are thoroughly modern, from the electric car charging station to the keycode door locks to the farm-fresh food in the restaurant.
Unlike many hip design hotels though, RSVP Motel keeps it fun and playful, with a refreshing lack of the common “look how cool and aloof we are” attitude. You’ve got to love a motel whose website starts with “Don’t worry, we definitely have champagne.” as its first line of text on the home page. When you get to the check-in desk, there’s a button that says, “Press for champagne.” (Yes we did.) Then this sign at the left directs you to the combo restaurant, coffee shop, and bar.
The new owners kept the sign and the bones of the original motel on this site, but then completely transformed it into an upscale, design-focused property that looks nothing like a roadside stop from the 50s. Yes, you can still park in front of your room and the swimming pool is in the middle of that parking lot, but the motel comparisons go out the window after that.
For one thing, you’ll actually want to hang out in your room. The furnishings are very comfortable, there are lots of pops of color, and there’s something interesting for your eyes to rest on even if you never turn on the TV.
The Queen Bed room descriptions may have “cozy” in the name, but the RSVP Motel doesn’t try to trick you into booking one without knowing what you’re getting. The room description online says, “IMPORTANT: These rooms are very small.” Think of them like a step up from a pod hotel room, at 100 square feet, but you still get all the nice amenities like a coffee maker and good toiletries in the bathroom. They go up from there to one with a king bed, one with two queen beds, or a queen with a pull-out bed for the regular rooms.
The suites here are more than twice the size of a typical motel room though and are the top choice if you want to spread out. Named as Sweet, these have a stylish living room area that may be nicer than your one at home. Or if you want to prepare some of your own food, some have a kitchen area with high counter dining chairs. The very best choice is the King Sweet with Patio, the numbers 1-5 that are closest to the restaurant and lobby. We didn’t get to use our patio much because of the weather, but with their own individual fireplaces, these add a whole other dimension to your stay.
We enjoyed 300-thread-count sheets, kimono robes, a range of pillows, and a large bathroom with two sinks in this King Sweet with Patio. This bath had Gilchrist and Soames bath products in refillable bottles in the shower. There’s an impressive line-up of amenities throughout though, including individual refrigerators, large smart TVS, fast Wi-Fi, and nice La Perla bath products in other rooms. My only complaints were four hangers between the two of us on the open rack for hanging our clothes. A lot of oft-overlooked details were taken care of here though, like individual reading lights, plenty of charging outlets, and a conscious limit to the amount of throwaway plastic.
The swimming pool shows up prominently in the RSVP Motel Instagram posing shots, but be advised it’s a very seasonal offering at this latitude. By the time we showed up the second week of September, it was closing for the season, not to reopen again for another eight months or so. Outside of summer, there’s a fire pit to gather round, plus another fireplace in the lobby area. When snow is not covering the ground, the hotel offers some pink cruiser bikes you can borrow.
The Farmer’s Daughters Cafe and Restaurant here is a real standout, drawing a crowd of fans that goes beyond the guests. Featuring a menu that’s farm-to-table, mostly organic, and health-focused, it’ll get your day (or mid-day) started out right.
It’s an attractive space that will make your mouth water with all the options available. We tried a Glowing Green smoothie, sauteed sweet potatoes, and yogurt parfait with house-made granola and local berries. Prices are reasonable: the highest-priced option is a $14.95 champagne mimosa breakfast with multiple items. They can also deliver to your room from 7:00 to 3:00. See more about the restaurant here.
Otherwise, you’ve got plenty of great dining and drinking options in downtown Bozeman. I’d especially recommend Plonk for dinner, wine, and cocktails, or Jam on Main for other meals. Plus there’s no shortage of brewpubs in this city.
Rates at the RSVP Motel BZN range from around $130 to $280 most of the year: lowest when it’s cold and Montana State University is not in session, highest for summer and big college weekends. It’s best to book direct at their website to find package deals and special discounts, but you can always price compare at Hotels.com.
Review and photos by editor Tim Leffel, who was hosted at RSVP Motel BZN while working with Bozeman Tourism on a travel article for another publication. As always, they had no input on the text and all opinions are his own.