It’s been a few years since I’ve last been to a National Park Service hotel. For the uninitiated, this harkens back to the old, “glory” days when only the privileged few could afford to venture out into the wilds. Today’s old lodges still to me summon up the grandeur, rusticity and comfort of what travel in the wilderness used to be. It is, yes, a romanic idea of what travel can and could be. Today’s experience, like so may others (think air travel), is utterly utilitarian, unromantic and without spirit. That being said, most would agree that some things are better today than they were back then.
Folks accustomed to today’s basic amenities, such as AC (OK, this really is off the table since it didn’t exist when many park lodges were built) and private bathrooms, will be surprised to discover what the wealthy of yesteryear enjoyed - and you probably won’t like everything you see (or don’t, as is usually the case). Below are accommodations at Mammoth Hot Springs, in Yellowstone. This is pretty typical of what I’ve experienced in most of the lodges in Glacier, the Blue Ridge/Smokies, as well as the Canadian Rockies. Enjoy the experience and history. There’s very little left like these great lodges.
1. Not all rooms come with on-suite bathrooms. Many have a shared hallway bathroom - think back to your college days. The ones that do have a sink outside the bathroom. And…they normally have two faucets. Don’t freak out.
2. Hopefully, you’re not more than 5’ 6” tall. That’s about the distance between the floor and the shower head.
3. Like the heat. Plan to keep the window(s) open. Keep in mind that at Mammoth Hot Springs, the lodge is located near sulfurous springs that make the air smell like rotten eggs - i.e. you may not want to keep your window open. Instead, us this:
4. You may not have the outlets you want.
5. Dining facilities are generally on premises - in the same building or adjacent building at Mammoth.
5. Enjoy the experience! There’s very little left like it.
This is what the Canadians get. I know.