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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Staying at the Kalispell Grand Hotel

Last month I took a road trip with my mom and pup to Montana. I was hosted at the Kalispell Grand Hotel and it was one of the best hotel experiences I've had in quite some time. The hotel is just over 100 years old and smack dab in the middle of Downtown Kalispell on Main Street. You go out the front door and you're just steps away from awesome restaurants and shopping. 

Kalispell Montana

While many of the other buildings downtown have taken on new identities, the Kalispell Grand has remained a landmark of the town since 1912. Originally, the hotel was the go-to luxury hotel in Kalispell, catering to well-off business travelers with rooms going for a whopping $2 a night. Even at this rate, they rarely had empty rooms. People really liked running water and locks on their doors, enough to pay twice as much as at other hotels. There have been a few ups and downs throughout the years, with several major renovations occurring, but it's definitely in an "up" moment right now.

Unlike many other hotels around right now, including the majority in and around Kalispell, the Grand is locally owned and operated and aims to make you feel at home when you're away from home. They also support local crafters and artists, with an art gallery selling their works right off the lobby, plus more items sold within the lobby, including handmade hats, pillowcases repurposed as reusable grocery bags and pet food bags repurposed into totes (which I actually saw being made one morning). 

The lobby is homey and has a nice lived-in feeling (in a good way). You feel like you're actually supposed to use the furniture, instead of being afraid to sit on it. Every day I was there, I saw people just hanging out talking to friends on the couches or at one of the number of tables and chairs available. I loved that, especially since everyone would say hello as you passed by and gave you a feeling of belonging, even when you're only in town for a few days.

The staff are all super friendly as well and were all really helpful. They were always there to answer any questions about your room, the hotel or the city in general, plus they offer tons of material to help you fully enjoy the Flathead Valley region while you're visiting. And actually, one afternoon I was going out and heard a visitor talking about having to leave really early the next morning to catch her flight and the staff member offered to put out a full breakfast earlier than 5:30 to accommodate her. You get that kind of service almost nowhere.

When's the last time you were given a real key at check-in? Decades for some of you probably. Well, Kalispell Grand gives you one, making it feel like you've come home each time you go up to your room. It's just another small thing that personalizes your stay and gives you more of a connection to the city.

Speaking of, let's talk about their rooms. We got a double with two full-size beds. The room was really bright with that big window that let all the sun stream in all day long. You also got a bunch of pillows, which I am in favor of, because pillows rock. And they aren't those sucky, normally-flat hotel pillows you're used to getting when you stay somewhere. These are fluffy and really comfortable, as are the beds. I had some of the best sleep here. The beds have filled comforters (I'm guessing faux down), which keep you really warm. 

The hotel has free WiFi, too. You know how important that is to me. It saves money and allows me to work when I need to. Our room had a great little desk with comfortable chair to work at, which also had a dual outlet to plug in electronics. Believe it or not, this was not the only available outlet and I have to commend them for that, because usually you get one open outlet in your whole room and it's usually in the bathroom right next to the sink. We were able to plug in at least 5 things without having to break out my surge protector.

The bathroom was laid out well, making use of all the available space without taking away from the user friendliness. I had had a recent experience with a bad shower in a previous hotel, where I couldn't get hot water and there was absolutely no water pressure. I'm not sure why this always seems to be an issue at hotels. You'd think they'd have figured it out by now. Luckily, the Grand has done their homework. Not only is the shower big, with good pressure and actual hot water, but they placed the showerhead high up on the wall, so tall people can actually wash their hair. I know I don't have that problem, but my husband has and he's not that tall.

Forgot some toiletries at home? Don't worry, the Kalispell Grand supplies soap and shampoo for you. I've also been told that they can help you with anything else you might have forgotten. I didn't have to test that out, but when I told the manager that my dog is so picky about things that I went to Target to buy her a plastic plate for food, she told me I should have just come down and let them know, so they could figure something out. No biggie. I was going there anyway and now we have a travel plate.

Your room rate includes an extensive breakfast as well. You can get coffee and tea all day, plus there are fresh-baked cookies and popcorn every afternoon, but the breakfast is where it's at! Every morning there's a large spread: several different homemade breads, cereals, oatmeal, fresh fruits, yogurt, bread and English muffins, quiche and more. You'll also find orange juice, ice tea, peanut butter, jelly and butter. If you can't find something down there you like, you probably don't eat food.

This setup is available 24 hours a day: coffee (including decaf) with sugar, sugar substitute, milk and creamer, different types of bagged tea with honey, which you can have in a real mug or a to-go cup.

Just want some ice water? They have that available all day, too. Eat your breakfast downstairs or grab a tray to take it back up to your room.

That chocolate coconut friendship bread is to die for. We ate it every morning. 

First of all, when do you see something this fancy at a hotel breakfast? Second, when does it actually taste good? There's even salt & pepper and hot sauce available to customize it for your liking.

Just want your morning toast? You got it! Toast up some bread or an English muffin and top it with butter, jam and/or peanut butter. Yum!

The ladies at the Kalispell Grand Hotel love dogs and they are totally okay with you leaving your pup in the room as long as they are good while they're there. We made Rikka this sweet little setup when we ran out to eat or do some shopping (because she can't really jump up or down on the beds) and she either slept or watched TV while we were out. Every time we came down with her the ladies cooed over her and gave her loves. When I asked if it was okay for us to leave her in the room when we went to a show in Bigfork, they just said to let them know if we wanted anyone to check on her. How awesome is that? 

As you can see, Rikka was really enjoying her stay here. And if your pup enjoys treats, the hotel provides homemade treats for them. Just ask at the front desk!

Though you have to walk a block or two to get to some grass for potties, the hotel is convenient for that as well, unlike a lot of hotels in downtown areas where there isn't any grass. Just up the street is also Depot Park, a great little pet-friendly park in front of the Chamber of Commerce. In fact, Kalispell is very pet-friendly as a whole. You'll find potty bags everywhere you go, even where dogs aren't exactly allowed. We bring our own, but you know, sometimes you run out. 

Staying at the Kalispell Grand Hotel was a unique experience and much more personal than if we'd stayed at a chain. I'd highly recommend it, and it's quite budget-friendly. Rates are affordable, running an average of $90-125 per night, depending on when you travel. Choose from a more luxurious option with a jetted tub, or a family suite with more room or a more economical option with a little less space. You also get free parking with your room in the lot behind the hotel. And if you need to relax a little (or a lot) more, book a massage at the spa in the hotel.

Find out more about the awesome of Kalispell Grand by checking them out online:
website | Facebook | photos by visitors on Instagram

Disclosure: My visit to Kalispell was sponsored by the Kalispell Convention and Visitor Bureau, but all opinions are 100% my own.

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