What a treasure this place is. My husband and I spent our honeymoon here in early January, and although we were excited and had high expectations, they were all blown away. This might be a long review, so if you're in a hurry, move on. I'm better at thorough and honest than quick.
From the booking process, to our departure and ride back to the airport, the whole experience was a pleasure. No place is ever perfect, but at Paws Up, they try to cater to your every wish, and no detail is left undone. Some of the details we noticed and appreciated were: Our deck was salted in the mornings so we wouldn't have much ice if we went out to the hot tub or to leave the cabin. There is plenty of laundry soap and dryer sheets in the laundry room of the cabin. In addition to generous-sized Aveda toiletries, there was a first aid kit and tub-tea with the paws up logo to enjoy a scented soak in the large jacuzzi tub. In the loft upstairs, there were games like Uno, Scrabble and Monopoly as well as poker chips and a chess board downstairs. The fridge was stocked with water and soft drinks when we arrived, and each bottle of water we drank was replaced the next day. Each flatscreen TV was set up with surround sound. The paper delivered each day was the local paper, so we could get the national news we wanted, but also enjoy reading about the local dogsled race and weather. (We travel often and are worn out on USA Today!) Many of the snacks in the basket on our counter were made with local ingredients, like buffalo jerky and huckleberry candy. The turndown service included not only chocolate but also a local token like an indian poem, or a leather string with beads. Staff members not only remembered our names, but where we were from, and that we were celebrating our honeymoon. We used our fireplace a lot (for both atmosphere and because the temperatures were well below freezing), and both the logs and kindling were replenished at least once a day so we always had more than enough.
It's details like this that truly do make it a luxury resort. The staff actually care if you're having a good time. They were each friendly and eager to please, but never nosy or obsequious. One staff member, Doug, impressed us during our entire stay. He picked us up from the airport (at midnight, nonetheless) . Because I had felt a cold coming on, I asked if there was a market on resort property but there is not, so he stopped at the 24-hour Walgreens so I'd be able to get whatever I would need. How accomodating, since it was now near 1 a.m. and we were keeping him from going home for the night! On the way to the resort he told us a great deal about the area, including the history of the land, Indian tribes and names of the mountain ranges. As we later found out, he's written a book about the area, so he's truly an expert.
The day after our arrival we had taken about 5 pictures before our camera died and we realized we'd left the charger dock at home. We were irritated with ourselves but decided to just see if we could somehow buy another one. I went to the reception barn and asked if there was anyone going into town that day. I wondered if we could order a camera over the phone from Best Buy and have someone pick it up while in town. "No problem!" we were told. Doug was just on his way into town, so he could stop. He left, and we called Best Buy. When the manager of the store would not let us make a purchase over the phone, we figured we would just have to go without. But wait! Doug decides this is not a problem, and pays for the camera and memory card with his own money from his pocket. No worries! Then, when we ask for a ride back to the cabin to get cash to pay him back, we're again told "No problem! You go enjoy yourselves. When he gets back, we'll reimburse him and just add it to your bill. Then we'll send someone out to your home to deliver your new camera." They not only brought us our camera, memory card and receipt, but made sure we got the mail-in rebate form that came with the memory card. :)
The rest of the week was very smooth. Whether there were only a few guests on property or many, it always felt as if it was just our place. We stayed in a big timber home and it was every bit as beautiful as the pictures in the brochure and online. The decorations were rustic yet elegant and the furniture was luxurious. The beds are huge and outfitted with featherbeds and down comforters. You need steps to climb into them, and it's tempting to just stay there all day. High thread-count sheets, bath robes and slippers kept us comfortable and warm.
The food was fantastic, although the chefs there must really love leeks and capers. It seems as if they're in everything! The menu at Pomp changes periodically, and while the menu was delicious on our first dinner at Pomp, we inquired if there would be a steak on the menu later in the week. We were told there was some being flown in, and was there a certain cut or anything that we would prefer? At this point I commented to the waiter that so far during our stay, we felt as if we were the owners of the resort. The chef prepared a special complimentary "Amuse" (tiny appetizer, almost tapas-like but fancier) each night, and it was always something creative and yummy. (I've never had lamb's cheek before, but who knew it was so delicious!) We were also impressed with the meals we had delivered to our cabin. It's amazing how at a hotel your food can get cold between the kitchen and your 6th-floor room, yet at Paws Up it goes from the restaurant, through 4-degree weather and snow in a van, and still arrives hot with beautiful presentation. Try the Last Best Burger for lunch. It's as good as it sounds.
As for the activities, we were there to relax and rest, so no snowshoeing or cross-country skis for us. We wanted to ride not work, so we went dogsledding and snowmobiling. Both were wonderful! The dogsledding was as fun as we'd hoped, and the dogs were friendly and playful. They truly do love to run! The mushers were kind, answered all of our questions and let us give the dogs treats after our ride. There was a stop mid-way to enjoy hot chocolate by a campfire. We saw both deer and elk, and the scenery was gorgeous. My only complaint is that for as expensive as this adventure is, it was very short. Part of this I think was because the trail that had enough snow was just a shorter trail. But still we paid top dollar for an activity that lasted not even an hour. The snowmobiling made me nervous at first, as the guide said it's not unusual for guests to get stuck in the snow or fall off the sled, but not to worry, they'd be there to help. Once we got on, it was obvious that as long as you go at a pace that matches your ability, it was easy, safe and lots of fun. There were two guides, so my husband could take off and get his thrill for a little faster ride in, and the other guide stayed with me when I wanted to be a bit more cautious. We caught up and stayed together every 10 minutes or so. The trails were wonderful, the scenery was truly spectacular and despite the 3-below-zero temperature, we were outfitted enough that we didn't really get cold. We saw a couple of moose, including a calf, several beautiful views and Garnett, the ghost town. Since it was too icy to go for a sleigh ride, I went to the stables to see the riding arena and the horses. The man in charge, "Cricket" was great fun and let us feed treats to the enormous draft horses.
On days with no activities, we enjoyed the spa services. We had a couples' massage in our cabin that was fantastic! I haven't been to lots of spas, but I've been to some good ones (La Costa, Four Seasons Hualalai, Mandara in Aruba) this massage was one of the best if not the best I've ever had. They bring everything to set up in front of your fireplace, which could not be more relaxing, and the massage ended with a wonderful facial. Our second spa experience was at the bunkhouse (the spa in the winter) for a hot stone massage. It was good, but I'd recommend the in-home massage for sure.
I've gone on plenty long enough and it probably sounds as if I should do PR for the resort. Truly, we just had a really great time at this special place and will absolutely go back.
While our experience was wonderful, I do think a (very) few areas could be improved upon. Since they already provide upscale toiletries in each bathroom, I'd add a tube of chapstick. It gets cold and dry in the winter in Montana! Also, I was a little dissapointed that there was no actual "spa" facility. The prices of the spa were reasonable compared to others, but usually that includes access to wet and dry saunas, whirlpools, plunge pools and such. I suppose this is because it's more of a ranch than a spa destination. Also, I was confused as to whether or not gratuity was included, and if so, for which things? Dining? Transportation? Just activities? We tipped well at the spa, then later realized that the prices include gratuity. No big deal, as we were well pampered and they did a good job, it just wasn't all that clear. Also, on many activities in the 'winter adventure guide' it says that at the end you'll receive a picture in a paws-up frame. We didn't receive this for either activity, although it was supposed to be part of both. When I inquired, they said they were out of frames, but did eventually find one to give us. We did get our picture taken on the snowmobile trip, and got that in the mail a few weeks later in a paper frame. It didn't matter much, since we had a new camera and tons of pictures, and we did end up getting a paws up frame. It just was odd to have to ask about it. In hindsight I'd just let it go.
That's it! There can't possibly be anything else to mention. It's a fabulous, beautiful place. Go there, get away from it all and have fun. It's a welcome retreat from regular life. :) After we left, we spent the next two weeks working (in the TV business) at two of Hawaii's great resorts: Four Seasons Hualalai and Turtle Bay Resort. They are spectacular, but we spent the whole two weeks wishing we were back in Montana.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.