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“Waiting with great Anticipation” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Laughing Horse Lodge

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Laughing Horse Lodge
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22360 Hwy 83, Milemarker 71.5, Swan Lake, MT 59911   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 Swan Lake B&B and Inns
Bigfork Montana
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Waiting with great Anticipation”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 25, 2009

I own and operate a high-end bed and breakfast in Bigfork, Montana and it has been my pleasure for 9 years to send my guests down the Swan Valley to Kathleen's dining room at the Laughing Horse Lodge. My husband and I eat as often as possible during her open season. This time of year, I wait with anticipation for her May opening. She has fabulous selections for vacation and local foodies.

Many of my guests come from metropolitan areas known for fine cuisine and it is always great fun to listen to the breakfast conversation after I've referred them to dine at the Horse. Plus a personal recommendation from them weighs greatly on the other guests that have just heard of her menu selections for the first time. The comments of disbelief that such great food is right around the corner in such a small town as Swan Lake or Bigfork.

My favorite dishes are the Rancher entree dinner salad. I never met anyone that created a salad with such variety of color and taste (other than myself) The plate is designed with organic greens, fresh tomatoes, peppers, olives, cucumbers, pickled asparagus, hearts of palm, artichoke hearts and boiled egg ~~ topped with sizzling hot strips of natural Angus sirloin cooked to order. Then if it isn't perfect enough, savory gorgonzola cheese crumbles are sprinkled on top.

My husband Steve has declared with many I might add, "Kathleen's 1/2 lb. sirloin burger is undeniably the best burger in the world" He loves the handcrafted foccacia bun loaded with sauteed crimini mushrooms, sweet onions, apple smoked crisp bacon and bubbling smoked Gouda cheese......is your mouth watering right now? Aside the burger are the best steak fries seasoned to perfection.

And then if this isn't enough, we still have to indulge ourselves with her skillet chocolate chunk cookie baked in a cast iron pan and served with French Vanilla bean icecream. Or if our local delight is in season, don't leave without a piece of her huckleberry peach pie baked fresh each day. My customers will reserve a whole pie upon check-in so they have a special treat each night at my Inn.

Whether you're a vegetarian and order her Saffron Soba Noodle cake or a meat eater and select her Roasted Raspberry Glazed Buffalo Ribeye, you couldn't ask for a more diverse menu to meet your wants.

I urge you and all my customers to make the drive down the Swan Hwy for a meal at Kathleen's Laughing Horse Lodge......you can't be disappointed. But please MAKE RESERVATIONS!! She's not a hidden treasure any longer, but a fabulous find that I wait all winter with great anticipation for her return!

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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127 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    107
    14
    4
    2
    0
See reviews for
19
68
5
3
Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (16)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Philadelphia
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 12, 2009

I stayed at the Laughing Horse Lodge in May of '07 with my dad and brother as part of a Montana getaway shortly before being deployed to Iraq. We stayed for two nights, these couple of days were some of the most pleasant, relaxing and peaceful days that I've yet lived.

Swan Lake is a wonderfully cozy little town nestled in the mountains, and though the Lodge sits on a main road (by Montana standards), you certainly feel like you're far away from all the distractions and bustle of the world at large. We walked down the road to the lake a couple times, once in the early morning and once at dusk, and I have vivid memories of how tranquil and serene it all felt (also the smell of the air was blissful).

Now to the food. Since it was about a year and a half ago that I was there I can't give a nuanced description of each meal, as time has taken some of those details away from me. But I can say that we were amazingly and pleasantly surprised at how intricate and fine the food was. I remember a hearty and delicious breakfast featuring this ridiculous orange French toast--one of the best breakfasts of my life. And a sumptuous pan-seared steak for dinner accompanied by some very fine wine. Kathleen is indeed a master culinary artist.

Speaking of Kathleen, she was really a fantastic hostess. She pulled up a chair to hang out and talk as we were eating dinner (once her work to be done died down a bit later in the evening), and was a lot of fun to talk to. She recommended a good hike nearby, and the icing on the cake, if you will, was her providing for us a box of freshly made cinnamon rolls for our departure. What more can you ask for?

The only thing I can say about the Laughing Horse Lodge that might be construed as negative by some, is that the sleeping accomodations aren't luxurious. But they have a rustic charm and I thoroghly enjoyed my two slumbers there. The lodge has a lounge area with a couple local beers on tap, comfortable chairs and satelite radio. We really enjoyed hanging out there, talking and having a couple beers later in the evening when the restaurant was closed.

If you're considering a trip to Northwest Montana, I would strongly advise you to at least stop at the Laughing Horse Lodge for dinner, but it would be most wise to stay for a night or two.

  • Liked — The aura of peaceful splendor
  • Disliked — N/A
  • Stayed May 2007, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edmonton
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2008

Kathleen's( the owner) personality resonates through the walls of this cozy lodge. A very warm and inviting atmosphere with the dining palate of a 5 star restaurant. Highly recommended for all types of travellers.

Two content Canadians ..

  • Liked — hospitality
  • Stayed August 2008
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Vacaville, CA
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 5, 2008

Our stay in Swan Lake was wonderful. Kathleen was a wonderfully informative host and an amazing chef. The room was comfortable and clean. The patio/court yard was very relaxing. Swan Lake and the surrounding area are beautiful and only about an hour drive to Glacier National Park. We will definitely stay at Laughing Horse again and recommend to anyone in or passing through to stop for lunch or dinner. We had a buffalo steak that was the juiciest most flavorful we have ever had.

  • Liked — Kathleen and the relaxed atmosphere
  • Disliked — the shower curtain rod
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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naples, fl
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2008

no phone, no tv, no a/c, 20" box fan in room but no receptacle near door (only source of ventilation), window will not open for ventilation, hole in screen door, had to sleep with door open for ventilation so no privacy or security, no box spring under mattress, room very small, actually felt like we were camping,
room was clean, breakfast was excellent.

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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Terrebonne, Oregon
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2008

After stupidly not making reservations in Kalispell on a Saturday night, we continued riding towards our next-days destination, hoping for a decent campground or older motel somewhere along the way.

Nothing promising showed up until we stopped at a small convenience store in Swan Lake. The gal there was great, and told us about two campgrounds, plus a B&B. We said 'no B&B, we don't like them!', but she said we might find this one different.

We rode up to Laughing Horse, and were instantly ready to hand over money for a room just based on the smells coming out of the kitchen!

The gal was right, this wasn't a 'typical' B&B, but a small 1950's lodge with cabin-like rooms in back. Each room has its own bath, and so doesn't suffer from the feeling of 'sharing' a home like some B&B's do.

My husband and I are relatively private people. I am always happy to enjoy good conversation with people we meet, but I don't necessarily want to meet them on the way to the bathroom, or as I'm headed to get a cup of coffee in my bedroom slippers.

The Laughing Horse fit our personalities perfectly. A true restaurant-type eating arrangement, and a bed and bath that were our own. Also, everyone working here was extremely attentive and professional. I really appreciate that, over someone who tries to be friendly on a personal level.

The accommodations themselves were good. The bed was extremely comfortable, with REAL pillows and a down comforter. The bath area was basic, but extremely clean and well maintained. The only downside was the heat. It was a hot night, and there's no air conditioning or fan in the room. I understand not having AC, but a ceiling fan would have made for a much more comfortable night.

Food was outstanding! We had salads for dinner, extremely good, very satisfying and with an innovative blend of ingredients that you wouldn't see anywhere else. Breakfast was superb, perfectly cooked eggs, best bacon I've had in years, perfect coffee - just great!

Overall a wonderful find, and much better than sleeping our tent!

  • Liked — Food!
  • Disliked — Hot room, no fans or AC
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2008

My family had 1 night at the Laughing Horse Lodge in Swan Lake, MT and had an amazing experience thanks to Kathleen the owner, and her 2 golden retrievers. It is located across the street from swan lake (gorgeous part of MT) which is close to Bigfork, Kalispell, Whitefish and Glacier National Park. My family was very impressed with the intimate room and the owner Kathleen, who was extremely helpful and knowledgable of the area. Above all, Kathleen is an amazing chief, and our family had their best dinner and breakfast in all of Montana. What a great PLACE, and we will be back! The Laughing Horse Lodge is cozy, clean, and the patio/ garden is a very relaxing environment. The Laughing Horse is great for couples, families for a fair and REASONABLE PRICE..

  • Liked — Beautiful location, nice accommodations, at a reasonable price
  • Disliked — Leaving the Laughing Horse
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Laughing Horse Lodge

Address: 22360 Hwy 83, Milemarker 71.5, Swan Lake, MT 59911
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Montana > Swan Lake
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 B&Bs / Inns in Swan Lake
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
European-style road house featuring gourmet dining and comfortable, quiet rooms - no TVs, Phones, or Alarm clocks in rooms, no cell service on property. Non-smoking dogs welcome. Complimentary WiFi. Near Glacier National Park and Bob Marshall Wilderness. Perfect for weekend getaways, intimate weddings, family reunions and retreats. Open May through October. Dining room known for presenting mostly organic, always fresh and totally delicious meals - gluten and dairy free, as well as vegan meals available. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Laughing Horse Hotel Swan Lake
Laughing Horse Lodge Swan Lake, Montana

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