We visited during the week of 4th of July (2012), and the place was surprisingly empty. Only 19 guests total, out of their capacity of about 80. We were told this was quite unusual.
Accommodations: We had the Hilltop cabin. Very nice size and comfortable, though it is quite old (it is one of the original cabins). On the 5th night, we discovered there was a bat flying around inside the cabin at night. The next morning they were unable to get rid of the bat, so they moved us to the Columbine/Aspen cabin. Actually, we liked Columbine/Aspen better; it is brighter, nicer, bigger, and newer.
Kids program: LMR has a wonderful kids program. Plenty of activities, and a very enthusiastic and friendly staff. Our kids loved them. You should be aware that they do bring in local kids to participate in the kids program activities, so it is not just the guests’ kids.
Horseback riding: This was definitely a highlight of the week we spent here. They have a super-friendly staff. Beautiful trails. Great horses, well taken care of.
Activities: There are many activities to choose from, and overall it is quite well organized. You sign up for everything by the end of day 2, for the rest of the week. We tried fly-fishing (fun, and they do take care of everything for you). My wife did yoga (although on one of the three days, the instructor failed to show up… even though there were people signed up for the class). White water rafting is available through an outside company, and is a lot of fun as well. They also had an all-day guided trip to Yellowstone (Chris was our naturalist/guide; he was great and very informative). And we did a canoe trip, which was guided by Andrea, who was another wonderful and knowledgeable naturalist.
Dining: This is the weakest aspect of the ranch. The food itself is not bad, at least for dinner. They do make a very nice steak, and the BBQ is great (at least for meat-eaters!). However, the dining menu is very limited, and repetitive (the same 4 entrees every night, same 5 or 6 appetizers, and same 3-4 desserts). They do have one special appetizer and one special entree each night.
Breakfast is basic, but ok. Standard self-serve eggs, bacon, toast etc… like what you get at a standard hotel chain that has free breakfast. At breakfast, coffee comes from a dispenser where it may have been sitting for a couple of hours, so it often is not hot and not fresh. If you need to bring a lunch for a day trip, you have to make it yourself (they put out cold cuts and snacks at breakfast so you can assemble lunch sandwiches, but they do not prepare them for you).
Lunches were uneven. The first day was cold slider burgers that had obviously been sitting there for a while. Same thing on day 2. They usually had more cold cuts and bread, so you could make a sandwich. One day they had fried chicken.
Nothing is prepared to order for breakfast or lunch, so the burgers, eggs, whatever may have been sitting there for a while. A couple of times I noticed that all the water had boiled away from the soup, and once the same thing happened to the oatmeal.
Service in the dining room was uneven as well. Most days were fine, but a couple of times we had to wait over an hour for our food to come. Again, there were only 19 guests that week, so there’s really no excuse for that kind of service.
Also, contrary to some of the other reviews here, we did not find that they remembered us, or our drink preferences, from one day to the next. We ordered pretty much the same drinks every night, but the server never caught on. That seemed kind of strange, since there were so few guests that week.
But the worst part was the failure to accommodate vegetarians. Don’t go here if you have any special dietary needs. We were told that they can accommodate special dietary needs/restrictions, but that definitely did not happen. My wife is a vegetarian, and we told them in advance (three times), but there were no real options for her (other than just eating the starter salad and the veggie side dishes). We mentioned this a few times during our stay, to a few different people, but nothing changed for several days. By the fourth or fifth day, she was starting to feel quite trapped by the lack of food options; it’s not like you can just go to a restaurant or somewhere to get something to eat; you are stuck on the ranch. Finally, I guess I mentioned it to the right person (Caroline in the office), and on day 5 (out of our 7-day stay), some vegetarian options started to show up.
For lunches, there were no vegetarian options like tuna sandwiches or PB&J… just the same cold cuts each day (ham, turkey, roast beef). At one point I overheard them offering kids in the kids program some PB&J so I asked them to bring that out; they did, just for that one day, but the next day it was back to cold cuts.
On day 3 they had a barbecue and there were literally no vegetarian options (just beef, pork, and ribs). For 4th of July there was another barbecue (a pig roast). For that, they did bring out a few veggie burgers (this was after we had complained about the lack of vegetarian options 2 or 3 times).
Overall, it’s a great place to relax and enjoy the many activities the ranch has to offer. Our kids had a wonderful time as well. However, there is definitely room for improvement in the dining experience, by improving the service, offering more variety, and catering to those with special dietary restrictions.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Lone Mountain Ranch (LMR), situated on 148 acres in beautiful Big Sky, Montana, was first homesteaded in 1915 and has long been recognized as one of the premier guest ranch resorts in the country. The property consists of 30 rooms located within 24 unique cabins as well as a restaurant and saloon, pavilion, retail shop, equestrian facilities, and meeting spaces. Listed on the National Registry of the Historic Places, a member of the Dude Rancher's Association, an Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Lodge, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World, and once voted the #1 Nordic ski area in North America, LMR offers authentic accommodations, genuine Montana cuisine, exceptional service, and a stunning array of outdoor activities. Combine these attributes with close proximity to Yellowstone National Park, Big Sky Resort, as well as Bozeman Airport, and we believe the LMR guest experience is unlike any other in the American West. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Lone Mountain Guest Ranch Hotel Big Sky
- Lone Mountain Ranch Big Sky, Montana