This was my 2nd most HORRIBLE travel experience in 50+ years of traveling throughout the world. Upon checking in late around 8:30 p.m. at Riverside Cottages overlooking the Yellowstone River on Rt. 89 in Gardiner, Montana, we were greeted by the owner, Edie Cox, who informed us that he and his wife were from Texas. Rather than simply hand us the keys to our ‘cottage,’ he gave us a very thorough walking orientation tour of his property, entering our room and showing us how to use the Dish TV remote and informing us about all of the wildlife that frequent their property, etc….He was very proud of how well they were doing, informed us of how many potential customers they turn away each night, and were building more cabins. My first impression was that this guy was a bit over-bearing when all we wanted to do was get showered and go to bed, but thought, well, perhaps this was simply Texas hospitality in Montana. That is, until the nightmare began. My husband and I had spent a very long day in Yellowstone National Park photographing scenery and writing travel journals. We were sunburned and very tired. I was second to hop into the shower and was soaking wet when the water went cold. Yes, I was miffed, as any of you would have been, after paying $140 for the room. So after taking my cold shower, drying off, and trying to get warmed up whilst watching the shocking news of the Casey Anthony trial on TV, I got up to blow dry my hair and there was no dryer in the room. So, I reluctantly called the owner at 10:00 p.m., ask him how he justified charging $140 for a room that was unable to deliver two consecutive hot showers and requested a hair dryer per their ‘hospitality’ guest card. He immediately became defensive and shouted into the phone, “I haven’t had a complaint in 6 years! I don’t care who you are, nobody talks to me like that! Why didn’t you just call me and I would have come down to take care of the hot water! (I guess I was supposed to have hopped out of the shower soaking wet, find the number to call him, and meet him at the door naked) - I’ll refund your money and you can get out of here!!!” First, I didn’t appreciate being completely disregarded as though my complaint was invalid by his thoughtless reply, “nobody else has ever complained!” Frankly, I consider such an idiotic statement defensive and immature. Rather than simply apologizing, acting in a civil manner, and having his wife deliver a blow dryer, this guy goes off on me! Then the nightmare escalates by this large looming man coming down to our room without a blow dryer, insisting on entering our room to see if the water was hot, while I am standing there in a nighty with my husband already in bed half asleep!!! Upon entering the room, the owner insists on us packing up our things and getting out stating, “Do you have any idea how many times I could have rented this room tonight?!” Here I am, 5’1” tall, facing off with a very intimidating 6'4" man who is verbally assaulting me because he refused to believe his ‘cottage’ didn’t have enough hot water, and was apparently offended that I would dare raise a complaint! I was in no way rude, just succinct and to the point, so it’s not like I was cursing him out or using inappropriate language! My husband, who is older than me, wasn’t about to hop up out of bed in his underwear, face off with an irrational mad man, escalate the situation, and end up in the hospital, so there I was holding my own, a woman of nearly 60 years old, being bullied by the cocky Texan! He was so out of control that I honestly felt threatened as he was shouting at us to vacate the premises. Just then his wife, Laura Cox, enters our room with the blow dryer and goes back to the shower with her hubby and turns on the shower to test the temperature of the water as though neither of them believed me! This is now almost 30 minutes since I was in the shower, so I simply said, “the water heater may have recovered by now.” The hulk spun on his Texas spurs and again repeated he "didn’t care who we were and we had to leave immediately!" I refused to back down and told him we had no place to go out in the middle of nowhere when all the properties near Yellowstone, this time of the year, were booked solid. He didn’t care one iota and kept insisting on refunding our money while attempting to throw us out on our ears! I told him we were too tired to go anywhere, would NOT vacate the room, but I would call the local sheriff instead because we had not done anything wrong to merit being treated in such an abusive manner. Believe me, this nightmare is exactly depicted as it happened – or should I call it a night terror?!?! But alas, the never ending story continues….about 30 minutes later, around 10:45 p.m., when my hair is dried and I am ready to collapse into bed, the hulk came back down to our ‘cottage’ and informed us he had found us a room at the Gardiner Comfort Inn and he would transfer our funds. I repeated, with a very stern tone, that we were too tired to pack up our things and move and would remain in our room for the night. Just as I am about to call 911 for help, he walked off saying, “I hope you are able to sleep tonight!” Well, guess what, after such a shocking and downright abusive experience, I was UNable to sleep at all because I was so emotionally distraught wondering if he would again return! Our grand journey through the West from Arizona through Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana was greatly diminished by this travel terror that left me traumatized and feeling quite ill from lack of rest. So the moral of this story is: don’t dare step out of line at Riverside Cottages or open your mouth about anything whatsoever, or the owner may throw you over the rails into the Yellowstone River or feed you to the foraging bears they are so proud of, and you may never be heard from again….travelers BEWARE of the ‘Wild-life’ in Gardiner, Montana!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- We are located at the North Entrance to Yellowstone National Park in Gardiner Montana. We have efficiencies, cottages, studios and one and two bedroom suites that offer something for everyone. Our cottages and suites have full kitchens. Our efficiencies are smaller like traditional motel rooms. ... more less