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“Our Christmas 2011 stay ... a real highlight!”

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Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Cabins
GreenLeadersGold level
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Our Christmas 2011 stay ... a real highlight!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 31, 2011

We stayed at the Snow Lodge for 5 nights over Christmas 2011. From the moment we stepped into a Bombardier snow coach for the trip in from Flagg Ranch, to the final day we had to leave (sad!), the trip was totally enjoyable. We were lucky with the weather - cold and sunny with snow on the ground and picture-book frosted trees. We went out on as many snow-coach and snow-shoeing trips as we could - visiting the thermal hot-spots (go at night for a special experience!), viewing the wild-life and getting great scenic photos.

Snow lodge is relatively modern but built in the tradition of the great National Park Lodges. The quality of accommodation in the lodge was excellent (warm and spacious), the food was good but, more than anything, all the staff, those working in the lodge and the tour guides were excellent and keen to share their special attachment to Yellowstone. And it rubbed off on all the guests - there was no-one there we had met before but we had many new friends by the time we left.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank wyaev7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,341 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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Brookings, Oregon
Level Contributor
38 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 30, 2011

The Snow Lodge is in the Old Faithful area and is the only interior accommodation open in the winter season. Access is by Snow Coach or other commercial tour service only. Rooms are nice, say equivalent to a Holiday Inn Express, although smaller. There is no TV in the facility. Internet is now available for a hefty price.

Our room was excessively hot, roughly 85-90 F. Other guests we spoke to said the same. We kept our window open much of the time. There is a guest operated thermostat controlled electric room heater, which was off during our stay. We couldn't really figure out where the heat was coming from.

The lobby scene is fun, but service from the Firehole Lounge is very slow and erratic. Board games, a volunteer park host, a cellist (some nights were scheduled for a flutist, but the cellist was there instead), and nice holiday seasonal decorations made for a pleasant atmosphere. Other guests are very happy to start up a conversation.

Staff are uniformly helpful and pleasant. They clearly understand that we patrons are the reason they get to be there.... and they do seem to want to be there. It is common to meet staff out on the trails. Staff will tell you there favorites, and help you get to know the place.

But, when you are dependent on Xanterra (the concessionaire) for everything the experience goes beyond merely having a reasonable room and friendly staff. We found Xanterra to be in dissarray, and this detracted from our experience significantly. As well, food/dining choices are very limited, and this was also a problem for us. I did a separate review of the Obsidian Dining Room. The Geyser Grill is a limited fast food operation and is subject to long lines at lunch time. Food quality is below average.

If you want to go any farther than you can walk or ski you need Xanterra to provide a tour. Employees and internet descriptions of tours are very limited and often confused. Tour schedules are constantly changing, and no one seems to know what's what. The "waiting list" is an evil joke... don't be fooled, keep checking in for openings.

Our ride from Mammoth to Old Faithful to get in: We got a call that it might be a bus (instead of Snow Coach) and it might go at 9:30 am instead of 7:30 am, and we needed to call the night before to confirm. This due too little snow for the tracked vehicles. We were given a 24 hour # for the front desk. I call. Recording says this # is closed and only open weekdays 9-5 for reservations. WTF!!! Panic. Then, as I stood there in shock, after a pause, it says, but if you need to talk to a guest, push 0. I try this. After maybe the 5th attempt it went through to the front desk. We were told to arrive at 8:30 to check in for the bus. We arrived at 8:30 to find most others were told to arrive earlier, the luggage had already left (in it's separate vehicle), and the buses were loading. We had to race like crazy to keep from delaying everyone. Though staff was very polite about it. We arrived at Old Faithful early.

But my bigger gripe was this: We were sold a tour. We could have booked an express run from W. Yellowstone, but we booked a tour from Mammoth. What we got was an express run. No stopping for wildlife, one very lame scenic stop for 10 minutes (where you could only stand around the bus, and not actually walk around). I understand Xanterra does not control the weather, the snow pack, or the park rules. Never-the-less, I see no reason whatsoever for cutting two hours off of the itinerary and turning it into an express run. They could have pulled into any of numerous scenic stops: Norris, Midway, Fountain Paint Pots, Biscuit, and Black Sand were all open to wheeled vehicles. FAIL.

One of the 37 year old buses on our two bus convoy died. Our luggage had ended up on it. Eventually, mid-afternoon or so, it showed up at Old Faithful. They were supposed to call us when it arrived. Yeah, right. But we found it in good order.

So, we had been unable to book any tours in advance as they were all sold out. We were on several waiting lists, which I was later told are not checked and openings are given to the next person to inquire. Xanterra added a bunch of tours and didn't notify us or post them in any way publicly in the lobby. We found out from a guest who had just got back from one. So we eventually did get a snow coach tour (enough snow at Old Faithful, just not at Mammoth). It was good to get out to one of the other geyser basins, stop along the road for wildlife, and go with a small group.

All I can say is that between the slow and limited food and beverage service, the hot room, and the dissarray in tours the rest of the experience had to be great, and it was. We skied and hiked the upper geyser basin for three days, in its ever changing moods and colors: morning mists, mid-day sunshine, late afternoon clouds, bits of flurries here and there. It doesn't get any better than that.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank SnorkelFiend34
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Jose, California
Level Contributor
62 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 29, 2011

Everything about this place is nice - charming I should say. We stayed three nights here and had a good time.

The lounge and lobby area is very cozy with many large family style sitting areas with fire place and live music (only on Monday?). You can take/borrow board games and linger around as much as you want. In the evening this is what we did before and after our dinner. And you can order drinks from the bar too (yellowstone rum cocktail is good). It was great atmosphere where you could meet people and hear experiences (photographers, regulars, etc)

There is a ice skating rink and free skates right outside the lounge/lobby. But it was too cold outside at night.

The staff is helpful and take care of activity reservations, changes to dinner reservations, and other requests. The Yellostone association desk had books you could borrow and also stock maps and other helpful information.

The room was modern though, with Keurig coffee maker and supplies. However I had a couple of issues with the room. Our room was getting very dry at night and I had to request a humidifier - which they didn't have. Secondly we heard loud noises every morning and it would stop when we called up front desk.

The bear ski and gift shop and the fast food (Geyser Grill) is attached to this place. The Obsidian (restaurant - only option for breakfast, lunch, dinner) is also inhouse. Choices are very limited though. The staff @ Obsidian were warm and friendly.

All activities (snow mobile, geyser tours, ski, snow shoe) start from here. BTW, as the name suggests, this place is just steps away from the Old Faithful geyser and the visitor education center.

Room Tip: Avoid room near vending machines and elevators.
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank tbandopadhyay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
58 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 29, 2011

My husband and I were traveling with my parents back in September. We were visiting GTNP, YNP and GNP within a two week period, so it was important for us to stay inside of the parks. We reserved a room here and loved it! Having read a ton of reviews on lodging inside the park, we were not expecting much. We were surprised at how modern the rooms were. More importantly, they were very clean and comfortable. The staff was friendly as well. Our only mistake was only booking one night at this lodge!

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank KBenefield
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Illinois
Level Contributor
17 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 26, 2011

The Old Faithful Snow Lodge is the only location "inside" the park that you can stay at during the winter season (yes, Mammoth Hot Springs is inside the park, but way on the north side...).

We stayed here for Christmas and had a very nice time. The rooms were surprisingly large and the bed was very comfortable. Everything was clean and the housekeeping staff was excellent (chatted with the gentleman cleaning our room and his supervisor as they were doing a quality survey - very nice!). We were able to check in around 12:30 PM, which was great, as it gave us a chance to get on the snow shoes and go exploring

We were on the second floor in a room with a single king bed. The room included a Keurig coffee maker and a mini-fridge. Our location was good as we had direct view of the outside ice skating rink. Since it was Christmas, we expected things to be a bit on the noisy side, and it was. However, you couldn't help but smile when kids were running up and down the halls with their new presents.

Probably the only "down side" is cost. Keep in mind when booking during the winter season that you will need to take some sort of snow coach or other transportation as you can't drive your personal vehicle. This can get expensive depending on how many folks are in your party. Also, if you don't want to snow shoe or cross country ski all day and want to get outside of the Old Faithful area, you will need to arrange to take some of the various tours offered by Xanterra or other providers. Again, these can be expensive and add up fast!

P.S. A note on food: during the winter season, it is strongly recommended to make reservations in the dining room. They do have a fast food "grill" place as well, but the food there was not impressive. Dinners range from about $13.00 to $35.00 per person, but they are pretty good. Avoid the wild game "mini-sliders" for dinner though, as they weren't impressive. For lunch, I highly recommend the honey chicken on a pretzel bun (or something like that). It was delicious and decently priced.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank ThatTravelinJones
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hickory, North Carolina
Level Contributor
35 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 13, 2011

So very exicited to have found a room @Old Faithful area Sept. 2011. Snow lodge is fairly new,but looks 1940ish in decor. Asked for a quiet room since friends recently stayed there complained of adjacent noise from dorms. Given 3rd floor room. Open window is your air conditioning and adjacent dorm had a rowdy lowd party that kept us from sleeping good. Management did everything they could to make up for it, free breakfast, and it was good despite other reveiws. Management also gave room discount since we didn't sleep well which affected our next day's enjoyment. But fantastic location as you are there early am and late evening when most day visitors are gone. Good place to hike the enter basin area,see fantastic scenery, pure clean air.

Room Tip: Any room near the young employees dorms could be noisy @night.
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
2 Thank KandTtravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
22 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 8, 2011

We stayed in Snow lodge on our first 2 nights and last night of our 6 day trip to Yellowstone. The rooms give a very cozy feel. It was July, kind of got warm and we tried to find how to turn on the AC. Guess what we found! A small fan hidden in the closet, which served the purpose. First 2 nights we were on 3rd floor with a beautiful view to Old Faithful. But on the return night, our room was on ground floor, next to the entrance lobby, window facing the parking lot. Kind of noisy, when we left windows open. Good service and very clean.

Room Tip: Stay away from ground floor rooms next to lobby entrance.
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
Thank traveler24x7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Cabins

Property: Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Cabins
Address: 2305 Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190
Location: United States > Wyoming > Yellowstone National Park
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 6 Hotels in Yellowstone National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Cabins 3*
Number of rooms: 100
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Also Known As:
Old Faithful Snow Lodge And Cabins Hotel Yellowstone National Park
Old Faithful Lodge
Old Faithful Snow Hotel
Hotel Old Faithful Snow

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