By Carolyn Williams

Photo by Zachary Grosfield

The Wilson Hotel

Overview: The Wilson, a Residence Inn by Marriott that opened in the summer of 2019, not only places visitors in the heart of Big Sky’s bustling town center, but also provides unparalleled access to some of this famed mountain town’s best amenities. As the first four-star luxury hotel in Big Sky’s Meadow Village, the Wilson offers a restorative base camp adjacent to world class skiing, as well as hundreds of miles of cross country skiing, hiking and mountain biking trails, fly-fishing, and some of the best dining that Southwest Montana has to offer. 

The hotel itself might tempt visitors to stay put; its accommodations are unparalleled. Each of its 129 suites includes mountain vistas, modern yet cozy décor, and a kitchenette easily stocked with everything families might need for après-ski and beyond. Not in the mood to cook? Breakfast is included in your stay. A 24-hour fitness center and laundry room make extended stays a breeze. Plus, the helpful and friendly staff consistently receives 5-star reviews. It’s also the only hotel in Big Sky with an outdoor heated pool and hot tub with unobscured views of iconic Lone Peak. In true Montana fashion, the property is dog friendly. Within walking distance of everything in Big Sky’s Town Center, the Wilson also has a complimentary shuttle to get guests to the slopes hassle-free, as well as loaner bikes which guests can joyride around town. 

Need to know: Envisioned as a luxe homebase for any Big Sky stay (short or long-term), The Wilson’s location and amenities make it possible for visitors to handpick their own Montana adventure. Here you’re just minutes from any trail, river, or restaurant. 

Dining: Hotel guests won’t have to go far to find an intimate, elegant spot for great food, drinks, and classic ski town ambiance. Sidle up to Copper Big Sky, located within The Wilson, for lunch, dinner, cocktails—or all three. Copper’s original location is in Bozeman, but the beautiful Big Sky space expands on the restaurant’s classic, warm urban vibe and includes a sleek bar area, cozy booths, an open dining room, and fireside armchairs—both indoors and out—that offer a diverse array of dining options. The place is known for its burgers, choice cut steaks, house smoked wings, and whiskey, of course. Don’t overlook their creamy Cajun veggie pasta or truffle fries. The sriracha margarita goes with everything. 

Après: Copper offers a happy hour from 4–6 p.m. daily with specials on classic cocktails—look no farther than their bar for a Moscow (or Montana) Mule that’ll nicely complement your epic ski days. The happy hour food menu will warm skiers right up; insist on at least one order of the pretzel bites. They also offer a $13 “Burger + a Beer” deal every Wednesday night. Looking for something even closer to your hotel room? The Wilson features an onsite bar and lounge with hand-crafted cocktails by some of the friendliest bartenders in town.

Stay here if:  You’re looking for luxury accommodations that make you feel right at home in the middle of Big Sky.  

Booking information: The Wilson is open year-round and prices range from $174/night during the off-season to $629/night during peak times—holidays and summer months. Find room discounts through adventure-based packages including “Travel on the Fly” (what fly fishing dreams are made of), “Dog Days in the Mountains” (hello, doggie arrival treats!) and “World Schooling, Under the Big Sky!” (Yellowstone National Park outings). 

Photo courtesy of Army Hotel Bozeman. 

The Kimpton Armory Hotel 

Overview: The Armory, a world-class hotel in Bozeman, a mere hour drive from Big Sky, opened during the summer of 2020, emerging from the intentional renovation and expansion of one of the most historic and iconic buildings in Montana. Originally designed by Bozeman architect Fred Willson in 1941 to house the Montana National Guard’s 163rd Infantry Regiment, the Armory’s Montana roots are visible immediately upon entering the hotel’s art deco-reminiscent, gilded front doors inspired by Willson’s original sketches. Through the renovation, which included the addition of seven stories, 120 hotel rooms, multiple restaurants and bars, and a private concert venue, the Kimpton Armory’s owners ensured that the authenticity of the original space would be central to the experience. 

Guests will feel transported and welcomed as they enter through the Armory’s vestibule into its bright and airy “living room” lobby, replete with fireplaces, elegant yet warm places to sit and enjoy a drink or two—rumor has it that staff offer guests complimentary beverages upon check in. Clean, bright, modern rooms that somehow also feel just like home make every night a getaway. 

Need to know: Regardless of whether guests are Bozeman newcomers or longtime locals, the Armory’s elevated hotel experience lets visitors revel in the heart and history of southwest Montana.

Dining: The Kimpton Armory offers three distinct dining experiences. The fare at Fielding’s, its signature restaurant, specializes in fresh takes on American classics. Order anything from avocado toast to the Armory Benny for breakfast, then devour fresh mussels, bacon wrapped salmon, and braised oxtail for dinner after a day spent adventuring. The rooftop bar, the Sky Shed, includes savory small plates meant for sharing. Highlights include the Korean meatballs, furikake fries served with okonomi sauce and crispy garlic, and the Larb salad with chicken, lemongrass, ginger and chile. Play it safe and order one of everything on the menu.

Après: The Sky Shed offers jaw-dropping views of Bozeman’s mountain ranges. Floor-to-ceiling windows and indoor/outdoor seating invite guests to take in an alpenglow-soaked skyline while enjoying cocktails with names like Pearblossom’s First Flight and the Bridger Express. The Armory’s swanky but cozy basement whiskey bar, Tune Up, used to be the practice room for the 163rd Regimental Band, and local artwork depicting the original band along with a small stage for live shows reveal just how much the Tune Up cares about its heritage. Whiskey is the flavor of every week here, but their cocktail menu changes often. Try the Turned-Up poutine made with braised beef cheek, double smoked bacon, and cheese curds.

Stay here if: You’re looking for a hotel with timeless elegance, superlative hospitality, and a downtown Bozeman location that will immerse you in a modern yet classic Montana setting. Did we mention the heated rooftop infinity pool? And pets are more than welcome. Ideal for adventurers and staycationers alike.

Booking information: Nightly rates range from $180/night to $440/night depending on time of year and room amenities. Holidays and summer are peak season for this boutique Bozeman hotel. Packages include discounts for locals, a Bozeman beer-focused adventure, and “stay and dine” options that allow guests to try every hotel dining outlet at discounted rates.