Hotel Impossible Makes All Things Possible at Dude Rancher Lodge
by Barbara L. Steinberg
So expanding my horizons beyond California paid-off bigtime when I stumbled onto this gem. This is "as good as it gets" for a somewhat kitschy, historic, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, western-themed, downtown, walking distance to local brewpubs, with a restaurant called Stirrup, featured in Hotel Impossible and just mildly haunted Billings, Montana motel circa 1949l!
As soon as I saw the name -- Dude Rancher Lodge -- I was sold and there! The Travel Channel's Hotel Impossible (reality TV) feature was pure bonus. Since the airing, several of the rooms have been redone and are boutique chic. Some of the regulars are none too happy preferring the tried and true old-fashioned look. I'm glad I got to see things as they are/were for so many years. The new look is definitely a step up. Personally, I hope they hold a few rooms back.
The lobby has also been beautifully redone. The fireplace is a major feature and the mantel -- one huge, rough-hewed timber is just stunning. The low-rise, two-story lodge surrounds an internal parking lot. First floor rooms have internal and external doors. You'll love the branded carpets and wall hangings (new rooms) which are the brands of the seven ranchers who were the original owners.
Just in time for Halloween, I'm penning this review because -- naturally -- the Lodge is said to be haunted. Specifically room 226. A woman in white. The Dude Rancher Lodge was built from bricks reclaimed from an old local hospital and school. It's thought she is somehow connected to these structures from the past.
The Stirrup/Dude Rancher Lodge Restaurant serves up big plates of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, You know? SIdes of biscuits and gravy, homemade cinnamon rolls with two inches of frosting, burgers and steaks. A real artery clogging experience. Just the way I like it.
Walking distance to local brewpubs and art district on Montana Avenue. And seriously, you just can't beat the price. Ask about the "American Package". I can't wait to get back to Billings and the Dude Rancher Lodge.
Also, free WiFi!
PS - So, a couple of times during the night people in the room above me were running back and forth. From the sounds of the footfall it was an adult and a child. At some point I heard a young girl crying. I was going to call the front desk, but shrugged it off and fell asleep. In the morning, I inquired who was in the room above me. Okay...get a grip....no one was in the room above me. The room was out of commission. I am not the first person to inquire. Spooky!