A Pit Stop a Day (Day 8): Big Sky Resort’s Summit Hotel

After driving from Glacier National Park to Boulder Hot Springs, we were more than happy to end Day 7 and enjoy Day 8-9 at the Summit Hotel at The Big Sky Resort in Big Sky, Montana, our home base for family fun and a little R&R before continuing on to Yellowstone.

I cannot say enough good things about Big Sky Resort in general and the Summit in particular. If you have kids in tow (or even if you don’t) and are looking for a base camp for your Yellowstone and Big Sky adventures, look no further. A ski resort in winter, Big Sky Resort doubles as a summer mecca of outdoor activities in a breathtakingly beautiful setting, and for families with kids weary of riding in the car, it’s a godsend: restaurants, pools, activities, stores, and luxury accommodations (with kitchens!) are all at your disposal without getting back in your car for a few days.

The Summit in summer.

Located directly slope-side at the Big Sky Resort, the Summit Hotel is situated well within the hub of the Big Sky Mountain Village. In fact, the central outdoor plaza of the village is right out the back door (as are the ski lifts in winter), lending to a feeling of connectedness and community with the adjacent restaurants, play areas, pools, and accommodations (there’s even a putting green the kids can play on while adults try their hand at relaxing for more than five minutes straight!).

We arrived at the Summit on a Wednesday evening and, despite a summer rain shower, bell services was instantly on-hand to help us with our bags (why does it always feel as though we travel with the entire contents of our house?!). We had a group of six (two grandparents, myself, and three kids) and opted for a two-bedroom unit with plenty of room to spread out. The arrangement was three rooms total adjoining: the center room had a fully stocked (cutlery, dishes, cookware) kitchen, a table for four, a living area with couch and arm chair, a flat screen TV, fireplace, double Murphy (hideaway) bed, and full bathroom. The other two rooms had two double beds and a bathroom and one king bed and whirlpool tub plus bathroom (and additional fireplace), respectively. Needless to say, we had plenty of room.

Our full-service kitchen in main room.

Master bedroom (view overlooking the ski slopes and alpines.

The Summit houses an extensive exercise facility complete with cardio and strength machines, sauna, changing rooms, and a 100-person indoor-outdoor hot tub. Yes…100-person. And when you have it practically to yourself (a perk of ski resorts in summer), it’s basically a swimming pool at hot tub temperatures. In other words, awesome (as is the view…the hot tub looks out over the ski lifts and slopes).

The kids devoted much time to the hot tub!

The Terrace Entrance path takes you straight to the hot tub/exercise facilities from the plaza.

I have to admit, there was so much to do at Big Sky Resort (more on that to come!) that we didn‘t spend much time in our rooms, but the time we did spend there was very comfortable. It was quiet in the evenings, and the rooms were well-constructed; we never felt like our (sometimes) noisy kids were disturbing any other guests (and we never heard anyone else, either). We were able to stock the full-sized fridge with our water bottles and leftovers, and between the fireplaces and the spectacular views of the mountains, the ambiance was lovely.

Extra Perk: Because the Big Sky Resort consists of a community of accommodations under one umbrella, your Summit key card gives you access to more amenities than what is housed at the single hotel. For instance, you also gain entry to the three outdoor pools at the Huntley Lodge (two minute walk across the connected plaza), entry at the Kids Club (free to guests 3:30-5:30 every day but Wed. and Sat.) and movies shown at selected times on the big screen in the amphitheater (inside the Yellowstone Conference Center). A message of daily offered activities will be sent to your room phone!

Date last visited: June 30-July 2, 2010.

Distance off the interstate: Ten minutes from Hwy 191.

Room Rates: Check the Summit’s rate page for current room rates.

Food Services: We had the opportunity to try breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the Mountain Village during our stay.

Chet’s Bar and Grill, located in the Huntley Lodge is a very family friendly place specializing in gourmet burgers, steak, and pasta (with a good children’s menu with large portions). We ate breakfast there as well, and loved the breakfast quesadillas and pancakes.

Whiskey Jack’s (in the Mountain Mall adjacent to the Summit) serves excellent southwestern fare. Calvin loved his chicken soft tacos (on the kids’ menu) and I thought the fajita salad was great (and huge)! The best part of Whiskey Jack’s is that you can watch the kids play on the plaza (on the play structure or putting green) without leaving your table.

Yeti Dogs (located on the plaza) is a great stop for ice cream after dinner (open until 9 pm in summer). We sampled the huckleberry, graham slam, mint cookie, and vanilla flavors. They all got a thumbs up!

Playground adjacent to Whiskey Jack’s and BaseCamp (acitivity center).

The kids loved the teepee (with Native American exhibit) across the plaza.

Website: Big Sky Resort

Directions: From Hwy 191 (near Bozeman), drive 39 miles to Hwy 64. Turn right (west) and drive nine miles to the Mountain Village.

As I disclose with all compensated reviews, Big Sky Resort took care of all of our expenses, from our two-bedroom suite to my kids’ chicken strips and nearly everything in-between. While we greatly appreciate Big Sky’s hospitality, this compensation came with no expectation of a positive review.

Up Next: We gear up for a zip-line ride through the forest, during which the kids show absolutely no fear…and I show only a little!