Is the Old Faithful Inn dreadful?

We are signed up for Cowboy Country next summer, and I'm extremely excited -- with one exception/concern. As I've been looking up the hotels where we are staying, the reviews on Old Faithful Inn are dreadful. Obviously I understand that this is in a national park and is going to be rustic (and the no wifi issue is going to test my will) -- but is it completely run down and dirty? Many of the TripAdvisors reviews sure make it sound that way. Any experience/reviews from this aspect of the trip are appreciated!


  • It’s a wonderful historic hotel within walking distance to Old Faithful Geyser. It is not run down. It is not dirty. It’s part of the Wild West history. Google the history behind it instead of worrying about Wi-Fi. You will have an absolutely great time.

  • While not dirty it is sort of “tired.” But it is old and historic and one of a kind. So forget what you read and enjoy!

  • It’s the only option and you go for the scenery not the food or the hotels. We found it fine.

  • It was considered the lap of luxury back in the day. British is right about the scenery. It is absolutely majestic.

  • It's one of few national treasures built exclusively from natural and local materials. One does not stay there for fine dining or luxurious accommodations. As already mentioned, the allure is nature's beauty.

    I, personally, never search for "opinions" on Trip Advisor-type websites, preferring to rely on input from friends, family and objective comments herein.

  • Kfnknfzk, you hit the nail on the head. Amen.

  • As you did as well, OurTravels34!

  • edited August 2022

    It is nowhere near a 5 star hotel. It is a historic national park hotel that has an amazing atmosphere and an unrivaled location. It is only open seasonally and if you are going early in the season, service may be a little bit uneven as the staff learn their positions. If you get a chance, peek into one of the original log cabin style rooms and you will have a greater appreciation for your very simple "modern" room.

  • Many years ago, we stayed in one of the log cabin rooms.

  • @cathyandsteve those pics are very reassuring! Thanks!

  • BKMD - But you visited in 1878. :D

    BTW: You could at least spell Cathy's (not Cahty) name correctly!

  • The pictures Cathy included are very similar to the rooms we've encountered in US National Parks on other Tauck tours. We've stayed in two hotels in Glacier and ones in Bryce and Zion which were all on the older side but clean and in wonderful locations. The sunrise from Many Glacier more than made up for the accommodations.

    I agree that the food and service in US National Parks leaves much to be desired. But you need to remember that they are staffed by seasonal employees - usually college students - who may never have done this before.

    It all goes back to what everyone else has said. Why are you in the parks? ....location....location...location!

  • British, I have stayed in a log cabin room too. We were lucky, ours was more of a "suite" situation with a large claw foot tub in the adjoining private bathroom. I spent the nights wondering just how many spiders might be living in all the log crevices. Since then, I have always made sure to enjoy the "luxury" of the "modern" rooms!

  • edited August 2022

    I also wish that the food was better at our breathtaking national parks and always wondered why the dining experience couldn’t be elevated a notch (or two). The food in national parks is operated by different concession companies. The parks are staffed by seasonal employees and alot come from Europe. I’ve learned to travel with small peanut butter packets and snacks such as jerky, nuts and fruit roll ups that work for me. Sometimes I’m not even interested to have dinner. The work program that they are hired from gives them the opportunity to travel to other national parks (how lucky is that). That is what one employee shared with me.

  • It is all getting better- Xanterra Travel Collection, who also owns Windstar Cruises partners with the NPS to manage Yellowstone and the lodges at other parks. Xanterra, owned by Anchutz Corp, is slowly renovating facilities. The hotel in Mammouth Hot Springs just finished a $30M renovation in Aug 2019 before our 2020 Yellowstone in Winter tour. It is still not 5 star, but the rooms were very, very nice as were the common areas. Since it was winter and the start of COVID, the restaurant service was a bit slow. The restaurant had great French Onion soup! :D

    The tour stayed in the Yellowstone Snow Lodge since the Old Faithful Inn is closed in winter. The Snow Lodge was nice. In 2016-7 the Old Faithful Lodge cabins underwent renovation. The last partial renovation of the Old Faithful Inn was done in 2012.

    Read this from an Aug 2021 review:

    "Disclaimer: One thing I should point out right now–Old Faithful Inn is NOT a luxury resort with all the bells and whistles. In fact, if you stay in the Old House like we did, you may not even have a private bathroom in your room. (We didn’t.) There is no Wifi, you may get a deceiving trace of cell service, but it’s not great. The room itself is not glamorous in any way. The rooms, hallways, and bathrooms in the Old House are not air-conditioned. The decor is rather rustic. Don’t expect a TV or a radio; they’re not in your room.

    But, if you put aside what you think a hotel room should be and embrace the reality that you’re staying in a piece of national park history, well…you’ll feel right at home. After all, the original Old House portion of the lodge, completed in 1904, was a welcome addition to travelers who toured the park via stagecoach."

  • I suppose if you go to a National Park and stay in a 4/5 star hotel you might want or expect high end dining. Makes me think of the hotels Tauck uses for their Canadian National Park tours. Fancy resorts with all the bells and whistles.

    In the US at least half or more of the visitors are camping in the park or just outside it. If so your idea of gourmet is wine in a real wine glass (but probably plastic). We spent over a week camping at Yellowstone and I was just thrilled to eat a meal someone else cooked and cleaned up.

    I loved the unique interior of the Old Faithful Inn and was disappointed that it's closed in the winter so for the Tauck tour you stay in the more modern motel building nearby.

  • I wouldn't worry. Bring earplugs. It can be noisy. People like to walk through the lodge and it is an old building so thinner walls and gaps under the doors, as well as hard wood surfaces everywhere keep the noise bouncing around. There used to be a flag lowering ceremony up at the top of the lodge, some 100 steps up the very top. You had to call the Bellman at the lodge to try to reserve a spot, I think there were 10 or so per day. If you have interest and are not afraid of heights, call the belldesk and see if there is space left the night of your stay. I bussed tables for the concessionaire at Yellowstone (though I worked at Grant, not OF) and eventually worked myself into a job as a park ranger in Teton (1993-1994). FWIW I think the Grand Geyser is my favorite and usually worth the wait.

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