By Michael Somerby EBS STAFF
On June 21, Big Sky residents celebrated the grand opening of The Wilson Hotel, a Marriott Residence Inn and Big Sky’s first branded hotel, ushering in a new era of hospitality offerings in the growing mountain community.
The party, with more than 300 people in attendance, was complemented by free food, drinks and a musical performance by the soul, funk and rock fusion band Ticket Sauce.
There was also a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially commemorate the historic event.
The hotel, which is owned by Lone Mountain Land Company and will be managed by Urgo Hotels and Resorts, is already operating with remarkable success, according to General Manager Mandy Hotovy.
“We’re already starting to hit 90 percent occupancy,” she said. “That’s pretty fantastic for how long we’ve been open.”
The grand opening marked a dream realized for many, including Bayard Dominick, vice president of planning and development for Lone Mountain Land Company.
“I oversaw the design and construction of the project since the beginning,” Dominick told EBS. “We started planning the hotel almost five years ago.”
Dominick is excited by the prospect of attracting tourists that historically passed right by Big Sky on their way to Yellowstone National Park from Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport.
“We think the Marriott brand will help capture a significant increase in Yellowstone Park visitors, and will draw an entirely new set of visitors to Big Sky.”
Named after Wilson Peak and President Woodrow Wilson, one of the most prominent in the Spanish Peaks range that backdrops much of the town, the hotel boasts stylishly-designed community spaces, such as the lobby, which will provide locals with a new place to gather and unwind.
Doubling down on gestures of homage to the region’s history, The Wilson’s exterior is made with brick, a traditional building material in the area.
The hotel has already proved a valuable community resource, and has been commissioned for events such as Santosha Wellness Center’s 108 Sun Salutations as well as the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce’s Black Diamond Awards Dinner and Members Meeting.
Hotovy is excited by the prospect of carving out a space for Big Sky residents to nurture their sense of community, a public living room of sorts where even more ways to expand upon the town’s success can be hatched.
“It’s a place to gather. It’s a place to socialize and network, and it’s also one of those places that’s going to help build the relationships in the community,” Hotovy said.