If you are visiting Yellowstone National Park, you should definitely visit (or maybe even stay at) the Old Faithful Inn. This hotel is a national treasure and the largest log hotel in the world.
The Old Faithful Inn History
The Old House section of the Old Faithful Inn was finished in 1905 by Robert Reamer, an architect with the Yellowstone Park Company. Reamer’s design became the standard for U.S. National Park architecture. In fact, the style came to be called “National Park Rustic.” Reamer’s design is intentionally asymmetric and made from log/stone because he wanted the hotel to harmonise with the landscape.
Reamer and his team collected the materials for building the Old House from the area surrounding the hotel. This ethos reflects the Arts & Crafts tradition in architecture which emphasised handcrafted work and locally sourced materials. It’s all pretty impressive especially considering Reamer was only 29 years old when he built this Inn and was a self-taught architect.
I absolutely loved the beauty of the staircase rails made with naturally-occurring timber shapes. Reamer and his team would painstakingly search the local area for the right pairings of logs to create a primitive yet sophisticated look.
The lobby is spectacular with its massive three-story ceiling. There is a 500 ton giant volcanic stone fireplace with a large wood and iron clock above it. The lobby has 2 sets of galleried landings going around it. In the middle there is a ‘crow’s nest’ where in former times musicians would play for the audience gathered below.
Old Faithful Inn Accommodation
When it was first finished, this hotel was considered luxury accommodation catering to the rich and famous. Several Presidents have stayed at the Inn including both Roosevelts. It was one of the first hotels in the USA to use electricity for lighting.
A stay at the Old Faithful Inn gives you front row viewing seats of the Old Faithful Geyser which is considered one of the most predictable geothermal phenomenons in the world. Erupting about every 90 minutes, it is not the largest or the most impressive geyser in Yellowstone National Park but definitely the most consistent. The eruptions last about 5 minutes and on average the boiling water shoots up about 145 feet.
The Old Faithful Inn is open from May through October. You need to book well in advance if you are considering staying at the Inn because it is the most requested accommodation at Yellowstone. Be forewarned, there’s no insulation and so expect noise and cold. In addition, there is also no air-conditioning, television or WiFi. Some of the cheaper rooms also have the old-fashioned shared bathroom situation as well.
Even if you are not staying at the hotel, there are free daily tours of the hotel by its staff. I found the one hour tour really fascinating and a great explanation of the history of the Old Faithful Inn.