The reopening of Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel after renovation should be a financial boon to Cody and Park County.
Until recently, the historic hotel had been closed and that contributed to a decline in lodging taxes collected for the Park County Travel Council this summer.
While guests began arriving again in mid-August, it was not until the end of the month that a grand opening ceremony conducted by the National Park Service signaled it was operating on all cylinders once more.
“The closing of the Mammoth Hotel is critical in the shortage of hotel lodging taxes,” said Mike Darby, treasurer of the Council speaking of the comparative 2019 shortfall to the same months in 2018.
Now that the iconic hotel is back running at full strength, “that should actually add to our budget,” he said.
Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel was originally constructed between 1936 and 1938. The modernization work was long in the making, completed over a period of four years.
A $30 million face-lift renovated 79 rooms, all now with private bathrooms, which was not true under the old design. Other changes include a new gift and ski show and the transformation of second-floor business offices to public meeting areas.
The hotel’s well-known wooden wall map, designed by architect Robert Reamer in the 1930s, was restored. The Map Room now has a small beverage bar serving coffee and alcoholic beverages.
All of the work was funded by the Park Service.
The hotel is part of the Mammoth Hot Springs Historic District which encompasses the Fort Yellowstone area and administrative headquarters for the Park that were initially operated by the military between 1886 and 1918.
“Some of the changes that have been made are tremendous,” said Tina Hoebelheinrich, executive director of the Cody Country Chamber of Commerce. “I think the rooms are much nicer. That will be good for us.”
Darby said there were three main reasons why lodging taxes were down this season: Early summer rain discouraging visitors; the Yellowstone National Park road construction just past the East Entrance at Fishing Bridge; and Mammoth hotel being closed.
“It was a perfect storm,” he said. “We’ve been starting to make up some ground with the weather being better and Mammoth being back on line.”