Rolling rivers encompass Sage Lodge, an upscale rural stay of rooms and private ranch houses that brings a layer of luxury to adventures in the wilds of Montana. Learn to cast your rod with a (free) fly fishing session, check in for a massage at the spa or take a chef-prepared picnic on a hike of the hotel’s 1,200 acres. Anything from landscape painting to cocktail classes is thrown in with your stay; private tours of Yellowstone can be arranged – and when it’s time to head indoors, cocktail hour and a choice of restaurants ensure the day ends in style.
Noon; earliest check-in, 4pm. Both are flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from £344.69 ($420), including tax at 8 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional resort fee of $37.80 per room per night on check-out.
Rates are room only, but the hotel offers à la carte breakfast (from $18). You’ll need to book at least two nights to stay in a ranch house.
All areas are wheelchair accessible with a choice of ADA room options, including one adapted king suite in one of the ranch houses.
At the hotel
Network of walking trails across its 1,200 acres; fishing gear rental (free), fishing pond, bikes to borrow, hiking poles, binoculars, snowshoes. In rooms: free WiFi, HD TV, mini fridge, Nespresso coffee machine, free tea and coffee, free bottled water, Malin + Goetz bath products. Extras in ranch houses: fully equipped kitchen, barbecue.
Our favourite rooms
For two, lodge kings are spacious with a balcony or patio; double queens are ideal for families and paradise kings take top spot with private patios and firepits, a large sitting room and window seat. Groups will love the set-apart ranch houses – high spec and easy to share thanks to a compartmentalised layout of bedrooms and suites with private patios.
There are two outdoor hot tubs at Sage Lodge, with views over the mountains.
At the entrance to the adults-only spa, a timber-ceilinged lounge with picture windows, velvet daybeds and mountain views sets the scene for relaxation: four treatment rooms are available for facials and massages with Éminence organic skincare; try sound therapy, reiki or cranio-sacral massage or join a yoga class. As well as a hot tub in the grounds, there’s also a steam room and sauna.
Channel cowboy chic and throw in hiking gear to see you through fishing trips, horseback rides, trail walks and tours of Yellowstone National Park.
A resort fee ($35 per room per night) includes a range of activities, outdoor gear rental, fly fishing and laundry.
Very welcome. All lodge rooms have a sofabed – double queens offer two queen-size beds. Ranch houses sleep up to 16 across four bedrooms. Babysitting ($45 an hour) can be arranged with two weeks’ notice.
Children over eight are most likely to enjoy the activities on offer at Sage Lodge, plus trips to Yellowstone Park.
Ranch houses offer the freedom to cook if you wish and would suit a large family or group. Capacious paradise kings have private patios with a firepit; generously sized double queens sleep four, too. All rooms can take a cot (crib).
If you want to book an adults-only dinner, babysitting can extend to booking a sitter to dine with your children in the evening, either in your room or at Fireside.
Included activities at the hotel can be tailored to children and there are age guidelines provided – some are suited to over-fives, some for children aged eight or older.
There’s no pool open to children because the spa is for adults only.
The menu at all-day restaurant Fireside Room has a good choice of American classics and family friendly options.
Sage Lodge can book a babysitter with two weeks’ notice (from $45 an hour).
No need to pack
Fishing kit, binoculars, walking poles and snowshoes are all provided at the lodge.
Many of the longer activities – some private tours into Yellowstone Park and all-day fishing trips – are only open to teenagers and adults, so it’s worth checking ahead so you can manage expectations.
The hotel has installed a food waste management system in both kitchens, transforming unused and unconsumed scraps into liquid fertiliser, reducing waste to landfill and the need for its transportation. Standard water- and energy-saving measures are also in place across the hotel. Keen to protect the Montana countryside, the hotel’s owners built the lodge away from the Yellowstone river conserving 300 acres of wilderness between the hotel and nearby riverbanks.
Mountain views from the covered terrace are hard to beat at Fireside; windowside tables overlooking the Yellowstone River at the Grill require a reservation, or dine at sturdy high stools at the bar.
Cowboy casual is fine – although the laid-back vibe means there’s no judgment if you want to dress up for dinner either.
In the main building, the cosy Fireside Room is Sage Lodge’s all-day restaurant with tables indoors and out on a fairylit covered terrace. Montanan breakfast plates include chicken and waffles and elk omelet; or order from the backcountry menu (12 hours ahead) for breakfast or lunch to go. Lunch at Fireside brings a choice of gourmet sandwiches, salads and rice bowls, plus sharing plates, dips and truffle fries. The dinner menu is bolstered by hearty mains including whole roasted acorn squash, hazelnut-coated Montana trout and bison bolognese pasta. Across the field at the Grill, regional produce is celebrated in dishes that begin with a bulging contacts book of Montana purveyors, supplying the meat, fish, dairy and vegetables – even fungi and flour – which is then worked into wondrous plates. In a pitch-roofed dining room of wooden tables and toffee-hued leather chairs, choose from prime cuts from the grill, elk loin ‘diane’ and Indian-spiced rack of lamb; we like the sound of diver scallops with a lobster risotto.
Cocktail hour at the Grill kicks off at 4.30pm: try an old fashioned parlour with bourbon, smoked maple and tobacco bitters or a spiced paloma with grapefruit and grilled jalapeno. Beers on tap include local brews from pilsner to porter. A low-ceilinged den with low-slung chairs, Fireside bar is a casual, all-day lounge serving everything from coffee to cocktails, spirits and beer, plus Washington and Oregon wines by the glass.
Hours change seasonally, so check with reception when you arrive.
There’s a dedicated menu of light bites, salads and sandwiches that you can order to your room between 7am and 11pm. A private chef can come to your ranch house to cook chez vous, or you can order groceries for delivery ahead of your arrival.
Sage Lodge is on the Yellowstone river in southern Montana, about 30 minutes south of Livingston, and only 35 minutes by road from Yellowstone National Park.
Bozeman Yellowstone International is the nearest airport, an hour by road from the hotel. Private transfers can be arranged.
Sage Lodge has a car rental partner, so if you’re hiring wheels at Bozeman airport, ask about guest discounts; plus there’s free parking and charging stations at the lodge.
Worth getting out of bed for
Summer is the time to see Montana’s mountain wilderness at its best – hiking or riding the trails (on mountain bike or horseback), paddling the Yellowstone river, or taking a private tour of Yellowstone – a wildlife-rich volcanic beauty that was the first US national park. Outdoor pursuits are as varied as they are pleasurable, including painting or photography, yoga, rock climbing and sunset river cruises. A mixology class, cookery workshop or restorative spa treatment makes wise use of time indoors. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are Montana’s peaceful winter pastimes. Sage Lodge is also an idyll for fly fishing: you can try casting for the first time at the hotel’s well stocked pond, or book an all-day trip to try your luck landing Yellowstone trout. Helicopter tours and hot-air balloon rides give a sense of Montana’s majestic scale. This rural state’s dark skies lend themselves to stargazing – and the hotel runs sessions on the fireside lawn.
Burgers, steak, elk medallions and bison fajitas typify the hearty offering at Old Saloon in Emigrant – a straight-out-of-the-Wild-West bar and diner that also hosts live music events on its outdoor stage. A red-carpeted historic dining room is the setting for modern American cuisine at Chico Hot Springs, which has a stellar culinary reputation for artily presented dishes such as Angus beef wellington, pan-fried local trout in an almond crust and Chico prime rib, slow roasted and flecked with herbs. In Livingston, shopfronted Campione rustles local produce into Italian fare with a menu that covers pizza, pasta, salads and antipasti.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this rural lodge stay near Yellowstone Park and unpacked their binoculars and bourbon, a full account of their wild adventures will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Sage Lodge in Montana…
On a scale from rough to rugged, Sage Lodge is the hotel equivalent of a flannel-wearing hunk with designer stubble – wildly attractive, but you know they still wash. This rural Montana stay’s expertise lies in creating adventures sure to delight outdoorsy types and marrying them with luxe comforts fit for a homebody. Wile away the hours with Mother Nature at nearby Yellowstone National Park (the hotel can arrange private tours) or take an all-day fishing trip to land Yellowstone trout. The hotel throws in activities including llama walks, river cruises, art workshops and yoga. Sage Lodge’s softer side is yours to tap into, too… Rooms and houses, set around a fishing pond, come with fireplaces and (most) with bathtubs; views from your window, patio or balcony roll all the way to the mountains. Four ranch houses (each sleeping up to 16) incorporate swish suites with options for private dining. Epicurean indulgence is the remit of chef Ben Jones and team – a brief that begins with hearty breakfasts, extends to gourmet picnics to take on the trail and culminates in memorable Montanan dinners at the Grill. We’ll see you there for cocktail hour…