Putting lipstick on a pig

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Posted by Ballpark Frank ( on 10:58:07 05/22/14

In Reply to: Canyon cabins and the new lodges posted by Kent


I have extremely strong feelings about this steady move, over time, away from cabins to these large monstrosities. It started when they built Grant Village. Sure, I stayed there a number of times back when I would commute from Colorado. Most of those trips, we were tent camping, but would stay a night at Grant on our last night, so we could be down south for our getaway day. Years later, when we abandoned the tent for in-park lodging, because we could finally afford it, we almost always used cabins, at Canyon, Lake, or Roosevelt. Depending on how flush we were with spendable cash, we either chose Frontier or Western versions.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, I guided some Colorado Mountain Club trips to Old Faithful in the winter. The original Snow Lodge offered some very inexpensive lodging, which appealed to many CMC members of limited means. Of course, the new Snow Lodge wiped that option out, so those folks are out of luck.

When the first two hotel-style buildings were constructed at Canyon (Cascade and Dunraven), we tried them. What a letdown! I remember being in a top floor room in one of them, and it was like being in an oven, with one small window to vent the place.

My fear is that the new buildings will continue the trend of Xanterra providing a lower quality visitor experience at a higher price. It would be one thing if these buildings were some updated version of Robert Reamer's architecture, but these things are visually one step above a World War II vintage quonset hut!

The trend is inescapable. Most of the Old Faithful cabins are gone. Now, we are losing those at Canyon. I predict Lake will be next, then Roosevelt Lodge. I think Mammoth will be last. There might even be a chance that the cabins at Mammoth might have some sort of protection via the National Historic Register.

For whoever launched the media P/R campaign to compare these new cattle condos to the original Canyon Hotel, I say "NICE TRY"! I noticed Tamsen posted a comment, correcting one of the other commenters on the date of the fire.

At least, having five story silos to store people in will make it easier on the tour companies, when the buses drop off their loads of visitors from other continents. You will be able to listen to their kids running up and down the hall, yelling in some language other than English, while you wonder how come you hardly see any of your own countrymen in park lodging anymore.

The campgrounds, with their "nouveau sagebrushers" might be the last bastion of the less than wealthy American.


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