Where the Trail Begins & Ends: Montana Trailhead Inn

June 2022

by anna rogers | photos courtesy of Montana Trailhead Inn

Montana Trailhead Inn is a new Billings hotel with a lot of history and nostalgia at its core. Previously the Red Lion Hotel, and prior to that, the Holiday Inn, this West End hotel has been remodeled and rebranded, opening its doors to Billings in 2021.  

Under new ownership, this once 300-room property now hosts 94 remodeled rooms while keeping much of its old charm and nostalgia. It has gone from a branded hotel to independently owned, catering to business travelers and vacationing families.  

Renovations of the hotel included infrastructure, carpet, a remodeled lobby, and the restoration of the gorgeous three-story waterfall that has been a key feature of the hotel since 1985. 

The rooms are larger than a standard room, and the suites are an excellent option for families. “Everything looks brand new and very clean,” says the hotel’s general manager, Randi Lovec. “Guests often comment on cleanliness.”  

Family Suite 

Randi has been a staple at the hotel and in the community over the years. “People know her and come back because of her,” says Sarah Garcia, who handles hospitality. Randi started with the property in 2008 as a banquet manager, in charge of events like Mayfair, Black Tie Blue Jeans, 1000-plus participant breakfasts, and many local fundraising events. She moved into a sales position and eventually became director of sales. She’s been the General Manager since 2017 and has played a vital role in the evolution of the hotel over the past few years.  

In addition to her work at the hotel, Randi enjoys being involved in the community, volunteering with local organizations, and creating partnerships with the hotel. After being closed for two years, she is enjoying getting back into more community involvement.  

“We’re fortunate to have the owners we have,” Randi says. “They are very flexible. If you say ‘This will be good…’ – they’ll do it! We are constantly making upgrades and improvements.” 

The new Montana Trailhead Inn is not done evolving. The goal is continual improvement and making the space more family-friendly. The conference center and other guest rooms in a separate building remain closed, with plans for the development of those spaces still to be determined. 

The hotel offers many amenities, including pet-friendly accommodations, a 24-hour business center, complimentary parking, continental breakfast, a fitness room, and a beautiful and cozy atrium lobby. Rooms have views of the south hills and the Beartooth Mountains, and the hotel is located just a short distance from Riverfront Park and walks along the Yellowstone River. 

“The lobby is my favorite,” Randi says, speaking specifically of the three-story waterfall and glass elevators. “A lot of weddings have taken place in front of the waterfall over the years, with the bride riding the elevator down. We turn the waterfall on after the kiss!”

The lobby at Montana Trailhead Inn, featuring the three-story waterfall

Montana Trailhead Inn is the perfect launching point for exploring the Billings area and beyond. Check out this new, refreshed space born from a Billings staple.  

“I love going there,” says Sarah. “I love everything about it!” 

To book your stay, head to www.montanatrailhead.com.  

Originally printed in the June 2022 issue of Simply Local Magazine

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