We wanted to extend our time in Montana after our magical stay at Dancing Spirit Ranch near Whitefish last May. Always a fan of having a water view, we opted for this lodge right on Whitefish Lake.
In addition to a balcony overlooking the lake, our spacious suite had a fireplace, sitting area and refrigerator. The weather was glorious so we relaxed by the lakeside pool and paddled around in the complimentary canoes.
A pedestrian/bike trail runs by the property and a nature preserve is across the street. Downtown Whitefish and Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort are a short drive away.
Where: Lodge at Whitefish Lake; Whitefish, Montana
Why You Should Visit: If you’ve been to Montana, then you know why you should visit the state. The Lodge at Whitefish is a perfect location for lake and mountain views, close to Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort, downtown Whitefish and Glacier National Park
What Makes It Special: It’s the only Four Diamond resort in Montana.
See related story: Relax, Recharge, Reconnect at Montana’s Dancing Spirit Ranch
I live in Atlanta, a place called a city in a forest for all of our trees. I love our trees but there is something awe-inspiring about seeing the vast expanse of sky in Montana, a reason for its nickname as Big Sky Country.
The first time I saw it I understand the woman I met in California who said, “I went to Atlanta and all those trees made me feel claustrophobic.” Not me, but I get her point.
Although I’d never last a winter in Montana where the average temperature is a freeze-your-snot 0 degrees in January, I love visiting in the warmer months.
My husband, Chris, and I spent a glorious week in Montana in May, starting off with a four-night stay at the tranquil Dancing Spirit Ranch, where enjoyed a peaceful setting, mountain views, delicious meals and its spiritual energy.
We wanted to stay longer in Whitefish so opted for lakeside and mountain views at the Lodge at Whitefish Lake, located just a few miles from the charming downtown Whitefish.
Accommodations at The Lodge at Whitefish Lake
We stayed in the Main Lodge, where most of the rooms are suites with around 600 square feet. It was worth the additional cost to have a larger room with a water view, so we opted for a king lakefront studio.
In addition to a balcony, our room had a fireplace, kitchen area with fridge, desk and several chairs for lounging.
The lobby is gorgeous, all dark wood and roaring fireplace – yes even in May – with the added bonus of complimentary bubbly every night from 5 to 6 p.m.
In addition to the Main Lodge, there are accommodations in the Viking Lodge across the street, which is connected by Sky Bridge to the Main Lodge.
If you’re with a larger group, try booking one of the Lakeside Condos, which range from two to six bedrooms. They have a private patio or balcony with a grill and full kitchens.
There are also some luxury homes for rent close by. Guests here enjoy all the amenities of The Lodge.
Amenities at The Lodge at Whitefish Lake
In addition to an outdoor pool and hot tub that’s open seasonally, there’s a heated indoor pool, waterfall and hot tub in the Viking Lodge. This’s also a lounge and large fitness area here, open 24 hours a day.
Guests can take free yoga classes at Yoga Hive Montana. Go on Saturday and enjoy a complimentary mimosa after class.
On Friday and Saturday nights you can watch a Montana-themed movie in the Viking Lodge.
Right behind the Viking Lodge is the 28-acre Viking Creek Wetland Preserve, where plenty of wildlife has been spotted. Strap on snowshoes to explore it in the winter.
Make your sweet tooth happy, and entertain the kids, with s’mores on the terrace every night from 7-9 p.m.
You can load up on western gear and art at The Mercantile at The Lodge where you’ll find clothing, jewelry and Montana-inspired gifts
The Spa at Whitefish Lake has body treatments, facials, waxing and airbrush tanning.
One great amenity is the complimentary shuttle to and from the airport. We came from Dancing Spirit and had a rental car, so didn’t need a ride to get there.
We decided to return our Turo car, which we had picked up at a home close to downtown, a day early then take the shuttle to the airport the next day. This really simplified getting to the airport for us.
In the winter there’s also a shuttle to the ski lodge.
If you find you need a car while you are in Whitefish, The Lodge does rent some cars that seat up to five passengers.
Activities at The Lodge
Prior to our arrival we received a welcome email with information about our stay, activities in the area, a reminder to book a shuttle for the airport and the email of the concierge, who can help with booking activities on and off the resort.
At The Lodge you can rent a boat, kayak or paddleboard at The Marina at Whitefish Lake, or cruise on The Lady of the Lake, a classic wooden boat.
The canoes are complimentary and it had been some time since we’d done anything other than kayak. We headed to the marina one warm morning and the helpful staff got us paddles and helped up get in.
We really enjoyed paddled around the lake, sticking close to shore to see some of the beautiful lake houses.
After days of hiking and biking in Glacier National Park, we opted for a lazy afternoon by the pool one day.
Other Activities Available
Although we’re not skiers and May isn’t ski season, we wanted to visit Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort for their summer activities. The resort is just about 6 miles away. The ride up Big Mountain Road is stunning, and I loved seeing all the beautiful homes.
The higher we got up the road, the more spectacular the lake and mountain views were.
After wandering through the resort, we sat outside in the sunshine and watched the gondolas and lifts taking people up the mountain for the aerial adventure park, alpine slides and mountain biking.
We decided to take the Scenic Chair Lift but right as I was holding out a credit card to buy tickets, the computers went down. Seems that the entire resort had suffered a power outage.
So back outside we went to see if it might come back. Apparently, they used a generator to get the pour people stuck on the lift down, but then the lifts stopped again. We counted ourselves lucky that we weren’t stuck on one of the lifts.
The Lodge at Whitefish Lake is also well located for trips to Glacier National Park as it’s just 30 minutes west of the park. The scenery and hiking here is spectacular. Just be sure to take along bear spray as this is bear country.
A highlight of our trip was a bike ride on the Going to the Sun Road in Glacier, possible only during May when the road has not yet been completely plowed.
We wanted to go hiking on a trail close to The Lodge one day and found Lion Mountain Trail, about 3.8 miles away. This 2.6-mile trail is more of a stroll through the words, with a good lake view at one point.
Other activities in the area include rock climbing, golfing, horseback riding, whitewater rafting, floatplane tours, fly fishing and charter fishing.
In the winter there’s dog sledding, ice fishing, cross country skiing, wagon rides, snowshoeing, fat tire biking, snow biking and snowmobiling in addition to skiing and snowboarding.
Dining at The Lodge
Our first evening we opted for dining at the Boat Club. We had the advantage of a balcony that looked right down on the outdoor area so we could check out the dishes before we went.
Boat Club serves steak, seafood, chicken and pasta. The restaurant is also open for breakfast. If you want to grab coffee, smoothies and to-go items for lunch or dinner, try the Coffee Dock in the lobby of the Main Lodge.
Ask for a view if you want to enjoy the lake from the only restaurant on Whitefish Lake.
You can also dine in the Boat Club Bar, where there is live music two nights a week.
During the summer the Tiki Bar & Grill by the pool is open, serving drinks and grilled food.
Location of The Lodge at Whitefish Lake
If you’re up for about a 30-minute stroll on a pedestrian path, you could walk to downtown Whitefish from The Lodge. Or for really easy access, borrow a couple of their complimentary bikes and enjoy pedaling on the trail.
The Lodge also runs a complimentary shuttle to its sister property downtown, The Firebrand Hotel. Glacier Park International Airport is in Kalispell, about a 20-minute drive from The Lodge.
All photos courtesy of The Lodge at Whitefish Lake unless noted otherwise.
– Jan Schroder, Editor-in-chief