Posted on 17.03.2017 under Resorts & Hotels
When Jim Manley cast his discerning eye over more than six hundred properties in the west of America, it was The Ranch at Rock Creek in Montana that he decided was ‘the one’. A truly novel experience, this authentic nineteenth-century homestead, which boasts titles such as the world’s only Forbes Travel Guide 5* Guest Ranch and a National Geographic ‘Unique Lodge of the World’, is everything that anybody could wish for in a western adventure. Situated in the heart of one of Montana’s most pristine valleys, the property basks in absolute privacy, surrounded by 6,600 sprawling acres of sublime undulating terrain.
Capturing the spirit of the Wild West to a tee, a whole wealth of classic ‘cowboy’ activities are offered here, from archery to shooting, fishing, and horse-riding – yet absolutely nothing feels contrived, and instead a genuine sense of enjoyment and authenticity prevails. There is a slick and aptly-named Silver Dollar Saloon, perfect for a nightcap over a game of bowling; yes, it has a four-lane bowling alley! Channelling a bygone era in style, bar stools are crafted from horse saddles and a Montana Mule (ingredients: whisky and ginger beer) is waiting in a retro copper mug. If you’d rather not bowl, socialise over a game of poker or billiards.
A ranch-to-table concept is a requisite part of dining at The Ranch at Rock Creek. Nurturing the potential of the local land, Chef Drage expertly tells a story of Montana’s stock, wildlife, herbs and harvest through his exquisite dishes. Ranch menus mirror Montana’s seasonal bounty, and guests can embark upon adventures such as horseback riding before sitting down and enjoying Montana alfala in grass-fed beef. Food at The Ranch at Rock Creek is hearty and wholesome; examples are fresh eggs and blueberry pancakes for breakfast in The Granite Lodge, and grilled wild salmon, honey chilli wings and bison burgers for lunch in the Blue Canteen. In summer, toast s’mores at sunset by the campfire under aspen trees during a weekly Chef’s grill and Dutch oven dinner; it is these little touches that make the ranch so special.
At this Relais & Chateaux property, accommodations are separated into The Granite Lodge, Glamping Cabins, the Historic Barn and Luxury Homes, each with their own distinct identity. Our preferred options are The Granite Lodge and quirky Glamping Cabins. The former comprises nine separate accommodations, and the beauty is that no two rooms are the same; although each features charming custom-made furniture and draws on inspiration from western themes like the iconic fin-de-siècle railroad hotels, fabrics and furniture appointments vary. Deftly blending luxury, great space, style and authenticity, the design narrative in Glamping Cabins is rustic, with antique furniture and luxurious bedding. Beautifully immersed in nature, the sound of the creek flows just outside your front door. The Trapper Cabin is the most remote of all the cabins, and is particularly popular for honeymoon and anniversary stays – relax in the outdoor soaking tub and stargaze beneath the immensity of unpolluted night skies.
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