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Kelly Inn West Yellowstone
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Reviews (1,012)
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All reviewsdry saunahot souppancake makerfirst floorcomfortable bedsking sizein towngreat place to staywithin walking distancegrizzly and wolf discovery centerfront desk staffimax theaterpark entrancefresh fruitthe breakfast arearooms are largefree breakfast
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Reviewed 12 July 2014

A Memorial Day trip to Yellowstone is relaxing and peaceful--that is, until you run into a bear or haven't taken a shower in days. To bypass all these unfortunate events, we opted for a hotel. Even though we had to pay the steep, in-season rate, we had high hopes for a night of all the amenities camping can't provide: hot showers, electricity, continental breakfast, etc.

Unfortunately, the power went out the next morning, catching us off guard in the middle of our morning routine. The bathroom turned pitch black and the water ice cold. We walked down to the FREE breakfast to discover a couple of bagels and some half-frozen biscuits. The advertised waffle and pancake maker sat lonely with no power and the biscuits and gravy, corned beef hash and other advertised proteins were absent.

Worse still was the precarious pitch black stairwell in which we had to clumsily navigate to carry our giant suitcases to the car.

While many of these issues were outside the hotel management's control, an apology isn't beyond their control. No consideration or apology was even attempted. The manager replied condescendingly, stating several contradictions to our inquiries. He told us we should have come down to breakfast earlier before the power went out. Whoops, I forgot to check my schedule to see when the power would fail. He gawked at us in unbelief when I asked if they had a generator or something to provide us a little light. I give Kelly Inn 5 stars for making creative excuses and 1 star for the kind of customer service you want to receive from a pricey hotel.

In the future, the hotel can remedy the situation by planning for emergencies; they don't happen often, but they do happen (like the time I was there). Emergency lighting in the stairwell wouldn't be too much to ask, and emergency lights in the bathroom would be a huge help to avoid awkward situations. A backup supply of food that doesn't have to be warmed or a backup electricity source for warming would make the FREE breakfast advertised at least comparable.

Looks like we'll be better off camping next time.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with friends
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank madchen1234
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Don and Sally H, General Manager at Kelly Inn West Yellowstone, responded to this reviewResponded 13 July 2014

Thank you for sharing your personal experience from last Memorial Day weekend. We would probably not ever characterize a Memorial Day trip to Yellowstone as relaxing or peaceful due to the thousands of visitors who arrive then and the fact that it actually snowed on Memorial Day 3 of the last 4 years, However, this last Memorial Day was far from relaxing and a very unique and memorable experience for everyone who was here on that unfortunate day. We're sorry that you picked that particular weekend to visit Yellowstone.

I personally do remember our conversation that morning, simply because your comments were such a unique distraction and unavoidable diversion from dealing with a genuine emergency situation. While we have no control over emergency power outages, we do apologize that you suffered a personal inconvenience when we could not continue to serve breakfast. I'm sorry that you felt that you were being treated condescendingly when demanding a refund during an emergency situation while guests were still stuck in the elevator that needed immediate attention. I hurriedly tried to explain that we could not give a refund to every guest simply because the power to the entire city went out and explained that we had people stuck in the elevator and elderly that needed help down the stairs with their luggage. Unfortunately, I didn't have the luxury of debating all the things that we could have or should have done to prevent your personal inconvenience while dealing with guests who had far more serious issues that needed immediate help. Your response made it clear that you were not concerned with anyone else and only wanted compensation because you assumed that the electric problem was confined to our hotel. Apparently you still fail to understand the magnitude and seriousness of the problem that everyone for miles in every direction had to endure all day.

We understand that you were upset that you paid a lot of money for a hotel room that lost power the morning of your departure. We also understand that you apparently had no idea how it was an actual real emergency situation for many other folks. However, to characterize it now as a creative excuse for poor service is to totally ignore the reality of the facts. We lost electricity that affected lighting and prevented the heating of food, but the sun was up, we had daylight in all windows and the 800 gallons of hot water that is heated by natural gas could not possibly suddenly go ice cold as you now claim. While I made no suggestion that you should have had breakfast earlier as you also now state as fact, I did see many guests still eating cereal with milk and finishing off the remaining fruit, berries and yogurt well after our conversation. We were much too busy setting up temporary battery powered lights in the public bathrooms and stairways after the emergency lights quit working to place much focus on what foods were left or who had not had breakfast yet. Since it has been quite a while since that weekend, I can only assume that your memories are mostly focused on the inconveniences your suffered rather than factual circumstances that we dealt with.

In an emergency, our primary focus is on the safety of our guests. Releasing the three young ladies from the elevator was our first and primary concern. The fact that we could not contact fire and police emergency staff made it even more difficult. Fortunately I was able to get them down to the first floor and get them out of the dark elevator but I'm sure it was a very scary situation for them. Helping the non English speaking and elderly guests get from their rooms to the daylight of the lobby was our second concern. Most of the battery flashlights we had went through multiple battery changes but luckily most guests used their cell phones to light the way as emergency lights became dim. Providing additional back up battery powered lighting in key areas was our third concern and our final concern was how to get every room ready for that nights incoming guests without having to close the hotel and turn them away if the power did not come back on. It was not restored until late afternoon.

Unfortunately, trying to continue to provide hot breakfast selections for our free breakfast service was not part of our emergency plan. We do not advertise or even have a waffle maker but the two pancake machines do require electricity to operate as does the microwave to heat the hot protein items, biscuits or gravy. We do apologize that we were unable to continue breakfast service with no electricity and that you either did not see or desire to eat cold cereal that morning.

The fact is that we have had only two unscheduled power outages that affected the town of West Yellowstone in all the years that we have been here so they are very memorable events. This one was the worst because it happened in the middle of breakfast service on a holiday weekend just several days after we opened up our new breakfast serving bar. Panic set in for many visitors who were stranded at gas stations that couldn't pump gas, stores and restaurants that had to close suddenly and hotels full of hundreds of confused guests. The power was out for over 7 hours in an area that covered hundreds of square miles due to a major power company transmission failure. The outage affected every business inside and out of the park including large areas of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.

You made many interesting suggestions that you felt would have prevented your inconvenience and increased our potential service for future events. Unfortunately, a power generator large enough to handle the total electrical needs of a hotel this size would be prohibitively expensive and massive in size. If you check every hotel, restaurant, retail store and gasoline station in your city I'm sure that you will find few if any that have a generator for power outages. I know of none here. Emergency lighting is typically battery powered and designed only to assist in safely lighting pathways to emergency exits long enough to evacuate the building. Most are powered by wet cell batteries that last up to two hours and can only be tested by pushing a button that verifies that they come on. However, due to the early failure of some critical emergency lights in the stairwells, we have replaced them with new LED lights that use far less power and are supposed to last much longer. Of course we will never know until they are pressed into service. To put emergency lights in every guest room bathroom so that guests can continue to use the bathroom in an emergency would be counter to the purpose of emergency lighting. Since every guest room and stairway must have windows to the outside, the parking lot lights or sunlight coming in through the windows is sufficient to lead guests to the doorway where emergency lights are located down each hallway. Unfortunately, having a backup power source for preparing breakfast food in a power outage is not part of an emergency preparation plan. While gas appliances might make sense for a restaurant that actually prepares fresh meat and eggs, hotels that do not have a restaurant on site are only allowed to serve precooked foods that are generally microwaved of heated in an electric convection oven and they require far too much power for batteries. While we appreciate your suggestions to resolve potential inconveniences for the rare power outage, they simply are not economically feasible or practical with the current technology available.
Don Hill GM

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Reviewed 11 July 2014 via mobile

Let me start by saying the hotel has a pool, jacuzzi, breakfast and is in an ideal location. I didn't utilize any of the above so this is just based on the room used by our family as a gateway to Yellowstone.

The halls smell like body odor. It smells like a dirty locker room. The rooms are comfortable and clean but the over whelming grossness of the public areas made me question how clean anything was.

The location is ideal and all the hotels in West Yellowstone are priced based on proximity to the West Entrance and nothing else. If this hotel were elsewhere in would max out at 99.00 a night.

  • Stayed: July 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Eurotripper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Don and Sally H, General Manager at Kelly Inn West Yellowstone, responded to this reviewResponded 13 July 2014

Thanks for giving us a try on your recent visit and for sharing your experience to help others make a lodging choice that will best suite their needs. You are correct in that our company has many other hotels in other locations with far lower rates and similar amenities. Since you are a member of TripAdvisor we can assume that you researched the hotels and rates available in this area before choosing your dates to visit and still chose to visit in peak season when rates are the highest. With over 3.5 million visitors to Yellowstone every year mostly arriving between Memorial Day and Labor Day the demand certainly overwhelms the supply so rates are understandably higher in peak season. However, should you choose to visit us in other seasons you can stay in the same room and enjoy the same amenities for as low as $79 per night. We recommend that all visitors review the rates all year and choose the time of year that is most affordable to them or choose from some of the smaller hotels that do not provide the same amenities or services but are far more affordable. Since you did not choose to utilize most of the amenities we offer, we would be glad to recommend some of those other hotels that might fit your needs better for future visits.

Your comment about the body odor smell in the hallway is a unique complaint that we have not experienced previously. We did have one complaint years ago from a guest who said they smelled flatulence in the hall outside their room once but it cleared up too quickly to find the perpetrator. We can only assume that you passed someone who had just left the sauna room or someone who had not showered yet after hiking or biking in the park since we do not have an exercise or locker room. Since we have visitors from all over the world we understand that not all guests live on the same time zone for bathing or have the same hygiene habits but we have not discovered any odors in our halls or elevator that haven't cleared up after the offender passed by. We apologize if a guest with poor hygiene caused you any discomfort.

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Reviewed 10 July 2014

Stayed three nights at this hotel. The location is deep in the center in this rustic town known for its prominent position for entry into Yellowstone Park. It provides easy access to a multitude of restaurants and shops. The visitor center is across the street with a local tourist desk as well as a Yellowstone ranger ready to help you plan your trip.
The hotel is a little old. Wallpaper peeling in the shower, smallish bathroom, and a generally tired air. But, all of the amenities are available..laundry, pool, good staff and location. So, I would stay here again and recommend you give it a shot as well.

Room Tip: Hotel motif is rugged outdoorsy with cute little bears hanging onto your balcony. So, if you have kids, ask for a room with a bear in sight!
  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank JLKunciw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Don and Sally H, General Manager at Kelly Inn West Yellowstone, responded to this reviewResponded 13 July 2014

Thanks for taking the time to submit a review of your recent stay. We're happy to hear that you enjoyed your stay with us and would recommend others give us a try. Thank you for pointing out some of our next "to do" projects. We do have plans to make some improvements to the areas you mentioned as well as many others as time permits. Since we only have tow short down periods each year we have to set our remodel priorities by season. Over the last few years we have installed new beds, new room furnishings, new TVs and have completed most of the breakfast room/ lobby remodel to be finished this fall while staining and painting the entire outside and adding a patio and fire pit. Our next priorities after we complete our front desk and lobby furnishings will hopefully be each hallway and every bathroom. Since our company has been so good about reinvesting revenue back into the property every year brings an exciting new project so our returning guests discover something new every year. We hope you will return often and enjoy the results of our future projects.

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Reviewed 9 July 2014

We stayed here for three nights. It was nice to escape the crowds at Yellowstone park and spent the night outside of Yellowstone park. The rooms are very comfortable, spacious and clean. We stayed on the third floor which I would recommend because we had read reviews of it being loud on the first and second floor. The pool looks small but clean ( we never used it). Also we ordered in every night after long days at the park, and there are several good choices. All that was said about breakfast is true. Although there are plenty of options none of them looked particularly inviting to me. The breakfast cook that tends to the room is the grumpiest! No nice way around it, he just is, so just make sure you stay out of his way!
All in all a very pleasant stay though and if the breakfast review scared you, there is couple nice options in town as well.

Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
1  Thank Aussiebitz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Don and Sally H, General Manager at Kelly Inn West Yellowstone, responded to this reviewResponded 13 July 2014

Thanks for choosing to stay with us and for taking the time to submit a review. We're glad that you enjoyed your stay but sorry to hear that our free breakfast offering did not live up to your expectations.

Since nearly every experienced food service person in the area is working two full time jobs in summer, they tend to burn out far to early in the season. We apologize if the service you experienced was sub par. We recently met with our breakfast attendants to share some recent reviews and discuss how they are being perceived by other guests while rushing back and forth attempting to keep everything full. It has become an overwhelming task feeding and cleaning up for over 200 guests every morning without a fully staffed restaurant on site for support. Obviously the stress is beginning to show to our guests which is unacceptable.

Since we just completed the remodel that enabled us to expand our offerings, serving and seating space, we are still learning and adjusting as more guests are now choosing to sample more of our expanded offerings here for free rather than go out to a restaurant. Because the remodel took longer than expected, we simply added too much too soon by opening our new space in peak season without the benefit of breaking it in slowly. We understand that we need to add more help to reduce the load on a single service employee each morning and have been desperately seeking additional staffing in peak season when there are so few available. Since we do not wish to reduce the offerings or hours of breakfast, we are trying to improve our effort to keep up with the increased demand by asking other non food service trained staff members to help out for the short term. Hopefully,we should be much better prepared next season now that we have had some actual experience with the new service space and will have more time to recruit additional experienced food service help. We appreciate those guests who have helped bring these issues to our attention so that we may continually make adjustments and improvements going forward..

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Reviewed 9 July 2014

We had a fantastic stay at the Kelly Inn and found the staff very friendly and helpful. Our room was very clean and well appointed. This was a family trip and the room allowed all four of us to spread out and have a place to sit and relax after a long day exploring Yellowstone. We also enjoyed the pool, hot tub and dry spa each night. Breakfast was of equal or better quality than other hotels we used during this trip and was something I looked forward to each day. Access to Yellowstone could not be easier as the gate is just down the road from West Yellowstone. From our base at the Kelly Inn in West Yellowstone, we were able to access all of the features of Yellowstone on the western roads, from the north gate/Mammoth hot springs all the way down to West Thumb. We also stayed in Grand Teton park to start the trip and in Cooke City, MT to visit the eastern side of Yellowstone. If you are planning a stay in West Yellowstone, the Kelly Inn is a great place to call your home away from home.

Room Tip: If possible, get a room half way down the hall. This will put you furthest from the elevator at one end and ice machine at the other.
  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank Hal G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Don and Sally H, General Manager at Kelly Inn West Yellowstone, responded to this reviewResponded 13 July 2014

Thank you for choosing our hotel for part of your visit to Yellowstone. It sounds like you were able to get around to each of the gateway areas and experience the entire park. We're happy to hear that you enjoyed your visit with us and would recommend us for folks staying in West Yellowstone. We hope you will have the opportunity to visit Yellowstone again in the future and will make some time to stay with us on this side of the park again.

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