North of Big Sky , in the town of Gallatin Gateway, the historic Gallatin Gateway Inn (406/763-4672 or 800/676-3522, www.gallatingatewayinn.com , $149–189) has been beautifully restored to landmark status. Rooms are either in the historic main lodge or cottages tucked behind the lodge. There’s a very nice outdoor pool and hot tub, as well as a casting pond and tennis courts.
On Highway 191, Best Western Buck’s T-4 Lodge (406/995-4111 or 800/822-4484, www.buckst4.com , $139–159) is a very nice lodging with two large outdoor hot tubs. During the winter, room rates jump about $10–20. Small pets are permitted with a $5 fee. The restaurant here is also notable.
Whitewater Inn (47214 Gallatin Rd., 406/995-2333 or 800/548-4486, www.bigskyresort.com , $119–163) is on Highway 191 near Buck’s. The big attraction here is the motel’s indoor pool, which has a slightly cramped water slide emptying into it.
Somewhat apart from the Big Sky bustle is the Rainbow Ranch Lodge (Hwy. 191, five miles south of the Big Sky turnoff, 406/995-4132 or 800/937-4132, www.rainbowranch.com , $245–270 suites, $600 cabin) on the Gallatin River. Although the main lodge at this resort was destroyed by fire in the spring of 2008, a four-bedroom, four-bath riverside cabin about a mile away was spared, as was the giant hot tub.
On the road up Lone Peak, between Meadow and Mountain, the River Rock Lodge (3080 Pine Dr., 406/995-4455 or 800/995-4455, www.riverrocklodging.com , $160–260) has Big Sky’s most comfortably elegant lodgings. The tasteful Western-craftsman decor has a practical note, like the handsome wool blankets and down comforters on each bed.
Many of the accommodations at the Mountain Village are owned by Big Sky Resort. Surprisingly, there’s not a huge variation between winter and summer rates here.
Rooms at the Huntley Lodge (Mountain Village, 406/995-5000 or 800/548-4486, www.bigskyresort.com , $168–412) and the adjacent Shoshone Condominium Hotel ($285–843) offer easy ski-in, ski-out access to the main base area. There are two swimming pools, a steam room, hot tubs, and great access to the slopes.
Under the same management and also part of the Mountain Village is the rather swank Summit at Big Sky ($221–508), a high-rise hotel-condominium complex with a wide variety of room configurations. Big Sky Resort operates several other condo developments in the Mountain Village; the resort’s website has a good schematic, and telephone reservations clerks are generally quite helpful.
Resort Property Management (406/995-4800 or 800/548-4488, www.rpmbigsky.com , $200 and up at Meadow level, $400 and up Mountain level) rents a staggering array of lodging choices, ranging from reasonably priced suites that can accommodate up to eight people to many condos and homes for nightly rental. Many of these properties have hot tubs.