For more than a few folks, staying in a cabin during a visit to one of the West's national parks is a highlight of their visit. For those who land a reservation in one of the cabins in Zion National Park, their stay will be a bit like stepping into the past thanks to recent renovations.
Built in 1927 by the Union Pacific Railroad, the cabins are listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. The company that manages the park's lodging, Xanterra Parks & Resorts, recently contracted with Archdeacon Designs to restore the original look and feel of the cabins, but with modern materials as well as plumbing and electrical components and systems.
“The cabins and baths – inspired by Union Pacific archival photos – have been redone to try and capture that feeling of a bygone era that made our national parks one of our country’s proudest achievements,” said Trina Smith, general manager of Zion Lodge. “While we maintained modern conveniences, we also returned to a historic feel through great attention to detail.”
Changes include the removal of carpeting and refinishing the original fir flooring, addition of custom-designed replica furniture by Old Hickory Furniture Company based upon an original dresser using oak and wicker, and the placement of cabin draperies and custom-made blankets to replicate the original Indian designs.
Lighting was fabricated to either match original fixtures or complement them. For example, a scroll design was replicated and used with a candle base to create new double sconces over each bed. The sconces were finished with black powder coating similar to original lighting fixtures and drapery hardware.
While the look might be retro, the conveniences are modern. For instance, the cabins feature ceiling fans, air-conditioning, water heaters, desks with built-in power outlets, and beds with triple-sheeted, 300-count cotton.
Environmentally sustainable aspects of the project, according to Xanterra, include building furniture with renewable wood in the forms of oak and hickory saplings, using washable wool instead of fabric requiring dry cleaning, reducing air-conditioning by installing ceiling fans, and relying on energy-efficient water heaters.
Zion Lodge’s motel rooms have also been updated with new carpet, window treatments and bedding. Televisions are scheduled for installation in the motel rooms by mid-July.
Zion Lodge is open year round and offers 81 rooms, 40 cabins, a restaurant, café and gift shop. Reservations can be made at www.zionlodge.com or by calling 1-303-29-PARKS (1-303-297-2757) or toll-free at 1-888-29-PARKS (1-888-297-2757).