Editor's note: This corrects in fourth paragraph that lodge officials, not park officials, were aware of the leak.
The St. Mary Lodge and Resort on the eastern edge of Glacier National Park has been sold to a Phoenix-based corporation that operates other lodges in the park under its Glacier Park, Inc., subsidiary.
The move further cements Glacier Park, Inc.'s holdings in the park. It already operates the Lake McDonald Lodge, Many Glacier Hotel, Glacier Park Lodge, Rising Sun Motor Inn and cabins, Swiftcurrent Motor Inn and cabins, the Village Inn at Apgar, and the Prince of Wales Hotel in Waterton Lakes National Park in neighboring Alberta. The concessionaire also runs the fleet of Red Jammers in Glacier.
"The acquisition of St. Mary Lodge & Resort is our second in-market expansion in the Glacier National Park area this year and an important addition to our high-margin Travel & Recreation Group," said Viad Corp. Chairman Paul Dykstra in a news release. "The property expands our high-end product portfolio and is a strong strategic fit with our Glacier Park operation. We are committed to expanding our hospitality and recreational attractions portfolio in and around national parks in North America, and this transaction represents another successful execution against those plans."
The St. Mary Lodge and Resort lies just beyond the park's St. Mary entrance on the eastern end of the Going-to-the-Sun Road. It offers 115 guest rooms spread among six facilities, with ambience ranging from "luxury lodge rooms and suites to rustic and relaxing cottages and motel rooms."
Among the new owner's tasks, though, will be regaining the confidence of travelers -- including me -- who have had bitter experiences at the lodge in recent years. A visit last August landed my wife and I in a room with water issues in the tiny bathroom that left the floor spongy and signs of what likely was a growing mold problem. Lodge managers were aware of the problem we learned -- in part due to water leaking through the main lobby ceiling directly below -- but nevertheless kept the room available for guests.
In announcing the acquisition on Thursday, Michael Hannan, president of Viad's Travel & Recreation Group, said, "The addition of St. Mary Lodge & Resort extends the reach of our environmental stewardship programs further into the community, and it broadens our position as a hospitality employer of choice in Glacier County and in the state of Montana."