IPA Magazine-Luxury Travel Reviews

The Action’s in Jackson

rustyJackson Hole, Wyoming is an area world-renown for its wildlife, ski slopes, art galleries, fishing, and river sports, and as the gateway to both Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. Artists, aficionados, athletes, and adventurers from all over the world congregate here in the celebrated town of Jackson to enjoy outdoor and indoor activities year round.  Whether it’s a Hot Air Balloon Festival, Micro-brew Festival, Music Festival, or visiting the more than 40 art galleries, the town of Jackson and the greater Jackson Hole area attract visitors for the wealth of entertainment, recreation and scenic opportunities.

In the center of this ruggedly posh burg of 10,000 environs lies the popular Town Square, the corners of which are bedecked with four large arches of shed elk antlers, at least one of which is decorated with lights.  While skiers head to either Snow King, Jackson’s original and steep ski hill, or a little further away to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, shoppers and gawkers roam the boardwalk exploring trendy restaurants, cafés, Old West saloons, inns, museums, boutiques and shops featuring western wear, jewelry, outdoor gear, and gift items.

Located in the midst of this historic and popular destination is an AAA Four-Diamond Lodge, also listed on the exclusive membership roll of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, the incomparable Rusty Parrot Lodge & Spa.

The Rusty Parrot takes pride in serving travelers with personal attention uncommon for hotels.  Staff members have a passion for guiding their guests to favorite places, maximizing their experience of the Jackson Hole area.  For example, shortly after our arrival, the front desk receptionist helped us navigate the town square area by opening a map and highlighting a few of her favorite haunts.  With so many shops in the area, it was fun to look in on some of the suggested locations that we would have missed had we ambled about without a plan.  After a lengthy visit to one local shop, we knew why it came so highly recommended.

She also explained the quaint legend behind the name of this lodge.  Since parrots are not particularly known to frequent this region better known for moose, elk and bear, there must be a story.  It turns out the owners of this inn were in search of an original name for their lodge, even going so far as to write two lists of words, one list for nouns and another for adjectives.  Hopefully, they thought, there would be some combination of words, one from each list, that would be unique, catchy, and perhaps even meaningful.  How to capture the perfect name without opting for the obvious local descriptions was going to be a challenge. Well, one day while traveling in northern California they spotted a large metal bird—a parrot—that had been left out in the elements.  As metal is wont to do, there was a layer of rust on the bird and—voila!—the mascot was discovered.  Indeed, as they searched their two lists, they found they had written “rusty” on one list in advance of their discovery.  The Rusty Parrot objet d’art was purchased on the spot and transported to its present day perch located prominently behind the registration desk.

Now that our curiosity had been satisfied, we could concentrate on getting better acquainted with our lodgings.

Our room had a lovely outdoor deck where, whether in the mornings or afternoons, we could sit on raised, high-back chairs, to survey the quiet park below us.   Hand-crafted Western-themed furnishings were abundant throughout our room, from leather lampshades and a riveted leather easy chair to framed prints of buffalo on the walls.  This was no cowboy bunkhouse, however.  Soft terry robes and slippers were furnished to provide comfort while lounging in our room or to serve as cover ups after enjoying the outdoor hot tub. European down comforters and pillows were set on our king size, top quality mattresses.  L’Occitane bath amenities graced the full deep-tub bath suite, with even a complementary bath salts packet. The flat panel satellite TV was hooked up to a number of stations and the free wireless internet service ensured that guests could be online in an instant.  Whereas other hotels offer internet for a price, or worse, unsecured, the Rusty Parrot’s service came free and without a hitch.  A nice writing desk was useful for sitting and writing, using a laptop, or plopping down a local boutique’s shopping bag on a horizontal surface.  Nightly turndown service includes a lovely confectionary treat with a cowboy poem as well!  Although all 31 rooms have these excellent features, some are also equipped with wood-burning fireplaces and some with jetted tubs.

Coffee and tea service are available throughout the day on the second floor library where yummy, warm cookies are served starting at 4 p.m.  Here you can relax on a sofa or easy chair, read a book or engage in conversation at the end of the day.

Mornings begin with a newspaper delivered to your door along with a copy of the Concierge Newsletter, a single-page briefing on local weather for the day and week, along with announcements concerning meal specials at The Wild Sage Restaurant as well as important activities at the hotel and around town.  The Rusty Parrot also offers complementary bicycles for guests to ride along Jackson’s many local trails or out to Teton Village or into Grand Teton National Park.

Capturing the essence of the region and its remarkable cuisine is The Rusty Parrot Cookbook: Recipes from Jackson Hole’s Acclaimed Lodge.  This valuable, elegant resource features beautiful photos of each culinary creation and step-by-step instructions for making some of the fabulous dishes for which the lodge has become famous.

Perhaps the best way to summarize all that is The Rusty Parrot, its venerated lodge, its superb service, its singular restaurant and celebrated spa, is to quote its founder, Ron Harrison, whose personal philosophy shows up in the Rusty Parrot’s ambience: “Live well, travel often, and occasionally overindulge.  Moderation can be overdone.”

Rusty Parrot Lodge & Spa

175 North Jackson Street

Jackson, Wyoming 83001

Toll Free: (800) 458-2004

Website: www.rustyparrot.com

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