There’s a good reason why new rooms at the Painted Buffalo Inn have carpeting that’s a little thinner near the door than in the middle of the room, scratch-proof benches and cubbies with hooks.
The inn is being transformed into Mountain Modern Motel, and along with the new name and new look it’s being rebranded as a stylish base camp for Jackson Hole adventures. It’s designed to appeal to a range of travelers, including some who might be hard on a room.
“From a couple in their 60s from Chicago to a family of five from Texas to a bunch of dudes from Boston coming out for their men’s trip, we’re a casting a broad net,” said Spencer Long, director of sales and marketing.
The remodeled rooms — all 135 of which are to be done before summer starts — are designed so guests will feel comfortable kicking off muddy boots at the door, flinging backpacks onto the bench, and hanging snowboards and leaning skis in the cubby.
The adventure theme is carried through to high-top tables as well as murals over the beds. The tables swing out from the wall to make it easy for guests to lay out maps for their next excursion and to plan their routes under strong light. The murals are like giant Jackson Hole postcards, featuring bison on Antelope Flats, for example, or a fly-fishmerman.
Buffalo plaid blankets, floor lamps and leather chairs add verve to the decor. Rooms also come with microwaves, coffee pots, fridges and “kitchen space,” bridging the gap between motel rooms of the past and VRBO options that are popular today.
It’s all designed to shake off some of the outdated perceptions of what a motel is and to take the concept up a notch.
“It harks back to the old days’ Route 66, when a motor inn was a cool place to stay on your way to adventure,” Long said. “It’s like no other motor inn that you’ve been in before.”
That idea of adventure will translate to the expanded lobby as well. It will have a fireplace and lounging area, a cafe serving coffee in the morning and beer and wine in the evening, a soft-serve ice cream dispenser and a reader board to display events, weather and social media — like photos posted by guests. There will be outdoor seating as well.
“It will be very inviting,” Spencer said of the new lobby. “It will be a place for people to share their stories.”
The “new” motel, like the old one, will have an indoor pool. But a fitness center isn’t in the plans, the idea being that the outdoors offers all the fitness opportunities anyone could want.
Mountain Modern Motel’s proprietors hope to have staffers who are knowledgeable about Jackson Hole, from the best places to fish to great hikes to where the brewpubs are.
“Everybody will have a niche,” Spencer said.
With all the changes room rates will rise to $100 to $350 a night, depending on the season. That compares with a $55 to $200 range last year.
The hotel’s transformation is scheduled to be done by Memorial Day.