YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) — Five new lodges are under construction at Yellowstone National Park's Canyon Lodge that will replace 400 outdated cabins.
Mia Bell, assistant general manager for Xanterra's Yellowstone National Park Lodges, said the five new lodges will have 73 to 87 rooms each.
Three of those buildings will open to guests early next month. The two other buildings will open next summer.
The redevelopment at Canyon Lodge is part of Xanterra's 20-year contract as the concessionaire in Yellowstone National Park. That contract calls for $150 million in improvements of Yellowstone's lodging and dining facilities.
The Canyon Lodge project will account for $90 million. Other projects in that contract include the renovation of Lake Hotel and a new dorm at Old Faithful Inn.
The new lodges at Canyon will have a total of 409 rooms.
They will offer a range of rates. Larger suites that have multiple bedrooms and balconies will run $479 a night. On the low end, small rooms on the third floor of the buildings will rent for $122 a night, which is close to what the rate at some of the old cabins.
"It is so much better than what was here before for the same price," Bell told the Great Falls Tribune (http://gftrib.com/1JHsyHt).
Xanterra opted to build five smaller buildings rather than one huge hotel to give the area more of the feel of a village.
"You would otherwise have a giant hotel surrounded by parking lots," Bell said.
The Canyon Lodge, which houses a restaurant, cafeteria and gift shop, will remain in place. It will also be renovated beginning in Fall 2016.
Cascade Lodge and Dunraven Lodge, which opened in 1993 and 1998, respectively, will continue to offer guest lodging in the Canyon area.
When the project is finished, the whole area will be connected by walking trails and bike paths.
"It's going to be very pedestrian friendly," Bell said.