Trip Reports

The Race to Find a Room in Jackson Hole

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During my trip to Wyoming my friends and I decided last minute to spend the night in Jackson Hole and check out Grand Teton National Park the next morning. I had done a little bit of research and discovered that

1. hotels in Jackson, WY are expensive even in the summer

2. 90% were already sold out.

But my friends wanted to be spontaneous and see if we could get a better deal onsite (“sometimes you can negotiate better rates in-person”) and I decided not to be “that travel person” and go with the flow. If we had been willing to stay a half hour or hour away from the park we would have been fine. But we wanted to try out the local breweries that night which meant a downtown stay.

jackson wy cache street

It turns out many of the local hotel websites won’t let you book day of online, so we couldn’t check availability in advance). Instead we scribbled a list of affordable Tripadvisor recommendations, parked close to our top pick and went in.

Sold out.

They recommended another hotel a few blocks away. There was a line at that check in and we could hear staff talking to customers on the phone about available rooms. At other hotels.

Apparently there were two hotels in town that still had a few rooms. We set off at a fast walk (to beat the guy who had been standing in line behind us) to the Quality Inn while I called the other hotel, El Rancho, ranked 41 out of 42 hotels. They had no doubles, but they did have four rooms left with a full size for $135. More than we wanted to pay apeice.

The Quality Inn  had one room left — a 3 BR Jacuzzi suite for $400. Even more than we wanted to pay!

I called the El Rancho back, discovered two of the rooms were already gone, and promptly claimed the other two. Since they were only a few blocks away from where we were they said they’d hold the rooms for 15 minutes and didn’t need a credit card.

Anvil motel check in for el rancho

Well we got the directions wrong and were frantically racing to the hotel only to see a sign saying check in was at the Anvil Motel next door. Breathless and worried we did arrive in time to claim the last two rooms, the people behind us in line being told they were out of luck.

Lesson learned: The next time we decide we’re going to Jackson, WY, we’re booking rooms immediately. Even if it’s a week day in the off season!

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  1. Ryan

    August 19, 2015 at 1:59 am

    Your problem is THIS is the SEASON. Yellowstone attracts far more people than skiing. Ski season is the “off season.” Wide availability there last year when we went to ski.

  2. mitch manassa

    August 19, 2015 at 2:14 am

    In Jackson the summer is not the off-season as it has a lot more visitors than in the winter due to the proximity of Teton National Park (which we prefer) and Yellowstone. I believe Jackson is one of few US ski towns, that is as expensive also in the summer as during the ski season. Its one of the most beautiful places in the US in the summer, so there is a good reason for the demand being high in the warmer months.

  3. Jonathan C

    August 19, 2015 at 3:07 am

    You’re also hitting up against the annual Kansas City Federal Reserve meeting which brings lots of business to town.

  4. Brian Cohen

    August 19, 2015 at 3:09 am

    Even in the colder weather, Jackson Hole was always expensive.

    I was on business with a client — one of the local newspapers there — who told me just how expensive everything is there.

    I wound up staying at a Super 8 one night — the only time I ever stayed at a Super 8; and hopefully the last time as well — and the Homewood Suites the next night. Both hotels were quite expensive for what you got; but the vacancy rate simply seems to always be high there…

  5. JRG

    August 19, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    If you are there more than a few nights, it’s worth looking into short term rentals of furnished houses….seven of us stayed three nights in a beautiful place for about $2K. Expensive, of course, but everything you needed, minus food in a six bedroom house. Per person – not that bad.

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