When you think of Montana, images of wide open spaces, grassy plains and all American cowboys may come to mind (thank you, Hollywood). For all of these reasons, Montana has been a well-desired destination in a year when many have been seeking solace outside the 4 walls of their home. A must-visit stop in Big Sky Country, however, is the quaint college town of Bozeman. Located in southwest Montana, Bozeman has a thriving local arts and culture scene and The LARK hotel is the perfect place to settle in and explore the very walkable downtown.
Architecture & Design
Situated in the heart of downtown Bozeman, The LARK is a 67-room boutique hotel. Originally built in the 1960s, sustainable design firm Think Tank took over the property in 2015 and reimagined it for a modern, environmentally conscious world. Employing over 200 local artisans and workers, the team renovated and expanded the property. By using cutting-edge sustainable materials such as cross-laminated timber (CLT). A lightweight engineered wood panel system, CLT is a renewable resource and a more environmentally responsible way to build than traditional methods.
After multiple renovation and expansion projects, the Streamline-era architecture features an open-air design, an outdoor fire pit and wider balconies to showcase everything that downtown has to offer, including charming restaurants, breweries and boutiques.
With the surrounding community involved in every aspect, it only made sense to incorporate local art into the interior design of the hotel. Montana artists are featured throughout the hotel, and have given the rooms a distinctive, intriguing connection to Bozeman. Infographics and expressive illustrations provide information about the region, telling guests a story about the experiences that await them.
One of those local artists is Shaw Thompson. His passion for using reclaimed materials was a perfect fit for the hotel’s quest to provide intriguing local art around every corner. Shaw produced distinctive light fixtures that include parts salvaged from the internal workings of air circulation fans to the exhaust pipe shroud from army vehicles and more. To see more of Shaw’s carefully curated items, visit his shop in downtown Bozeman at Misco Mill Gallery.
Another artist, Patrick Hoffman is a fine art ceramicist and an art teacher at Bozeman Senior High School. He combined the infographic concept with artistry to create a radial map that grounds visitors with the idea of “you are here.” The map then expands that with a different way to visualize the travel time to various Bozeman area places and activities. In the lobby, his ceramic installation is composed of wood-fired ceramic forms. The symbols for structures that dot an agricultural landscape are in temporary compositions on steel sheets that can be arranged differently over time.
Our perfect trip to Bozeman, Montana starts with checking into The LARK (clearly). Days start with a visit to Treeline Coffee Roasters, the onsite cafe and continue with a stroll down Main Street. Check out the socially conscious Alara Jewelry and Head West for legit Montana-made gifts, accessories and western wear. Co-op Downtown is a perfect spot for takeout deli goods and if you want to stay within stumbling distance of your room, Backcountry Burger Bar is directly across the street from the hotel (and they have veggie options). At night, catch a show at the Rialto, or just chill around the patio firepit as you plan your next day’s adventure.
Despite the fact that you’re staying in the city, the mountains, valleys and waters of the Gallatin River Valley are quite accessible. As a result, you’re still near world-renowned fly fishing, dramatic mountains for hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, skiing, hunting and backcountry exploring and impressive wildlife. Bozeman is also the perfect launchpad to visit Yellowstone National Park as well.
What We Love
We love when a hotel thoughtfully integrates sustainability with modern amenities, having layers of impact in their community. For instance, here are some of our favorite aspects of The LARK:
- Sustainable Design (use of renewable and recyclable materials)
- Local Community Support (local craftsmen and artisans)
- Sustainable EcoLab Cleaning Supplies
- Locally made cookies in your room upon arrival
- A reusable cooler to use on local day trips and nature outings
- Digital directories and magazines
- Local guide to support small businesses in the area
MICHELLE ARELLANO MARTIN