Over the last few years, the trend of companies investing again in incentive travel programs for their top producing associates has been on the rise. In most cases, companies are looking for the one-of-a-kind experience that will engage and encourage year-long motivation. When it comes to selecting the next destination for your corporate incentive program, look no further than Western Montana’s Glacier Country. Home to four of the finest guest ranches in the West—with each catering to couples, groups or families—Western Montana can deliver an experiential vacation of a lifetime for your team.
Triple Creek Ranch: A member of the prestigious Relais & Chateaux properties (an exclusive collection of 500 of the world’s finest hotels and gourmet restaurants), Triple Creek Ranch sits amongst the pine trees in the Bitterroot Mountain Range in Darby, Montana. Located about an hour’s drive south of Missoula through the beautiful Bitterroot Valley, the 26,000-acre all-inclusive ranch caters to adults (all guests must be at least 16 years old) and features accommodations from private one-bedroom log cabins to luxury ranch homes. The lodge is adorned with an impressive western art collection and the restaurant—under the direction of Executive Chef Jake Leatherman—serves the freshest cuisine along with the world’s finest wines. Guests can choose from on-site and off-ranch activities that include:
- On-site activities: horseback riding, hiking, tennis, panning for sapphires, archery or relaxing by the pool
- Off-ranch adventures: fly-fishing or a scenic float on the Bitterroot River or a guided ATV tour
- Winter activities: snowshoeing, cross-country, alpine skiing or a guided snowmobiling excursion
Awards: Triple Creek Ranch was recently named the best hotel in the world by Business Insider and voted the top hotel in the world by readers of Travel + Leisure magazine for 2014.
The Resort at Paws Up: Guests will be greeted for an unforgettable stay and experience at The Resort at Paws Up, a family friendly authentic working cattle ranch. Located in Greenough, Montana, Paws Up offers a luxury stay on 37,000 acres in the Blackfoot Valley. Accommodations vary from a ranch house to lavish guest homes along with riverside glamping camps that offer the utmost in luxury tent camping along the Blackfoot River—one of Montana’s premiere blue-ribbon fly-fishing trout streams and made famous in the movie A River Runs Through It. As Western Montana’s largest guest ranch, The Resort at Paws Up staff will work with planners to create an outstanding incentive program to motivate, inspire and reward individuals (along with their families) or groups of up to 200 people. Activities include:
- Year-round all-inclusive activities: fitness center, hiking trails, geocaching, fishing equipment, mountain biking, all on-property sports and pony rides
- A-la-carte activities: archery, skeet shooting, ATV tours, riding lessons, fly-fishing, trail rides, hot air ballooning, rappelling, whitewater rafting and Spa Town
- Winter: dogsledding, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, tubing and ice skating
Awards: in the Condé Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Awards, The Resort at Paws Up was ranked 2nd of the top 20 resorts in the West, 5th in the top 25 resorts in the U.S. and 15th in the top 100 hotels & resorts in the world.
The Ranch at Rock Creek: If you want your top producers to feel like celebrities, send them to the world’s only five-star guest ranch where staff member will greet them by name throughout their stay. Located outside the cute Montana town of Philipsburg, The Ranch at Rock Creek is a family friendly ranch resort and a member of the prestigious Relais & Chateaux properties. It is the ultimate in all-inclusive luxury and experiences, offering 29 one-of-a-kind accommodations with 38 private bedrooms. Guests can choose to stay in one of the nine suites in the Granite Lodge, glamping cabins, the historic refurbished barn or one of a host of luxury guest homes. The Silver Dollar Saloon offers nightly entertainment including shuffleboard, billiards, table tennis, karaoke, a four-lane bowling alley and a private movie theater. Over 20 activities are offered daily on the ranch’s 6,600 acres.
- Daily activity offerings: horseback riding, fly-fishing, shooting and archery, ropes course, mountain biking, hiking, geocaching and Little Grizzlies Kids Club, as well as a weekly old-fashioned rodeo
- Relaxation offerings: Bikini Beach, pool, hot tub and luxury spa treatments at Granite Spa
- Winter experiences: snowmobiling (including all-inclusive equipment, gear and guide), snow cat tours, sleigh rides, ice skating and sledding, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing
Awards: the only Forbes five-star ranch resort in the world.
Averill’s Flathead Lake Lodge: For the ultimate in traditional family dude ranch vacations, Averill’s Flathead Lake Lodge is one of the best. Family owned and operated for over 65 years, visitors will feel like a member of the Averill family at week’s end. Only 35 miles from Glacier National Park, the resort sits on the shore of Flathead Lake—the largest freshwater lake in the West—in Bigfork, Montana, on 2,000 acres and offers both horse and water recreation for the entire family. Accommodations have a rustic and cozy ambience with traditional log furnishings and country quilts adorning the beds, giving them a real old west cowboy feel. Cabins range from one to three bedrooms and are nestled in the pines. They also have a historic log lodge, complete with a rock fireplace and central lobby. The ranch can accommodate up to 120 guests at a time, with all incoming guests arriving on Sunday in the summer months for a full week worth of adventure, while length of stay for incentive group packages in the spring and fall can be negotiated. Some of the activity options include:
- Horseback programs: trail rides, riding lessons, roping, team penning and rodeo
- Flathead Lake water activities: sailing, lake cruises, stand-up paddle boards, kayaks, canoes and fishing
- On-ranch activities: bike rentals, basketball and tennis courts, beach volleyball and lakeside swimming pool
- Kids programs: arts and crafts, scavenger hunts, laser tag, junior wrangler and overnight tipi camping
Awards: voted one of the top 50 family vacations by Home and Garden magazine.
When you’re working with one of Montana’s guest ranches, here are a few things to note:
*Be sure to ask if shuttle transportation is included in the rates from local airports whether flying commercial or into private local airstrips. Triple Creek Ranch, The Resort at Paws Up and The Ranch at Rock Creek are all serviced by Missoula International Airport (MSO), while Averill’s Flathead Lake Lodge is serviced by Glacier Park International Airport (FCA).
*During the busy summer season, most guest ranches have a four-night minimum stay requirement. Averill’s Flathead Lake Lodge requires a week’s stay during the summer months, while spring, fall and winter stay lengths can be negotiated.
*All-inclusive is for most on-site activities, meals and beverages. Some seasonal amenities or off-property excursions are at additional costs or offered as an al-a-carte menu. Be sure to ask the ranch for specifics.
For more information on these guest ranches and others in our region or to explore other incentive options in Western Montana, visit our Glacier Country Meetings website or drop me a line; I’m always here to help.
Meet in Montana,
January 6, 2016