S H Lake Hotel (called Lake Yellowstone Hotel by the concessionaire in recent years) suggests 1920s casual elegance. The Lake String Quartet has played in the sunroom during cocktail and dinner hours since 1999, the dining room (reservations required) has some of the best food in the park, and the entire hotel is the most carefully planned and comfortable of any in Yellowstone. The hotel also has a sit-down deli and a gift shop. From the Haynes Guide for 1912: “Hotel at the Outlet. This spacious and elegantly appointed hotel tends greatly toward making Yellowstone Lake the resort par excellence of the Park. Here everything is so arranged that guests can spend the entire season, if they so desire, making short, easy trips of sightseeing or exploration to all points of the great reserve.” Few people have the time or inclination to spend “the entire season” these days, but the hotel has not changed much. Even in a short stay, we can appreciate its resort-like ambience and its outstanding setting. U.S. presidents Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge stayed here on their trips through the park.
The central portion of the hotel was completed in 1891, and additions were built in 1902, 1904, and 1923. You might notice that the east wing is slightly out of alignment with the hotel’s central portion this is due to a very large rock discovered underground just where the architect had planned to extend the wing. Architect Robert Reamer added some of the colonial touches at the time of the additions, including the imposing Ionic columns, dormer windows, and small third-floor balconies. He also extended the lounge toward Yellowstone Lake; guests now enjoy views in three directions from the lounge windows. The porte cochere over the hotel driveway was added in 1920. After extensive renovations took place in the early 1980s, there are now nearly 300 rooms, including those in the annex and simple cabins at the rear.