As the warm summer air begins to warm the Rimrocks, it’s common to get the itch for a weekend getaway. For lifetime Montanan and Billings resident Marni Cowan, this means a girls weekend, and, for her, there is one perfect cure for spring fever. It’s a place crafted for an ideal weekend retreat—a versatile paradise to unwind, indulge or let loose. Yes, for Cowan and the gang, the call is almost automatic. For these women, “Where should we go?” is almost certainly met with “Chico Hot Springs!”
Just over a two-hour drive from Billings, Chico Hot Springs Resort & Day Spa is located 30 miles north of Yellowstone National Park in Pray, Montana. First established in 1900, the property has become a prime getaway for Montanans seeking one stop to eat great food, relax in a serene environment, stay in style and experience top-notch entertainment, making it a must for a girls weekend getaway.
Those looking to melt into the beauty of Montana need to look no further than this gem in the Paradise Valley. Nestled at the base of the Absaroka Mountain Range, Chico Hot Springs offers a variety of chances for R & R.
“It’s just such a relaxing atmosphere,” Cowan says. “When you’re out in the pool soaking, there is open air and the mountains. It’s great.”
Visitors can soak in the natural waters of two open-air mineral pools that average 96 and 103 degrees Fahrenheit. The pool and hot tub include a poolside bar as well as access to Percie’s Poolside Grille. Even more, the resort includes a spa with massage options, secluded on a hillside overlook.
Let’s face it. Not everyone wants to settle for grabbing grub poolside. For Cowan, the dining in the Chico Dining Room is a must.
“The dining room is world-class,” Cowan says. “The food is amazing.”
The Chico Dining Room provides an elegant, intimate atmosphere as well as quality fine dining. Offering breakfast Monday through Saturday, a brunch buffet on Sunday and dinner nightly, the main space provides a full menu. Some of the resort’s most popular dishes include grilled ahi with Thai onion sauté and the rosemary rack of lamb with basil-mint jelly.
What’s a girls weekend without a few drinks? With a full wine cellar on-site, Chico resort has been nationally recognized for its wine offerings.
“The wine list is beyond amazing,” Chico Hot Springs owner Colin Davis, says. “There are only two in the state and very few in the country that have been recognized on this level.”
In addition to fine wine, the resort features a full bar and The Chico Saloon, which houses a full bar and beer on tap.
There’s no shortage of accommodations or styles in which to stay at the Chico resort. All in all the property features 112 rooms with 48 rooms located in the original Main Lodge. Housing antique décor and a cozy feel, the Main Lodge provides direct access to the pools. With no shortage of housing options on the 150-acre property, Cowan recommends staying in the resort’s Lower Lodge, which consists of modern rooms and four suites.
“We like staying in the Lower Lodge section because it’s still on the rustic side, but it has a newer look and feel,” Cowan says.
After a day of relaxing, Cowan and the crew like to cut loose at The Chico Saloon. The bar features live music on weekends and a dance floor. The Saloon also features video poker, foosball, keno machines, a pool table, shuffleboard and televisions. For Cowan, the entertainment at Chico feeds into the full experience.
“The best thing about Chico is the fun you have with all of your friends,” Cowan says. “It’s an experience.”