It is slim pickin's for great hotels in Missoula. Some fancy resorts and lodges nearby, sure, and a few good B&B's probably (my favorite, Foxglove Cottage, closed), but not truly great hotels that I would highly recommend. Personally, Bruce and I love to stay in historic old hotels right downtown in the cities we visit. While rumors persist of someone reviving the hotel aspect of the Florence Building and other buildings here, Missoula doesn't have anything like that, yet. So there is my disclaimer to start off.
The historic Wilma building downtown is right on the river, has an independent theater that hosts films, live concerts and local theatrical events. It's been being restored with fabulous condos and some are available for rent by the night. I've been in them and they are wonderful AND they are on par in cost with the most 'nice' hotels in town. (At the time of posting this, about $125-$150/night) I don't know about the services or other details but for quality of spaces and location, I easily recommend Stay at the Wilma.
A couple of nice hotels - where my folks stay - are right downtown and near the river. The Holiday Inn Parkside (not to be confused with Holiday Inn Express which is also here) is closest to the Farmer's Market and just a block off of Higgins Street for a lot of shopping and dining options. The Doubletree (a Hilton) is a few blocks further, also close to everything, and has the only restaurant and deck right on the river (Finn & Porter) in this town which is nice for breakfast, drinks, etc. Both have easy access to the trails along the river, too.
Less spendy are the motels mostly along Broadway and Brooks Streets. Friends who just came through on a cross-country Harley trip requested affordable and downtown, so I sent them to Mountain Valley Inn. Mostly plain and a little vintage looking, the rooms are well kept. We stayed there once while remodeling a house while living in it and were without a bathroom for a few days. Plus, when I ran the Big Sky Documentary Film Fest a few years back, the manager at Mountain Valley generously sponsored a bunch of rooms to host filmmakers and were super accommodating, so I gladly throw them some biz in return for their support.
That's all I have to offer for first-hand experience on the motel scene. I've stayed in many motels and Thunderbirds across the U.S. and enjoyed them, but not here yet. Based on drive-by appearances alone, I suggest seeing motels in this town before you book your room if you can. Certain motels rent rooms by the month and have a reputation for stumbling drunks and regular 911 calls. And if that's your scene, knock yourself out, man.
Several chain hotels are here near exits, too, if that's what you want. You don't need my help finding those of course. It's a university town, so everything is packed for Griz games, Freshman orientation and so on, so keep that in mind as well.
Finally, more and more people here are renting out little bungalows, apartments over garages and their houses for the summer, a weekend or by the night. Check out sites like VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner) to find some great places. If you are looking to fish and stay close to Missoula, I suggest looking at listings out Rock Creek. I hope one day to build a guesthouse for friends and family, but I'm a long way from such a decadent arrangement.
This post is just on Missoula but there are many great places near here in other towns. I'll build that list, too, so let me know if you have requests and I'll do them sooner rather than later.
I am growing the 'guide to visiting Missoula' section of this blog to help answer more inquiries for visitors. I have lived in Missoula fifteen years now and have gotten many emails or phone calls with simple questions like where to stay. I've concluded that this blog is a good place to make it available to anyone. Point your friends and loved ones here if they are heading to Missoula. I'll do my best to make suggestions on whatever their interests or find someone appropriate who can. And if you have particular topics of interest about visiting Missoula, just let me know.
Links for Places to Stay in Missoula: