Changing with the Times

The “Mountain Modern” aesthetic has arrived in downtown Jackson at new and newly remodeled hotels and motels.

Changing with the Times

The “Mountain Modern” aesthetic has arrived in downtown Jackson at new and newly remodeled hotels and motels.

By Lila Edythe

Sweden-based Westerlind curates the products sold in the remodeled Anvil Hotel’s lobby mercantile.

When Amangani opened on East Gros Ventre Butte in 1998, it was the valley’s first hotel to modernize the traditional Western aesthetic that had been dominant since dude ranches here began hosting guests in the 1920s. Logs and animal mounts were out and clean lines, Pacific redwood walls, and floor-to-ceiling windows were in. Several years later came the Four Seasons Resort and Residences in Teton Village. When it opened, I described its interior as “cowboy cosmopolitan.” Long accustomed to overstuffed, leather-upholstered, brass-tacked armchairs, I was taken with two sleek, high-backed armchairs just off the lobby that were upholstered in a brazen black-and-white cowhide and whose oversize arms were of bird’s-eye maple. It was completely contemporary, yet completely Jackson Hole. Then Hotel Terra opened, also in Teton Village. Its lobby featured a steel and stacked-stone fireplace and artwork made from reclaimed barn wood by local artist Ben Roth.

It took more than another decade for this contemporary take on the Western aesthetic—called “mountain modern”—to reach downtown. In 2015, after three years of design work and construction, the Darwiche family opened Hotel Jackson a couple of blocks from the Town Square. Its exterior has additive and subtractive forms and a materials palette of stone, reclaimed wood, and patinaed metal. Inside are Native American-inspired artworks and textiles, leather and velvet sofas, and sleek white leather chairs. And last summer in downtown Jackson, one new hotel opened and two motels finished major remodels. The look of each of these is still Western, but, like Hotel Jackson, done with a contemporary twist.

But don’t worry—if mountain modern isn’t what you’re looking for when visiting Jackson Hole, there’s no shortage of properties maintaining a traditional Western aesthetic, including Rusty Parrot Lodge and The Wort Hotel. “Hotels are not one size fits all,” says Sadek Darwiche, Hotel Jackson’s general manager. “People have different tastes. I think that a complete community is one that isn’t homogenous but has different styles. And now downtown Jackson does.” If mountain modern is your aesthetic, whether you’re looking for a place to stay or searching for design inspiration, check out these hotels and motels.

Hotel Jackson

“I really wanted to go more modern,” Darwiche says. “But my dad [Jim] said we needed to stay connected to the area, and he was right. So, we figured out how to blend modern with the mountains, while also having the design be timeless. Actually, timelessness was first and foremost. We wanted a place that would be beautiful and relevant well into the future.”

Local architect Roger Strout designed the fifty-five-room hotel, which is the first LEED-certified hotel in downtown. “Working with him set the stage for what the interiors would look like,” Darwiche says. A key early interior design decision was walls of reclaimed barn wood. “Vertical is how barn wood had been used traditionally, so we went horizontal,” Darwiche says. There’s a huge stone fireplace with a two-story chimney, also done in stone, but the stone is limestone, quarried in Wyoming, rather than the more traditional Western material of river rock. “It’s cleaner, but still of this place,” Darwiche says. Bathroom floors were another compromise. Darwiche’s initial idea for them was concrete. “But that was too modern,” he says. “Instead we found tile that is still clean but has some emulation of wood.” 120 N. Glenwood St., Jackson, 307/733-2200,

Anvil Hotel

Brooklyn-based design firm Studio Tack turned two formerly nondescript—we’d maybe even go so far as to call them ramshackle—downtown motels into the Anvil. The new property reopened last summer after the two separate buildings—the Anvil and the El Rancho Motel, both built in the 1950s—were each fully remodeled. The new Anvil has 49 rooms that aren’t just mountain modern, but also pretty hip. (The designers are based in Brooklyn, remember.) The lobby, which has cozy seating and a wood-burning stove, doubles as a mercantile and café. The former sells goods “for the modern adventurer” curated by Sweden-based Westerlind, which has its U.S. flagship shop in the SoHo neighborhood of New York City. The café sells pastries from a local bakery and coffee and espresso drinks made from beans roasted locally by Snake River Roasting Company.

All rooms are identical in style and design with parquet wood floors, wrought iron beds, brass fixtures, rain showers, and, on the beds, custom Woolrich blankets. The property partnered with Healthy Being Juicery on each room’s mini-bar offerings: Instead of Snickers and Coke, expect kombucha and artisan dark chocolate. “We’re not trying to be luxury,” says general manager Erik Dombroski. “We want to be a comfortable, fun place to sleep with a knowledgeable staff that loves to share what they love about Jackson.” 215 N. Cache St., Jackson, 307/733-3668,

SpringHill Suites

It took more than two years to build the 121-room SpringHill Suites, which is downtown across the street from one of the few vertical farms in the country (Vertical Harvest; free, one-hour tours are offered several times a week and we highly recommend signing up for one at At more than 135,000 square feet, this building is hard to miss. But the property works to blend in with the surrounding environment: The exterior is wood and bonderized metal. Inside Salt Lake City design firm Edge ID went for “mountain modern,” says interior designer and project manager Shelby Groves. “Everything in the area is obviously very rustic, but architecture, including this building, is starting to become more modern. We wanted to keep this property with the times, while also keeping it classic.”

So, impressive elk antlers sit on shelves above the small lobby marketplace. One of the walls in the breakfast area has eight faux cow skulls with the horns painted gold, black, or white. “That’s a definite nod to the area’s heritage,” Groves says. There are also black metal accents and dramatic white armchairs. While mountain modern style is all the rage is Jackson, Groves says Edge ID works on hotel projects across the country and that “the modern part doesn’t fit the bill everywhere. There are some mountain towns that aren’t going that way.” Groves thinks the style works in Jackson because the area “gets tourism from around the world and that forces it to keep up with how architecture and design are changing in the larger world.” 150 W. Simpson Ave., Jackson, 307/201-5320,

Mountain Modern Motel

For decades, the Painted Buffalo Inn sat quietly in the triangle where Broadway and Pearl Avenue meet. Last summer, the 135-room motel made itself seen by updating its exterior—trading its former yellow paint for a dark stain and adding corrugated metal accents.

Even bigger changes weren’t visible from outside. Every room was redone in an adventure theme. Now, on walls above beds are huge murals of valley landscapes taken by local photographer Ryan Sheets. These images include a bison grazing on Antelope Flats to the East Face of the Grand Teton to an angler on Flat Creek. In some bathrooms, there is wallpaper featuring a topographical map of the area. By each room’s entrance are cubbies and hooks made for storing gear from skis to backpacks. Director of sales and marketing Spencer Long says, “I like to say that we cater to the adventure traveler. This title can cover a wide range of clientele. All of our guests may not be able to ski the steepest terrain or climb the highest mountain, but the majority of [them] aspire to be that person. So, the adventure traveler might be a couple in their 70s on a bus tour through Yellowstone, a family of four out for a Western vacation, or eight dudes here for a ski trip.” Making the adventure theme modern are pops of color in pillows, carpets, stools at high-top tables, and bedding. And that’s just in the rooms. Vermont-based TruexCullins Architecture + Interior Design, which did the interior design for the entire remodel, won the Gold Key Award for Excellence in Hospitality Design specifically for the new lobby. 380 W. Broadway, Jackson, 307/733-4340,

The Anvil Hotel’s 49 guest rooms feature cozy mountain design elements by Brooklyn-based Studio Tack.
SpringHill Suites by Marriott in downtown Jackson
A unique offering at Mountain Modern Motel is the bunkbed room, which sleeps six
Hotel Jackson bathrooms have floors done in tiles that emulate wood
Black metal accents, dramatic armchairs, and faux skulls make the breakfast area at SpringHill Suites textbook mountain modern.
Local architect Roger Strout designed Hotel Jackson, which opened in 2015.