By Bella Butler EBS STAFF
BIG SKY – A new luxury resort opened in Big Sky this month. Today Montana’s tallest building, the more than half a million square feet of Montage Big Sky reflects the enormity of the mountains that surround the structure.
Montage, a self-proclaimed ultra-luxury hotel management company based in Irvine, Calif., Is adding the Big Sky property, located in the heart of the Spanish Peaks Mountain Club, to its other eight destinations, now spanning the northern Rockies to ‘to as far as the Bahamas.
Rick Riess, vice president of operations for Montage International and general manager of Montage Big Sky, says the Big Sky property is especially special.
“It’s like where all the stars have aligned,” Riess told EBS in an interview on Dec. 10. “There is this spectacular setting where we look at the Spanish peaks and the mountains all around us.”
In addition to the natural amenities, said Riess, the building is a wonder in itself: finishes include regional wood and stone, and upscale local art adorns the interior. The complex, open to the public, has indoor and outdoor swimming pools, six restaurants, a spa and fitness center, an ice rink and a bowling alley as well as ski-to-door access to the ski slopes. Big Sky Resort and Spanish. Peaks Golf Course for guest accommodation.
“It’s like there haven’t been any shortcuts,” Riess said of the over $ 400 million development. “It’s done to an extremely high standard. And I sincerely believe that it will become one of the great ski resorts in the world.
The resort has 150 rooms and suites starting at $ 1,500 per night, starting at $ 750 in shoulder season, as well as 39 private residences. Riess said the resort was already full – restaurants, spas and accommodations – until mid-January.
Montage opened in fall 2018 and opened to customers on December 15. Lone Mountain Land Company, the development arm of the Boston-based company and owner of Yellowstone Club CrossHarbor Capital Partners, owns Montage Big Sky, and Montage will serve as manager of the complex. partner.
According to Riess, Montage has already been familiar with many of the same difficulties that other Big Sky companies have.
“Without a doubt, our two biggest challenges are housing and staffing,” he said. As of December 10, Riess said the resort had about 75 percent of its optimal workforce of 350 people. He added that there were nearly a dozen people “in line ready to come to work” when Montage and LMLC found them housing.
“Every day we receive new candidates,” he said. “Now it’s the challenge of trying to find a place for them to live. ”
Montage Big Sky is currently supported in part by approximately 50 managers of other Montage properties who will remain in place at Big Sky until the start of the season.
For Riess, who has worked at Montage for seven years, this will be her 24th hotel opening. And, as the “person responsible for running the operation,” as he puts it, he will oversee the property until it stabilizes, maybe longer.
“One of our values and goals in our business is to be a positive member of the community,” said Riess, adding that the resort intended to get involved in local charities.
“I think it can be a little intimidating at times for this big building to enter a small community,” he said. “So we want to be very aware of that. And very respectful.
In addition to philanthropy, Riess said Montage will add significant tax contributions to Big Sky, both through resort tax as well as taxes on the sales of Montana accommodation and use of facilities. At other Montage properties, the company has also hosted service opportunities such as beach clean-ups through its internal Hearts of Montage board, something it hopes to bring to Big Sky.
“We’re kind of pioneers in a lot of ways in bringing this property to Montana,” Riess said. “And we feel a huge responsibility to do it the right way, to do it with a lot of respect, to do it with a lot of sensitivity; that we are good members of the community.