The Grand Union Hotel in Fort Benton is known to be one of the most popular hotspots in Montana. Reputed to be the most luxurious hotel between St. Louis and Seattle during its early years, this 140-year old gem has a unique history.
Last summer it switched hands to a new set of owners. We checked in with Colette and Tony Longin who became the owners of the historic landmark on June 1st.
"We looked at it in the past, and it was just such a cool piece of Montana history," Tony said. "When the opportunity came up for us to purchase it, and the point in our life we are at, we felt it was something we wanted to pursue, and we were lucky enough to purchase it and we're loving it."
Tony described the first several months as a unique experience.
"When every day is different, it's a great thing," he said. "We have guests from all over the country, and all over the world at times, and everyone's on vacation, having fun, enjoying their time here, and experiencing Montana history is the neatest thing about owning this hotel."
Colette said, "We jumped in right at the busiest time of the season. It was a huge learning curve, but it was a lot of fun, it's an adventure every day, and we just really leaned on our great staff and crew to help us and guide us, so it was a really successful summer.
There is also the hotel's restaurant, called "The Union Grille," which is praised by some as one of Montana's best restaurants, featuring a farm to table menu.
Colette said, "The Grand Union is really unique because we are the oldest operating hotel in Montana, which is really cool, and that's frankly why a lot of people come to visit us. They're really extra excited when they walk in and see how beautiful it is. The restoration that's taking place, how modern the rooms are, all the amenities in place for people to have a really great, comfortable stay and have a wonderful dinner and overall, just have a great experience.
She added, "Kind of our attitude coming into this is that the Grand Union is a really special place. It's at the heart of this community. It belongs to the community. Even if we are the owners, we really feel like the Grand Union is a community gem. It's a Montana gem. It's a piece of our history and we're super excited to be here. Caretaking her"
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