Signs of Life Spotted at Billings Former Holiday Inn
When it abruptly closed in 2019, the hotel at 5500 Midland Road was branded as a Red Lion. For the majority of the property's life, it was the Holiday Inn Grand Montana and many locals have a difficult time calling the hotel by any other name.
The hotel had multiple owners/management in the last decade.
The large property made Billings news in 2015 when it was acquired by Florida-based Inner Circle Management for $7.85 million, according to a company press release. The property was re-branded as a Radisson, with promises of updates to the hotel and attached convention center. Current tax records show a number of entities on the various properties at 5500 Midland Road, including Sonifi Solutions, Inc., a South Dakota-based hospitality solutions company.
A new billboard is up near Billings.
It's been well over a year since they stuck those tiny, temporary-looking signs on the top of the hotel and until recently there has been very little activity at the property. When I spotted a billboard west of Billings for the hotel, I figured it had finally reopened. Not so much. Not yet, anyway.
The once-grand hotel remains closed at this time and appears to be falling apart.
Multiple windows on the property are broken and boarded up. A Google search for the Montana Trailhead Inn took me to a landing page for Great American Hotel Group, a New Hampshire-based hotel management company. A request for more information regarding the reopening of the hotel was not immediately answered. Phone calls to the local number ring unanswered.
There were signs of activity on the property.
Peeking in a window, I could see piles of construction material in one area of the hotel. In the main lobby, it appeared that mechanical work was in the process of renovation. Shrubbery had been recently trimmed and landscaping materials were dumped on the parking lot. Unfortunately, there were no workers or employees on-site when I dropped by to chat on a weekday afternoon.
Will the hotel be open this summer?
That's the big question. One could speculate that reopening was likely sidelined in 2020 because of COVID-19. It would be great to see this hotel return with a complete renovation. There was a time when it was one of the nicest places in Billings. Like many Montanans, I've attended countless weddings, trade shows, and other events at the former beauty. Unfortunately, the venue hasn't been much of a beauty for some time.