WHEN TALENTED PROFESSIONALS TALK, WE LISTEN.
Admit it, you’ve always wanted to know what it’s like to own a Bed & Breakfast. We too have a taste for scones and adventure, so we hope you enjoy this special shop talk conversation with the proprietors of Whitefish’s Good Medicine Lodge.
Good Medicine Lodge Bed & Breakfast
Sara & Ryan Grenier, Owners
Good Medicine Lodge is a ten-room bed and breakfast nestled in the heart of Whitefish, Montana, located just 36 miles from Glacier National Park and a 15-minute drive to Whitefish Mountain Resort. They offer gourmet breakfast options that include homemade granola, pastries, and sourdough bread. Ingredients are homegrown, local, and organic whenever possible and they serve in-house roasted coffee. Amenities include a fully stocked coffee bar with fresh baked cookies, appetizer hour, free S.N.O.W. bus stop, hot tub, and more.
What services do you offer?
Sara: We offer high-end lodging with locally inspired interiors along with a full breakfast service. Appetizers are served nightly from 3-5pm with a complimentary glass of wine or beer. We also bake cookies every day and place them at the fully stocked coffee bar that guests can help themselves to after a long day of adventure. We assist our guests with planning restaurants to visit, places to go, and things to do in our area. We also have a small gift shop where we sell all Montana-made products by skilled craftsmen and have an online webstore with available shipping. There is a free S.N.O.W. shuttle bus that stops at our lodge regularly through the summer and winter months that transports to and from Whitefish Mountain Resort.
What geographic areas do you serve?
Ryan: Our lodge is located in northwestern Montana, near the Canadian border along the Rocky Mountain Range. Travelers come from all over the world to see Glacier National Park and our beautiful vast surroundings. Our region is filled with Native American history with the Blackfeet Nation and other tribes. Through European settlement, there are many places of historical importance including old mining towns or ghost towns, the bison range, and numerous farms and horse ranches.
What specialized services do you offer?
Sara: We have a few specialties here at Good Medicine Lodge—our homemade cookies, sourdough bread, breakfast menu, and coffee. We make all our food from scratch and our whole team shares duties in the kitchen. There is a lot of love and creativity that goes into the food. We ensure that each plate is well-balanced with quality ingredients. The color, texture, and freshness are as important as the recipe itself. Ryan has a passion for coffee and has been roasting onsite for the past couple of years. He enjoys the process of the third-wave coffee movement, which is to say that he selects beans from all over the world that are grown, delivered, and roasted in small batches. Every cup of coffee is fresh with layers of richness.
What are the keys to high-end property management?
Ryan: Organization, a great working team, and building relationships with your guests are all keys to running a successful lodge. The daily processes must be managed well to build consistency that your guests can expect. Your staff have to all love what they are doing as much as you, so that what you are delivering feels authentic. We do this by having everyone on the team share in each of the responsibilities. We do not have a hierarchy system. Spending those extra few minutes talking genuinely with guests is the most important part of the job. You have to make the time. That can be hard in a large hotel setting, but we manage it pretty easily with an intimate but relaxed atmosphere.
What makes the difference between good service and great service?
Sara: Being totally committed to being hospitable is essential. I think the word hospitality is getting lost in the service industry. You have to wake up every day loving what it feels like to give food, comfort, and your space up to others even in the toughest of times. You have to love the act of doing those things whether or not you feel that it’s a fair system. Knowing how to bring a sense of calm as guests are welcomed in is equally as important, and also anticipating what and when a guest may need that you have readily available. That takes time, experience, and a thoughtfulness that doesn’t always come naturally.
If we weren’t in property management, what would we be doing?
Sara: Ryan would be a professional bike racer as long as his body would allow him to and he would still be roasting his coffee, but instead of serving it he would be gifting it to all of his friends. I would probably work as a chef, server, barista, or maybe furniture salesperson. Those are all things I know well.
We came back with the idea to add an all-white scheme called “Arthur’s Choice.” The result was pared-back and elegant, a subtle layering of tones and textures, a beauty born of simplicity that would shift the focus of the suites to the views of Stanley Park over Vancouver’s Coal Harbour.
The project’s white-on-white Sales and Presentation Centre with its white-on-white display suite won a “Best of Canada” design award.
What is your Favorite sport or recreational activity?
Sara: Both Ryan and I are into many sports. We played pretty much all of them when we were younger and still do. We love to ski, mountain bike, paddleboard, swim, and hike in the woods, which is perfect for the town we live in. Ryan has been very passionate about finding edible mushrooms and berries that grow wild in our town. He loves to visit the places he finds while riding his bike and bring back some goodies to cook with. I would say the common theme in all those activities has to be a sense of freedom in nature balanced with hard-working endorphins.
Do you have a favorite season?
Ryan: Both of us agree that our favorite season is fall because it brings the cooler weather; the tree leaves are changing and are just gorgeous. There is a buzzing and excitement in the air with the upcoming holidays and ski season.