Meet Spa Montage, the Newest Addition to Big Sky’s Aprés-Ski Activities
The otherworldly locale includes a grotto-inspired retreat
Big Sky, Montana, has become a go-to destination for those seeking a five-star experience set against a background of monumental Western landscapes. Montage Big Sky, designed by Hart Howerton, reframes the conversation about mountain luxury through 100 guest rooms and 39 private residences that enjoy ski-in, ski-out access, an 18-hole golf course and world-class fishing on three rivers. Thanks to the addition of an 11,000-square-foot spa, guests can return at the end of each day’s adventure to an indoor experience every bit as exhilarating as the great outdoors.
For a unique take on the destination wellness experience, the owners turned to San Francisco-based BraytonHughes Design Studios, renowned for bringing elevated artistry to hospitality settings, including alpine environments like the Four Seasons hotels in Jackson Hole and Vail. Each has its own character, explains architect Joel Villalon, principal, “because we go in with three things in mind. One, in what part of the world are we designing? Two, what does the exterior architecture say? And three, what are the owners’ goals? When we take all three questions into account, we’ll have created a unique space.”
For the Montage, the directive was to create a distinctive aesthetic that was appropriate to the region. BraytonHughes delivered a contemporary take on the traditional rustic lodge by creating a modern mountain retreat with a palette of timeless materials like wood and stone, references to Montana history and an elegant outdoor theme that carries through in patterns, textures and materials.
Spa Montage, which encompasses 12 treatment rooms, a full-service salon, indoor lap pool, his-and-hers relaxations areas, heated plunge pools and steam rooms, contrasts with the hotel’s warm interiors. Upon arrival at reception, guests experience a brighter palette balanced by warm wood tones. Then, explains Villalon, “The journey moves to the locker room and wet zone, then the pool. The palette becomes darker and warmer, so by the time you get to the treatment room you’ve realized it feels different from when you entered the space. We could have designed a space that looked very much like the hotel, but we wanted it to feel like a destination.”
Inspired by the idea of a grotto, the design team created a geometric interpretation of a cave with origami-influenced walls that are faceted, bright and unexpected. Surfaces appear like rocks that have been abstracted and sliced from a boulder. Angled millwork mimics the sharp edges of jagged mountaintops. Calming cove lighting carries out a unique interpretation of the organic beauty of nature. “You see faceting and slanting lines on millwork, and on fabrics, carpets and on surfaces in the rooms,” Villalon notes.
At the end of the journey lies the indoor pool— the ultimate destination, inner sanctum and visual exclamation point. The serene space is suffused in delicate lighting and a sense of calm, and it plays up the contrast between the streamlined minimalism of the seating and material application with the dark and rough-edge stonework on the walls. On one side, medallions of stone against plaster walls; on the other, dark, rough stones applied in a mountainscape silhouette.
Engaging the imagination while immersing guests in an alpine-inspired atmosphere, Spa Montage offers the perfect respite for travelers and locals alike.
PHOTOGRAPHY Durston Saylor