MISSOULA - Missoula's downtown district continues to evolve with new retail shops, bars, restaurants, the upgraded Beartracks Bridge, the new Missoula Public Library, a re-vamped Caras Park — and several new hotels.
The grand opening of the Wren which is the newest offering in Missoula was on Friday. MTN News got a sneak peek inside — where they hope to connect to the community through art and history.
“The Wren is all about a sense of place, a sense of belonging. When our guests are in our hotel, we want them to know they’re in Missoula and Montana,” explained Ryan Gray.
Gray worked his way up the career ladder starting as valet to now, the general manager of Missoula’s newest hotel.
It’s clear that the hotel has embraced the local flavor, ranging from US Forest Service and smoke jumper artifacts to a mini gallery by the Missoula Art Museum, and Pendleton blankets representing Glacier National Park.
Even the art in each of the hotel rooms tells a story.
"The rooms have what we call info-graphs,” Gray said. “It’s not only artistic and fun to look at but it’s going to be educational so all of it has either something to do with Missoula or Western Montana."
The bones of the old motel that once stood are still around, but the rest is brand new. There is a new fourth floor on three sides of the building and many windows for the views and to let in the light.
We talked with Gray about something new in such an old Missoula neighborhood where change is often uncomfortable.
“There obviously a little bit of apprehension when a new hotel or new business comes into downtown Missoula. And that’s one reason why we’ve tried even harder to embed ourselves in the Missoula community.”
They’re also pleased to be a part of the growing downtown scene to help other businesses profit.
“We love being a part of downtown. Super excited to help generate more business and excitement. We chose not to have a restaurant or bar on site because there [are] too many good restaurants and bars in the neighborhood for us to compete with,” Gray explained. “So, we would like our guests to stay with us and then spend their money out in the community. “
An interesting fact about the Wren is that there are no phones in the rooms and hotel staff communicate with guests via text. Also, the Missoula Art Museum will rotate lobby art every few months.
The Wren is located at 201 East Main Street in downtown Missoula. Visit https://wrenmissoula.com/ to learn more about the new hotel.
Other properties in the ownership group include the LARK in Bozeman which opened in 2015, the Rialto Theater in downtown Bozeman which opened in 2018, and the FINCH in Walla Walla, Washington, which opened in 2019.
Additionally, a hotel is being planned for Boise.