Big Sky Paradise
A Montana ranch resort favorite debuts a new adults-only hideaway with an impressive culinary program
Parents and other adults looking for a kid-free escape have a beautiful new Western woodland to explore, where big sky, rolling pastures, rushing rivers and dense pine forest await those seeking a tranquil calm, with a little adventure thrown in.
For 16 years, The Resort at Paws Up, a 37,000-acre ranch about an hour outside Missoula, Montana, has hosted families of adventure seekers and nature lovers looking for a unique—yet high-end—all-inclusive vacation. Last summer, the storied resort unveiled an intimate adults-only resort-within-the-resort called the Green O.
The resort, whose name is a play on the town of Greenough and its founder, early Montana rancher Paul Greenough, is on the same property as The Resort at Paws Up, but it manages to feel worlds apart. The sense of rousing activity at the main resort is almost nonexistent, but the luxury quotient remains the same—if not higher. As you drive up the quiet road surrounded by towering pines with golden sunlight filtering through, the stress of the outside world starts to melt away.
Tucked amid the forest are 12 stunning and spacious one-bedroom “haus” accommodations, each displaying one of four architectural designs. Guests can choose from a Tree Haus, Green Haus, Round Haus or Light Haus. The Tree Haus is raised 23 feet above the ground amid the evergreens, while the Round Haus features a curved design with 180-degree windows into the woods. All of the homes feature extensive outdoor decks with hot tubs, multiple fireplaces, a porch swing, sleek eco-kitchenettes and deep soaking tubs. The chic woodland-inspired design is modern and cozy, with luxury touches like plush linen bedding, custom artwork and bespoke furnishings. Sitting inside or out, you can’t help but feel completely immersed in the silent and serene forest—you might even see some deer mingling among the trees outside your floor-to-ceiling windows.
When you do feel ready to leave your haus, your first stop should be the Social Haus, the heart of the Green O. It’s there where you’ll partake in some of the most exciting and delicious food in Montana. Daily breakfast, lunch and a 10-ish course dinner by executive chef Brandon Cunningham use the region’s seasonal bounty to cook up eclectic and inventive Western dishes like Montana whitefish caviar with homemade potato chips, a Chinese spin on buffalo meat with snow peas, daikon radish, and XO sauce, and a showstopping kohlrabi custard with pickled green apple and dill gorgeously served inside a hollowed out kohlrabi. James Beard Award-nominated pastry chef Krystle Swenson’s delectable creations are the perfect way to end the meal and start each day—you’ll get some delivered to your front porch with coffee every morning.
Aside from indulging and relaxing amid nature, guests have access to all the ranch activities at Paws Up, including horseback riding, all-terrain vehicle adventures, fly-fishing and rafting on the Blackfoot River and cattle drives. Guests can use the included Lexus SUVs to shuttle across the property. To keep the adult theme going and unwind after a day of adventure, be sure to schedule some time at Spa Town, where the treatment rooms are cozy teepees and you can gaze out on a pastoral meadow while getting your treatment. Now that’s how we like to adult.