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Grand Union Hotel

The Grand Union Hotel is an inn located in Fort Benton, Montana, and was founded in 1882. It was most recently reopened again by Jim and Cheryl on its 117th anniversary. The Grand Union Hotel is a common stop for those looking to adventure the Missouri River, seeing as how the grounds are next to the river. It has a patio that guests can use to dine next to the river as well. The property is full of history, both its own as well as that of the surrounding area. The building has 26 units that visitors can rent out, as well as a few common areas and its own restaurant.


The Grand Union Hotel is located in Fort Benton, Montana. It has 26 rooms and offers 4 different types to choose from. The building has multiple Deluxe Singles, a room that has a queen-size bed, as well as a number of Deluxe Doubles, which offer 2 queen-size or full-size beds. Three Junior Suites are available at the Grand Union Hotel as well. Each of these overlooks the river. They have a queen-size bed, a loveseat, and a private bath with a pedestal sink. The property has one Master Suite, which is the largest of all of the rooms. The Master Suite has a sofa, an armchair, and a queen-size bed. A bathroom with a pedestal sink, a glass shower, and a clawfoot tub is also part of the Master Suite. On its balcony, guests can view the park as well as the Missouri River. All of the suites have their own coffeemaker in them. In addition, The Grand Union Hotel has the ADA Accessible Deluxe, which is accessible by elevator. This unit also has a broader doorway and a bath that is ADA compliant.

The building also contains multiple common areas, such as the conference room and the lobby. There is also a dining room which has a bar in it. In addition, a gift shop is available that sells a variety of jewelry, artwork, and other similar souvenirs.

A restaurant called The Union Grill also resides on the property. The Union Grill strives to bring most of its food straight from the farm to the table. Depending on the season, dining is also available outdoors close to the river. The restaurant is open from 5 PM - 9 PM every day except Tuesday during the months of June, July, and August. The hours are the same from September to May, except it is closed on both Mondays and Tuesdays.

The Grand Union Hotel is in the downtown area. On the outside of the building, there is a patio area that is used for dining. The patio is next to the river. Guests can talk and eat as they watch the river go by. There are also some statues and plaques on the outside of the building that have a small piece of the history of the area on them.


The Grand Union Hotel is a historic building, and the owners try to keep that feeling in the atmosphere provided. When they bought the property, they had all of the different furniture and light fixtures custom in order to be era-appropriate. The Grand Union Hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The vision that the owners want to capture is that guests would come and feel the historical character in the hotel and restaurant, as well as to provide a similar experience as one would have found in the era of the building's original operation.

The innkeepers strive for an environment that guests will feel happy and to give them a pleasant stay with a good meal. The restaurant offers breakfast to those staying in the inn. The breakfast varies but generally includes an egg dish, baked goods, fruit, juice, and coffee. The restaurant is also willing to accommodate special requests so long as they know in advance. The owners often chat with guests, and many guests express their opinion of having had a nice time and liked the staff. Many people find the property through friends that have visited, and it isn't uncommon for the place to receive repeat visitors.

A guest has said in a review about the property, "Our glacier plans fell through (Corona), so we found a new place. We had a general idea about location and ended up seeing this classic hotel right on the Missouri River. It ended up being a great change to have to make. Fort Benton Waterfront has a great little historical walk. The food at the Grille was brilliant. The beds were comfy. The staff was friendly. Really had a great stay."

There are many activities at and around the Grand Union Hotel. First of all, the hotel hosts many different types of events, such as weddings, celebrations, and retreats. They also host an event for many of the holidays in the year. On top of that, they have an annual wine and beer tasting in both Fall and Spring. Another large attraction of the area is the river itself. Many people visit to make a guided trip on the river. The journey takes 3 days and 2 nights, with overnight camping. Those involved will spend their time traveling down the river and camping on the shore.

The town also offers a number of things to do. They have multiple museums: The Museum of the Northern Great Planes and The Museum of the Upper Missouri. A golf course is also in the vicinity for those wishing to still spend time outside. There are also multiple options in the area for dining, such as Ma's Café in Loma, Wake Up Coffee House, and The Clubhouse. In addition to these options, the hotel's own restaurant, The Union Grill, is open most days from 5 PM-9 PM.


The doors of The Grand Union Hotel were opened on November 2, 1882, during the steamboat era of the Missouri River. Fort Brenton had only been founded 36 years before, and it would be another 7 years until Montana was a state. Unfortunately, soon after opening the business of The Grand Union Hotel began to take a hit. The North Pacific Railroad was completed in 1983. This drew business away from steamboats and subsequently from The Grand Union Hotel. The property was sold in 1984 after it had failed.

In 1899 the building was bought by B.F. O'Neal and J.H. Green. They renovated much of the hotel, taking out the coal stoves and replacing them with steam heat. Green and O'Neal also installed electricity, put both a men's and women's restroom on each floor, and refurnished the place. In 1917, Charles Lepley and his wife purchased The Grand Union Hotel, and soon after, business began to decline yet again. Prohibition laws brought the closure of the saloon, and the Great Depression hit Montana earlier than it did most other places. This continued even through the end of the depression in the mid-'40s.

The Grand Union Hotel was bought yet again in 1952 by Harold Thomas and his wife. The facility was largely in decay by this point in time, and Thomas decided to fix the place up. The project took multiple years, but the building probably would not be there today if it had not happened.

The hotel continued to operate until it closed in 1983 to be renovated. Sadly, it was not opened again as planned due to certain debts. The building was bought again in 1995 by James and Cheryl Gagnon. The property had been abandoned for over 10 years prior to the purchase. The new owners had to make repairs to the place and had to have furniture and fixtures custom made in order to have era-appropriate furnishings. It wouldn't be until November 2, 1999, on its 117th anniversary, that The Grand Union Hotel would finally open its doors again. The property has been owned and run by James and Cheryl ever since.

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1 Grand Union Square - P.O. Box 1119
Fort Benton, Montana 59442
United States


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Jim & Cheryl

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