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River Retreat Lodge is a bed and breakfast that visitors can find in Irwin, Idaho, a town near the border of Idaho and Wyoming. The lodge houses six suites and a cabin, all of which are open for a majority of the year, with one of the available rooms being ADA accessible. Much of the décor on the interior reflects the owners' love of the outdoors and is inspired by the surrounding mountain area. Their motto is, "Revel in adventure and retreat to serenity," which the owners decided on due to the number of outdoor activities available in the area, many of which can take place at the nearby national parks. A couple of national parks that are within close proximity include Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park.
The house that makes up River Retreat Lodge is about 8,500 square feet in size and is built on five acres of land. There are a total of six suites that can be reserved in the house. Two of the suites have a single queen-sized bed and double vanity, jacuzzi tub, gas fireplace, and a patio. The following two suites have two floors with a queen-sized bed on each one and a private bathroom that is larger than some of the other rooms. The last two suites have a shared patio and two floors, similar to the previously described units. One of these rooms is ADA compliant. Regardless of which room a guest decides to reserve, each room comes with a television with DirecTV access, Roku Services, a Keurig brewer, individual room-controlled central air and heat, access to Wi-Fi, and an invitation to breakfast each morning.
Breakfast is served anytime between 7:30 AM and 9:30 AM, typically decided on by the guests ahead of time. The owners make the morning meal and create something new each day. Accommodations can be made for people who require gluten-free or vegetarian food. Visitors can take their food to their rooms and eat if they would prefer, but breakfast is usually served in the Swan Valley Dining Room.
Besides the guestrooms in the house, there is also an on-site library. The library offers books for reading, playing games, and a pool table, all of which are accessible to guests at their own leisure. The owner describes the house's interior as being "rustic fishing décor with an outdoor theme." In the Great Room and down the hallways, one can find coyotes, cougars, deer, elk, bears, and other taxidermy animals. It is worth noting that none of the suites where guests stay have any animals and they can only be found in the common areas. One unique fact about the taxidermy animals inside the Great Room at the River Retreat Lodge is that it holds a museum-quality vignette in a depicted scene of the taxidermy in an "Old West wagon setting."
The business is positioned on a road where there are many hiking trails, ATV trails, and more outdoor activities. River Retreat Lodge is located in a more rural mountain area. According to the owner, the establishment is centrally located near Yellowstone National Park, Jackson Hole, Grand Teton National Park, and Idaho Falls. A few more locally found attractions are Palisades Reservoir and the South Fork of the Snake River. Both bodies of water offer fishing opportunities and other activities generally done on a lake and river. The owners of River Retreat Lodge like to recommend several local places in the area for people to eat at while they are staying at the lodge.
The owners of River Retreat Lodge wants their guests to feel like they are staying in a home away from home. To help achieve their goal, the owners put forth the effort to answer any questions that visitors may have. Liz and her husband, John, are happy to provide fishing conditions and some locations where that sport can be done, and other info that may be pertinent regarding what's happening in the vicinity. A unique aspect is the rural location of the lodge and the quiet surroundings, which can help people relax during their time at the bed and breakfast. According to Liz, "Some people have said that it is comparable to being a high-end adventure retreat." This is, in part, where the establishment's slogan comes from: Revel in adventure and retreat to serenity.
Several policies are in effect at River Retreat Lodge that the owners ask guests to abide by during their stay. An honor system is in place when it comes to the complimentary drinks from the cooler, so they ask guests not to take more than their fair share. The owners also ask that guests be courteous to others during their stay, as quiet hours begin at 10:00 PM each night. Pets are not allowed on the property, as there is no way of accommodating them. Smoking is not permitted inside the building. The business is capable of hosting smaller events and has done weddings, corporate retreats, and more in the past. Oftentimes, they do events of 25 to 50 people but can do up to 100 in total.
River Retreat Lodge is open from May through October, then again from December-March. June through September tends to be their best season of operation. A variety of people have stayed at the establishment, many of them on their way to national parks and looking for places to do recreational activities. One person who recently stayed at the lodge wrote, "We stayed here recently and had a fantastic dinner followed by a great breakfast, and sandwiched in between was a peaceful night of sleep in a sweet setting."
When the owners purchased the business in 2021, it hadn't been used as a place of lodging since 2016. The building was erected in 2008 and operated as a lodge from 2011 to 2016 before being retired and closed down. It remained in this state for five years until the current owners purchased the property from the previous owner.
The owners, John and Liz, were led into the industry because they have a history of working in and around the lodging industry. Liz has an earlier background in hospitality and other similar establishments, as she was a manager for a log cabin resort in Jackson Hole. Her husband, John, is a General Contractor in Jackson Hole and has had the responsibility of upkeeping the physical property and any renovations since they bought the place. Liz explains that her favorite part about working in the industry is meeting people from various places, hearing stories from them, and getting to know the facets of visitors that come to River Retreat Lodge.
Several changes have taken place since the ownership changed hands in 2021, with one of the most significant updates to the building occurring when John and Liz remodeled the kitchen. They also replaced much of the flooring with hardwood floors, added the dining room, and updated the bedding that they typically use. In the future, they plan on updating the rooms as well as adding a garage or an outdoor barn space to better accommodate events.
Bed and Breakfast
John and Liz Douville