A Family Vacation in the Time of COVID


This year has posed new challenges across the travel industry, and our Operations team is stepping up to meet them with new guidelines to protect the heath and safety of our guests and staff. Of course, we are committed as ever to providing a vacation experience like none other, in a spectacular Montana setting. Below is what one guest wrote in a recent letter to our staff. We are honored they took the time to let us know about their experience.

My husband, 10-year-old son, 8-year-old daughter and I flew from North Carolina to Montana in late July 2020. I was naturally concerned with the state of the world. The main message I will be relaying is this: the resort is expensive but worth every penny and they are not compromising luxury for safety during COVID.

This is important: every staff member wore a mask. Every. Single. One. Our guides on the 4-hour fly-fishing trip? Masks. Our skeet-shooting guide? Mask. Our waitress, bartender, shuttle driver, concierge? Mask. We watched every bit of food prep and cooking on our campsite meals and the chefs were as safe as I have seen—masks on at all times, gloves, hand washing, zero cross- contamination. I was in awe of how well they did. We chose to eat outside 99% of the vacation and felt comfortable at our picnic table five yards from the closest neighboring table.

We arrived to the Missoula Airport to a friendly (masked) face of a Paws Up employee named Natalie. She helped us with our luggage, made the kids laugh, got us into our luxury car (making sure the destination was entered in to the GPS correctly) and sent us on our way. We had a nice drive to the resort. Checking in was a breeze—the check-in building was beautiful. The concierge who checked us in answered my 7 million questions as he handed us our itineraries. We got back into our car and headed for our tent site.

We spent two days in a two-bedroom Creekside Camp tent and two days in a two-bedroom River Camp tent. I loved both tents/campsites. There isn't a bad one! Our butlers were very helpful. They are younger but wonderful! One morning I wanted a mimosa. They didn’t have champagne there but with one phone call from our butler, some was brought down within 10 minutes. This is a main theme of this resort. If you want something, you just have to ask, show some patience and positivity and whatever you ask for will appear with a smile. If you want anything during your stay just let them know and they will have it there waiting for you.

We did two activities each full day we were there. I want to speak to the price of the activities—yes they are high but worth the cost. The horses were fantastic, fishing rafts in perfect shape, everything is obviously well-maintained. That high price gets you a stellar experience. Our family went hiking, took a trail ride, four hours fly-fishing, skeet shooting, kids’ camp, massages, Morning Jingle and the Extended Backcountry Tour. And these guides know what they are doing. They took tons of amazing videos/photos of our family while out on excursions. Then they would airdrop them to our phones with a smile. They are simply stellar.

I firmly understand and love the 20% tax/no tipping required cost. Throughout our vacation, the four of us drifted from place to place, bar to restaurant, adventure to adventure and never felt any pressure to give $1 to a server every time my kid asked for lemonade. That is priceless. We tipped extra to some, each person made sure we knew their policy and they truly appreciated the tip without expecting it. There are a lot of helpful staff everywhere you turn.

We had a trip to the resort planned since November. I was so worried that not planning our activities months in advance would mean they were full or unavailable. Our first concierge contact, Rachel, reached out to me after I sent an email and helped me plan our activities about two weeks out. That was plenty of time and we were able to get every activity we wanted.

I wish I could put into words what makes this resort so special. I can't quite do it—the quiet luxury in every beam, view and employee is just amazing. Guests need to know that if they have a question or concern, use the app while on property or email them if you're planning your vacation and have some patience/positivity. Every single person working there is a part of a team and their goal is to make you happy. I never once felt like they were trying to upcharge me, give me a runaround or avoid me. I only felt they were trying to make my family happy—it is that simple.

Finally, this is a luxury ranch resort. The food is perfection, the staff are beyond kind and helpful, and the resort as a whole is breathtaking. This is a place to be enjoyed. If you advocate for yourself, tell them what you want and what is important to you before you arrive, then you will have the trip of a lifetime.

—a Paws Up guest