Buffalo Bill Cody's Irma Hotel
The Irma Hotel is a living museum of the Old West. Buffalo Bill Cody the city’s founder and namesake built and named the hotel for his daughter Irma. You step back into the old West at the Irma Hotel where you'll capture the romance of an era when Cowboys came in from the surrounding ranches and tied their horses to the rail of the hotel. The original part of the hotel was built for Buffalo Bill in 1902. The northwest addition was constructed in 1929, and the southwest addition was added in 1976-1977.
"Buffalo Bill," William F. Cody was probably the best-known American in the world during his lifetime. Having been involved in many events that shaped the American West, he formed an arena show of the western experience called Buffalo Bill’s Wild West in 1883. It toured the United States and Europe for 30 years. Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show try-outs were held on the lots west of the hotel, when buffalo ran amok in downtown Cody, and when European nobility headquartered at the Irma Hotel on hunting treks in the area.
The Irma Hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service, in recognition of its contribution to the cultural foundations of America. Certain exterior walls are made of river rock and locally quarried sandstone from Beck Lake just south of town. The fireplace is an assemblage of rock, ores, minerals, and fossils from the Big Horn Basin.
When my wife told me that she had booked the reservation at the Irma instead of a hotel with a swimming pool for my 9 and 12-year-old boys I expected a revolt from the boys, I was pleasantly surprised.
The rooms are the original suites that now house period furnishings. The first room we stayed in featured a fabulous retro bathroom with a pedestal sink, claw foot bathtub and one of the original flush toilets with the water tank high over toliet with the draw chain flusher. The boys were enthralled. All furnishings were fine antiques. The second room we stayed in wasn’t quite as quaint, bathroom wise, but very large and comfortable and had a very nice Victorian couch in the foyer. All rooms feature the 10 foot ceiling that can only be found in luxury hotels of today and yesterday, some having skylights. The Irma’s renovated rooms hosted some of the most famous personalities the world has ever known. You can even stay in Buffalo Bill's private suite or in a host of other historic and non-historic rooms. All have modern bathrooms and air conditioning
The Irma’s restaurant puts on an awesome feed featuring Prime Rib billed as the best in the west, the retro ambiance featuring 1902 décor, period paintings on the wall and trophy animal mounts are certain reminders that you have left the twenty first century and returned to a earlier time. We were there for Valentines Day and there was a steady stream of local cowboys, from young wranglers romancing their girl to old ranchers bringing their wives to the Irma Hotel for a night on the town. It was evident that the Irma Hotel was Cody Wyoming’s place to go on special occasions for the locals.
The beautiful cherry wood back bar one, of the most photographed spots in town, was given to Buffalo Bill by the Queen of England in 1900 at which time manufacturing cost of this magnificent example of wordworking craftsmanship was $100,000, is now worth in excess of one million dollars. I sat there for over 20 minutes and could not help but wonder who carved al the intricate and detailed carvings in the bar itself. It was a beautiful sight to sit and look at. I couldn’t help but wonder since Buffalo Bill received this very large and beautiful work of art, if he built the hotel so he could have someplace to put it.
Enjoy a drink in the Buffalo Bill Bar or the Silver Saddle Lounge certainly are a step back in time where you can belly up to the bar that is still the hangout of local characters and genuine cowboys and ranchers of the area, and where you can also see a show saddle that belonged to Buffalo Bill Cody.
I was amazed at how well my young boys enjoyed staying at this hotel. Although a state of the art hotel it is showing signs of wear which for me adds to the charm. On presidents weekend we only paid $60 dollars per night and we enjoyed it more than if we would have stayed at a modern hotel with a swimming pool for the bays for twice as much
If you are snobbish in nature and like everything to be prefect find a different hotel but for my family and I it was the perfect base for our adventure into the beautiful Absaroka Mountains outside of town and my fear is some billionaire will buy this charming piece of history, put several million dollars into it and wreck it. I have seen money wreck charm, kill ambiance and run off the local color and I would hate to see that happen to the Irma Hotel. Today it is affordable by blue-collar folks like myself and I hope it stays that way.