‘Bunk House’ Revives Spirit of the West


(The Bunk House at Cross Keys | Photo by Perry Coon with Many Mansions Photography)

A new hotel venture in Madras is giving a tip of the hat to Central Oregon’s Wild West roots, paying homage to the region’s rugged origins while providing an upscale twist, complete with upper floor patio offering sweeping city and mountain views.

The Bunk House at Cross Keys Station is described by owners Rich and Sandy Priday as “where Yellowstone meets the High Plains of Central Oregon” and features 50 rustic luxury hotel rooms carefully crafted with furniture and art that draw inspiration from the cowboys, ranchers, sheepmen, and Native Americans of Central Oregon’s historic past.

The newly constructed boutique hotel draws on the philosophy of The Old West with the promise of true High Desert hospitality along with modern conveniences, and guests are greeted by ancient ghost trees, some over 900 years old transplanted from the “Oregon Outback” around Fort Rock, lining the driveway approach.

“It is like saying from our bunk to yours, we want to welcome all to the Bunk House with the tip of the hat and a firm handshake, bringing the spirit of the Old West in a classy way,” Rich Priday says. “We wanted to create something the community of Madras could be proud of, and we are excited about what we have accomplished here at the gateway to Central Oregon.”

Decorative vintage light poles illuminate the entry to the charming property and the building features a striking combination of Montana Moss stone, raw steel and barnwood. The crown jewel is a third-floor breakfast and outdoor patio space offering sweeping views of the city, surrounding valley and Blue and Grizzly Mountains, flanked by an inside/outside double fireplace. On the same level, another unique feature, evoking days gone by, is a collection displaying the many hats of the Old West in a lighted wooden/glass case.

Guests entering a vintage brick floored lobby are drawn to a stunning centerpiece featuring a native canoe transformed into a light fixture overlooking plush couches and leather chairs. The open layout and tall ceilings are complimented by a turn-of-the-century tobacco mantle sitting on a large steel fireplace. A small store is tucked away in a small corner of the lobby while a second-floor business center includes an antique trunk converted into a desk.

Continuing the Western motif, the “BH” brand is stamped into every headboard on saddle leather, and furnishings are all topped with hand-hammered patina copper, embodied into wormwood, with various colored leather-bound and cowhide chairs throughout. Each guest room is equipped with generous-sized LCD TV’s and traditional-style sliding barn doors to the bathrooms. Ten rooms with kitchenettes have also been set aside to cater to longer-term guests, such as traveling nurses, while two rooms feature authentic built-in bunk beds for larger parties, with the option of adjoining rooms.

Pictures arranged throughout the hotel continue the theme of Western lore.

The project is something of a labor of love for the Pridays’ who have owned the adjoining Inn at Cross Keys Station for the last 15 years and operate several hotels across Central Oregon. It has been a particular passion for Rich Priday as he has deep roots in Madras. His family started ranching in the area in the 1870s, where the original homestead still runs cattle, and he was raised there and graduated from Madras High School. “The town deserves something upscale, and we wanted to bring a unique experience that is also representative of a rich history. We believe in the exciting potential of Madras,” He said.

“We have put some of our personalities into this project and spent a lot of time traveling all over the country to bring back particular items that would fit with the hotel,” Sandy Priday, who led the design initiative, added. “Rather than being fancy, much of the décor and furniture is what you might call ‘classic rustic’.”

As far as the name goes, she says they came up with the Bunk House moniker as it fit with the area as well as with the Inn at the Cross Keys Station, which is actually named after the old stagecoach station in Willowdale. The Pridays chose Griffin Construction, whose previous projects have included the Huntington Lodge at Pronghorn Resort, for the $6.2 million flagship project which broke ground in 2021. They also head up the operational team along with sons Court and Rory and associate, general manager Troy Clark.

Sandy Priday picked out much of the overall décor, but paid tribute to the input of the entire management team in the process. “We wanted to create something that feels like home and not something that felt just like a box,” She added. “We also wanted to honor the history of the area and have it be representative of the Madras population’s heritage.

“There have been multiple influences such as cowboys, Native American culture, sheepherders and farmers, and we wanted to honor all of them in the overall concept,” Sandy Priday continued. “We wanted to provide an attractive property offering a different experience; it has already been very well received and I think we will receive visitors from far and wide. We hope we have given the community something to be proud of, and something that really shows off Madras.”

“We love Madras and the community here,” added Rich Priday. “It is where my roots are, and we want to bring the upscale facility that they deserve to have. I like what the name conjures up too – growing up on the ranch we always had a bunkhouse where everyone stayed; that was just a part of ranch life.

“Apart from coming just for the experience, travelers can also enjoy many big recreational opportunities nearby such as Lake Billy Chinook and attractions such as the air museum or Olympic size swimming pool. We hope we have given the community something to be proud of, that will be well used, and is something that really shows off Madras to the outside world.”

706 NW Bunkhouse Road, Madras


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