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“Visiting the Spirit Bear Lodge at Klemtu, British Columbia” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Spirit Bear Lodge

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Spirit Bear Lodge
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540 Kitasoo Road | General Delivery, Klemtu, Kitimat-Stikine District, British Columbia V0T 1L0, Canada   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Pincher Creek, Canada
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Visiting the Spirit Bear Lodge at Klemtu, British Columbia”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2012

The Spirit Bear Lodge is in Beautiful Location, right on the water at Klemtu, on the south-eastern side of Swindle Island in British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest. The lodge is roomy and very comfortable, with a very nice, central great room where all the guest gather, eat and listen to the evening programmes. Tim McGrady and his staff have done an excellent job integrating many aspects of the Kitasoo XaisXais culture into the modern lodge, through a tasteful combining of colour, art and tradition. The food, which is served at massive tables, hewn from single cedar logs, is very good, and a lot of effort goes into both its preparation and presentation. Wine is also always included with dinner, which is a very nice touch. The Spirit Bear Lodge is a wonderful base from which to explore the Great Bear Rainforest and to spend days out in one of the most beautiful places in the world, looking for whales, bears, eagles, sea-lions and the myriad other things the region has to offer. The guides make every effort to bring the place to life for visitors, interpreting the natural history, selecting the best places for wildlife viewing, and sharing their experiences and traditional stories. Like all the staff, they seem to make a particular effort to be welcoming and accommodating in a very genuine way, and, despite the incredible natural beauty of the surroundings, and the effect of the wildlife on visitors, the friendliness of the people running the Spirit Bear Lodge really stands out. From when you first arrive, and are greeted by Tim at the boat dock, to mealtimes, the daily excursions and the relaxing evenings in the great room, you will feel very welcome and quite at home. The guides eat with the guests, stay for the evening programmes and seem to want to stay and mingle as long as possible, and during my visit last year, I never saw any of them leave for the night without first saying goodbye. I had an excellent stay at the Spirit Bear Lodge, and I hope to return many times in the coming years.

Room Tip: They are all good, and all have the same excellent view.
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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54 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (16)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Victoria, Canada
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2012

Four nights at the Spirit Bear Logde, and I returned home feeling like I had been away for a month. Cultural, physical, spiritual, educational - this was a trip of a lifetime for my daughter and for myself. While I wasn't sure how a teenager would enjoy this kind of an experience, my concerns evaporated in the first hour as we chatted with Tim McGrady, the General Manager, settled into our beautiful room, and then were whisked off in the boat with two student guides, and our Bear Guide, Vern. I wish I had seen the look on my own face when Vern's wolf howl set off a five minute chorus of howling wolves, somewhere deep in the rainforest. However I did see my daughter's jaw drop and an incredible look of wonderment and suprise. Yes, this was going to be an unforgettable four days.

The facility is beautiful, clean and welcoming and our group dinners fabulous and fun. The atmosphere is relaxed. The staff, students and guides made us feel a part of something so very special. The pride of the Kitasoo/Xai'xais nation is evident - our visit to the Big House in Klemtu was another highlight.

Each day was a different adventure. This is a journay for all of your senses - sights (bears, whales, eagles, waterfalls, craziest moss I have ever seen), smells (rotting salmon and bear dung), sounds (howling wolves, the "gluck" of a rubber boot stuck in the mud), taste (Kendra's cooking), and touch (grabbing either our guide's hand or the rail of the boat - while clambering on and off of rocky shores).

Each evening I felt peaceful and refreshed. At the time, we were the only Canadians at the lodge, and I felt so lucky to be visiting this most special place in my own country. While we didn't see a Spirit Bear, it didn't matter. We were spirtually recharged, had shared an adventure together and created a memory that will last forever.

Room Tip: All the rooms have beautiful views to the ocean.
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Eastbourne, United Kingdom
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2012

Travel is easy with a flight from Vancouver to Bella Bella and onward floatplane to Klemtu or a short water taxi to Shearwater for an overnight stay before a 90 minute scenic transfer to the lodge.

We received a warm welcome from Tim McGrady, General Manager, and a familiarity tour of the lodge that made us feel at home.

Our room was clean and comfortable with splendid views of the pristine waters of the Inside Passage and pine/spruce forest on the opposite bank.

Food was excellent with a variety of cereals and cooked breakfast, tasty afternoon snacks and multi-cultural evening meals.

All-inclusive tours are provided to different areas in the Great Bear Rainforest that offer wildlife viewing, culture and education. Experienced guides accompanied us on all tours.

During our 5 day stay we donned the wet weather gear provided by the lodge and set out on a one to two hour boat trip to disembark on various islands. We trekked through dense rainforest along bear trails and crossed salmon filled streams to reach a riverbank. There we sat quiet in the rain and sunshine to observe grizzly and black bears stroll along the riverbank, fish for salmon, dig for clams, swim and play with cubs. We even had a glimpse of the Spirit Bear (a black bear born with a recessive gene that produces cream-coloured fur).

We viewed seals, humpback whales with the occasional fluked tail, porpoise and gulls dipping for salmon roe to name a few.

One evening we were invited to the Big House in Klemtu, a short walk from the lodge, where the local Kitasoo/Xaixais community demonstrated in traditional costumes their cultural dances to the drum beat and songs of the local First Nation band.

Our interest is photography and we returned home with some wonderful images.

In the evening we joined guests in a cosy corner where guest speakers gave interesting talks and slideshows on various subjects. To name a few, Doug Neasloss educated us on Kitasoo/Xaixais culture and protecting the Great Bear Rainforest. Jamie Scarrow informed us about Antarctica and Phil Charles showed images from remote cameras showing activity in the rainforest during the day and night, which we found fascinating.

This has been one of our best ecotourism experiences and we highly recommend it to all.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stockton, California
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2012

After a flight from Vancouver and a 2 1/2 hour covered boat ride, one arrives at the Spirit Bear Lodge. The Lodge overlooks the waterway and is in the Kitasoo/Xai"xais fishing village of Klemtu on Swindle Island in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest. It is a modern faciliity with large, comfortable sleeping rooms and a large community room for socializing, where meals are served and presentations by staff occur. The food is well prepared and presented. The atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming. The staff is helpful and friendly.
The main focus of the lodge is providing guests with wonderful opportunities to observe bears and other animals in their natural environment. After boat rides, we hiked up estuaries or into the forest to small creeks where we waited for bears to appear. I saw brown bears, black bears and on the last day, the elusive white "Spirit Bear". While experiencing the wonders of this pristine land, I saw Humpback whales, Stellar sea lions, porpoises and otters while on the waterways, bald eagles, golden eagles and ravens.
The lodge is owned by the Kitasoo/Xai'xias First Nation and the guides and boat drivers are from the community They are proud of their heritage and shared stories of their people and the land, giving us an insight into their culture. I felt privileged to visit a 300+ year old Long House and to see early petroglyphs and wall paintings.
The trip exceeded my expectations. I highly recommend the Spirit Bear Lodge to anyone that wishes to visit the Great Bear Rainforest and would suggest a trip of 7 days to maximise the opportunity to see the elusive "Sprit Bear"

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Port Townsend, Washington
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2012

This is a once in a lifetime experience that I would like to share with all I love...the pristine wilderness of this Earth...the beautiful and generous native and non native people who guided me and shared time and stories...the community of Spirit that the Lodge and all who are keeping it in working order with impeccable service...and on a personal note this was a healing journey in a land of unimaginable beauty and Spirit filled with Love and Light...no words can really do it justice...

Room Tip: all are perfect...quiet and very accommodating for all...
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lethbridge, Canada
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2012

Spirit Bear Lodge is open year round but focuses on all-inclusive bear and other wildlife watching trips during the peak season of late August to early October. It is a comfortable and warm base between expeditions by boat to the viewing areas. The rooms are spacious and ours had a terrific view of the sea channel. The great room and dining area become social centers in the late afternoons and evenings to meet fellow guests and compare wildlife viewing experiences.

This is a truly wild area of the world and is a wonderful opportunity to “get back to nature”. We enjoyed daily boat excursions from the Lodge, accompanied by knowledgeable guides, to viewing areas which are completely natural and have no man-made structures to disturb the wildlife. We thoroughly enjoyed landing on pristine rocky shores and slipping into the forest on game trails. Most of the terrain is rugged but in one location we simply landed on a delta and strolled along the grassy river bank to the viewing area. The sight of of grizzly, black bear, two Kermode (Spirit Bears) plus numerous bald eagles feeding on salmon was incredible. On a couple of occasions we also came across a pod of Humpback whales “bubble net” feeding in a nearby harbor within very close range. It was a magical experience!

Key members of the local Kitasoo/Xaixais community serving as guides, as well as our boat drivers were found to be extremely friendly, helpful, informative, knowledgeable and supportive. Cultural stories and experiences of these first nation peoples and the resources they are attempting to protect were offered to us during our wildlife viewing excursions, as well as in the evenings after dinner and through demonstrations of their songs and dances within their traditional long house.

Spirit Bear Lodge offered us an unique cultural experience, along with the opportunity to seek out the elusive Spirit Bear.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
37 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
69 helpful votes 69 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 28, 2011

It's a fair journey to get to the small community of Klemtu but really worth it. The community-owned lodge was built recently to a high standard overlooking a sea channel. Rooms of a good size in two wings with a large common dining area in the middle. Food was plentiful and tasty. The key focus of the lodge is for operating all-inclusive bear and other wildlife watching trips and serves a comfortable warm base in between various expeditions into the forest. Management run a relaxed but very efficient operation. The bulk of the staff are from the local Kitasoo/Xaixais community who are really proud of their lodge and extremely welcoming hosts. Alongside the wildlife and scenery, gaining an insight into the First Nations' culture and heritage was another big plus. We stayed four nights and could easily have stayed longer as we enjoyed it so much. We saw grizzly, black and a rare spirit bear as well as whales and other marine animals. Not cheap but you get what you pay for. Defintely hope to go back again one day. One word of advice: it's not called a Rain Forest for nothing and when it rains it can really pelt down for ages. Luckily the lodge is prepared for that too with full oilskins and wellies available for guests!

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Spirit Bear Lodge

Address: 540 Kitasoo Road | General Delivery, Klemtu, Kitimat-Stikine District, British Columbia V0T 1L0, Canada
Location: Canada > British Columbia > Kitimat-Stikine District > Klemtu
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Klemtu
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Spirit Bear Lodge Wildlife, Bear Watching Tours and Native Culture in BC's Great Bear Rainforest Visit the Great Bear Rainforest, the largest intact temperate rainforest in the world. Explore the natural habitat of the Spirit Bear and home of the world’s only Kitasoo Spirit Bear Conservancy. Unique tours in the ancestral lands and traditional territory of the Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Spirit Bear Lodge Klemtu, Canada - British Columbia

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