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“Great setting, but average accommodation & facilities” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Helmcken Falls Lodge

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Helmcken Falls Lodge
3.0 of 5 Lodge   |   6664 Clearwater Valley Road | Wells Gray Park, BC, Clearwater, British Columbia V0E 1N0, Canada   |  
Hotel amenities
Nottingham
Top Contributor
300 reviews 300 reviews
61 hotel reviews
Reviews in 140 cities Reviews in 140 cities
121 helpful votes 121 helpful votes
“Great setting, but average accommodation & facilities”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 16, 2012

The lodge is just outside Wells Gray Park, which means its a good 35km from Clearwater. This means any trip into town for a meal involves a fairly long, if pleasant, drive.

We ate in Clearwater (warned by previous reviewers) and arrived after 9pm, and were given the impression the owner had either almost given up on us arriving at all, or we were keeping him from closing up.

We had been 'upgraded' to a cabin room - which was nice, but fairly basic. We had to request a hairdryer - come on, this is 2012 not 1912! There was no safe, no fridge, no internet (although it works fine if you pay extra). Again, these are basic hotel necessities these days! We couldn't make a cup of tea, as only a coffee machine was provided - we tried, but the resulting drink still tasted of coffee, of course, so was undrinkable.

As was the tap water - a high concentration of iron and minerals means it is pungent, even for just cleaning your teeth - bring bottled water. That's part of the fun of staying somewhere rural.

We had breakfast one morning - its very overpriced for a cold meal of yoghurt, fruit and cake. Didn't bother the next morning and got a cheaper hot meal in Clearwater.

Its a lovely spot, though, and handy for visiting an amazing park - we spent a day with Gy Ovenden who showed us the highlights and introduced us to plants and birds in the area. Wells Gray isn't as well known as some other parks, but is really a hidden gem. We saw numerous bears on our travels to and from Clearwater in the evenings - though they are much more shy of visitors than the bears around Banff and Jasper, who carried on eating at the roadside ignoring the snap of camera shutters.

Well worth a visit.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (4)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Parabiago, Italy
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
60 hotel reviews
Reviews in 60 cities Reviews in 60 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2012

After spending 1 night here on our way to Jasper, our feelings are quite mixed. The setting is beautiful, we had the chance to spot a bear not far from the lodge and sweet hummingbirds just outside the reception; staff was friendly and gave us some good advice on where to have a walk to try to see some mooses and other wild animals. Rooms, on the other hand, were dated, barely lighted, smelt musty and quite dirty: they urgently need to be renovated. Since the lodge is in the middle of nowhere (a plus in my opinion) we had no other choice than to have dinner at the inside restaurant, but alas I must admit that I won't remember that as the best meal we had during our trip in Canada. In summary, I do not think this place is worthy the price you pay: if you can, try to book in one of the other (far better looking) lodges of the area.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
KAMLOOPS
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 20, 2012

This is our third year going to this fantastic lodge
Rooms and Meals were great. Cross country skiing for 22 km then back to lodge for a relaxing dinner
Not sure what others expected but if you are wanting a great get away at a fantastic price this is it.
Thank you to the staff for making it such a nice weekend

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Wigan, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2011

We stayed for one night en route from Jasper to Whistler and having read previous reviews expected the average standard of sleeping accommodation, worn and tired might be a good description. If as indicated in a previous review, the rooms are being upgraded piecemeal, thats understandable.
The welcome was good our main concern was the food. Average dinner but expensive. The breakfast is 'continental' no boiled eggs, no sliced ham or cheese. We paid $29 for coffee and toast!
If you are passing through ask before you have breakfast. In hindsight we should have driven on to Clearwater for breakfast.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2011

Having been to Wells Grey before, but always in rush mode, we decided to stay a few days before travelling on to Vancouver. I needed to find a place of peace to recharge, so on a whim, we decided to stay at Helmcken Falls Lodge. What a treat!

Our Welcome was fabulous and at first I wondered if this was just a false fascade to lure us to stay at this rustique Lodge which is a 30 min. drive into Wells Grey Park from Clearwater. (The previous night we had stayed at a typical 3/4 star Motel on the north side of 'Valmont, where we met with great disappointment).

Helmcken Lodge did NOT disappoint; not only was the entire staff extreemly friendly, but the rooms we had were super clean. The room was not decorated in typical hotel cookie cutter style, but this design choice made our rooms feel cozy and we settled in quickly and slept peacefully on the comfortable, warm beds. (Linda and Andrew upgrade a few rooms each year to stay on top of regular maintenance.)

We felt so welcomed and comfortable at the Helmcken Lodge, that we ended up staying 3 nights on the way to Vancouver and 2 more nights on our way home to Edmonton.

During our stay we ate at the Lodge and enjoyed first class meals with great service, all the while viewing beautiful Trophy Mountain and feeling the genuine warmth of the Main Log Lodge Building.

Andrew and Linda are FABULOUS HOSTS, that embrace you with warm welcomes each time they see you, stopping what they are doing to spend a few moments of their precious time to chat. Maria, the Lodge Receptionist, brings sunshine to your day with her welcoming smile and warm, respectful attitude. And the cleaning staff are not only friendly, but take the time to thoroughly clean your room. Not only do the Host, Hostess and Receptionist, what I call the few prominent people in a lodging, make an effort to relax you with their great attitude, but the rest of the staff are equally friendly and all staff members will go the extra mile to accomodate your wants and needs .

When I go back to Wells Grey Park, if I have to choose between staying in a 3/5 star impersonal hotel, an expensive B&B or this quaint, impeccably clean Lodge (priced right too) with it's extreemly welcoming owners and staff, I would definately choose Helmcken Lodge. There is nothing that compares with really clean rooms and the true warmth of genuinely caring people.

Thanks to all the staff at the Helmcken Lodge for making our visit such a memorable one. We will be back soon!

Monika

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2011

The hotel is situated in a beautiful scenery, with the Wells Gray Park just minutes away. The rooms were very basic and outdated. Service and dinner were ok.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Vancouver, Canada
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2011

We had stayed here a while back in the winter, and thought it good value, so decided to try it in the summer. Front desk staff was very helpful and offered recommendations on hikes. Overall, 'deluxe room' was satisfactory, but contained only 2 double beds, washroom and small table with two chairs. There was no fridge, tv, phone, or any other amenities.

For dinner I had the ginger beef stirfry, which was about what I would expect at a mall food court. Portion was tiny and cost $15. My wife had the vegetarian cannelloni, which she thought was good, but also overpriced at $21. Wine and beer selection were poor and expensive.

For breakfast, the only option is the 'breakfast buffet' which consisted of bagels, bread/toast, some pastries, cereal, expired yogurt (which was replaced once I complained), tiny packaged jams and fresh fruit which was not fresh. No eggs, or hot breakfast is available. Cost is $13/person, and add tax/tip, and that comes to about $35 for two people for a continental breakfast most hotels would give away for free.

It seems prices are jacked up considerably in peak season but not quality.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Helmcken Falls Lodge

Address: 6664 Clearwater Valley Road | Wells Gray Park, BC, Clearwater, British Columbia V0E 1N0, Canada
Location: Canada > British Columbia > Clearwater
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 14 Specialty lodging in Clearwater
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Helmcken Falls Lodge 3*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Helmcken Falls Lodge was constructed in 1948 as a Hunting Lodge in Wells Gray Park.The Lodge itself now houses our reception and gift shop and also the 110 seat licensed restaurant and lounge with a balcony overlooking the Trophy Mountains.We have 33 rooms in total comprising 25 standard rooms and 8 log cabin rooms.The original heritage cabin, built in 1926 offers 2 self-contained rooms both with Queen beds.All our rooms have ensuite private bathrooms.Our standard rooms have 2 double beds and our log cabin rooms have 2 extra long double beds.We also offer horseback riding and guided canoeing and hiking in Wells Gray Park. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Helmcken Falls Hotel Clearwater

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