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“Grizzly bears galour” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Knight Inlet Lodge

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Knight Inlet Lodge
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3.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   8841 Driftwood Road, Glendale Cove, British Columbia V9J 1A8, Canada   |  
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Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Glendale Cove
Certificate of Excellence 2014
LONDON
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Grizzly bears galour”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 17, 2012

We spent two nights at the lodge, with a hectic programme of events around the cove. The food is very good, the accommodation excellent. The best is the tranquility of the place, with splendid scenery. Early morning visits to the estuary, kayaking, visiting the salmon runs to see the grizzly bears, and the coastal waters for black bears in abundance.
The staff are exceptional friendly and knowledgeable about the area and the conservation of the cove.
Wouldmnot hesitate to recommend to everyone this unique place. No wifi, no television, no mobile phone, but plenty of activities and meeting people from around the world.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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205 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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English first
Perth, Australia
Top Contributor
88 reviews 88 reviews
58 hotel reviews
Reviews in 66 cities Reviews in 66 cities
152 helpful votes 152 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 17, 2012

We were 2 couples that booked 3 nights a year in advance. We decided to stay for 2 nights in Herons Landing first, as there was a lot to do there. Glad we did. Loved the hotel, staff were awesome, and we had a fantastic day tour with Hurricane Jack.

We were up early to get our flight to Knight Inlet. we loved the flight in....quite spectacular. We had a brief orientation which included showing us our rooms. After reading their website, I had thought we were getting 2 bedrooms with a shared lounge. Not so....we got 2 dark, dingy little rooms that were a huge disappointment considering the $4000 a night we were paying.

Then the tours began.....for the most part, these were fantastic, and we saw heaps or bears, orcas, dolphins, whales and eagles to name a few, in our 3 day visit. We also did the sea kayaking, which we all loved.

Each night, everyone would sit outside and share their day, while nibbling on appetizers and having a few drinks. lovely atmosphere, as otters played under the lodge, and black. Ears wandered the shore.

Food - I thought it was great....everything beautifully cooked from really fresh ingredients, the chefs did a great job.

As to why my overall rating is low...the beds in the rooms are rock hard, and we barely slept. I had to resort to pain killers on the 2nd night, as my back ached so much. Also, towels in the bathroom were small, scratchy and old. I feel it is an absolute insult to take $1000 per person per night for such poor lodgings. I know it's a unique setting and you can't do much about the room size, but give your clients a decent bed, decent linen, and decent towels. My other low rating is because of the misleading website....I expected the lounge area, and I have to agree with the below review, where people coming in for 1 night get priority over people staying several nights.

lastly, some staff are excellent...Dean and Kat, you made the trip for us....but some should not be there....we felt our marine tour driver was not the greatest, nor was she in tune with what the clients wanted. Considering we were spending $1000 a day to see whales, don't take us in our time looking for future lunch spots. And when we were in Orca heaven....3 pods of orcas around us....she drove off in a hurry for a quiet lunch spot??? We wanted to keep watching Orcas, none of us cared about having lunch at 12pm on the dot. It was a very frustrating excursion. She also left the engines running, where as the more experienced guides with other operators turn the engines off, and have a deep respect for the wildlife that was lacking with this guide.

If you want to see Grizzlys, go to Knight Inlet, but only overnight. You will get priority over everyone anyway, and you won't end up with a bad back. Sadly, the below reviewer has a lot of it bang on. Sad. it could have been far better.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
kilopsman, Operations Manager at Knight Inlet Lodge, responded to this review, September 19, 2012
We are sorry to hear that you found your bed uncomfortable at our lodge. This is not a comment we had heard previously. All of our beds are newer and of good quality but our staff will check your particular bed to see if there is a problem. The towels at Knight Inlet Lodge are new in 2012 and of good quality but if you found yours to be scratchy then we do apologize.

I have reviewed our website and I do not see anywhere that it states you will have a separate lounge with your room. We are very careful in describing our lodge accurately and do not agree that our website is misleading.

All guests at Knight Inlet Lodge are valued regardless of the length of your stay. The first day of our program is the same for all guests with no guest getting priority over another. In fact guests staying more than one night get the opportunity to take part in tours that are simply not possible for guests staying one night.

The guide who took you on your whale watching excursion is an experienced member of our team that has received many compliments for the way she conducts her tours. I can assure you that she has a deep appreciation for nature of all kinds. We will review your comments with her to see where we can improve her tour presentation.
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Paso Robles California
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
68 helpful votes 68 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 17, 2012

We made our reservations a year in advance and spent 5 days there from 09-05-12 to 09-00-12. Let me echo what a lot of said. The staff, food and organization are indeed remarkable. We have visited a number of similar locations from fishing lodges to those in national parks and this is the best. This is not a place to lounge around. You are busy all of the time. Let me say we had fantastic bear and whale viewing. If you want to see and photograph the bears in large numbers, come at the end of August at the earliest when the Salmon are in the streams and you can see the bears from the viewing stands. The hiking and the kayaking are also great. For those that are avid photographers and use DSLR's let me tell you that you want a good telephoto lens. I brought 3 camera bodies and 5 lenses. I found that my best lens for all around wildlife shooting was my Canon 100-400. If you are under 300 in focal length you may not get as good as shots. Not that the bears are not close. They are. But to get the good head shots of them in the river, you need the stretch of a 400. Also, a tripod will not work in the boats and is too slow in the stands to react quickly with. A monopod is OK in the stands but only if there is less then 5 in the stands at one time. You will be moving and recomposing a lot so shooting hand held just makes you quicker. Bring a good medium telephoto like a 24-105 for the fantastic scenery you will also see. I would not bring a large Prime telephoto like a 500mm or larger. You will not need it and it just too hard to handle in this environment. Those that have mentioned here that they did not see a lot of bears either came at the wrong time for optimum viewing, were not here for enough days or just flat unlucky. You need a minimum of 3 full days here. We have spent a lot of time bear viewing in Alaska and I can tell you that hands down Knight Inlet will get you closer viewing and a lot more!

  • Stayed September 2012, 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.
Big Island, Hawaii
Top Contributor
68 reviews 68 reviews
51 hotel reviews
Reviews in 49 cities Reviews in 49 cities
284 helpful votes 284 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2012

I suppose part of my frustration and disappointment with our three nights at Knight Inlet was the result of it being last in our trip, after absolutely magical experiences at Churchill Wild's Seal River in Manitoba (polar bears and beluga whales) followed by Clayoquot Wilderness Resort. But the bottom line is, this Lodge has everything going for it, and it's been turned into a high-volume, high-turnover, impersonal experience lacking in what makes a wilderness/ecolodge truly great.

For starters, there's the mandatory overnight in the unappealing, overbuilt town of Campbell River at the very unimpressive Heron's Landing hotel. Having float planes that fly out in the afternoon instead of the morning would eliminate this time-consuming part of the package.

After our overnight, we were picked up at the hotel by a shuttle at 8:30am and taken to the floatplane terminal. Several other guests and us were met by a Knight Inlet representative who gave an orientation talk. It felt rather impersonal and forced compared to our previous experiences, which was a foreshadowing. Then we headed out on the jaw dropping flight to Knight Inlet. Just beautiful! My daughter enjoyed the copilot seat, as she had on the helicopter flight to Seal River and the floatplane to Clayoquot. As soon as we arrived, however, we knew Knight Inlet was no Seal River or Clayoquot. We were hurried around, even to the bathroom, speedtalked through another orientation, and then shown a whiteboard where our first scheduled activity (of three that day) was. The staff member giving us our orientation talk kept joking about how we had "3 1/2 minutes" to get tea, or use the bathroom, or whatever, but that's exactly what it was like, not really funny.

We headed out at 11am on an inlet cruise, which was a short and rather uninteresting boat tour around the lodge with a very uninspiring guide. We were told we had to make it back at 12 for lunch and then we were scheduled the rest of the afternoon, for bear viewing in the stands. Don't get me wrong, the bear viewing was magnificent. We saw dozens of bears, running, playing, fishing. We saw big males, subadults, and mothers with cubs. Many where within feet of us up in the stands.

The second day we went out on an all day marine tour where we saw humpbacks, both transient and resident orcas, and sea lions.This was a very long day but was broken up by stops in a couple of very cute coastal towns, including the lovely Telegraph Cove.

The location of Knight Inlet Lodge is absolutely stunning, which is saying something in a province so full of magnificent natural beauty. But this Lodge just gets a lot wrong. For starters, there are many daytrippers and overnighters, who are at the lodge less than 24 hours. All priority is on getting them to see a bear. Those of us staying 3 nights or more got put down the priorty list, the exact opposite of what should happen.

The lodging was ok, but there were staff members and guests roaming around at all hours, especially very early in the morning, making all sorts of noise, together with a loud, groaning dock right underneath our bed that made a good night's sleep impossible. The towels were small and scratchy, the rooms were too hot and had no way to heat or cool them. We were charged for all alcohol except limited (and rather poor quality) wine at dinner. One night after dinner we asked for more wine since the others at our table had drank the bottle put out for all of us, and we were charged for it. One of the guides bought "his" guests drinks after excursions, we always had to pay because we never had him as a guide. It all seemed so cheap. Food was buffet style and lacked inventiveness and taste (prime rib? pizza?). A big step down from our previous experiences. It almost felt like a cafeteria. Everyone sits at communal tables but what with all the overlap in guests and so many people being there for just a day, there's little attempt to get to know anyone, very unlike our stay at Seal River, where the entire group comes in and leaves together, or Clayoquot, where the minimum stay of 3 nights, with many people staying 7 or more, makes for more camraderie and personalization.

We had heard from other people that the turnover in guides at Knight Inlet, as opposed to other high end wilderness lodges, is very high as they are not paid very well and not valued by the owner and management. Our experience verified that impression. While some were very knowledgeable and a very few had been there several seasons, most were short timers who made poor impressions. Even the manager had just been there since June. He was our guide one day at the stands and we liked him and thought he seemed knowledgeable, until the other guide told us (in front of him) that he didn't know anything about bears and was just "filling in" because they were short of staff. Being short of staff was something I heard frequently. My daugher asked to fish one day and while she did get a pole and enjoyed just fishing off the dock by our room, we were told in no uncertain terms that they "just didn't have the staff" to "babysit" (which we certainly weren't suggesting, she's a very mature and independent 11). For this we were paying $3000 per night. It left me longing for the other lodges where she and the other older children were treated as valuable guests like everyone else.

As was made clear from the moment we landed, staff were much too overzealous on the timing. Everyone is so hyperaware of ensuring that things are on time, that even when there was several minutes before a scheduled activity, guests were being chastised for not being ready. We left somebody behind one time because the guide decided she had waited long enough even though it was five minutes before the scheduled departure. It was not relaxing in the least. More importantly, we several times were told that we had to leave excellent bear viewing or other activities due to scheduling, so the emphasis became more on the packing in four scheduled activites per day instead of what we were there for, which was an extraordinary wildlife experience. I would have preferred two or three longer activites each day, with some flexibility should the viewing be particularly good and people don't want to leave a certain activity.

The demographics of the guests speak to the Lodge's focus on overnighters/daytrippers. In four days, I saw only two couples younger than me, and I'm in my 40s. My daughter was the only child in hundreds of people coming in and out. The guides for the most part don't bother to learn anyone's name, and who can blame them, because who knows if they're here for 24 hours or five days. Far from the easy, adventurous, pick your own pace schedule with individualized guides and activities, this is more like the Applebees of wilderness lodges; namely, focused on volume. Get 'em in and get 'em out. I didn't like the vibe at all. I'm not sorry I went because there are probably few if any places on earth where I could have had such an extraordinary bear viewing (in addition to the many grizzlies, we also saw black bears at the lodge, as well as mink and river otters), plus the whales, but it's sad to see a place with so much potential get so much wrong. I really think they should set a minimum of three nights for a stay as the other lodges do so that so many of the problems created by the frantic turnover and scheduling are reduced, and it can be a more personalized experience. There are opportunitites for those who want to day trip to go with other operators who just do that. In attempting to appeal to everyone and make it accessible to everyone, they've lost their opportunity to really do something special, like what is happening at the Churchill Wild lodges and Clayoquot.


Had I to do over again, despite the excellent wildlife viewing, I probably would have gone with the A&K grizzly bear expedition in the Yukon.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
kilopsman, Operations manager at Knight Inlet Lodge, responded to this review, September 19, 2012
The staff and management of Knight Inlet Lodge are vey sorry to hear that one of our guests did not did not enjoy their stay at our lodge. However we are a family destination that caters to all demographics. We are not an elitist destination reserved solely for the very wealthy.

Our track record speaks for itself.
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Stonehaven
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2012

Great stay from beginning to end. This is a full-on trip with tours planned for the whole day so it's not for anyone who wants to lounge around. The food was great, the accommodation was better than we expected and the staff organised everything so well, always trying to ensure you got the best out of your trip. We saw lots of bears, seals, otters, kingfishers, bald eagles, and more.
The two relatively small niggles we had were that one or two of the guides seemed to be getting on-the-job training. Also, we would have preferred to miss the first night at Heron's Landing and get straight out there but understand it must be hard for the seaplane schedule. Most of the guides were exceptionally good - Moira deserves a special mention here. We look forward to returning sometime and, if wildlife is your thing too, Knight Inlet is hard to beat.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Norwich, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2012

This was our second trip to Knight Inlet and it was even better. The viewing stands had just opened and we were lucky enough to see many grizzly both times we went to them, including a close up of a large subadult male.
But lots of other stuff - black bear from the lodge, river otter, dolphin, porpoise, seal, birds and shrimp.
But as well as the wildlife and amazing scenery are a fantastic staff and excellent food. Take the rainforest hike to work of some of the Glendale spread. You won't be disappointed.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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London, England, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2012

After flying in on float plane, I thought, 'wow'. The lodge itself is spectacular, a floating complex! The rooms are not brilliant, just a bit stuffy, and you may start feeling a little sea sick as your are trying to get to sleep! You go on tours, 3 a day. Note: DO NOT COME EXPECTING TO SEE LOTS OF BEARS: we only saw one. When you go, MAKE SURE TO ASK TO GO ON THE BRIDGE TOUR. The Bridge Tour is the best chance you have of seeing bears. Also, try to go for a swim in the cove, it's really quite...refreshing!

I think that it was quite poorly set out, I did some research on grizzlys, and the peak time for viewing them is when they come out in the morning, at the crack of dawn. The lodge staff should give you the option to go on an early morning tour. The food was brilliant, but the reason we came to this hotel was to see bears, and on that level it disappointed. I recommend a stay of 4 nights or more if you want to get some decent bear-viewing in.

If you really want to see bears, I think that staying in Banff and driving along the 'Wildlife Road' to the spectacular Lake Louise is your best chance. I hope you have a nice stay and happy bear-viewing!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
thebagman, Operations manager at Knight Inlet Lodge, responded to this review, September 12, 2012
Thank you for taking the time to write a review of Knight Inlet Lodge. We are sorry that you did not see more grizzlies but that is far from our normal result. For a short stretch of time in August an unusual combination of hot weather, higher than normal water levels in the river plus an early start to our salmon run meant we saw fewer grizzlies than expected. The reality of wildlife viewing is that humans do not control the results, the animals do. The viewing either side of this time frame was very good.

Our tours are carefully organized to maximize the opportunities for our guests to see bears and include both early morning and evening tours when necessary. We are proud of our team and how they go the extra mile to help guests get the experience they are looking for. Having traveled through Banff on many occasions I must respectively disagree with your comment about seeing more grizzlies in that area. There is simply no comparison in the amount of bears we typically see at Knight Inlet and what you might see in the Banff area.
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Additional Information about Knight Inlet Lodge

Address: 8841 Driftwood Road, Glendale Cove, British Columbia V9J 1A8, Canada
Phone Number:
Location: Canada > British Columbia > Glendale Cove
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Glendale Cove
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Knight Inlet Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Knight Inlet Lodge is Canada's premier grizzly bear viewing destination. With over 15 years of experience and a world wide reputation for excellence we are the place to see grizzly bears in British Columbia. Our remote floating lodge has 16 guests rooms and offers a full range of activities for our guests including hiking,kayaking, marine wildlife tours, tracking and whale watching. Open from mid May until mid October with pacakges starting on any day of the week. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Knight Inlet Hotel Glendale Cove
Knight Inlet Resort All Inclusive
Knight Inlet Lodge Canada/British Columbia

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