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“Lunch and Beer” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Izaak Walton Inn

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Izaak Walton Inn
290 Izaak Walton Inn Rd, Essex, MT 59916   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Essex
Columbia Falls, Montana, United States
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
“Lunch and Beer”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2013

What a piece of history. This place is a museum filled with Railroad Relics, prints of yesteryear and beautiful scenery in every direction. The train actually stops here from Chicago and from Seattle daily. I plan to ride the train over from Whitefish, Montana someday this summer just for the experience. By the way, the caboose shown in a photo here is an actual hotel room available in the summertime.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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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343 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    150
    104
    48
    26
    15
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5
Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (119)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Mound, Minnesota
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2013

Our group of 13 came to the Izaak Walton Inn from Whitefish to do some XC skiing and snowshoeing. We arrived about 11 a.m., rented equipment for 10 of the 13, and went out for a nice 1.5 hour trek on the beautifully groomed trails nearby. We returned for lunch and had an incredible lunch! We enjoyed buffalo burgers, beef burgers, luscious grilled cheese and bacon sandwiches, and pulled pork...topped with homemade, fresh huckleberry and cherry crumble. We were amazed at the quick service, the extensive menu and the quality of the food - given this was not high season for the hotel. We were very pleasantly surprised at the quality of the restaurant. Also, the Inn itself has a very fun railroad decor...be sure to check out the locomotive steam engine that has been re-furbed into a totally modern and beautiful hotel room.

Room Tip: We did not stay in the hotel, but check out the private rail cars or the luxury locomotive!
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Kalispell, Montana
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2013

This past weekend we had an enjoyable 2 days in this historic hotel by Glacier National Park. This was the 2nd time we stayed there but about the 5th time eating there. Since the last time we stayed there there has been a change of ownership and for the most part for the better. Things were better maintained and the staff was very helpful. Rooms are still on the small side, but were probably considered large when they were built. A big shout out to Kelsey who works there, she was very friendly, helpful and put up with our teasing. The 2 biggest disappointments were the lack of free coffee in the AM (even Motel 6 has free coffee) and the fact that they stopped making of their signature large enough for 2 huckleberry cobbler, it being replaced with two miniscule cobblers (huckleberry and cherry). There were times when we drove to the Inn just to enjoy their cobbler; we won't be doing that again unless they return to the previous cobbler.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Spokane
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2013

My fiance and I have just returned from a three night stay at the Izaak Walton, our second in a year. We got a great deal on our room, which ended up being right above the dining room. But we had brought ear plugs knowing that part of the charming experience comes with the noises of being in a historic hotel. If you are staying in a standard lodge room, and you are noise sensitive, you should ask for a room on the third floor. I loved the cozy futon chair for reading every morning while I had my coffee.

There were a number of changes to the inn since our last stay with the new management. The bar was fantastic. It was dusty and closed during our first trip and this time around we played pool and really enjoyed the bartender, Mike, who had a great mix on his laptop and let us watch five hours of Academy Awards. The trails were very well groomed and we had three days of excellent time outside. Because we were on the train, and had a number of hours to wait after checking out of our room, and the hotel offers free bag storage, showers, towels, and sauna to guests as they wait. The staff were all great when we had questions or requests. Thank you!

My only real complaint stems from the food options like other reviewers. Almost always excellent and inventive, there are limited options on the dinner menu under $20, and, the portions are huge. I would suggest having a burger or sandwich of some kind on the dinner menu. All of the burger and panini options, etc. are on the lunch menu, which you are absolutely cut off from at 5pm leaving you to order large steaks, ribs, and seafood options at dinner. If you are here for a few days, this gets limiting. What about a regular pasta dish along with a burger option? I did order the lamb lettuce cups off of the appetizer menu one night when I wasn't in the mood for a huge meal. It states it is grilled lamb, mint sauce, green onions, and lettuce cups. I received about five chunks of extremely overcooked, tough pieces of lamb, about four pieces of lettuce and a drizzle of sauce (no onions), for $11. I took it back, requested something else, and was charged for both items during check out. My other food complaint is about coffee. I don't know of any other hotel I've stayed in in the past 10 years where there isn't coffee in the room or free coffee in the lobby. This was true during our first visit, and it seems somewhat stingy to me to charge for a cup of morning coffee. Shouldn't morning coffee be a part of the customer service?

However, these issues aside, we absolutely love taking the train and coming here. The surrounding park and trails are strikingly beautiful and with each visit, we learn what to bring and how to work around food issues, etc. There really isn't a place you can hop off the Amtrak and immerse yourself in nature or a cozy get-away. The small issues don't stop me from recommending the Izaak Walton to friends.

Room Tip: A corner third floor room.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
Madison, WI
Top Contributor
72 reviews 72 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 20, 2013

Long time repeat visitors to the Izaak Walton Inn might be surprised and disappointed with the changes. Don't get me wrong, you will have an enjoyable stay, but I won't be babbling on and on and on to my friends as I did in the past. Overall, this may be that the Inn is understaffed.

For train riders, the paved and heated platform is a big plus. No more jumping off the train into a snow bank. Arriving on the westbound train, approximately on time, about 8 PM, I wanted to rent skis right away and get out on the starlight trail to work off the sitting for 26+ hours on the train. But there was no one there that could help at that hour. However, Elise and Wesley at the front desk did their very best to be cheery and helpful when every asked any question or for any request. We went to rent skis the next day, and I believe it was the manager Steve that helped us and he had to be called out of the kitchen to do so. He is not particularly knowledgeable about skis and got "short" with us because we wanted something different than what he immediately pulled of the shelf. (I have been skiing for about 35 years.) When asked what to do with the paperwork, once again he got "short". Well the policies were different than with the previous owners and a new visitor would not inherently know what to do either. But, as usual, the trails were well maintained and marked. There were lessons and day trips to Glacier National Park available. I was impressed that Mark, their ski pro, remembered me.

The Inn's restaurant. The food was mostly good. But the "rules" were a bit rigid and the service, while friendly, was very slow. The new chef is trying to put his creative mark on the menu, and as a result has eliminated the old favorites but has not replaced them with equally good options. There is only one vegetarian option per night, so if you are a vegetarian and you don't want that option, you are not allowed to order the mac & cheese or grilled cheese off the children's menu. I suppose you could eat a side salad with rolls. Not exactly satisfying after a long day of skiing or snowshoeing. If you are vegan, you can forget eating at all. We also had a very petite person in our group and the restaurant was NOT willing to offer half portions. Staying at the Inn, what do you do with leftovers? There are no in-room refrigerators. Anyway, for those with small appetites, be prepared to pay resort prices for generous portions you will have to waste. The saddest change was the elimination of the signature huckleberry cobbler, still pictured on the highway bill board. Replaced with a duo of tiny cobblers (huckleberry and cherry). Did I mention it went from a hearty size to two mini, mini sized ones?

The rooms are clean and the linens comfortable. The building, being historic, has radiators and ceiling fans. I was unable to figure out how to turn the radiators down enough and was roasting each night (better than freezing - but I am a bit like Goldielocks). I was also unable to turn the lights off on the ceiling fan so I could not leave the fan on all night which would have helped in the overly warm room.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
IzaakWaltonInn, Manager at Izaak Walton Inn, responded to this review, March 21, 2013
First, I would like to thank you for your long time patronage of the Inn. I am sorry to hear you did not enjoy every aspect of your experience with us. Our goal is the same as it has always been, to give every guest friendly genuine service and an authentic glacier park experience. I very much appreciate the feedback and we will continue to keep the Izaak Walton Inn the special place it always has been. Thanks for helping us to improve.
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Missoula, Montana
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2013

If being outside during the winter is your bag, then you have to check out the Izaak Walton Inn! We took the Amtrak train from Whitefish which leaves shortly before 8am and headed to Essex for a day of snowshoeing. At $19 round trip this is a great way to check out the beautiful landscape surrounding Glacier National Park. Once there you'll find cross country skiing and snowshoeing trails of all different ability levels. The hotel is very cool. It has a lodge-like feel that is cozy and inviting. In its condition, its hard to believe it was built in 1939. You can tell the staff takes great pride in the regular maintenance and upkeep required of such an Inn. In addition, there are also converted cabooses adjacent to the Inn that are available for rent. We also ate lunch at the restaurant which was better than expected. The menu was simple but the quality was good. After lunch (and 4 hours of snowshoeing) we crashed on some comfy couches downstairs for a quick nap. Nobody seemed to mind. Overall a very relaxing and fun day. We took the train back to Whitefish that night. NOTE: If you do take the train, keep in mind that it can be late occasionally.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Phoenix
Top Contributor
122 reviews 122 reviews
40 hotel reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
71 helpful votes 71 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 17, 2013

We took Amtrak to Essex from Whitefish to spend the day here and then took the westbound train back to Whitefish that same evening. We spent the day cross country skiing on the many trails near the inn. Also we did some train watching and checked out the cabooses and locomotive that are available for lodging. The front desk let us go in the loco and it was very impressive for the most part but I'm not sure I'd spend over $300 a night. The cabooses on the other hand are on the other side of the tracks. They have more privacy and all have decks with scenic views of the tracks, inn, and the mountains. We plan on staying in a caboose on our next visit. We had time to have a couple of drinks in the bar downstairs and had a couple meals in the dining room. Everything was very good and service was fine. The most interesting part of the day was waiting for the train in the dark on the little platform that's about the length of one coach. The engineer has train attendants leaning out telling him when to stop.

Room Tip: The locomotive may be a little expensive and is not too privately located. the cabooses in my opin...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Izaak Walton Inn

Address: 290 Izaak Walton Inn Rd, Essex, MT 59916
Location: United States > Montana > Essex
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Essex
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 47
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to the Izaak Walton Inn & Resort, a family-owned retreat bordering Glacier National Park, in Essex, Montana. Specializing in outdoor adventure and serious relaxation, the Inn hosts activities year round fitting any age, interest and experience level including cross country skiing and guided back country tours, hiking, horse back riding, white water rafting to slow float and larger boat excursions. No matter what time of year you choose to visit, what pace you'll set your journey to, enjoy the nature, the history, and the hospitality found at the Izaak Walton Inn. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Izaak Walton Hotel Essex
Izaak Walton Essex

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