When I decided to write a review of this lodging I was planning to give it one star. After mulling it over and thinking of where it is and how remote it is I upped the ante. This place is a series of structures haphazardly attached. When arriving I saw no sign telling you where you were but later discovered it was hidden by a repurposed school bus. We greeted by the caretakers with a warm invite. When shown to our room we went through a maze of hallways through a bathroom/laundry/storage area and arrived at our room with a door that had no lock. Inside the room, there was a closet with a tv sitting on two milk crates and another area to hang clothes. No light switch for the bare bulb overhead light, but it had a string to pull. An extension cord running from it to the tv. There are no plugins except for a single plug under the wall-mounted bed light. All in all, it worked to charge camera batteries, phones, and computers. There were two twin beds and except for thin pillows we slept ok. I have to mention this...apparently the window had been replaced with a smaller one and around the inside, there was no molding and a large gap with insulation hanging out. The food was great and there was always plenty. Good coffee! Be sure to understand the pricing it is per person and not per room, and food is additional. It can be shocking if not prepared. I could go on but by now you should get the idea. There is another place in Kaktovik to stay that is much nicer and the price is about the same but when we booked it was full.…
I read many reviews of the Waldo Arms before traveling to Kaktovik, and was left wondering if I should pack a roll of duct tape, LOL!! Let me assure you, it is a fine place to stay while visiting the Alaskan Arctic. We were warm, well fed, and the staff was very nice. Our stay was arranged as part of an all-inclusive polar bear tour, so I can't speak to the costs of food and lodging. The quality, and quantity, of food was great, and I slept soundly each night. I don't know anything about other lodging options in Kaktovik. I found the Waldo Arms to be just fine and would stay there again, should I find myself in Kaktovik.
I only spent one night the hotel is what you expect for remote Alaska. The food is good for everything thing being flown in, I was happy and surprised to even have a salad. But what really made the stay was the staff. Everyone was extremely helpful and kind! I can’t compare to the other hotel in terms of staff or quality but it was cheaper.
The Waldo Arms Hotel has been in Kaktovik for years and it shows it's age both inside and out. But everything works(well almost everything, our bedroom ceiling light didn't); the plumbing, tv, heat, etc. worked well for the 4 days we were there. Overall, very clean and comfortable. But not for the shy, bathrooms/showers and dining room all shared with other travelers. Had good weather for polar bear photography, but be warned, good weather for photos does not translate into good flying weather (for the small planes on the town's small private airway). For a trip up north you have to have traveler's insurance because things can get way expensive quickly. Great food and service by the way.
The food was yummy and the cook was pretty flexible. Marilyn was very hospitable with some super awesome stories. The hotel was nice and warm and provided everything we needed. I stayed here while I was touring with Akook Arctic Adventures - which I highly recommend. All rooms are basic, but they are basically for sleeping only. The rest of my time at the hotel, I spent in the common areas, socializing with other travelers. I would recommend this hotel to anyone visiting Kaktovik.