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“An experience of a lifetime!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Grizzly Bear Lodge & Safari

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Grizzly Bear Lodge & Safari
Tauranga, New Zealand
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“An experience of a lifetime!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 7, 2011

Seeing grizzlies in the wild was one thing I absolutely had to do before leaving Canada, and choosing Sailcone Lodge out of all of the options online was the best thing I could have done! The first thing is that the service is very personalised as they only take small groups. There were only three of us on the tour I went on.
There are so many aspects to the place, but I have to start with the actual tour experiences, which I believe can vary depending on how long you stay. I stayed three nights on the island, and the first day we went up Knight Inlet to view grizzlies from the boat. It was absolutely amazing! We watched a Momma bear and two cubs for hours, even while having lunch! The next day we got to go up Thompson Sound and tried to see bears on the ground. Unfortunately there was no luck, but we did see black bears, and got to walk around the rainforest a bit which was a great experience. We also saw old beaver dams, as well as eagles. The third day was our whale watching day, and this was the day we realised the extent Angus will go to to make sure his guests get the experience they are there for. We travelled a bit further away than usual to where he had heard about a pod of Orcas, and there was no disappointment! We were also lucky enough to see a humpback on the way there and back! Overall, a tiring but exhilerating experience.
So the lodge itself is on on Minstrel Island, and so remote, you have to get there by boat or floatplane, and there is nothing but nature to bother you. Even though it was raining when I arrived, it was just stunning. The lodge is cozy with only 4 rooms, and each room gets it's own bathroom. There is a huge kitchen and lovely dining and sitting areas. There is also a cabin which can be booked, with it's own bathroom, but you need to walk up to the main lodge for meals. As remote as the place is, it is fully equipped with all your usual hotel luxuries - fluffy towels, hairdryer etc - with the addition of a view!
Also despite the remoteness, the food is definitely five star! Breakfast is a do-it-yourself affair with cereals, breads, fruit, yogurt, coffee, tea etc all laid out on the table and you eat what you like. Lunches are all packed in a cooler and vary each day - soups, salads, wraps or the like with additional veggie sticks, cheeses, drinks and always sweets such as homemade cookies or brownies. Dinners are in the lodge dining room, served with wine, and are three courses - salad or soup, followed by anything from roast beef to pasta, followed by coffee or tea and either cake or some other dessert. Absolutely heavenly!
I'd also like to add that this is a family owned and run operation, and meeting John and Kathy who owned it until recently was fantastic. They are all very experienced and hospitable people, and have obviously handed more than just a business down to their son. Angus and his wife Krystal, along with their little girl were always engaging, and really do love what they do and where they live.

Room Tip: I had the room upstairs at the front of the house, and the bathroom had a lovely view... If you want...
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2011, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank beingde
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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65 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (15)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 23, 2011

I booked the 4 nights/5 days package at Grizzly Bear/Sailcone Lodge as a present for my wife for our wedding anniversary. The stay surpassed all our expectations... We arrived to the lodge via a seaplane, and once landed we realised how remote this place is - one cannot hear but the sound of nature - yet the owners/team made sure that all the services provided by a typical hotel are available at the lodge... at the time where no cellphone network is attainable, the lodge still provides you with Internet access!!!

Angus and Glen are resourceful guides and know the area extremely well. Although we got few days of extreme weather conditions, they still went the extra mile of taking us to valuable wildlife spots, sighthings included: black bears, grizzly bears, dolphins, porpoises, killer whales, humpback whales, bald eagles, seals, sea lions, etc... Lovely Humming birds were flying around the lodge windows...
And the food... Ah! Delicious! Looks like a home cooked food and tastes as prepared by award winning chefs...
Great thanks to John, kathy, Angus and Glen for a warm stay and unforgettable adventure... Would definitely recommend it and would come back on my next visit to Canada/British columbia!

  • Stayed July 2011
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank SamerD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Surrey
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 3, 2010

We had a great time. Caught very good salmon, saw whales and bears. Food tremendous. The guides were great. The day with Trapper Rick was truly memorable.

  • Stayed August 2007, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank BLSSurrey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Britain
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 15, 2010

Our stay at Grizzly Bear Lodge exceeded all of our expectations and the visit proved to be the absolute trip of a lifetime. The bear viewing opportunities were truly amazing, and there was so much additional quality wildlife to see. The remote picturesque setting of Grizzly Bear Lodge on Minstrel Island in Knight Inlet fjord was also stunning.

Grizzly Bear Lodge is unquestionably the best located of all of the bear viewing lodges on the West Coast of British Columbia because its central location enables you to travel up Knight Inlet by boat to see the grizzlies, down the inlet to Johnstone Strait to see all of the marine mammals, and to go on the unique wilderness experience up the Kalweiken River to meet Trapper Rick!

Knight Inlet is home to many, many bears that are attracted to the area by the hundreds of thousands of salmon that come here every year to spawn. Grizzly Bear Lodge has, with only one other operator, exclusive use of an area with special strategically located viewing stands that let you get up close to the grizzlies. From here you can watch the bears catching the salmon and feeding on them, before they go to hibernate for the winter. It is a photographer’s dream.

There is also an abundance of other wildlife viewing opportunites that includes Black Bears, Humpback Whales, Orcas (Killer Whales), Pacific White Sided Dolphins, Stellar Sea Lions, Harbour Seals and Bald Eagles.

Knight Inlet, which is Canada’s longest fjord, is 60 miles long. It is a spectacularly three dimensional setting with high mountains, extensive forests, crystal clear waters, bright blue skies with lots of pure fresh air.

Part of the charm of Knight Inlet and Grizzly Bear Lodge is that they are totally isolated and can only be accessed by seaplane from Campbell River on Vancouver Island. The stunning trip over the lakes and mountains of Western British Columbia takes around 45 minutes.

Grizzly Bear Lodge is situated at the water’s edge on Minstrel Island and is delightfully rustic. It only accommodates up to 10 guests so the service is very personal, the ambiance is relaxed and friendly, it is spotless, comfortably furnished, and the food is great. All under the watchful eye of Madeleine who is ably assisted by Clint.

Other than the grizzlies, probably the most critical element in making this trip such a success was the exceptional guides, Glen, George and Ed. All three are very professional, extremely knowledgeable, sensitive to the wildlife and their environment, friendly and helpful. Again the service is very personalised with only three or four guests going with a guide on each trip. All wet weather / safety gear is provided.

While staying at Grizzly Bear Lodge you have an opportunity to enjoy a unique wilderness experience with “Trapper Rick” who lives alone in a very remote area of the forest on the Kakweiken River and our fascinating day with Rick in the backwoods let us see just how a trapper lives. The highlight was when an enormous male grizzly charged out of the forest some 50 yards in front of us and we then trailed him for over a mile before he disappeared again.

A typical day comprises of up at 06:30 for breakfast at 07:00; off on the water to our destination with our guide at 07:30; a delicious picnic lunch after the morning’s activities at 13:00; an active afternoon and then back to the Lodge around 17:00; time for a cold beer or two on the deck; then dinner with the other guests and the guides around 18:30.

We specifically went in September as we wanted to view the grizzlies feeding on the salmon at spawning time but visitors in the Spring and Summer have the opportunity to see the bears with their new born cubs feeding on the berries and sedge grasses in the coastal areas of the fjord.

Grizzly Bear Lodge offers a variety of packages and we opted for their 4 day / 4 night trip which involves arriving by floatplane in the afternoon on day 1, spending three nights at the lodge, then returning to Campbell River late afternoon on day 4. For our purposes, this proved to be a perfect length of stay.

While recognising that the cost of the trip was not insignificant, we thought that it represented excellent value for money. This was particularly so when you compared it with the quote that we had received for staying at the other lodge further up the inlet.

We really had the trip of a lifetime and cannot thank the Madelaine and her team at Grizzly Bear Lodge enough for “making it happen”.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank JamesScot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dorset
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 14, 2010

If you seek the ultimate experience in Bear & Whale watching (& love bald eagles) ... this is the place to be. My first visit was three years ago & have been every year since! Until you are travelling to the island on the float plane it's hard to imagine how remote it is, or how beautiful. Met by the guides on arrival, the gourmet cooking begins, with fresh crab & prawns, caught just by the lodge. Within 24 hours of being at the lodge all the worries of the world disappear as your biggest concern is ...... "am I seeing whales or bears tomorrow?" - which ever it is you WILL see them. I have turned some of my photos into canvas art, which I have on the walls at home - my friends are astounded at the pictures I have shown them & can't quite believe I have been this close to these fabulous animals - but I would recommend a balance between photography & watching, you can miss so much trying to catch the perfect picture whilst looking through the lens. The highlight for me in 2009 was seeing a Humpback breach .......... it's like being in a wildlife documentary! The staff at the Lodge are OUTSTANDING & attend to your every need.

For anyone considering any trip in this area .............. this is the place to go!!!!!!!!!!

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank CabinCrazy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 13, 2010

We saw all the wildlife we'd hoped too - black bears, grizzlies, eagles, dolphins, whales and orcas. The lodge is in a beautiful location and the staff were fantastic. All the guides were knowledgable, passionate and great fun to be around. The staff made sure we had everything we needed, we only wish we had stayed longer than 3 days! We will definitely be back!!

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank NatSydney52
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
suffolk
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 13, 2010

After searching the internet we decided to book with Grizzly Bear Lodge and we are so glad we did. We had an amazing time there,
The seaplane flight was fantastic and when you land at the lodge John & his wife Cathy and their staff all are waiting to greet you. The lodge was lovely & comfortable, food was excellent (thank you Maddie). George, Glenn, Ed & Clint made up the rest of the team & they made you feel really at ease and had such knowledge of the animals & they didn't mind all the questions you asked.
The trips to view the bears & whales were just amazing- we will never forget just sitting in the boat bobbing up & down eating our lunch, with Orca's just passing by -a truly memorable day which we thank you for.
We cannot tell you how much we enjoyed the time we had there, if you are thinking about going then book at the lodge - you will not regret it for one moment
The views just from the lodge alone were spectacular.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank janissadie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Grizzly Bear Lodge & Safari

Property: Grizzly Bear Lodge & Safari
Address: Knight Inlet | Johnstone Strait, British Columbia V9N 8Z9, Canada
Phone Number:
Location: Canada > British Columbia
Amenities:
Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #78 of 1,258 Specialty Lodging in British Columbia
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sailcone's Grizzly Bear Tours, Lodge and Safari offers grizzly tours and grizzly bear watching from viewing stands and wildlife tours for black bears, killer whales (orca) humpback whales, dolphins, stellar seals, sea lions, black bears and eagles. Our grizzly bear tours are conducted on Canada's famous natural fjord known as 'Knight Inlet BC' and on the salmon rivers that flow into Knight Inlet. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Grizzly Bear Lodge & Safari Canada/British Columbia

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