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“Grizzlies in abundance”
Review of Great Bear Lodge

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Great Bear Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Worcester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
45 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Grizzlies in abundance”
Reviewed September 23, 2011

We came to BC with the main goal being to see Grizzly Bears and we saw plenty from the Great Bear Lodge. The whole approach was highly professional and the trackers very knowledgeable and interesting. This extended well beyond the bears and included every aspect of the surrounding environment. The research that is being done and the time and effort being spent in obtaining sightings and videos of the animals in the wild is very impressive. The facilities at the lodge are simple and in tune with the necessary safety and environmental considerations. But the most is made of them and the food, service and attention to detail paid by the staff is excellent. They were all very patient and friendly. As a guest, you are spending your time in close quarters in restricted space with others staying & working there and this must require a very special personality for the staff who are there for a longer time. The other guests were all well travelled people with a common purpose; to see the most amazing wildlife.

Room Tip: The rooms are all much the same with great views
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Henry B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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98 reviews from our community

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English first
Brisbane Queensland
Level Contributor
17 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed May 30, 2011

This place is so special, so remote and so beautiful, I can't imagine anyone being disappointed. The flight over from Port Hardy is amazing, we flew over the snow capped mountains although sometimes because of the weather they fly different routes. The lodge is so welcoming and warm you just want to sit down and drink hot chocolate and eat the yummy treats and soak up the cozy atmosphere.
Our room was very comfortable but you don't have much time to spend there for there is so much to do and see up in the estuary. We were there in early May so it was excellent viewing from the boats as the sedges were low just like nicely cut grass so the bears were reasonably easy to spot and when you get closer you can see very well. There is nothing like drifting along with your guide paddling while watching a bear grazing on the sedges, grabbing a branch of fresh shoots to munch on, digging and even swimming from one spot to another. Don't expect to see bears everytime though, they are wild and aren't doing their show on cue. Having said that, we did see at least one bear everyday, but not in every boat session. On the one day we didn't see bears out in the estuary, we saw a bear on the guided walk on the track, and another on the way back but I think this was unusual.
There is so much else to see though, we saw seals, river otters, minks, eagles, the lonely trumpeter swan and the fragile and beautiful hummingbirds. The scenery itself is simply stunning. The staff are so knowledgeable and able to discuss bear behaviour, favourite bear foods and even know the same bears as they appear year after year. I particularly enjoyed learning about the different trees and other plants of the estuary.

The lodge can supply wet weather gear (recommended) and if you feel the cold ask for one of the survival suits. Just like wearing a sleeping bag and you'll be toasty warm.

We enjoyed wonderful food, lovingly prepared and while dining, we would often glimpse the hummingbirds just outside the window or the minks bounding about the deck or on the rocky shore with a fish.

In a month of travelling British Columbia and the Rocky Mtns this was the standout highlight of our trip, expensive but so worth it.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank fijidreamer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed January 19, 2011

I can't put into words how amazing everything about this place is - to stay where in the middle of nowhere, for the first 2 days it was only us and the maximum capacity is 10 people so you really do feel exclusive. We saw grizzlies on every trip out but where it is is just so incredible I would not have been disappointed if we didn't see any. I was hugely emotional when we had to leave.
As for the staff - couldn't praise them enough, and the chef! I felt like we were in a fantastic restaurant. I cannot think of anything that would have made this any more fantastic.
It was cloudy and May and we were warned that it wasn't great viewing time and yet spotted not only grizzlies but a wolf.

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank crawford180
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Frome
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed October 25, 2010

We have just returned from our holiday in British Columbia, the highlight of which was bear watching with Great Bear Nature Tours. We flew in a seaplane from Port Hardy to the Great Bear floating lodge, where we stayed for 3 nights, and were taken to the hides along the river to see the grizzly bears fishing in the river. The views were excellent, including many bald eagles as well as the bears. The guides, especially the owners, were knowledgeable, and made their knowledge very interesting. We had serveral sessions in the hides, and 2 boat trips to view the breathtaking scenery. The lodge is very comfortable, and the food is of a very high standard. Only 10 guests at any one time so individual service, and great attention to detail. It was a good job that this came at the end of our holiday, as nothing could top it.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank mikepFrome
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed October 8, 2010

If you're going to Great Bear Lodge, you've got one thing in mind... view some bears in their natural habitat. However, we found Great Bear Lodge to be more than a sleeping base for a few days of bear watching. It is a comfortable, though basic, haven in a wonderfully idealic location. Whether you see one bear or twenty, just spending a few peaceful days at the lodge is a pleasant experience.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank Rod R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wokingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
96 reviews
54 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
Reviewed September 30, 2010

I understand that outside of the fall season the chance of seeing bears is reduced but for the salmon run, which was low in this area in 2010, we saw more than one bear during each of our 6 viewing sessions over the 3 night stay. Most sessions we saw 4 or more bears. The staff are all excellent and the food is outstanding. Expect long days with lots to do. The rooms are rather small but you only use them to sleep in, at all other times you are eating or out with the guides. The only negative aspect is the half hour, minimum, bumpy bus ride to the viewing hides. Not a cheap experience but in my mind the best way to see bears in the wild in Canada.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
3 Thank britabroadUk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
The Hague, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed June 19, 2010

We spend 2 nights at this lodge. The place is fantastic and the staff in very friendly. But for us it was a very disappoiting trip as we have not seen any grizzly bears and that was where we came for.
The grizzlies where not showing for 2 weeks already so you have a big chance of not seeing them! We thought that there was only a small chance of not seeing them and that was why we discide to spend a small fortune on this trip. So I will never recomend this to anybody in june. Go there end of summer when the bears are fishing in the river or go to knights inlet, they have a beter succesrate i was told by locals.

About the excursions. Your day starts at 7am and lasts till 11pm. In between 1 hour of rest. In our case the excursions were 4 4hour boattrips and a 2 hour boottrip, so very imbalanced. You are not allowed to make your own hikes.
Also take in mind that most of the time it is cloudy and raining in the inlets.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
3 Thank JenSholland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Great Bear Lodge

Property: Great Bear Lodge
Address: 6420 Hardy Bay Road | PO Box 1168, Port Hardy, British Columbia V0N 2P0, Canada
Phone Number:
Location: Canada > British Columbia > Vancouver Island > Port Hardy
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 15 Specialty Lodging in Port Hardy
Hotel Class:3 star — Great Bear Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Great Bear Lodge is located 50 air miles from Port Hardy, British Columbia. The fully self-contained floating lodge is situated at an outstanding wildlife viewing location. This is a place of spectacular beauty where one can still find the silence and solitude of another era. From this location we operate our Grizzly Bear viewing program.The charming floating lodge has eight bedrooms. The common area is a comfortable place for relaxing and listening to natural history presentations from our willdife biologists. Each bedroom has an ensuite shower. The wind and solar powered lodge is in keeping with our commitment to low-impact ecotourism. Natural wood decks surround the lodge, a perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine while enjoying the beauty of the scenery. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Great Bear Hotel Port Hardy

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