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“Unforgettable”

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Prince of Wales Hotel
Cosmopolis
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Unforgettable”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 7, 2012

A slice of history, a helping of mountain splendor, all served with high tea. Who could ask for more? This hotel fits the bill when it comes to location, location, location! This swiss chalet - all seven stories of it - sits on a promontory with your choice of views - one direction: Upper Waterton Lake surrounded by the Rocky Mountions; the other: a dramatic transition to the Great Plains.

We stayed in a lake view queen - on the fifth floor. A tiny elevator - fits the bellman, small lugage cart & two guests - reaches the fourth floor. The final ascent to our room was up a narrow flight of stairs. The climb was worth it!!! A cozy retreat - with a comfy queen bed to the left, sink and facilities (with shower) to the right. Across from the door, in the center of the room was a small step up into the dormer - with a small writing desk and a glorious view of the lake and mountains beyond. TV? Heavens no, what for? This hotel is in the right place - it deserves to be in a National Park.

We awoke to howling winds - that stumbled over the hotel as they drained from mountains and emptied onto the vast prairie beyond. Unforgettable - pull up the covers, snuggle down, listen and enjoy. And enjoy we did, from our room, to the soaring lobby, to dining room with its kilt clad waitstaff.

Build in 1926, it is not the most modern of hotels - but, what it lacks in modern ammentities is made up in spades with character.

One thing to remember - this hotel is seasonal - it closes for the winter - in mid September.

Room Tip: Rooms on the lower floors have sharred balcomies. I didn't misss them. Rooms on the 4th and 5t...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank PMRailroad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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822 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
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Marshfield
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 6, 2012

We could afford the Prince of Wales only because we happened to be coming up from Glacier Park to Waterton Peace Park in "shoulder season". Fifth flour room, used elevator as far up as it goes - I think that is the 3rd floor-- because I have some trouble walking. There is a wonderful balcony or Mezzanine overlooking the bear statue in the lobby. From there you climb little stairways to the top of the hotel, 7 stories total I think. We were in a private-feeling wing, in a room w twin beds, which I would guess may have once been servants quarters. Had a tiny balcony with a beyond-spectacular view looking all the way down the lake, with birds flying by at or below room level! Loved sitting on balcony to knit or read or just look at the view. When I got sick with a bad cold, Bell boys brought trays of tea to the room. One day while my husband was off exploring the amazing landscape, I hung out more than half the day in the bar/library space just drinking tea and looking thu the HUGE glass windows at the view from the first floor. Again, tea servers very kind to the sick person. So I give thanks to the staff, love the views, and like others writing reviews, wouldn't mind if they improved the food - such fabulous place deserves a better chef and good snacks such as tea scones throughout the day.

Room Tip: front or either side of the hotel, low or high depending on how high a view you want of the lake. Ph...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Judevt S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oxford, Mississippi
Level Contributor
20 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 5, 2012

I recognize the reasons for several moderately negative reviews. This hotel is costly, and contemporary amenities are absolutely lacking. Still, the location and view are nothing short of spectacular, and the staff was wonderfully caring. Having live music in the lobby as we arrived was a particular joy. It's also true that the meals are plain, and pretty well overpriced. But to balance that, it was such a wonderful experience to be away from telephone/television/pc, to simply sit and marvel at the view, enjoy the tea, and fully relax. Reviews are correct -- the rooms are small and dated, and can be drafty. But once again, this is an historic hotel; if I'd wanted luxury, I'd have stayed elsewhere. On the whole, the positives here -- at least for us -- greatly outweighed any possible negatives. I'd love to stay here again any time.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank sfbinms
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hooksett, New Hampshire
Level Contributor
54 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 27, 2012

This vintage hotel stands on a bluff overlooking Waterton Lake presenting a wonderful view south into Waterton Lake National park which abuts Glacier National Park in the US. The rooms would be considered rustic by today's standards but have hardly changed from the original style of 1927 when it first opened. The bathtubs reflect the European influence and the wash basin is in the room. The open lobby gives the impression of going back 85 years in time. There is a very pleasant and comfortable lounge on the first floor, the only place with TVs. There is live music in the late afternoon in the lobby at the traditional Tea Time served daily. The Royal Steward Dining Room is very good and offers good views of the lake and town site. Service is very good. The very small elevator is rather unique and remains the same as the original of 1927. It is hand operated by staff members for guests who do not wish to use the stairs. While we were there, a black bear could be observed on the lake shore from the top of the bluff each morning and late afternoon.

Room Tip: Rooms with a southern exposure would offer spectacular views of the lake and mountains.
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Jproctor21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Port Alberni, Canada
Level Contributor
93 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 23, 2012

We have wanted to stay in this hotel for years and finally had the chance. The hotel is gorgeous and the view is unparallelled, but the rooms are small, dark, and desperately need updating. I understand that they want to keep the hotel historic, but it would be nice to have a TV, internet access, and a larger tub/shower. The restaurant food was fine but not as good as it should have been given the caliber of hotel. The wait staff seemed poorly trained; perhaps they were just ready to move on to their next jobs because the hotel was closing for the season a couple of days after our stay. I would not stay here again; it was a unique experience but just too outdated for me.

Room Tip: Get a room facing the lake on the 2nd or 3rd floor so you have a balcony.
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Sandy L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glacier Park In... M, Manager at Prince of Wales Hotel, responded to this review, September 24, 2012
Our company operates eight properties, all of them seasonal and historic making the operating challenges quite different from operating year round properties. We also hire about 1,200 seasonal employees each year. Many of them are return employees who understand and agree with our goals of quality customer service. We try very hard to train our new employees each season in our values and goals, but as you might surmise, this is a challenging process. That being said, there is no excuse for the lack of service and for that we apologize.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Michigan
Level Contributor
140 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 23, 2012

First and foremost: Purchase the book High on a Windy Hill. You will have much more appreciation of this hotel especially during your stay. Extremely interesting history.

When calling the park service for reservations, Prince of Wales was booked for 3 of the 5 days, so they referred us to the Bayshore Inn for the first 3 days. If we knew better, we would have booked the first 3 days at another location because $257 for the Bayshore Inn was way too much.

At the end of the 3 days, we moved to the PoW. Once registered, within minutes we reserved an extra night - $257/night - because of this being such a unique experience with astounding views.

The room had a "full" and twin bed. The full size bed was too small for two adults, so we used both beds. If you expect luxury for the price, don't stay here. You are paying for the view and history of the hotel - not accommodations. But we have no regrets. Apparently all rooms are not alike because we had a writing table and chair with lamp (room 303). Initially we were assigned to a mountain view, but asked for a lake view to the south. IF you have your choice, you may want to check the weather for winds because that day the winds started howling... literally. It was necessary to stuff towels around the door and window frames (keeping in mind this is a 1920's hotel) to keep out the wind and to try and reduce the hurricane sounds. I took a video because I was in such disbelief on how strong and noisy the winds were (gusting 40-60 mph??). (there were whitecaps in the toilet bowl).  Could not even open the balcony door. My husband finally determined that the window was not engaging properly. After some shifting, he finally was able to properly latch which slightly reduced the noise... only slightly. I had to use earplugs for sleeping.

Winds continued for 36 hours. Temps dropped to the 40's with some clouds. But, we decided to do a driving tour of the area and enjoy the weather as much as possible with short hikes. Went to the Bison Paddock, but only saw them from a distance.

Each day from 1:00 - 5:00 p.m., a live musician played in the lobby, which added to the warmth of the hotel. (Clarinets, harp, and piano).

All staff were very accommodating. But as is our custom, we decline all housekeeping services during hotel stays (we can make our beds just like at home, and use the same towels, etc). Unfortunately the message did not get conveyed to each staff change, so we did have a day where they came in and tried to tidy our room. No big deal.

Be prepared for a cold room if it's cold outside. Immediately turn on your heater and leave on even if you feel comfortable. The room cools down quickly but takes a long time to heat up.

Shower was very nice. Great hot water.

Walls are very thin. Get used to whispering or sign language. Bring ear plugs for loud snoring neighbors. No t.v., no hair dryer, no elevator for general use. But there is one available with a bellhop. Be prepared to huff and puff up and down stairs.

Bartender Jeremy makes fantastic cosmopolitan drinks with flaming lime juice in the hotel bar. The apple walnut salad, spinach berry salad and avocado appetizers were good.

It seemed more fitting to pay $257/night for the PoW than the Bayshore Inn. But if we were to return, we would stay at a different, less costly location in town only because we've had the experience of the PoW. Otherwise, we're very, very glad we stayed there for 3 nights. Would definitely recommend for a 2-3 night stay or at least a lobby visit with lunch/early dinner so you can take in the view.

Room Tip: 303 had a direct middle view of Waterton Lake. But can be very noisy during windy conditions. Full...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank TwinCreek
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
53 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 23, 2012

I did a day trip to POW in 2005; stayed one night this year on the last day of their season. The rooms are small, with the sink in the sleeping area and a small toilet, bath/shower in a separate space. Noise carries easily. We opted for a room with lake view and balcony, which means a small porch that all the rooms on that level share. The winds are fearsome; you need to hold on to something to take pictures (about 40 MPH). But, oh, what pictures...wake up at dawn and take photos of the alpenglow as the sun rises in the east, and watch the lights go out down below in Waterton! We enjoyed High Tea in the four-story lobby overlooking Waterton Lake; also had breakfast...the hotel closed after breakfast on Sept. 18. The staff was from around the world, and all were heading home that afternoon.

We found a number of great souvenirs in their gift shop. Took the boat trip to the US end of the lake, 8 miles south; watched elk emerge at dusk on the flats north of the hotel and swim in the lake at dawn. Excellent restaurants in Waterton, also.

Room Tip: All lodgings within the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park are expensive because of their ver...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Jean L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Prince of Wales Hotel

Property: Prince of Wales Hotel
Address: Off Hwy. 5, Glacier Park Inc., Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta T0K 2M0, Canada
Location: Canada > Alberta > Canadian Rockies > Waterton Lakes National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 8 Hotels in Waterton Lakes National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Prince of Wales Hotel 2.5*
Number of rooms: 86
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Built in 1927, the Prince of Wales Hotel is located on the bluff overlooking picturesque Waterton Lakes and the township of Waterton, Alberta Canada. This stately hotel, named after Prince Edward, offers 86 guest rooms and a traditional British atmosphere complete with Afternoon Tea, the Royal Stewart Dining Room, Windsor Lounge, and the distinctive gift shop, Princess Gifts. The Prince of Wales Hotel is a smoke free, 7-story facility with designated outdoor smoking areas. Check-in time is after 3:00 p.m. and checkout time is 11:00 a.m. All rooms are accessed via stairs and are sold based on view or room size. An antique elevator is available for floors 2 through 4 and requires assistance to operate. There are no ADA-accessible rooms available at Prince of Wales Hotel. The self parking lot is located a short walk from the hotel. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel Prince Of Wales
Prince Wales Hotel Waterton
Prince Of Wales Hotel Waterton Lakes National Park, Canada - Alberta

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