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“Complete waste of money!!”
Review of Bettles Lodge

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Bettles Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 21, 2008

We planned our trip 6 months in advance, emailing the owner several times. She told us the northern lights can be seen September through mid-April, and that in the winter there would be "dog-sledding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing. cross-country skiing, "village" tours, and flight seeing." She sent us a long list of activities and prices. She mentioned their "Aurora Viewing Cabin," gave us a choice of their "new Aurora Lodge or the rustic Bettles Lodge, which is a national historic site," and said "Our staff will be available to point out trails and also guide your activities along the Koyukuk river and lakes in our area.”

We asked if Oct. was a good time to come, and she said yes. When we got there, EVERY SINGLE person said to us "why are you here in Oct?" Everyone knew that Oct. was a "transition" month (where because of the change in weather, you can't do either summer OR winter activities).

The "rustic" historical lodge was closed for the winter, and half the staff had been laid off (including the maid!). The remaining staff, though very friendly, were completely unprepared for us, had no idea what to do with us, and not a single suggestion for what we should do with our time. So as a result we spent our ENTIRE vacation sitting in a 70's style "rec" room watching videos (that WE brought) and playing cards. At night, the staff left-we had no idea what to do if we needed anything, or if there was an emergency. We were just left on our own!

NONE of the winter activities we were told about were available, and since it was snowing, we didn't see a single star, let alone the aurora borealis. The "modern" facility was a dorm room building with communal bathrooms, and a tiny living room window blocked by a giant moosehead so we couldn't even enjoy the scenery outside.

We did get the "Village Tour," which was a 5min drive where our guide said "that's where Joe lives, that's where Sally lives, I think that house is vacant." And in bored desperation, we hitched a ride with the handyman to the "Aurora Viewing Cabin" which we didn't go inside, and which consisted of a shack with an outhouse on the lake.

On our last day we decided to bring up our disappointment with the owner. We had to do it over the phone since she made no appearance during our stay (and the only reason we even MET her was because she found us at Fairbanks airport and asked us to bring equipment to the Lodge). She instantly started screaming her head off at my friend who couldn't get a word in after the first sentence. Then she tried to tack on $20 ea. for the "Village Tour" and $60 ea. for the "Viewing Cabin" tour!!

We could have had the same experience (minus the nasty owner) for FREE if we had just gone to my friend's cabin in the mountains at home. Instead we spend $2000 for nothing and to be treated horribly on top of it.

  • Stayed: October 2007, traveled with friends
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22  Thank jpoSF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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153 - 159 of 169 reviews

Reviewed January 8, 2008

Came to see the Northern Lights and possibly some wildlife. We were never told the main lodge was closed for the season and we would have to stay in the 'modern facility' which is basically a giant trailer with a kitchen attached. staff was very friendly but didn't know much about the surrounding area and there was nothing to do during the day in October. There are supposedly trails in the area, but no maps to find them in the lodge and the man with the plane left 15 minutes after our arrival so flight seeing, had it been offered to us, was out of the question. Our room was uncomfortably small, and for the price not worth it. When I spoke with our hostess to tell her of our dissatisfaction, i was treated with disrespect and suspicion, as though we wanted something for nothing, and as if our complaints were beyond reasonable. beware when you make your reservations. i do NOT recommend bettles lodge. sorry.

  • Stayed: September 2007, traveled with friends
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17  Thank potu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 1, 2007

This is really a nice place to visit, the people are friendly and the food is good. Rooms are nice clean and comfy. You have options of jacuzzi tubs private bath or just a room your choice...
Went there in August which happened to be the 25th anniversary of Dan and Lynda Klaes the owners who have put 25 years of their lives into making it the place it is today..There was live music by Earl Hughes and Mike Stackhouse. We went flight seeing up to the Arigatch peaks we took a river ride down to old Bettles had such a wonderful week there. Definitely a place I would like to get back to again, Thanks Bettles Lodge and employees for a great time.......

8  Thank Alaskan1547
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 31, 2007

Very poor experience. Went for the Northern Lights which they advertised. Upon arrival I was shown my room and that was it. No information on the area or the lights. Owners were seldom around, they use transit help. When I asked the person on duty about the lights she said she did not know anything about them, she was from another state. Food was awful and portions were meager. Room smelled and was seldom cleaned.

  • Stayed: September 2007, traveled as a couple
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19  Thank Star300
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 12, 2007

I have stayed at Bettles Lodge twice now and I can't wait to return. The rooms are well appointed and the beds are comfortable with soft sheets. I really enjoyed the style of the Historic Lodge and the Aurora Lodge. You must get a jacuzzi tub!
The staff was wonderful. The food was more than you could eat and nothing felt better than spending some time in the sauna.
I didn't miss my phone, the TV or anything else that I am normally tied to. It is an enchanting place and amazing that in such a remote location that you would be welcomed by such smiling faces from that have traveled from around the world to be there.

  • Stayed: August 2007, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank GenesisEdge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 11, 2007

What a perfect day my daughter and I experienced up at Bettles Lodge! We were up during their 25th anniversary party and believe me, the owners Dan and Lynda know how to make you feel welcome and show you a good time! Our pilot out of Fairbanks was awesome, the locals coming in and out of the lodge are friendly and fun to talk to, most of whom are quite the characters. The food was delicious and the staff was so hospitable you felt like you were staying with an old friend, who just happens to live in the most beautiful part of this great country. Our room was cozy and clean. The band played until the sun went down, which at that time of year was around 2am (wasn't really watching the clock because we were having a blast)! We walked to the Koyukuk river with some of the locals while they regailed us with hilarious tales, another mom and myself were skipping stones into the river and we turn around and my 2 year old had stripped down and was splashing in the river. Now that's an arctic princess! Thank you, thank you, thank you, Dan and Lynda and everyone at Bettles Lodge! We'll be back! Much Love, Melanie

  • Stayed: August 2007, traveled with family
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7  Thank fbkschick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 3, 2007

In Japan Bettles Lodge is very famous for best place to see Northern Lights .

This time I rearize that this Lodge is not only famous but also very comfortable and wonderful place !

Historical Building is very beautiful and another new Aurora lodge has good equipments. Can you imagine that you can enjoy relaxing in a jacuzzi in the arctic ? I enjoied it !

And sutaffs are very nice.
Ted your coffee is vest coffee in Alaska !
I had very good time . Thank you for all .

I am going to visit Bettles again in winter time !
I love Northern Lights ! I love this Lodge too!

  • Stayed: August 2007, traveled with friends
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7  Thank aurorau
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Bettles Lodge

Address: 101 Main St, Bettles, AK 99726
Location: United States > Alaska > Bettles
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Bettles
Price Range: $115 - $160 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We offer food, aircraft fuel, and lodging 365 days a year. We still harbor wayward pilots just like when we opened in 1951 as a Wien Alaska Airlines Lodge. We offer world class Aurora viewing (235 nights a year possible here/weather dependent) during the Fall and Winter season, National Park Collecting & Flight seeing, fishing charters, and camping / hiking drop off and pick up in the Gates of the Arctic & Kobuk Valley National Park flights with our full service Air Taxi operation based in Bettles. We have officially the best weather in Alaska, here at Bettles Field. Come see the REAL, Arctic, Bush, Alaska! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Bettles Hotel Bettles

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