We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Best Vacation Ever!”
Review of Bettles Lodge

We can't find prices for this accommodation
Our online travel partners don't provide prices for this accommodation, but we can search other options in Bettles
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Bettles Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 18, 2008

My wife kept repeating "Best. Vacation. Ever!" for weeks after this trip. We've stayed in fancier resorts and have had incredible experiences elsewhere but this trip was unique. How often have you seen your pilot de-ice the plane with a credit card!

We wanted a remote getaway to, hopefully, see the Northern Lights. We considered a different, more upscale resort but the TripAdvisor reviews were not favorable to the staff and experience. We then discovered the Bettles Lodge through this site.

Like others, we walked into the more modern lodge at Bettles and were initially disappointed. It's nothing fancy but it was clean, comfortable, and WARM! (It was in the negative 20's on arrival.) But, later, we toured the older lodge and agreed that we were much happier staying in the new lodge. We liked our room with private bath and didn't need the "charm" of the old lodge to enjoy our stay.

The staff was extremely friendly and helpful. The food was incredible! There was only one entree prepared each night for dinner -- everyone has the same thing -- but that was never a problem for us. (And I consider myself a picky eater.) In such a remote location it would not be practical to have a diverse menu for the 7-8 of us staying there.

We felt lucky to see the Northern Lights our first night. We took amazing photos in the bitter cold. (Thanks for the bonfire!)

This is certainly not a trip if you are looking to be pampered in luxury. It was expensive because it's expensive to bring people and supplies to a location such as this. But it was worth it to us and we hope to go again.

  • Stayed: January 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
6  Thank JiminSeattle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review
Reviews (169)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
Language
  • More languages

144 - 150 of 169 reviews

Reviewed March 13, 2008

Bettles Lodge is a great adventure and a great experience. The staff there cannot predict when the weather will cooperate or when the Northern Lights will show themselves; yet, they are always on the lookout to help you see the lights if at all possible. On our visit there, Jeff did a great job of watching for us and when the skies cleared, there were the Northern Lights. We had the true privilege of seeing the lights both nights we were there. The first night as a group, most of the visitors to Bettles Lodge went over to the historical Lodge and kept watch. From that location, we could keep warm and then go outside to view the spectacular northern lights just off the air strip. It was amazing… and I got some great pictures that will help preserve such a wonderful experience. The second night the group (11 or so) elected to go out to the lake (frozen as it was) to view the lights with fewer city/weather/airstrip lights. The viewing hut is several miles outside of Bettles but there is an oil stove in it so that people can remain somewhat warm. On the way out to the lake, we followed a wolf on the road, and 2 ptarmigans flew in front of the vehicle. Cool wildlife experiences!! Once at the lake, stars abounded in the sky and when the show began, we could see the lights beautifully.

From the first time I spoke with Linda on the phone, I got a good feeling about what would be offered at Bettles Lodge. She gave us all the information we would need regarding our trip and even booked the overnight stay at the Princess for us. They even accommodated our return flight back to Fairbanks by leaving an hour early, knowing we had to connect to a flight leaving Fairbanks. Linda prepared us with information about what activities are available at Bettles upon arrival. Remember this is winter, and very cold outside (-20) so indoor activities are part of the plan. The great thing though is that Bettles has Bunny Boots, Parkas and Mittens to help keep the visitors warm. That is part of the deal and despite the temperature, we walked around town, went dog-sledding, and some went for a ride on a snow mobile. Max took many of us on a great dog-sled ride into a winter wonderland. So going to see the lights is only one part of the experience.

Dan, the pilot gave us a smooth flight to Bettles and back to Fairbanks. Mary even drove us to the other end of the airport so we could make our connections. Jamie and Melissa worked the kitchen and provided delectable meals from the Alaskan north. We had Halibut, Caribou sausage, Moose chili and other great dishes that complimented our stay in Alaska. There were always goodies (cookies and cake) for us to snack. We were never wanting for something to eat or drink. On our last day, John took us over to where he and Jamie live on the Koyukuk River. It is so beautiful. Minnie, the Lodge Dog, kept us entertained as she is so playful and loveable. Jesse is working on homemade beds for the lodge that he is building from Black Spruce wood that has been salvaged from the fire in the woods several years ago. Such an addition of these beds will add one more quaint aspect to the stay at Bettles/Aurora Lodge.

I will definitely return there someday and would love to share this experience with others I know. It was a phenomenal trip and everyone we met just made it that much more special. I highly recommend this trip for those with an adventuring spirit.

  • Stayed: March 2008, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
7  Thank dhilde
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 6, 2008

Staff greeted us at the Fairbanks Airport Bettles Air facility. Owner or the Lodge was also pilot of our Bettles Air flight. It was the beginning of an Alaskan Adventure!

We did get to see the Northern Lights, the stars were amazing out on the lake from the viewing cabin. What a sky view! We were able to dogsled with Max and his team. I wish I had had more time to take advantage of the snowshoeing and snowmobiling. Food was delicious, presentation appreciated, and accomadation to special diet requests accomadated.

Historic Lodge was used as one of our bases for one of the 2 nigfhts of viewing of the Aurora Borealis. We followed a wolf out to the 2nd night of viewing at the lake cabin. Enjoyed our sunrise and sunset walks around town to take pictures and looki for Ptarmigans. Look forward to the return trip!

dh
San Antonio, TX

Stayed: March 2008
5  Thank dhog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 28, 2008

Our stay at Bettles Lodge was relaxing and filled with laughter and good times. On Feb. 15th, nine of us flew out of Phila. on four Northwest flights to Anchorage. In Anchorage, two more of the party joined us from Calif. All of us spent the night in Anchorage and then flew Alaskan Airlines to Fairbanks.
Because our group was large, ( 11 of us! ), we were flown from Fairbanks to Bettles in two groups. Bill flew out the first group and Dan, the owner, flew our group out. As I told Dan, his landing at Bettles was smoother then any of our other landings. Ellen, the trip organizer, served as our copilot, relaying Dan's commentary of points of interest.
On arrival we were met by Jeff and Minnie (the dog with better manners than many people I've met) who was the official greeter and goodwill ambassador of the lodge. We were settled into our rooms (comfortable bed, jacuzzi and bath) and served lunch, prepared by Jamie. The food throughout the trip was delicious and accommodated special dietary requests. Every day the meal menus were posted on a board. Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, soft drinks, juices and yummy fresh baked cookies and sweet breads were always on hand. Oh yes, wine and beer were also available for purchase - our party did our best to keep the supply rotating.
On the first day, John gave us the scenic tour of "downtown" Bettles and Evansville, relaying historical information of the area and the lowdown on the locals. Couldn't help being amazed at the speed limit signs. Honestly, are there radar guns there?
Don't worry about being warm. Bettles supplies parkas, snow pants, hand and feet warmers, and, my personal favorite, bunny boots. Just bring the long johns and other warm inner layers.
During our stay, members of our group walked to the post office (sometimes with Minnie in tow) and just around the area, enjoyed flight seeing to the Gates of the Arctic with our pilot, Dan, snow shoeing, cross country skiing, visiting Rachel and Dietrich in a tour of the tribal center, saying hello to Max's puppies, visiting the bed making shop, relaxing in the sauna, a spectacular dog sled trip with Max and his team, and one night of amazing, awe inspiring, viewing of the Northern Lights at the viewing lodge. One night Jeff built us a roaring bonfire and made us special s'mores. Great fun. We happily shopped at the old lodge and wrote out and mailed postcards with Northern Lights stamps supplied by Ellen - postmarked from Bettles.
All of the staff and locals - Dan, Jamie, John, Jeff, Melissa, Tyler, Max, Rachael, little Dietrich, Jessie the bed maker, Alan, Minnie, and those whose names I might have left out, shared time and conversation with us. Our group was large and I'm sure a bit overwhelming. It's a fact that we settled in and took over the lodge, although we were happy to engulf the the staff, locals and
the lovely "Ingrid" and "Kojack" ( Anna and Andrej), the visiting Polish couple from Chicago, as parts of our family unit.
Time to leave on Feb. 20th. Sorry your dry snow wouldn't let us build the snowman we wanted to leave you as a remembrance of our visit. Hope you enjoyed us as much as we all enjoyed you.

  • Stayed: February 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
4  Thank LandPOttsvillePA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 22, 2008

We came and spent five days at the Bettles Lodge. There were 11 of us ranging in age from 10 to 79 and we all enjoyed our stay immensely. We came from New York, North Carolina, Pennsyvania & California. The staff was friendly and lively and full of stories. The food was delicious and the portions just right. Although the portions looked a little small at first glance, they turned out to be just perfect. I was never hungry and I was never stuffed. There were always fresh cookies and breads and fruit available as well as a never ending pot of coffee, teas, and cold drinks. They allowed us to rearrange the tables into one large eating area to accomodate our family and the two Polish guests from Chicago who wanted to join us -- we did ask before we moved things around.

The plane ride on Bettles Air from Fairbanks was absolutely gorgeous and out pilot, Bill, was a hoot. My 10-year old nephew rode co-pilot. Check-in was a breeze -- Melissa welcomed us and helped us get settled. She was very pleasant and greeted us warmly. It took two trips to get us from Fairbanks to Bettles and they waited to serve us lunch until after we all arrived. Then they hooked us up with cross-country skiis, boots, parkas, gloves, snowpants, and showed us where to go. It was freezing but invigorating!

Dinner was delicious and lively. We took an afternoon tour to Evansville with John. He filled us in on the area history which was quite interesting. We went snowshoeing which was a blast and Dan took us up flight seeing which was beyond awesome. Jeff, who was an absolutely terrific host, took good care of us and anticipated many of our needs (and we had plenty). He made a bonfire one night, and kept the fire stoked up for late night saunas.

WE all loved the dogsledding -- Max was a great guy and his wife, Rachel and son Dietrich were also wonderful. The dogs were friendly, the dog paths went through magical winter wonderlands. We took zillions of photos the whole time we were there. We even saw ptarmigans, the state bird, hanging out on the snow drifts.

We had one night of aurora borealis viewing and it was spectacular. We tooks lots of pictures and just enjoyed the solitude of the viewing cabin and the humbling magnificence of the lights. Jeff sent us with thermos of hot water for tea and hot chocolate and a few snacks for the hours we were out there.

The only thing we did not do was the snow machining but our lodge mates took an all day tour with John and they seemed to have loved it very much. They came back and after eating dinner spent a long time relaxing in the sauna.

The lodge is a very relaxing, family-style place. If you're outdoorsy, adventurous, friendly, and also enjoy a little solitude and remoteness, this is the place for you. If you need an ATM machine and cable television then maybe this isn't the place for you. However, my 24 year old daughter was a little hesitant about going to Bettles -- she loves shopping, talking incessantly on her phone and cruising the internet -- but she just loved Bettles Lodge and all the people she met. When we were leaving she joked that it made her a deeper and less vain person. I actually think that it did. Next time she's leaving the blowdryer home! (they did have blowdriers)

It gave us all some really great memories. It was truly a lovely experience. Jamie and her staff and friends were all great! We'll definitely be back for a summer float trip next time.

  • Stayed: February 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
5  Thank javage
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 18, 2008

This was my and my 11 year old's trip of a lifetime to Alaska. I was told children were welcome, however other guests did not agree and the owners daughter was border line rude in asking him to be quiet. This was our BIG vacation after the death of my mom and we wanted to have a blast, and feel mom in the northern lights. Asked if viewing was good for new years eve and Dan assurred us a 3 night stay would give us great opportunity to see...sorry to say not. Of course that is not Bettle's Lodge fault. We did have a great time dog sledding, snow shoeing and a little exploring. Jeff was our savior, he was the only one making sure we had things to do and seeing that we had fun. He even made and extra bonfire, fireworks and roasted marshmallows on our last night because my son was so tired that he could not stay awake for the one on New Years Eve. We had asked about ice fishing but nothing ever came of it. The scenery is absolultly beautiful. Thank goodness for Minnie the lodge dog. She kept my son happy and gave him a playmate. they had a blast chasing each other and fetching sticks! I had asked for a room in the rustic Bettles Lodge but we were put in the new Aurora, very dissapointed too hat and not rustic enough and why no fireplace in a lodge in Alaska and in the winter???
Room for imporvement...
1. better and larger meals (more options for kids).
2. if having a lare meal like we had for new years eve, which the meal was great but cold since they did a sit down versus buffet. I think the food would have stayed hot that way. Also no assigned seating so can get to know the locals.
3. better sign in and welcome to inform of activities and more activities be able to sign up immediately for things. We wanted to go flightseeing but the first day was the only clear day. had we known it was not always available we would have gone first day.
I know this is a mixed review however i would reccommend this trip to anyone but let them learn from our trip and how to navigatethe trip. As a matter of fact my sister and her husband are thinking of a trip up.

  • Stayed: January 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
7  Thank snowloverDallas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 17, 2008

My husband planned this trip. I have to tell you as his wife I was very skeptical with the flight from Fairbanks to Bettles Field. Once we arrived at Wright Airfield the staff was friendly and courteous and I started my picture taking there; we met our pilot Bill who flew us both ways and found him to be very friendly and informative. I was quickly reassured of our safety and was then able to relax.

My husband always wanted to see the Northern Lights and I can honestly say we were not disappointed. They were Magical and Mystical unbelievably beautiful. Upon arrival at Bettles Lodge we found Jeff our tour advisor to be genuinely friendly and courtesy. He gave us our room key and then he supplied our artic gear which they provided, shoes, coats, gloves, hats they had it all, just in case you may have not brought the right kind of winter attire one might think they would need.

We were then served lunch prepared by Matt. I might add all his meals were very good and plentiful. A good variety of food was provided. As soon as you arrived he asked did anyone have food allergies and was there anything they did not like? After our meal we did go on the village tour but in the dead of winter, we did not expect a lot. After all this is in a very rural area of Alaska and we truly came for the Northern Lights. Melissa was very friendly she kept our rooms very nice daily. We did go out to the Viewing Cabin on the tour, but we opted not to us the Viewing Cabin, we had such beautiful viewing of the Northern Lights right outside our window. We just walked out between 11 PM and 4 AM to view the magical mystical show.

We did the dog slugging and found Max to be a great guide and Jeff took us snowmobiling, snowshoeing we opted not to do the cross-country skiing. Everything was great. We even walked over with Jeff to Jessie’s shop where he showed us how he was making beds from the local wood for the main lodge this year; beautiful craftsmanship. “Good job Jessie”

My husband is planning to return back to Bettles Lodge this August and is taking our daughter and some friends for some fishing, hunting and camping and also we had the pleasure of making a new friend while we were at Bettles Lodge and he too, is planning on returning in August with our family. We actually felt like we made friends with the staff and all the people in the village that we met. We even enjoyed movie night with popcorn and M& M’s with Jeff and Melissa.

I would not suggest Bettles Lodge to any city slicker who can not survive without a T.V. to go to sleep by or not be caught up in the hustle and bustle world. This place is for someone to get some real rest time, read a book take a walk, and turn off the cell phones and computers. (However, there is a computer in the lobby, which is available anytime, if you can not live without it.) Spend quality time, one on one with someone you love. We were extremely satisfied with the staff, the viewing of the Northern Lights and every activity that was promised.



I was reading some of the reviews and no one person can ever predict the weather, the clouds or the viewing of the Northern Lights all they can do as any good meteorologist can do is go by the history of the lights in the past and any given time you can look on the computer and see how things may be each night. The Northern Lights are not something that can be controlled at best the odds are you will see them.

As far as seeing the wildlife this is not a Zoo and if you are lucky enough to see them in there own environment you are lucky. We did get to see Caribou on our flight back to Fairbanks. I came home with many great pictures and memories of our trip. To see the Caribou running in the wild was very exciting.

This year we will celebrate our 32nd year of marriage and once again my husband did not disappointment me on an adventure of a life time to go to the Artic Circle and view the Northern Lights.
THANKS TO ALL THE STAFF AT BETTLES LODGE – KODO’S

Stayed: January 2008
3  Thank Adventuresat50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Been to Bettles Lodge? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

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

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing