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“One of a kind!”
Review of Waldo Arms Hotel

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Waldo Arms Hotel
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Kaktovik
Reviewed November 13, 2012

Waldo Arms in Kaktovik is exactly how the other reviews describe it! One of a kind but not to be missed!
I stayed there twice over the past couple months and had a wonderful experience. The owners, Walt & Merylin are very gracious and have lots and lots of stories to tell. The employees Greg, Chris & Sue are nice, fun and very accommodating. Food is plentiful and pretty much whatever you want. So you won't go hungry or get bored. There are usually many other guests that gather in the common area and chat about their adventures. Someone is always willing to get up before dawn to take you out to the bone pile to watch the Polar Bears and sunrise.
It is an amazing place to be able to get so close to the huge, beautiful polar bears!!! Locals with boats will even take you out (for a charge) to the barrier islands to see them up close and personal, or watch them swim right past the boat. What a thrill!!! Also a good place to possibly see the beutiful Northern Lights!
ALl the reveiws are correct in their descriptions of the Waldo Arms. But remember you are in an isolated village at the top of Alaska and it's amazing that you are provided with all the things you get TV, wi-fi, indoor plumbing, running water, food, drinks (non-alcoholic) and friendly service!!!!
I gave them an excellent rating because in that isolated environment it's amazing, and I have travelled to many of the Alaskan native villages.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled solo
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5  Thank sharpshots
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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24 - 28 of 28 reviews

Reviewed October 9, 2012

So you go to kaktovik village on Barter Island to see polar bears. I think it is the most northern village in North America. It is inhabited year round by about 250 residents, most natives. They are subsistence livers. Waldo Arms is the best of two places to stay. When you first drive up, you are shell-shocked. I guarantee if your reading trip advisor, you never stayed anywhere like this in the US. It is a ram- shackle, jury-rigged complex of modular structures and metal storage containers. But it has plenty of hot water for showers, acceptable bathrooms, and acceptable rooms. The food and hospitality are excellent. And after two days of being outside touring, photographing, etc, you are happy to come back to the Waldo for a shower, some coffee, a great meal, and some excellent conversation with staff, locals, or fellow guests. Coffee,,snacks,soft drinks available 24/7. And where else can you wake up,at 3 am, go out to the common sitting area, and see the entrance way door being jammed with a shovel to prevent polar bears from coming inside. It is an experience you must have. I would go back.

Stayed: September 2012, traveled with friends
6  Thank misterajs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 27, 2010

This is a tough place to review. Context is everything. You are in the Beaufort Sea and 150 miles from Prudhoe Bay which is 240 miles from nowhere. Remote doesn't begin to describe it. Nothing is easy this far north. Goods are a fortune to import, energy is rough to generate, plumbing is a challenge... There is one other lodging option as of this writing, and I did not see it but everyone who offered me an opinion felt Waldo Arms is the better choice.

What you can expect: Warmth and smiles from the staff; cleaniliness; hearty meals; good location as a base for setting off to see the bears and bone pile (if you are here, you know what that is); warm room and working facilities; a washing machine if you need it. Wireless internet (albeit a slow connection). Oh--a great experience of a lifetime!

What you should not expect: room service, phones, a swimming pool, valet parking, spa services. This is not a hotel like any other you've likely stayed in. It is a series of trailors and hodge-podge shack-like structures held together with lots of duct tape, plywood patches, and vigilent handimen who basically keep up best as possible with new leaks, holes, things that come loose or fall down or apart, etc. It is rudimentary. It is coarse. You may have to walk through a group bathroom to get to your room.

Bottom line: open your mind, expect nothing and be surprised by how quickly you can adjust to this unique inn at the end of the world. Everyone there has a story worth hearing and wisdom to share if you are willing to listen.

(Note: The ratings I give take into account the location and context of the place. If it were anywhere in the lower 48...well... the point is that the Waldo Arms isn't in the lower 48 so it gets its own rating scale.)

  • Stayed: October 2010
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10  Thank kyle10014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 25, 2009

I hesitate to write this review. You would NEVER stop at a place like this in the lower 48
States. However, when you are far above the Arctic Circle in a 300 person Inupiat village its quite a different story. The Waldo Arms is a series of mobilehome/modular structures
joined together with a liberal use of unfinished plywood. After making your way though a
maze of running and not running trucks and heavy equiptment and are finally inside,
it's rather cozy. The cook will cook anything you ask for, if he has the ingredients and it's on the menu, any time you want it. The locals come in to buy cheeseburgers & fries.
The rooms are not en-suite. All are twin bedded. Amazingly, ours had flat screen TV w/cable. Walt, the 70 year old owner is a legendary bush-pilot who will meet your plane,
take you out at 4 A.M. in his pick-up, bring along a thermos of hot coffee and show you
the bears, which, after all is why you came to Barter Island in the first place. If you've never stayed in a rustic mountain cabin, a backpacker lodge or an older RV, Waldo Arms is not for you. Check out the native-owned Marsh Creek Inn on the web for a much newer
but somewhat less convivial environment. Note #1: Bear viewing is not included at Marsh Creek. Note #2: No alcohol is allowed in the Village of Kaktovik.

Stayed: September 2009, traveled as a couple
14  Thank stanonpch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 15, 2016 via mobile
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Stayed: September 2016, traveled solo
Thank vovamoskva
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Waldo Arms Hotel

Address: 6011 Lake Rd., Kaktovik, AK 99747
Location: United States > Alaska > Kaktovik
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Kaktovik
Price Range: $300 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 13
Also Known As:
Waldo Arms Hotel Kaktovik, Alaska

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