Our family has stopped here since the 60's--me on my own since the 70's. I have seen a lot of changes over the years--mostly for the good. We now drive a considerable distance to spend a few nights in the summer and/or winter. This place has a certain charm and yes, it is due to the railroad being right next door. Understand it was built in 1939 as a dorm for railroad workers and has had some modifications--i.e. bathrooms in each room.
The current management has laid out what one can expect in the main lodge--no a/c, no in room phones or tv or coffee makers. Pay phones on either side of the main doors. Cell phone service doesn't work in this area. Wifi (free) is available in the basement bar. The rooms are small. There are no elevators and yes, it is a struggle to carry huge bags up to the 3rd floor.
What to expect otherwise. I would have to say that the waitstaff was the best we have seen in the past 5 years. The addition of a bartender in the evenings was a major change--and a revenue boost as well. The addition of the booths and outdoor dining area took off the pressure of feeling a need to hurry. Anyone can stop in for a meal. Yes, the food is pricey but the menu has improved, i.e. changed for the first time is oh, 20 years. But, it is better than the other park food at the big hotels. Enjoy the dinners @ Izaak but go to The Half Way Inn for lunch--locals all do. You cannot go wrong with their dinners as well. If you are an early riser than breakfast at Izaak is about your only bet--Half Way doesn't open until 9 a.m. or you can drive down the road toward your day destination.
Random thoughts. Sorry to see they have added a tv in the bar. Power went out before dinner; the lodge has a backup generator so dinner continued uninterrupted. Cabooses & cabins had no electricity and were dark. One large tour group can change meal service--inquire before hand. This isn't a business hotel. The Half Way Inn has small grocery store and a post office and is only a mile west. Accept the Inn for what it is--a nice refuge in the middle of some great mountains.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome to the Izaak Walton Inn & Resort, a family-owned retreat bordering Glacier National Park, in Essex, Montana. Specializing in outdoor adventure and serious relaxation, the Inn hosts activities year round fitting any age, interest and experience level including cross country skiing and guided back country tours, hiking, horse back riding, white water rafting to slow float and larger boat excursions. No matter what time of year you choose to visit, what pace you'll set your journey to, enjoy the nature, the history, and the hospitality found at the Izaak Walton Inn. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Izaak Walton Hotel Essex
- Izaak Walton Essex