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“Understand you are staying in a historic building”
Review of Izaak Walton Inn

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Izaak Walton Inn
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Essex
Certificate of Excellence
Spokane
Level Contributor
37 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Understand you are staying in a historic building”
Reviewed September 6, 2013

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.

Room Tip: Avoiding trackside rooms will reduce some train noise
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank cpalawSpokane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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533 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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English first
Falls Church, Virginia
Level Contributor
14 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed September 4, 2013

As a child my dad would take me to watch trains throughout the Chicago area. So when I was looking for lodging for our trip to Glacier National Park and came across the Izaak Walton Inn I jumped at the chance to book a caboose. They have a half dozen or so renovated cabooses of varying sizes, shapes and colors, each one unique. They even have a large engine that has been renovated right by the main inn. All are perfect for families (we had 4 total) or those looking for a unique place to stay. The kids loved sleeping in the top of the caboose and it included a kitchenette for meals, which we took full advantage of for breakfast and preparing lunches for our daily hikes. It also had a full bathroom.

Despite the proximity of the railroad tracks, I found the trains tend to be moving slowly as they are going up or down from the Marias Pass, with noise that is more akin to background sounds. I did not hear any horns. And the trains provide for great trainspotting off the covered porch or dining room.

This is definitely a place for those who would like solitude and relaxation. No phones or TVs in the rooms, cabins and cabooses. My kids were confused by the pay phone booth in the main building! Wifi is only available in the Flagstop Bar. We have Verizon Wireless service and we had no signal in Essex. All of this was fine for us.

Amenities are limited, there is a nice bar, restaurant as well as on-site laundry to clean your dirty hiking gear. We had dinner in the restaurant at night and the service was very friendly, maybe a bit slower than we are used to, but on vacation we were not in a hurry. The food was delicious, with specials that changed each day. The Flagstop Bar downstairs is cozy and full of interesting train memorabilia.

As noted, it is located in Essex which is about halfway between East and West Glacier. We found it easy to get to Apgar/Lake McDonald or Two Medicine. If you are going to destinations beyond these areas, it is probably best to stay on the east side of the park. The overlooked Walton area is just across the river provided some great hikes in solitude. There are also trails over the footbridge to the west of the inn.

Altogether we loved our stay and can't wait to come back.

Room Tip: Some cabooses and the cabins are a short walk from the main inn via a footbridge over the railroad t...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Kevin P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Villa Hills, KY
Level Contributor
24 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed September 3, 2013

The cabins are very private and clean. We had four adults in the cabin which can hold up to six. Six would be a real stretch, but four adults were comfortable. We ate supper at the dining room and the food was good. We hiked to the Scalplock lookout. The views were spectacular. The pain will not be forgotten, but worth it for the views.

Room Tip: The room in the cabins was plenty for four adults. The common areas are quite small, because it was...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Denmars
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, MA
Level Contributor
58 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
Reviewed September 3, 2013

I've stayed in hundreds of anonymously generic chain hotels. Each one as forgettable as the next. This is one of the ten percent of hotels where I will always remember my stay - in a very good way. A rustic railroad hotel beside the tracks, filled with railroad memorabilia. Don't expect air conditioners (the ceiling fans work nicely in the cool Montana summer nights), color television sets, in-room wifi, or bed-side speaker phones. Instead, check out the phone booth just off the lobby, the lace (and worn) curtains, and paintings and photos of trains passing through the Essex area. Wifi is available in the bar below the lobby.

I was not bothered by the sound of trains passing during the night. Maybe I was exhausted from hiking during the day, maybe the double paned glass was enough to muffle the noise.

I was amazed by the quality of food in the restaurant. I really wasn't expecting much, having been disappointed by most of the restaurants in East Glacier. The quality of food here was by far the best of the trip.

The only downside for me was the location - about 30 minutes drive to the West Glacier entrance and another 45 minutes to Logan Pass. Breakfast opens at 7AM so earlier morning hikers may have to plan accordingly.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank edsh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Menomonie, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed September 1, 2013

I hate traveling to a new area because I never know for sure what is the best way to go. I don't always trust reviews either. But I'm super happy with our decision to stay at the IWI. Now that we are here, it's clearly the exact place I wanted to be. The other inns in Glacier Park are huge: very congested and impersonal. The IWI is much smaller and gives you the feel of a living in a piece of history past. There is a wide range of rooms. We stayed in the lodge but the caboose's look like a fun way to go (although a walk to the lodge). The restaurant is outstanding. I wasn't expecting a small hotel to have such good food. Glacier is only 30 minutes away. We rented a car from the Inn for $75 to visit there. But there is good hiking around the Inn as well. Two thumbs up. I'd love to come back in the winter too. We arrived by train. Be aware, they always run late.

Room Tip: The lodge room was a little on the small side but was adequate. The bed was comfortable. On the rust...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank RemyWI2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
23 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed August 26, 2013

Wonderful treat for kids and adults alike -- sleep inside a real train. We had the locomotive car and it was so much fun and so well-done. Beds were comfy, amenties were lovely. We ate dinner in the restaurant which far exceeded our expectations. Downstairs is a fun game room for kids. Helpful staff.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank msamelia2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
Level Contributor
27 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed August 22, 2013

We stayed in three hotels during our August trip to Glacier National Park: the Prince of Wales Hotel in Walton, the Many Glacier Hotel in Many Glacier and this one. The Izaac Walton Inn was by far the best. I would gladly return here and have no desire whatsoever to stay at either of the other two. The service here was wonderful, the food was very good and they also had a good wine list. Although prior to arriving we had some concern about the proximity of the train tracks, we found that we really enjoyed seeing the trains and the train sounds themselves evoked wonderful old memories. The trains never disturbed our sleep, even though our room in the main hotel faced the tracks. The Inn is rustic of course, but quite comfortable. Staff were very helpful in describing day hikes.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank David_Carmel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Izaak Walton Inn

Property: Izaak Walton Inn
Address: 290 Izaak Walton Inn Rd, Essex, MT 59916-9708
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Montana > Essex
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Essex
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Izaak Walton Inn 3.5*
Number of rooms: 47
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

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