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“Winter Wonderland”
Review of Izaak Walton Inn

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Izaak Walton Inn
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Essex
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 2, 2014

We stayed almost a week at the Inn in the middle of winter for a cross country ski vacation. The whole experience was wonderful. It was great to be able to walk to the ski trails from our caboose, which was also close to the Inn. No driving was necessary once we got there. The caboose we stayed in, X215, was great. Absolutely have to compliment the skiing. The trails were well groomed and very enjoyable terrain. Mark, the ski pro was also very gracious in responding to us and making recommendations. Though we didn't take a day tour with him, we observed all levels of tours being offered throughout the week and the price is a great value for a days worth of guided backcountry skiing. Anyone looking for a very relaxing cross country or backcountry ski vacation should absolutely consider Izaak Walton Inn for a unique experience in one of the most beautiful places in the world. And the ability to hop on a train and get off right at the Inn is phenomenal. Though we drove there, I would definitely take the train the next time. It's just too convenient.

Room Tip: Upper bunk in X215 has little headroom but wonderful views outside.
  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled with friends
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Thank Peter E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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304 - 310 of 574 reviews

Reviewed February 23, 2014

My wife and I arrived at the Izaak Walton for her birthday weekend. I booked the room through Groupon, and had high expectations! A couple weeks before our stay a representative called my phone to suggest dinner reservations and cross country/back country ski lessons. After telling them we were not able to determine a specific time for dinner because we hadn't finalized what we were going to do during the day, their response was, "We will make sure to get you in."

Upon our arrival I was surprised at how busy it was! The hostess at the front desk was courteous, as was the experience for the weekend. We were given room 15, which is track side. The room was cozy (small), as I expected. I opened up the curtains to find we had a roof line right below our window. This wouldn't be bad in the summer, but there was about 4 feet of snow completely blocking any view of the mountains or train. We literally had no view. I was sorely disappointed in this.

The hotel was built in the 1930's and the sleeping experience is very similar to they year! The heat is via radiator which makes very loud knocking noises throughout the night. The walls are very thin. You can hear people talking plainly in the next room and outside in the hallway. At one point I woke up in a room above us walking to and then using the bathroom. I was surprised at how much noise I could hear through the walls which made it very difficult for me to sleep. My wife did not seem to have the same problem, but she is a deeper sleeper than I am.

We brought our own food the the hotel because we saw the menu prices online beforehand. We did try the restaurant for her birthday dinner and were not very impressed. The prices are high for a mediocre meal. My wife ordered trout, which was overcooked. It was saved by a good hollandaise sauce. I ordered a buffalo prime rib. (This is not normally on the menu). I ordered it medium, but it came much rarer than I expected. It was good meat and I did not request it to be redone. It was placed over top fries which were soggy from the meat on top of it. The service for dinner was good. We did both get a cocktail and dessert. We paid around $80. The bar downstairs is a nice environment with a shuffleboard which we took advantage of. I now want one in my basement. The drinks are fairly reasonably priced and well made.

We did not take any cross country lessons but we did go. The ski passes are included in the price of your room so go out if you are able. We had fun on the trails. I have limited experience and my wife had never gone cross country skiing before. The medium run (blue) was easy enough for us. There were very nice views!

Overall the trip was really nice. Take advantage of everything you can when you are there! There are plenty of places to hike, snowshoe, ski and explore. Just beware this hotel is old and rustic.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank mttvndrr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 22, 2014

We arrived and departed via AMTRAK (that's another story!!). We stayed for 3 nights (actually 4 because of AMTRAK) during the week. Our upstairs room was ready for us even though we arrived mid-morning. Room was very clean and bed comfortable. We had breakfast, lunch and dinner in the restaurant. Food and service was very good (they were not very busy during that week). Only complaint about the food is the dinner menu. It was limited and had waaay to many weird (to us) choices. Why not a simple steak, pasta dish or breast of chicken something-or-other? Staff was incredibly helpful and courteous during our 3 day stay. We had to spend another night there because of Amtrak running ridiculously late (supposed to board westbound at 7:50 PM but did not leave till 4:15ish AM the next morning. The Inn let us stay in our room till the train came. We went for the snowshoeing. Snowed and rained while there but they had groomed the trails. The "Starlight Trail", lighted at night is not to be missed. Recommend all trails, particularly the River Loop Trail on the other side of Hwy 2 (about a 1/2 mile walk to the trail). The maps they give you of the trails are not the best (do not seem to be to scale) but pretty well marked. We will return someday but probably during the spring or fall. All in all, a very nice time in a nice rustic accommodation.

Room Tip: No elevators but we always get an upper floor room. We did get a 2nd floor room but was at the head...
  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank usdeputysurveyor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 12, 2014

Great weekend visit. We stayed in the J.J. Caboose and enjoyed the wine pairing dinner. Eduardo is an amazing chef. His 7 course dinner featured food from different South American countries. Lots of snow. Great hotel staff. The caboose was a fun experience.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank David S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 12, 2014

Had a great time at Izaak Walton.lots of groomed trails nice rooms, great food, fun lodge. Friendly staff. Great ski rental equipment, back country touring and lessons by a wonderful long time guide. Would definitely come back. Our friends have been coming back for 15 years.

Stayed: February 2014, traveled with friends
Thank 8string
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 31, 2014

to see so many reviews that are average and bad, sadly I must agree with them. im not going to get into the issues directly so the manager can come on and say sorry and offer the same reply that has been said over and over again. This place has so much potential, trains, location, forest, secluded, its all there except great food and service and getting there act together. cant suggest staying here as a result. it takes years to over come the bad and negative reviews, stop getting them and make this place it deserves and should be

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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4  Thank jdrrr567
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 16, 2014

We were disappointed with our stay. We wanted someplace to relax and read, but it didn't happen. we were surprised at all the kids, very noisy. we found all the rooms to be cold, radiators didn't seem to be working properly. I tired to take a shower one morning when the room was warm, by the time I had to rinse my hair the water was like ice. The restaurant is way over priced, they were out of a lot of things even from the 1st night. We thought we were going to have a nice dinner for New Years Eve, but it was nothing special, they need to hire a chef. Tried to go downstairs for the champagne toast but the kids took over the night, noisy and banging on the piano. None of the staff seemed interested in keeping a fire in the fireplace, at one point a woman asked my husband to get a fire started. We took Amtrak out but learned that unless you have transportation to leave early that is not a good way to travel.

Would not go back or even recommend this trip.

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Carol O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IzaakWaltonInn, Manager at Izaak Walton Inn, responded to this reviewResponded January 18, 2014

Carol,
I wanted to apologize for the inconveniences you experienced. As the general manager of the Izaak Walton Inn I can assure you that these are not the type of experiences we want for our guests. Thank you for the feedback.

-Izaak Walton Inn GM

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about 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: $103 - $210 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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