I stayed at this hotel during a short vacation to Glacier National Park in August. Proximity to the park was very important to me as I wasn't able to drive on this trip, however, the other lodging within the park were unaffordable for me, plus the reviews for Belton were great, so I booked with them.
The room was very basic. No TV or telephone. No mobile phone reception either, but this applies to most of the region. I've heard that Verizon has the best signal strength there, but I use T-mobile, and after leaving the Kalispell airport, I have had no signal for the entire 3 days I was there. Imagine a room set in the 1800s, then add lights, electric fan and plumbing. That sums up the room. It wasn't as clean and comfortable as I would like but this is definitely not a luxury property like MacDonald Lodge, but you would choose this place for the quaintness and the view. Do note that even with the cool late summer climate, the room gets hot and stuffy and I had a sleepless first night before leaving the windows open subsequently, which isn't a great idea considering I'm on the ground floor.
Many reviewers complained about train noise, but I had the room facing the parking lot, so perhaps it wasn't that loud for me. When I did hear the trains passing, it wasn't as frequent and as loud as what they all said. In fact it was a nice chugging, occasional choo-choo sound. I am extremely sensitive to noise and really don't think it's as much an issue as noisy guests going loading/unloading their cars in the parking lot in the wee hours.
The decor in the lobby and common restrooms are beautiful and country-style. Very welcoming, and the staff at the hotel were just so friendly and nice. I would say the super nice people at the hotel was what I love and remember most about this place. There are chairs on the deck facing the mountains, and at dusk, you could sit there while you check your e-mail or upload the photos you took during the day, and at the same time admire the sunset. Yes, the wireless internet is reliable and available through most of the property, so you probably don't need that phone signal afterall.
I managed to get a taxi service to this hotel, and really fortunately there was a complimentary ride to and from Apgar transit center every morning and evening, if you choose not to drive and to utilize the park shuttle. Still that was dependent on staff availability, so ultimately you'll be better off with a car here. You can even get a ride to the Amtrak station, which was what I did, but this hotel is just across from the West Glacier Amtrak station. My train leaving the Glacier was delayed by about 2 hours, but the hotel is nice about letting you sit in the common areas until the train was about to arrive.
The restaurant on the property is consistent with the theme at the Belton, right down to the waitor's uniform. Food is generally of good quality, but being asian myself, the ramen resembled and tasted nothing of its sort, even though they do use quality ingredients. The meat entrees look and smell amazing though. I tried the pork chop which was good. Cons: they only open at dinnertime, and it's always a long wait.
I just have one suggestion for this property - that although it is great that we can deposit our keys at the front desk which is constantly staffed throughout the day, I would feel more comfortable if the keys were not placed in plain view.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- We are a 1910 National Historic Landmark hotel built by James J. and Louis Hill of the Great Northern Railway. After being closed for fifty years, the property underwent a three-year restoration completed in 1999 and is now a National Historic Landmark. The Belton Chalet was the first chalet built for Glacier Park and the park’s first winter headquarters. Belton Chalet, family owned, once again welcomes guest from across the world. Thank you for being our guest and a part of our history. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Belton Chalet West Glacier, Montana
- Belton Chalet Hotel West Glacier