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“Perfect location, great views, friendly helpful staff”
Review of Glacier Bay Lodge

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Glacier Bay Lodge
Ranked #3 of 5 Hotels in Gustavus
Certificate of Excellence
Saint Louis, Missouri
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Perfect location, great views, friendly helpful staff”
Reviewed July 21, 2010

We planned a week of sea kayaking in Glacier Bay and spent two nights before our kayak trip and two nights after our kayak trip and the Glacier Bay Lodge was perfect. The rooms were comfortable, spacious and clean with lovely views -- our second room had great view of Barlett Cove. All the staff we dealt with -- Rangers, sea kayak rentals, and Lodge staff -- were very helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable. We took advantage of a pre-pay special rate at $135 per room and felt we got a great value. We ate in the Lodge for all our meals and found the food fine and tasty and very comparable to the cost of meals we had been experiencing all around southeast Alaska for the two weeks prior. We also enjoyed the Lodge fireplace and comfortable seating area for reading and playing games.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Linda44881
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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223 reviews from our community

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Baton Rouge
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed July 11, 2010

Don't let the name deceive you. Glacier Bay Lodge is 58 miles via a slow boat ride from the glaciers. Your view of Bartlett Cove from the lodge lobby (not your room) is mediocre and excelled by the view on almost any roadway in Alaska. The property is managed by Aramark, a corporation in Philadelphia who seem to only hire college students interested in traveling as opposed to accommodating overcharged guests. The National Park Service should be ashamed of giving the contract for running this dated, worn lodge to this corporation. We've stayed in comfortable, well-run properties in Rainier, Zion, Yellowstone, and the Grand Canyon. It's obvious Aramark has a government contract and guests are pretty much captive while here to the lodge's poor management, uncomfortable accommodations, and bait and switch tactics on the boat tour of the glacier.

From the moment we had contact with the lodge on the hourly shuttle bus which takes you from the airport to the lodge (8 miles), we realized that the organization was a bungling bureacracy interested in making money. The shuttle driver told us he had trouble getting parts for the van due to slowness in approval from headquarters, and had to pirate parts off the other van. This was echoed several times during our 2 day stay which cost 1,031.00 (all inclusive but does not include a glass of wine with dinner or use of kayaks). The all inclusive price included the outrageously priced rooms with no view, small quarters, dated and worn decor, and the worst bed we've ever slept on. The bed was like sleeping on a pile of bricks. It also includes slow internet service only in the small cramped lobby, shower heads that hold the record for least output of water, and wait staff that put a whole new meaning to the definition of "wait." The food was mediorcre and the service was consistently slow and inept. I ordered Dungeness Crab, the house specialty, which was finally served very undercooked after 30 minutes of waiting. The manager did comp the crab as my partner's thin ribeye steak was already served.

Though not the fault of the lodge, visitors should be aware that this national park is very different from other national parks in terms of the opportunities for hiking and other outdoor activities. The lodge has complimentary bicycles but the only road to ride on is a very unscenic one back to Gustavus. Hiking trails are almost non-existent. There is a 1 mile forest loop by the lodge and another trail that splits into a river trail and a lake trail. for a total of about 6 miles of trail. We did see eagles and a moose cow and calf, but wildlife were not very plentiful. The main attraction is the boat ride to the glaciers where you see what you envisioned you would see from a lodge called Glacier Bay Lodge. The lodge should be named Bartett Cove Lodge.

The boat ride to the glacier was another huge disappointment, largely because of false advertising. Though we weren't told this, a conversation with staff revealed that the boat advertised (high speed catamaran, heated, with plenty of room and a free souvenier) was awaiting a small part for days so it could be moved for more major repairs. We paid the same amount (over $100 a person) for a small, cramped, 13 mile per hour boat which was not heated. Fifty people were sandwiched in sardine style with one squeegie on the boat to wipe the condensation from the windows. Imagine an 8 hour plane ride in coach seats and a full airplane at 13 miles per hour, with fogged windows and you havea good idea of how this tour went. We did see wildlife but the decks were very crowded as well when wildlife and glaciers were in view. Because the boat was so slow, we saw one glacier and then spent 5 minutes at a second glacier. The NPS ranger on board was a highlight of the trip, with a pleasant demeanor and lots of knowledge. The boat engine was noisy, especially when the deckhands had to open the trapdoor by our seat and go down into the smelly diesel engine.

There are so many beautiful places to go in Alaska for much less cost with better food, more comfortable beds, and more recreational options. Don't let the photographs on the website of a glacier 58 miles away fool you and don't waste your time or money at Glacier Bay Lodge.
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  • Stayed July 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Redfoxey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Louis, Missouri
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed July 10, 2010

We stayed at The Lodge for three nights. The view from the main lodge, on a clear day, of the Fair Weather Mountains is spectacular.

The food in the restaurant is not bad, but nothing to rave about, but it is pricey for what it is. The burger was the best thing on the menu we had and the Halibut was decent too. The beer, wine and cocktails are also pricey($6-$7) and the cocktails are "weak". The service staff was also "hit-or-miss", more often miss than hit. By miss I mean they would not keep the water glass topped off (when this was my drink for the meal), would forget to bring things (coffee creamer, ice water, bread/butter).

The lodge is older and could use some updating. The rooms are ok, but the beds are horrible - period. The beds were very very firm and on top of that my wife and I were in a room where a full size mattress was what was given. I'm not sure if they had larger or not. We thought we could make it with a full, but once we figured out how uncomfortable the mattress was - too late! There is also no way to control the temperature in the room, that I could see, other than opening and closing the window. I also killed three spiders in our room, rather healthy in size. I understand you are in the woods, and I'll accept bugs, but these were adults.

We had several people recommend The Lodge at Glacier Bay to us, but we would not stay here again, especially considering the other choices in Gustavus, AK. Such as, Gustavus Inn, Annie Mae Lodge or Bear Track Inn.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank ks4614
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Midlothian, Virginia
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed July 7, 2010

We enjoyed our recent 3 night stay at Glacier Bay Lodge. The furnishings are a bit dated (new mattresses & comforters are sorely needed), but we always enjoy the atmosphere of these types of lodges. We met several other families and spent time in front of the large fireplace playing cards, etc. Chef Steve was very personable and served up a variety of fresh seafood, sandwiches and salads that were nicely prepared. We also enjoyed getting to know the rangers who worked upstairs in the visitor center. The lodge staff was very accomodating in arranging shuttles, and even took us to a local pizza parlor for a pizza pick-up. I wish we had another day to spend in this relaxing, beautiful place.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank NetherQueen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gaithersburg, Maryland
Level 6 Contributor
97 reviews
54 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 162 helpful votes
Reviewed September 12, 2009

We stayed two nights at the Glacier Bay Lodge and took the full-day boat tour as well. Both were well above our expectations, and I would recommend staying and playing at Glacier Bay to anyone.

For a National Parks property, we were quite impressed with the Glacier Bay Lodge. If you are showing up expecting this to be a 5-star resort, you're going to be disappointed. But if you show up realizing that the lodge is run by the National Parks Service and is therefore a basic lodge and restaurant, you will be quite satisfied.

The rooms were basic, but were quite large. Our room had two double beds - one of them was hard as a rock, the other was plush and cozy. We also had a couple of sitting chairs, a cot, and a full bathroom. The rooms were clean and cozy and offered towels and basic sundries - an upgrade from some NPS properties we have stayed in in the past. The furnishings and linens were not super-lavish, but they were modern and clean. The rooms do not have televisions, so it's a prime location for curling up with a good book, or bring a deck of cards or something for entertainment. The rooms are detached from the lodge and connected by boardwalks throughout the property, so you should definitely plan on bringing a rain jacket or umbrella with you back and forth from the lodge if you're not up for getting wet.

The lodge itself was a cozy, comfortable little place. There is a gift shop/general store, a large fireplace with couches and tables in front of it, a restaurant, a patio to relax or eat on, and an upstairs visitors center with displays, books, a park ranger and video showings. I think the lodge had wireless access as well. I didn't personally bring a computer, but I saw tons of people in the lodge on theirs...

The views off the back patio of Bartlett Cove are wonderful, particularly at sunset. Also, back behind the lodge, there are a couple of short trails you can walk through the lush, green rain forest area. There are a couple of more extensive hiking trails within walking distance of the lodge as well.

The restaurant was okay. There weren't many choices and the food was a bit pricey, but the food we had was pretty good. The service in the restaurant was great, and they were happy even to provide bar service to the tables near the fireplace or out on the patio.

The staff were great as well. From the minute we got in the shuttle van at the airport, we felt welcomed. The shuttle driver was quite helpful, delivering our luggage to our room for us. Check-in was a breeze as well - all of our paperwork and room keys and everything were ready for us, two hours ahead of the listed check-in time.

We had a great time at the Glacier Bay lodge, and loved the full-day boat tour as well. I would highly recommend making Glacier Bay a stop on your Alaskan vacation!

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank grateful_travels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cornwall, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
159 reviews
63 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 133 helpful votes
Reviewed September 2, 2009

This must be the best place to stay when visiting Glacier Bay. The location is delightful - set in the rain forest by the shore of Bartlett Cove The cabin rooms are detached from the main block which can be a disadvantage in the wet (and there is a lot of wet) but they are very attractive and well maintained and equipped. The big advantage of this place is the proximity to the starting point for the Glacier Bay all day boat trip - 5 minutes walk away through the forest and the fact that the main building doubles up as the National Park Visitor Centre so you are on the spot for the interpretative programmes on offer - talks and films etc. As the Lodge is the only accommodation at Bartlett Cove there is no choice of eating facility unless you travel to Gustavus 10 miles away. The restaurant therefore is a little pricey (no competion) but we enjoyed the meals we had there and did not feel too overcharged. Unless you are into activity sports 2 nights here is probably enough allowing time for the day trip mentioned above plus a couple of gentle trails through the forest and along the shore.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank ColdstreamKeith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego
Level 5 Contributor
73 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
Reviewed August 7, 2009

We stayed 4 nights, which was probably as long as you would need to take in Glacier Bay. It's good to be at the lodge instead of in Gustavus because then there's no transporation issue. It is VERY quiet, even though the bay can have a lot of activity going on. The restaurant is a little pricey, especially considering that you're sort of trapped when you're there. The service at the restaurant was a little slow, but that seemed to be because of understaffing. The quality of the food made up for that. The weather was perfect so we ate off the bar menu on the back deck. Heaven!

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank RuthSanDiego
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Glacier Bay Lodge

Property: Glacier Bay Lodge
Address: 179 Barlett Cove, Gustavus, AK 99826
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Alaska > Gustavus
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 5 Hotels in Gustavus
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Glacier Bay Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 48
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Also Known As:
Glacier Bay Hotel Gustavus
Glacier Bay Lodge Gustavus, Alaska

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