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“Call it "maybe old gem" in Seward”

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The Van Gilder Hotel
Ranked #8 of 14 Hotels in Seward
Reviewed April 26, 2013

I think how much you like the Van Gilder will depend upon how you're traveling. If you're solo like I was, or perhaps a young couple, I think you'll find it charming. I loved the historic feel--it's very 1909, or at least, it's what I feel 1909 must have been like. The ruby carpet, the dark and thin hallway, reminded me of The Shining--in a non-scary way, but I still half-expected to turn a corner and see those two creepy twin girls. And I loved the old-fashioned windows--it's nice to slide it open and just enjoy the view with no screen or bars, just the crisp Alaskan air. And it's very refreshing that I'm trusted not to kill myself.

The room was clean, and even though it looked old, I didn't find it ugly or musty or anything like that. The room was nothing spectucular, but fine for a few days. I've slept in better beds, but this one was okay. I had desk space, a TV high on the wall, and reliable Wifi. A mini-fridge would've been great, but there are stores and restaurants literally minutes away on foot, so that wasn't an issue. The location is great--the stunning Resurrection Bay, and 4th Avenue (and its restaurants, cafes, and souvenir shops) pretty much right outside the front door.

However, if you're used to modern hotels and amenities, I guess I could see why you may not like the Van Gilder as much as some other places. I've heard a few people call it "musty"--I didn't think it was, but I guess I could see why some people might think it so. And regarding the window with no screen that didn't quite close all the way and thus didn't lock--to an athletic guy like me, on the third floor, it was no big deal. However, if you're traveling with small children it can be downright dangerous, and if you're a woman traveling by herself and you're on the ground flloor or even the second, it could certainly make falling asleep a bit tougher--you might want to ask if the window locks when you check in, or ask to move to the top floor. Just a thought.

Like I said, it depends on how you're traveling. This solo traveler looking to explore Alaska, then wind down at a restaurant or coffeehouse down the street, liked it.

Room Tip: If you're on an upper floor, no fridge isn't that big of a deal--just open the window and se...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled solo
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Thank Matthew M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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87 - 93 of 155 reviews

Reviewed January 13, 2013

A friend and I planned our trip to Alaska months in advance. I selected this hotel based on their website and price. It is within walking distance of everything in town, esp. shopping and the waterfront. Great price online. Nice, friendly staff. Adequate free continental breakfast is served in the parlor and the fully stocked kitchen is available for other meal preparation. We cooked fresh salmon and steamed veggies and enjoyed a "home cooked" meal! If you get to Seward, make sure you take the short road trip to see Exit Glacier. Beautiful view and worth the walk up!

Room Tip: I understand there is only one room with two double beds. It's on the first floor which is anot...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank UntilWeEatAgain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 7, 2013

This is a nice hotel with a friendly staff. I loved the decor and the old time feel of this hotel. The rooms were perfect and the bathroom was bigger than expected. This hotel is within walking distance of the stores and shops that line the streets. My favorite part was eating gelato on a bench overlooking the water. I would definitely stay here again.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Lisa C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 20, 2012

We had a very nice stay here during our quick visit to Seward. Our second floor room was small, but pleasant and very quiet. The attached bath was worth the extra cost. The downtown location was convenient and interesting. A shuttle bus stop was right across the street. Resurrection Bay was only a few blocks away. A word to the wise, if you make an internet reservation, confirm it by phone. We arrived and they had no knowlege of our reservation. Fortunately, they had space and honored our "confirmed" price. We were told they would have found us a room, if they had been full.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank CTDesign
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 23, 2012

Against a backdrop of Marathon Mountain, with views down to Resurrection Bay, the location of the Van Gilder Hotel is hard to beat. Sadly, that's the only positive thing I have to say about this dreary hotel. Our room was dark and musty with two queen-sized beds shoe-horned into the available space. The vinyl-clad bathroom was reminiscent of the worst motels. A dirt road running past our window (with unidentified plant life growing between the panes) seemed to attract every noisy truck in town. With an injection of cash and a complete renovation the hotel could be a gem, but it'll continue doing business as usual as long as it gets undeserved three and four star reviews.

  • Stayed: August 2012
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2  Thank ironich
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 22, 2012 via mobile

We spent 2 nights at the Van Gilder Hotel, attracted by the idea of staying in a charming place full of antiques, etc, Instead it was rundown and the rooms were not especially clean. Our room was on the ground floor and overlooked a noisy alley--so a particularly grotty room. The hotel is well-located in the historic part of Seward and the young people working there are nice, so it has potential. One day there were freshly baked cookies. However, it felt like no one really could be bothered to make an effort to create a pleasant environment for the guests.

  • Stayed: August 2012
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2  Thank Swaban
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 11, 2012

We reserved after reading about this hotel in Frommers. It sounded like a quaint and clean place to stay with a fun ghost story twist. Unfortunately, if I could describe it in one word, it would be "gross". It has a third world feel. The wood is rotting and the rooms smell like it - musty. This is not a safe place to stay with families since a child could easily fall out the windows and the windows must remain open in summer because of the smell and need for cooler air. Very shoddy accommodations - no bed skirts for example - leaving bare mattress exposed (not exactly period or charming). We toughed it out simply because we were too tired to haul our luggage back down the stairs to leave. Wish I had something better to report- we came a long way and paid way too much to stay here.

  • Stayed: August 2012
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1  Thank Trvlni
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Van Gilder Hotel

Address: 308 Adams St., Seward, AK 99664
Location: United States > Alaska > Seward
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly)
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 14 Hotels in Seward
Price Range: $142 - $222 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — The Van Gilder Hotel 2.5*
Number of rooms: 23
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Also Known As:
Van Gilder Hotel
Van Gilder Seward

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