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.
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- Also Known As:
- Van Gilder Hotel
- Van Gilder Seward