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“Sunwapta falls short”

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Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 22 September 2013

Stayed for one night a bit by mistake as I thought it was further south on the Icefield Parkway than it actually is. From reading trip advisor ratings my friend & I were expecting something amazing. The wifi problem wasn't a problem as the website said it wasn't available. However, we were a bit disappointed that the room wasn't as special as we'd been led to expect. The bathroom in particular was tired with paint spots on the floor & a stained ceiling. My friend got caught out by the strong shower jet & ended up with soaked night clothes ( shed foolishly left them on the floor!). It was a bit strange having the washbasin in the room making a private wash impossible with both in the room. The beds, were very comfortable & the temperature easily adjusted. I have stayed in better accommodation & paid less but I guess the lodge's location does attract a premium. We ate in the restaurant in the evening & was pleased the chef was ale to adjust my meal to leave out a particular ingredient to which I am very allergic. We only had one course & it was a bit pricey as was the breakfast the following morning. $25 approx for (albeit tasty) granola & fruit, one bowl Kellogg's cornflakes, a fruit salad & one tea/coffee - I took my own milk. We sat by the window & down by our feet the window ledge was really grubby with old crumbs & food debris. I really wanted to be wowed by the lodge but sadly I wasn't , just felt it was average & over priced -sorry. To finish on a positive note, without exception, the staff were friendly & very helpful, thank you.

Stayed: September 2013, travelled with friends
Thank mattrhimum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
mcorlett, Director of Sales at Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 23 September 2013

HI Mattrhimum!

Thanks for taking the time to write a thoughtful review of your stay. It provides us with the perfect opportunity to address pre-arrival expectations and further clarify our property for potential future guests. I'll also address some of the concerns and let downs you had during your stay.

For readers in the TripAdvisor community unfamiliar with my writing style, please note there are headings in BOLD that allow you to skip to the most relevant topic for you!

LOCATION:
We're clear on our site that we are located 53km south of downtown Jasper. We hope that our travel partners, like online travel agents and brick and mortar travel agents, have that information correct as well. Sometimes we can't control mistakes on their end. Please let us know if you were misinformed about our location!

TRIPADVISOR RATINGS AND EXPECTATIONS
I am sorry to hear your expectations were not met. I think that maybe you were set up with expectations that our property cannot match, and this is in part due to our high ranking on TripAdvisor. To help future guests basing there selection on our TripAdvisor ranking, let me clarify a few items.

Many of our TripAdvisor reviews are extremely positive, and this creates sort of a halo effect in a way. I've noticed there's been a tendency for some to see the high ranking and assume it equates with some of their expectations being satisfied automatically.

Our most common examples: "4 circles! The accommodation must be 4 star!" We've had several guests check in that have thought this. We're 2 star. "If it's so highly rated, it must be fantastic!" And we are, but on person’s ‘fantastic’ is not for everyone, and we do not meet every expectation. What do we meet?

WHAT TO EXPECT
TripAdvisor ranks us as 4 circles. You will see that our highest ranking is for Service. Location is second along with cleanliness and sleep comfort. Rooms come in last. I'd love to change that, and we work at it every year within the tight restrictions we have and the means available to us.

Despite the fact that upgrades happen every year and that more are scheduled, reader please keep in mind: we are 2 star and you are not going to find luxurious accommodation here. I can understand how that assumption can be made from our TripAdvisor ranking. We do provide clean and comfortable accommodation!

Hotel assessments in terms of star ratings are mostly based on room and property amenities. For example: are there phones in rooms, how many night tables, lamps, data ports, air conditioning, amenities like spa, pool, hot tub etc.

As far as our rooms go, we are very clear about what we offer. In addition, we have plenty of photographs that I personally took and posted on TripAdvisor and on our Facebook page (album called 'candid photos'). These clearly show the rooms without any of the 'magic' you might have with professional photography.

SO WHY IS SUNWAPTA 4 CIRCLES ON TRIPADVISOR?
The obvious question that is left is: how did a 2 star property get a 4 circle rating? Why is it ranked higher than the Fairmont which is luxury?

In order to really grasp it, I think it’s important to consider that staying at Sunwapta isn't just about renting a room for a night or two. Actually, it’s hardly about the room at all. It's about the experience you have while here, and where ‘here’ is, and how committed we are to your experience.

It's about how our staff commit themselves to you enjoying your time in Jasper, how we reach out to provide custom itineraries, tickets and activity bookings, and insider tips on wildlife sightseeing. It's about the more intimate atmosphere we can provide being a smaller property with nothing but Canadian Rockies around us.

It's about being able to talk directly to a senior manager to have your meal specifically cooked and that you will not encounter 'attitude' about it. It's about having access to a senior manager at any time - ANY TIME - during your stay to help with any special requests, or concerns.

It's about having an intimate dining room that looks not at another building, but at the Endless Chain Ridge. It's about experiencing the beauty of the falls just a short walk away, the lakes a short bike ride or drive up the road, or one of the many local trails.

It's about the fact that there are no phones in the room, that there is only unreliable internet, and that there's no cell reception so that your time is available to experience our wilderness setting and the loved ones you are with.

ON THE OTHER HAND!
I believe that there are maintenance issues that need to be dealt with in the room you stayed in. I'm sorry to hear that there were any. We are inspected by AAA and the Alberta Hotel Association, both of which look at housekeeping and maintenance issues. We are normally on the ball. Our apologies for that.

Aside from the paint spots (actually we will be retiling our bathrooms for 2014), and perhaps the shower head (but I'm unclear if that was an issue or a mistake), please feel free to share any other concerns.

I am personally going to audit each room at the end of our season with other key members of our management team. I hope to be much more prepared for future guests than we were here.

Also, cleanliness in the lodge is usually impeccable and your comments must be addressed immediately by our cleaning crew.

FINALLY!
I greatly appreciate the time you took to write this review. It had specifics that were helpful, and it calls us to a higher order I think we can accomplish.

I am very glad you found the sleep comfortable, the staff excellent, and the food tasty!

Thanks again,

Matthew Corlett
Director of Sales
Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge

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386 - 392 of 712 reviews

Reviewed 22 September 2013

The staff were helpfull & extremely friendly. Fabulous food. We had no problems accessing the Wifi satalite internet. The room was comfortable. The resident bear talkative. The scenery is marvelous. A great place to take a vacation!

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank Robin206
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
mcorlett, Director of Sales at Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 23 September 2013

HI Robin206!

Thanks for taking the time to leave a review and we're all very happy to hear you enjoyed your stay! For the readers, I'd like to expand on a few things:

WIFI:
We do not advertise that we offer internet here. The reason is that we can only receive and distribute satellite internet. Satellite internet is finicky and unreliable. If you require WIFI for work or if it's extremely important to your lifestyle, before booking please consider that it may not be available at all during your stay.

RESIDENT BEAR!
I had a good chuckle about this one! We have our very own 'Holo-Bear' (the world's first and so far only). It's a moving, talking virtual reproduction of a bear we actually filmed. He lives in the central entrance between the restaurant and the gift shop in our day lodge. He's got a few jokes up his sleeve.

The real one is magnificent in person too! If any one has the time, check out the Wildlife Discovery Park in Innisfail, AB. It's about 1 hour north of Calgary on Highway 2, and the home of the very large Barney the Bear and many of his furry friends!

We're super glad you enjoyed your scenic time away from regular life!

Thanks again Robin,

Matt Corlett
Director of Sales
Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge

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Reviewed 21 September 2013

I normally don't stay at 2 stars, but the reviews were so good. The staff was very helpful and had some good driving maps with suggestions of places to stop. Our room 1a had a view of the highway. Every other car seemed to stop here, along with many tourist buses. The noise was not as bad as i expected. The room needs updating and they should start with a new mattress. The bathroom fan had not been cleaned and you could see fuzz all around it. That is something that does not collect quickly, so apparently the cleaning staff does not look up. The fireplace was a nice for the cool evenings. There is a great walk to view the falls. We had to make a reservation for dinner. I had the elk pot pie and it was just a simple pot pie, for the price I guess I expected something fancier. I would chose the steak instead. They have a great little deli to get sandwiches to go.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Binnidm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
mcorlett, Director of Sales at Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 23 September 2013

Hi Binnidm,

Thanks for staying with us and for taking the time to leave your comments for the TripAdvisor community! Let me start off by saying sorry that your stay seemed kind of mediocre. I wish we could have done better.

For readers, if you stay with us and you feel like things aren’t quite as you’d like, never hesitate to let us know. You will find us to be extremely solutions oriented with your experience in the Rockies being the driver in any decision we make.

WHY OUR 2 STAR HAS BEEN RANKED 4 CIRCLES!
I have previously commented on the ranking from the TripAdvisor community and what factors people really enjoyed at Sunwapta, but let me summarize here: our 2 star hotel has a 4 circle rating firstly because of service and location, and then two equal ratings are for sleep quality and cleanliness.

We have a regular mattress purchase, so I will look at 1A's history right away. As noted by TripAdvisor reviews, sleep quality is 4 circles, so Binnidm’s discomfort is an anomaly. Also, cleanliness here has and will always be a big priority. The TripAdvisor community has rated our cleanliness as 4 circles and we have decades worth of housekeeping awards. While we are 2 stars we do deliver on clean and comfort, so thank you for pointing out this inadequacy in the fan of the bathroom so we can address it.

While cleanliness, sleep quality, location and service are consistently highly ranked, our 4 circle rating mostly comes from the experience as a whole, and what our service and location really means.

We are so committed to making sure you enjoy your experience that if our hotel or your particular room doesn't fit in with the type of experience you want, on the day of check in we'll refund your money and help you find the right place for you.

Most of us book hotels and if we’re unhappy feel trapped by policies. I want to liberate you from that feeling in terms of cancellation policy at Sunwapta. If you arrive and it doesn't meet your expectations, tell us right away so we can help you get on the way to creating the experience you really want!

UPDATES
We've received quite a few comments this year stating that our rooms need updating. I've been asking the guests who mention this as I would really like for their input on specifics. If you have any you'd like to share with me, I'd greatly appreciate your insights: matthew@sunwapta.com.

We also update elements every year, and many of these are based on comments from guests and from TripAdvisor. We do have more updates scheduled for our 2014 season. Please keep in mind however that we are 2 STARS and if you need luxury accommodation with a lot of amenities, we’d recommend the 4 star properties in Jasper.

HIGHWAYS, TRAFFIC AND THE FALLS
Sunwapta is located right on the side of Highway 93, the magnificent Icefields Parkway. During the day when all of our guests are out sightseeing, everyone else's guests are as well. We are a very popular stop for daytime sightseeing traffic including group tours travelling the Parkway.

The nice part is that this gives our guests very easy access to all the sites the Parkway provides. Also, Highway 93 is strictly a sightseeing tourist highway. This means that when guests are ready to come back from a day of sightseeing, or are coming to check in, that's what every one else is doing too! By 8pm even in the peak of summer, the highway is dead quiet. In fact at night here, all you really hear is the distant roar of the Sunwapta.

The falls themselves (the first set) are about a 10 minute walk from any room, with 2 more sets roughly 20 minutes from there. Even if you choose to stay elsewhere, please stop in and get directions as they are not to be missed!

FIREPLACE
Fall is an awesome time to travel in the Rockies. Very beautiful vistas, sometimes a light snow dusting on the peaks, and animals preparing for winter... If you're looking to compliment your experience with a wood burning fire, our Hideaway rooms are equipped with wood burning fireplaces and we provide wood and service free of charge!

DINNER
Reservations for evening dining are always required. Please call or email in advance if you like: 1-888-828-5777 / info@sunwapta.com to make reservations with our front desk team. First seating is 6:30pm.

Binnidm, sorry it seems that your stay was sort of... lack lustre. I wish we could have tipped that over to memorable.

Thanks again,

Matt Corlett
Director of Sales
Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 September 2013

This is a bit commercial, but the stay was definitely enjoyable. Not the least expensive place we stayed during our recent 2-week trip to Canada, but would do it again. The rooms are Spartan. But the food was quite good - both dinner and breakfast. The service in the restaurant was terrific - very friendly and helpful.

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  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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Thank Dan N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 September 2013

This was by far our worst experience on this trip (and many more). This lodge is old, dirty, very poorly maintained and full of flying bugs (we were all bitten repeatedly). We were disgusted and couldn't wait to check out. The one good thing is the upbeat, warm service from the young ladies at the front desk, they are responsible for both circles we granted. To add insult to injury, the lodge advertises wifi in the rooms while in fact they have spotty satellite based (very narrow band) internet access and wifi only in the front desk area. This is especially bad since the area has no cellular reception and there are no land line telephones in the rooms.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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Thank TheNelsonFamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
mcorlett, Director of Sales at Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 23 September 2013

Hi NelsonFamily,

We're sorry to hear you didn't enjoy your stay, but glad you found our staff warm and friendly.

Readers, I hope you can see that we are very sincere and considerate as operators. We care deeply about client experience. Part of the level of integrity we operate with has been illustrated in the fact that we removed, some months ago, all advertising we could control that stated we had wireless internet.

Our internet is the best internet we can provide in our location and somehow last year it was able to keep up, and this year not. Once we discovered it was no longer adequate, we ceased all advertising for it. There were some print publications that could not be changed and some of our online business partners were slow to make the necessary changes. We're very sorry for the inconvenience.

Another clear sign that we don't intentionally mislead people is our satisfaction guarantee at check in. If you check in and don't feel its the right place for you, let us know then, and we'll be happy to move you to a place you would prefer. NelsonFamily, my only wish is that I would have known then, so I could have turned things around for you! We were obviously not the right match for your ideas and expectations.

We have very high ratings for cleanliness both on TripAdvisor and through professional organizations that inspect our property. With no specifics, it's hard to address the complaint here.

Most people that stay here do so because they are looking for a less distracted experience of our spectacular natural surroundings and more focus time with the loved ones they're with. These are benefits of not having cell service or phones in the rooms. Readers, if cell service, high speed internet, and phones at your bedside are key for you, we're not a good match!

Readers, you should also know before coming to the area that as it stands, there is no cell reception between Lake Louise and just about 30km north of us toward Jasper. If you need it in the evenings, best to stay in one of the town hotels.

As for bugs, they exist in the National Parks. There are no more at Sunwapta than anywhere else in the Jasper area. It's unclear what is meant by 'full of bugs'. Bringing or purchasing bug spray for the great outdoors is always a good idea.

Sorry you didn't enjoy your stay, but we hope you had a great time visiting the natural wonders of Jasper!

Matt Corlett
Director of Sales
Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge

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Reviewed 17 September 2013

The staff was fantastic. I forgot my glasses in Jasper and one of the managers was going into town and took me there and back.
Thank you Rod and Stephanie.
The other staff was very friendly.
Nice accommodation and the food was good.

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank Sheldon K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
mcorlett, Director of Sales at Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 23 September 2013

Hi Sheldon!

Thanks for taking the time to leave a review of your recent stay with us. We're glad you enjoyed the food and room, and of course very happy we were able to help you retrieve your glasses!

Rod and Stephanie pass on a warm hello!

All the best,

Matt Corlett
Director of Sales
Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 September 2013

The meals are exceptional at Sunwapta. Staff were very friendly and willing to assist.A great property to launch from when exploring and hiking to the south of Jasper. Would definitely recommend this property to others.

Stayed: September 2013, travelled with friends
Thank Patti C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
mcorlett, Director of Sales at Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 23 September 2013

Hi Patti!

Thanks for leaving your review of your impressions at Sunwapta.

For the readers: remember for evening dining we do require reservations, or at least strongly recommend them if you'd like your preferred time to eat. You can email or call us at the Front Desk and we'll put you in. First seating is at 6:30pm: info@sunwapta.com / 1-888-828-5777.

There is a great deal of amazing hikes along the Parkway and right around Sunwapta. We'd be happy to help you plan your time when you check in!

Thanks again Patti!

Matt Corlett
Director of Sales
Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge

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 Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge

Address: Hwy. 93, Icefields Parkway | Box 97, Jasper National Park, Alberta T0E 1E0, Canada (Formerly Sunwapta Falls Resort)
Phone Number:
Region: Canada > Alberta > Canadian Rockies > Jasper National Park
Amenities:
Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
#5 Romantic Hotel in Jasper National Park
Price Range: £135 - £664 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2 star — Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge 2*
Number of rooms: 53
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
4-time recipient of TripAdvisor's Certificate of Excellence, Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge is an ideal choice if you're looking to unplug from the hectic pace of regular life. Here you will find yourself surrounded by nature with the most warm, caring and wonderful staff you are likely to find on your travels in Canada. We’re only open from mid-May to early October. We operate at 98% occupancy and sell out fast, so book early on Facebook at SunwaptaFalls or sign up for exclusive offers on our website. Entirely committed to ensuring you have the best experience possible in Jasper, we provide private consultations and create custom sightseeing guides, activity bookings and if you like, full meal packages. Leave your Jasper planning to our expert staff, so you can enjoy the company of the loved ones you are travelling with while taking in the best Jasper has to offer. Most often chosen for our location, the lodge is a scenic 45-minute drive south of downtown Jasper and a 45 minute equally stunning drive to the Columbia Icefields. Our cabin-style accommodation is nestled in the forest between mountains and lakes with just a short walk to the beautiful Sunwapta Falls and other local hikes. In the evenings its just us, the stars, the sound of the falls and the scent of wood burning as it crackles in our many fireplaces. Our Certificate of Excellence awarded restaurant provides unbelievable casual fine dining in the charming ambience of our heritage lodge. In the morning we offer full mountain breakfasts from 7am and healthy options to take on your day of sightseeing. See you in the Rockies! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Hotel Jasper
Sunwapta Falls Hotel
Hotel Sunwapta Falls

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