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“Nightmare at Bettles Lodge”
Review of Bettles Lodge

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Bettles Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 12 July 2012

I have spent quite a bit of time traveling around the state of Alaska and I have to say that this place has to be the foremost example of how not to run a business! Just be prepared to spend a lot of money during your visit and to be treated poorly to say the least! OK where do I start? The management which consist of two women, Jamie and Hazel, seem to have a constant case of the angries they are awful!! During my stay I never had a goodnights sleep as I spent all of the hours of the night battling a constant barrage of mosquitos! I informed the management that the screen to my window appeared to be ripped and they seemed to disregard my complaint with a total lack of concern. Now mind you I was being charged $195.00 dollars per night to put up with this nuisance. The bathrooms have to be shared and there is, a men's and a women's bathroom. These bathrooms seem to be cleaned every few days or so if the staff has time. During my stay the toilet seat was often covered in human excrement and the shower littered with a vast amount of bodily fluids! My concerns for the lack of sanitary conditions caused me to always use paper towels to open the doors, faucets,etc. Now let me address the meals, typically one main course is served during dinner time and this may be anything the chef dreams up! The chef seems to have quite a knack for preparing food under such primitive conditions and constant harassment by the manager, so my compliments to him but, the problem lies in the extremely small portions that leave you wondering when the actual plate is going to be served! During my stay, I actually lost weight due to the insufficient quantity of food, mind you also, that I was being charged anywhere from $25 to $30 dollars per plate. I would like to mention a young lady named Sam who works at the lodge, she was absolutely wonderful and she seemed to be always trying to help and accommodate the guests, when she could. Be forewarned as nothing at the lodge is ever given out of courtesy, as you will always be charged for refills on your coffee and tea that cost $2.00 each, you will pay premium prices for everything including $10 dollars per day for internet usage, keep it in mind they do not allow you to use Skype, do any downloads or anything that resembles using their internet bites, $5.00 per sports bottle water, $6.50 for a little piece of carrot cake, $7.50 for a beer, you really don't want to drink there, take some bottles of drinks with you, a six pack of beer costs $24 dollars, now a Kassiks beer costs per bottle $11.00 dollars, can you believe that?? They are thieves!! A peach cobbler cost $7.25, a brownie sundae $ 7.25, cheeseburger w/fries $20.00, paper bag lunch is $17.50 there is hardly any food in it, a coke costs $2.50, now tell me do you really want to go to this place?? Well after all I said take my advice, if you really need to stay at The Bettles Lodge, take your own food, your own drinks, your water, get ready to be mistreated and don't forget the de-et the insect repellent, for the summer time. Oh may, I almost forgot the prices for gas at this lodge, they charge $1.00 more per gallon, so if you have to buy gas go to BROOKS RANGE AVIATION, go see Jay and his family, they are the best people for all of your needs while in Bettles. Now, enjoy the The Bettles Lodge!!!

Room Tip: Try to bypass Bettles if possible and if traveling into the "Gates of the Arctic National Park...
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  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled with friends
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27  Thank hansrolex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
AKLynK, Owner at Bettles Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 17 July 2012

Hello HansRolex,

WOW. Where to start, we apologize that your stay was less than desirable. It appears from your post that you are with one of the companies that is working on the proposed road project. We have done our best to accommodate your crew and really appreciate the business. We had no warning that so many of you would arrive, no reservations were made ahead of time. Had we known that the 14 rooms would be full during that time, if your companies had made previous reservations, we would have staffed accordingly. Usually June is the slowest month of the summer. It is highly unlikely that there was ever feces on the seat of the toilet, in my 30 years of being at the Bettles Lodge I have not witnessed this. The bathrooms are cleaned twice a day and checked by management, we actually have a check list at the front counter that is initialed by the person who cleaned them. If there was an actual problem did you notify the staff that there was an issue in the bathroom ? There are signs in each bathroom indicating to let the staff know if it needs serviced or more paper products. The prices you have listed are wrong, I will not take my time to correct each one but will say that dinner pricing never exceeds $ 22.50. Coffee and tea are free re-fills for the entire day. When a new day begins each person is charged $2 for the entire day for as much coffee, cream, sugar or tea as they would like to drink. If you did not experience this I am more than happy to refund the money you were charged for the drinks and anything else that was not correct on your invoice. Are these prices directly from your receipt, where did you get them ? I would also like to say that the business next door at Brooks Range Aviation is only cents cheaper than us here at the Bettles Lodge. We have a state of the art fueling system that cost a lot of money to install, that is part of the reason our gas is a little more expensive. It includes underground double walled tanks, a Veederoot system that indicates any water in the fuel, any leaks in the line. We take aviation fuel very seriously and comply with all O.A.S., State and D.O.T. regulations. When the issue of the mosquitoes was brought to my attention I had the outdoor maintenance team crawl up on the second story room with new mosquito screen and make sure that everything was tacked down correctly, I then double checked it with my own eyes to ensure that it was done. I also installed a mosquito sprayer with a timer in the hall way that eliminates any bugs that would come in through the outside door when opened as people enter the lodge. If the problem persisted I would have loved to have known so that I could continue my efforts to provide good service. The month of June this year has been one of the more dense mosquito months I have seen in quite a few years. I do not perceive myself or Hazel as angry people and definitely not thieves. Freight to Bettles is .80 cents per pound, electricity is .70 cents per kilowatt. Those two factors combined make for expensive beer, food and everything that comes to rural Alaska. One last correction, the Kassik beer was on sale for $9 during the month of June - that price is for a 22 oz. Bomber, probably about the same price you would pay where you came from in Anchorage. If you would like to reveal yourself and give me a call to discuss reimbursement of any items charged incorrectly or anything we can do to improve our services my phone number at the lodge is (907) 692 5111

Have a great summer from all of us at the Bettles Lodge !

Jamie, Hazel, Sam, Tyler, Bryan, Robert, Gene & Micah

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131 - 137 of 178 reviews

Reviewed 20 May 2012

My husband I went mainly to Alaska in March, in the bitter cold, to see the Northern Lights. Our stay at the Bettles Lodge was beyond amazing. I dont know if they have something magical going on there but we had the best lights viewing for our two nights there than at any other place outside of Fairbanks for the other 5 nights. It is super dark there at night which helps A LOT!

The lodge was not a 5 star resort but it was cozy and welcoming all the same. I really enjoyed the homey, group togetherness feeling. Everyone there is nice and the dog sled guys can talk to you all day long about their dogs and dog sledding. All the guests there were really nice and I enjoyed hanging out and telling stories about the lights we saw the night before. Everyone there had the same goal, seeing the Lights, and we all alerted each other when they were starting so everyone didnt have to stay out in the freeing temps.

The food was really good!! With that said, make sure to bring snacks. There isnt exactly a vending machine to get food from and with regimented eating times, you can get hungry come 10pm. Also, each room has its own toilet and sink, but showering is a shared situation, unless you get the jacuzzi tub! If you can, I highly recommend it. It is kind of nice to not be reminded of my college days and bringing my shower supplies to the bathroom. Overall, I loved the experience I had there!

Room Tip: Ask for the jacuzzi room. Dont stay in the actual Bettles Lodge, you will have to leave the buildin...
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  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank LDuquette
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 March 2012

Here is the short and sweet of it:

Bettles lodge caters to high-paying, tour-package buying tourists. If you are here for business OR pleasure, stay across the street (about a third of the price and WAY nicer staff). We had to change reservations suddenly and stay at the Bettles lodge and we were treated as an inconvenience and the management was incredibly rude. We were not buying ridiculously over-priced dog mushing or flight seeing trips, so I imagine we weren't the most fertile ground to harvest money from. Regardless, we paid $195 to be sneered at, ignored, and told (literally) that we were in the way. If I had not been there on business I would have been more upfront with them about how unacceptable their behavior was. Lastly, these are not Alaskans...don't know the area well...and remind me of being on the east coast where at least I can expect to be treated like dirt. Tip for you folks at Bettles Lodge - hire Alaskans, treat all guests like family (in the Alaskan tradition), and worry just slightly less about extracting money from your guests. I won't be back...and for anyone reading this, from one Alaskan to fellow travelers...check out accommodations across the street (do a search for cabins to rent in Bettles).

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled on business
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23  Thank MartainMind
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
AKLynK, Owner at Bettles Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 4 April 2012

We apologize that our service was not satisfactory for your needs. My name is Jamie, I grew up in Bettles along side my brother Tyler. I at the moment have a herniated disc and am going through treatment in Fairbanks. I apologize that I was not able to be at the Lodge the last couple of months, this did add to our managers work load when every single hotel room was booked out. I have received many happy guest comments and phone calls from this winter season but this is the first complaint. We have had many ' Alaskans ' at our lodge this winter, staying for work or pleasure. Our Manager Hazel has worked for the Lodge 5 years. Our Chef Roger has been there 4 years. Sven our Iditarod Musher has lived in Alaska 10 years and in Bettles for the past year with 40 sled dogs. None of them are from the East Coast, are they not considered to be Alaskan ? How long do you have to live in Alaska to be an '' Alaskan '' ? I have never had anyone compare my staff to an East Coast attitude, we do have clients that are from the East Coast, they have all been incredibly nice. The staff that we do have that are new to Alaska add excitement and a curiosity, a wonderment for all of the beauty we have here right outside our doorsteps.

Since you are an Alaskan you must also know the high costs associated with running a fully staffed lodge about the Arctic Circle. The temperatures were record breaking this winter, with all of our fuel being flown in - those costs are much higher than where you probably live in the city. Our guests are usually all inclusive guests in the winter, not all of them but the majority. Since you are from Alaska the novelty of our Lodge with Aurora viewing, dog sledding and flight seeing are probably all seen as every day activities, so any price would be too high. We as Alaskans are very fortunate to take these things for granted. We provide a quality experience to all of our guests. We charge accordingly for the high cost in rural Alaska and to pay the staff accordingly for the cost of living in the area. It is considered to be a good deal by our repeat clients throughout the years - including many Alaskans. My family has owned and operated the Bettles Lodge for 30 years, I think we may be the longest running business in the Arctic - open 365 days a year. A refuge for pilots that are stuck due to weather or people such as yourself that need somewhere to stay - in the Arctic we are the only year round hotel. Through non stop hard work and treating our guests and employees like family we have been able to keep the doors open even in the tough economy.

In the Summer we have people from all over Alaska and all over the world stay as a hotel guests, bunk house guests, camp for free on the lawn, pass through to use our air taxi or just stop in for dinner - in the winter we don't see as much traffic, as you can imagine. We do our best to treat each and every guest from local Bettles residents to International traveler the same - regardless of what type of service they need or how much they will spend. We have many people that just come in for a cup of coffee and we enjoy their company and appreciate their presence.

The cabins across the street are only open in the spring and summer, do not have bathrooms and are operated by 1 person - the owner, a much smaller program with much smaller costs compared to our hotel, restaurant, air taxi, fuel and tour business. If we are given the opportunity we would love to show you better service here at the Lodge. The next time you come through we are more than willing to give you a complimentary room, email me at the Lodge account for more details : info@bettleslodge.com

Happy Spring ! The sun has returned in Alaska and I can't wait for midnight sun flights over the Brooks Range as soon as my back injury will allow it I will be up up and away.

All the Best from all of us at the Lodge,

Jamie, Hazel, Sven, Roger, Gene, Micah, Sam, Bryan, Tyler, Lynda and many sled dogs !

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Reviewed 22 March 2012

We had a great time here! The Aurora Lodge was clean and comfortable; the staff and locals are very friendly and we learned a lot about the area. Roger put together some out-of-this-world meals (I'll miss his chowder and salmon). The dog sled ride and the flight-seeing trip were a lot of fun. The Northern Lights were beautiful and we had some great guests to watch them with. The only minor downside was having to check out earlier than the 11:00 time due to flight schedules, but we understand that flight travel in the arctic is a little trickier than calling a taxi! Brave the cold and go! We'd go back in a heartbeat!

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Michele_and_Doug
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 February 2012

We've just returned from our family vacation to Alaska. We've spent four nights at the Bettles lodge and enjoyed every minute! We were welcomed by the wonderful host Hazel and a delicious lunch! The food was always excellent, which was surprising considering that Bettles can only be reached by plane (at least most of the year). We especially enjoyed the fresh fruits and even special requests were no problem for the chef Roger.

We mainly went to Bettles to enjoy the northern lights and they gave us quite a show two nights in a row! We really picked the best days for our trip. Unfortunately, our camera wasn’t good enough to capture the lights; but if you ask Hazel nice enough she actually takes pictures with you in it.

Another highlight was the adventurous dog sledding tour! Sven and Sevi did a great job introducing us to the dogs and even my mother, who is afraid of dog, joined us.

Hazel, Sam, Gene, Sven and Sevi never failed to keep us entertained and happy. Thank you all so much for all the wonderful memories!

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with family
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6  Thank Nadine S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 February 2012

Bettles lodge provide every comfort needed, rooms and beds were very warm and comfortable far exceeded expectations, every meal was a grand experience, after arriving and getting settle in the friendly staff made the lodge ours. One my first night we saw the Northern lights , the 2nd night the Aurora Borealis were incredible and the 3rd not they Rocked from 9pm until day break. Can not imagine that they could had been any better. Despite the remote location, so comfortable. The Arctic parka and Bibs provided were so warm. I never felt a chill although my ears did get COLD once.

Room Tip: Get the Jacuzzi room.
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  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled solo
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4  Thank Tomphoenix
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 December 2011

We flew here from Fairbanks, but it was worth every penny, an oasis in the arctic wilderness. Got driven around Evanstown and down to lake, and then a trip on the river to see Old Bettles. with Sven. We met a lot of nice peoples. We hope to come back soon, next time in the winter-time to see the northern lights .

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with friends
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4  Thank Roger H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Additional Information about Bettles Lodge

Address: 101 Main St, Bettles, AK 99726
Region: United States > Alaska > Bettles
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Speciality Lodging in Bettles
Price Range: £429 - £860 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We offer food, aircraft fuel, and lodging 365 days a year. We still harbor wayward pilots just like when we opened in 1951 as a Wien Alaska Airlines Lodge. We offer world class Aurora viewing (235 nights a year possible here/weather dependent) during the Fall and Winter season, National Park Collecting & Flight seeing, fishing charters, and camping / hiking drop off and pick up in the Gates of the Arctic & Kobuk Valley National Park flights with our full service Air Taxi operation based in Bettles. We have officially the best weather in Alaska, here at Bettles Field. Come see the REAL, Arctic, Bush, Alaska! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bettles Hotel Bettles
Bettles Lodge Alaska

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