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“Awful and disappointing.”

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Crooked Creek Retreat
Ranked #1 of 5 Kasilof B&B and Inns
GreenLeadersGold level
Memphis, TN
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Awful and disappointing.”
Reviewed 12 September 2012

Well, it has been 3 months (June 2012) since we took our trip to the Crooked Creek Retreat, for our belated-honeymoon-Alaskan-adventure, & I can still recall the pros & cons. We have nothing but great stories & happy memories about Alaska, but as far as the retreat goes we have more frustrations than anything else.

First of all, we purchased our week-long stay via Living Social. We thought it was a great deal @ $1,000 pp, for a week’s stay & a fishing trip. Later I found out the $1k pp was only for the stay. Fishing trip was extra.

We flew into Anchorage & drove down to the retreat. Dorthy assured us, during our phone conversations, that she would send a list of stops that we should make along the way, to see great sights & take in the views. Luckily a list was not needed, because everywhere you turn the sights/view are spectacular. I say ‘luckily’ because Dorthy never did send a list, even after my reminder emails. On the phone, Dorthy also noted that her house is our house. We should feel comfortable getting a snack out of the kitchen, wandering the grounds, & that there would be wine available to relax with. I didn’t realize that meant when we would arrive no one would be around to greet us. We had no idea where our room was, & how to find Dorthy. I also didn’t realize that the kitchen remark would be taken back – the first day we were there Dorthy told us the kitchen was off limits. Lastly, there was no wine made available to us until our last day. We ended up buying our own.

Then our biggest disappointment: activities. I wish someone had told us this beforehand, but !! BEWARE of scheduling outings from Dorthy’s arsenal !! Initially we wanted to schedule ocean kayaking & a guided fishing trip. Dorthy dissuaded us from taking our kayak trip, & her reasoning was because the weather was forecasted to be bad that week (overcast & rainy). Fine, so instead we scheduled a flight tour & a guided fishing trip (down the Kasilof River).

Fishing trip first: Dorthy stressed to us how important it was to wake up early & get to the loading dock on time. We were running 5-10 minutes late, & she was like a mother to us – getting on to us about being late & we better hurry or else the boat would leave without us (so we left without eating breakfast). When we got there we ended up waiting for 45 minutes before we could even load the boat. Other people staying at the Retreat were 20+ min. late, but they were happy because they were fed & arrived just a few minutes before loading time.

That day it was cold, dreary, & rainy. We were on a boat for 8 hours with two other men who smoked the entire time, & having eaten no breakfast. I wanted to puke by hour 2. On top of it, NO ONE caught fish. No one in our boat & no one in the 7 other boats. The –ONLY- person who snagged a salmon that day was our guide. He is legally not allowed to reel in fish while he is guiding, so he handed the pole to me so I could reel it in. Later I found out 2 things: the fishing guide is Dorthy’s son-in-law, & the fish hatchery feeding into the Kasilof river had been closed.

So, Dorthy is A) pumping money towards her family-owned businesses, & B) knew very well the fishing would be terrible. On top of that, if you’re short (I’m 5’2) plan on bringing your own wading gear. Nothing fit. If you’re tall (my husband’s 6’0), plan on grabbing your gear early before anyone else gets it. We got soaked, were freezing cold, & paid $350 for 1 salmon that we didn’t even catch. It was a miserable time.

Secondly, the flight tour: Because of sitting in the cold, wet weather for 8 hours, I got sick. So sick that we decided not to go on the flight trip. Dorthy had scheduled the flight trip the day before, when I had told her we wanted to cancel. She made a BIG stink about it, & after many conversations with her, the flight company, & my bank, we had to pay for a portion of the trip anyway (trip was $700+). & from what we heard from the others the flight tour out of Kasilof is boring at best. You see brown bears but only for a split second, & they look like ants. & the fishing is spotty. This was our biggest disappointment.

For the remainder of our trip, we did our own thing. We rescheduled a kayaking trip out of Seward, with Sunny Cove kayaking & it was the BEST money we spent!! First of all our kayaking instructors told us the dreary weather is PERFECT for seeing wildlife – so Dorthy’s claim that the weather would inhibit us was completely false. Secondly, it just so happened it was a beautiful day in Seward when we kayaked (and we saw wildlife anyway!) so that point was moot. The kayaking was the highlight of our trip (my husband was a beginner & I am intermediate, but if you get sea sick then take some meds the night before you go). I would have paid oodles of money more to have stayed in Seward – the town is beautiful & the East side of the peninsula is much more mountainous than the West.

Also, we drove down to Homer, AK (at Dorthy’s suggestion) & found that it was a boring, dreary town. No offense, Homer-ians but there was nothing there. A row of shops, possibly a ship from Deadlist Catch (but another ports out of Seward), & halibut fishing (again, can do out of Seward). One thing to note: while we were there we heard a radio report that the halibut were coming up with a weird texture – jelly-like. I wouldn’t have wanted to catch any gelatin fish. They should be getting back to normal, but I’m glad I didn’t take Dorthy’s advise on that one.

Some last notes about our stay at Crooked Creek: Dorthy did tell us that she made minimal money off of the Living Social deals, which explains why my husband & I stayed in the worst room in the house (I forgot the name, but it’s the basement with the 4 other beds). We had a chance to tour the other rooms & noted how nice they were – they truly are! But we probably got shafted to the worst room because of money. The TV didn’t work & it was huge & not intimate (what you’d like for a honeymoon). Food was good, all thanks to the chefs – not Dorthy. Dorthy was bossy – if you are a capable adult, who does not need a mother-figure getting on to you about every little thing, then avoid this place. She got onto us when we arrived, because we were being too loud (trying to figure out where to stay, with huge suitcases in our hands), but when we wanted to sleep in, she didn’t tell any of the other guests to be quiet! We were told to only use 1 shower in our room (there were 2), but we ended up using 2 (I’m sure much to Dorthy’s chagrin) because the first one stopped working mid-shower (handle wouldn’t turn). We let Dorthy know when we didn’t plan on eating meals with the other guests, & we were given a guilt trip. One dinner had a Hawaiian theme – Dorthy claimed it was for us, the honeymooners, but another large family was also visiting from Hawaii. I had a feeling she threw that excuse out to us as a last ditch effort to appease us.

All in all, we met a lot of wonderful people & we loved Alaska as a whole. But I knew I had to write this all out so I could warn everyone else about the Crooked Creek Retreat, because it seems so many other people have nothing but fantastic things to say. I will post this on as many websites as possible, so people know what they’re getting into. I was swayed by good reviews, & that landed me in a crappy cabin. We spent way too much money on a place that gave us very little in return. The next time we visit Alaska we will be happy to spend our money elsewhere.

  • Stayed June 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
13 Thank greenpigeon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
kasilof, Owner at Crooked Creek Retreat, responded to this review, 5 October 2012
Check the review immediately following, they were here at the same time. These guests flew standby, and were bumped. I had no idea where thety were. They arrived in the middle of the night, past any time they were expected. The husband arrived ill. I simply do not recognise the complaints. The room is lovely and often requested. They made no complaint about the room. They had a complete kitchen so why not being allowed to wander the cooks kitchen was a problem I do not know. They went fishing at a discounted rate and made no complaints at the time, They had breakfast and went off with a packed lunch, their complaints I never heard until their review, they had the "best" guide and one that I have never had a complaint about, they talked with other guests and wanted to do the fly out, which I booked for them. The morning of it was raining and the husband announced his wife was sick and they were not going. I explained again I could not cancel the morning off with less then two hours notice. They felt that was my problem. Once it quit raining we saw them going around the outside of the lodge and they were gone most of the day. This review is a dispute about the charge for the fly out, which they only paid 50% of and did not complain when they recieved their invoice at the end of their stay. The wife spent most of the time they were here in their room either telling us they were celebrating their 2nd honeymoon, or she was ill. At the last dinner we did a honeymoon/birthday celebration luau for her, no one had any idea they were not happy other than the two of them both being ill from persisting medical conditions. We had brought meals to their room, cooked to meet their requirements, offered to get a doctor and anything else we could. The TV was a missing a remote and we offered to change out the TV. They said it wasn't needed, they used their computer and dvds. We only have TV in two rooms and a TV in the Great room. The wine complaint, guests are told in advance that we only provide non alcohol beverages. Other guests shared with them when they were at dinner. We try to make all of our guests comfortable, treat everyone well, and book what ever adventures they want. Some of the remarks I will not even point out the misconceptions or simply bad information. Check the other reviews to determine what the retreat is really like. I think you can expect the random bad review .Thank you
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73 reviews from our community

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English first
Kaunakakai, Hawaii
Level Contributor
68 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 July 2012

Our family celebrated my husband's parents' anniversary with a trip to Alaska this year, for fishing and fun. Our all-inclusive stay at Crooked Creek Retreat was arranged through Russell Fishing Co. and included a daily fishing adventure. Our family group of 6 included two flying in from Texas, one from Kentucky, one from Homer, and two from Hawaii.

Crooked Creek Retreat was the perfect accommodation for us! Dorothy, the proprietor, is a wonderful hostess who has elevated anticipating guests' needs to an art form. She anticipates what her guests will enjoy, and tries to provide it, which in the wilds of Alaska is not an easy task.

We slept for seven nights in the most comfortable beds ever. The rooms are large and beautifully decorated, and very clean. The lodge itself is not huge, but very well designed with several seating areas and cozy nooks so that you could socialize or find your own quiet space as desired. We made very good use of the library area filled with books and games, and the outdoor patio deck and horseshoe pit. We even enjoyed a bonfire one night!

The food is amazing. Breakfasts included freshly cooked eggs, potatoes, and the homemade sausage, along with fresh fruit and the specialty of the house, blueberry creme muffins. You WILL want more than one. Whenever we had an early fishing trip, grab and go breakfast sandwiches were thoughtfully provided. On our daily fishing trips, we looked forward to our lunches in the red coolers which were bursting with delicious homemade sandwiches, salads, fruit, and fresh cookies. Dinner started with an appetizer such as smoked salmon spread or homemade razor clam chowder, and moved on to a crisp fresh salad, then was followed by entrees such as halibut in bernaise sauce, stuffed pork chops or seafood alfredo pasta, and topped off by an array of delectable desserts such as fresh strawberry cake, angel food cake with fresh nectarines, and fresh apricot cobbler. The service is excellent, and two highlights for me were being treated to violin music by a young staff member one night, and our special luau night in honor of a honeymooning couple.

We throughly enjoyed our halibut fishing trips with Dustin Russell and his young crew members. The halibut were biting and our fish were cleaned, packed, frozen and boxed for us to bring home. Dustin is very knowledgeable and pleasant, and we hope to fish with him again someday. His cheerful wife Jessica helped us with fishing licenses and even took us out to dig razor clams at Ninilchik. She was amazing! :)

We went on three drift fishing trips for salmon on the Kasilof River, but we weren't very lucky. The scenery was beautiful, the guides knowledgeable and friendly, and we got to see all kinds of wildlife. The moose and eagles were especially cool, and we got very close to them. "Pops" Russell even cooked some halibut for us on a gravel bar. It was so yummy! On another day, our fly out trip to Wolverine Creek was fantastic! We flew an Otter across the inlet, and motored to a remote pool where the salmon were rolling. It sure was fun to catch our limit there! On the plane ride, we saw bears, moose, and got close to a glacier. It was well worth the additional cost.

If you like fishing, scenery, wildlife, great food, camaraderie with new friends, peace and tranquility, the great outdoors, and luxurious surroundings all in one, then Crooked Creek Retreat is for you!

Room Tip: We loved the Black Bear room.
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  • Stayed June 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
4 Thank molokaigirl808
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Florence, South Carolina
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 June 2012

Alaska is truly an amazing place that everyone should visit at least one time in their lifetime. Based on your need of adventure it has something for everyone. From turn-key easy to the most challenging adventures, Alaska has it all. We have made several trips to the far North West. Truly Alaska remains at the top of our list for fishing destinations and sightseeing.

This year my wife and I made a return visit to the Kenai Peninsula. It had been several years since our last visit to the Soldotna area. The drive down the Sterling Highway (Rt. 1) from Anchorage to Soldotna was just as spectacular as we recalled, from our last visit.

We made our fishing arrangements through Russell Fishing Company, Inc. and stayed at the newly constructed lodge of Crooked Creek. Arrived at Crooked Creek on 6/30/12 and depart 6/09/12, for six nights of lodging, including all meals, four days of guided fishing and plenty of peace and relaxation.

The Crooked Creek Lodge and staff are all extremely professional in their operation. The log designed lodge is top notch, very comfortable, extremely clean, and very roomy. The food was superb from breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Dinners consisted of appetizers (fresh clam soup, salmon spread, etc), entrées of (fish, beef and chicken), and scrumptious disserts topped off each meal. No one walked away from the table hungry.

Our guides throughout the week were from Russell Fishing Company, Inc. They were very professional and knew the area and waterways very well. From float trips on the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers for King Salmon, to halibut on Cook Inlet out of Anchor Point to the fly-in at Wolverine Creek for Sockeye all were well planned and easily accessible from the lodge. Based on your fishing and / or sightseeing request an itinerary was posted, at the lodge, nightly for confirmation. Fish were cleaned, vacuum-packed, frozen, and boxed for the return flight home.

There was plenty of wildlife to be seen and captured in photos, from the nightly moose behind the lodge and along the roadways, the occasional caribou to the grizzly bears at Wolverine Creek. Again, the scenery is spectacular, from free flowing rivers, snow capped mountains, ice covered glaciers, and low lying tundra.

There is absolutely no doubt that we had a very big time and our only regret is that it passed so quickly. Make a call, send an email to Crooked Creek or Russell Fishing Company, Inc and plan a vacation in Alaska.

"What the imagination cannot conceive, reality will provide." (J&J)

  • Stayed June 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
4 Thank Joe B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ventura county
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 June 2012

Our first experience visiting Alaska was via a cruise, and we knew we wanted to come back and see more. We had no idea where to start looking! We searched the Internet and read Trip Advisor’s reviews of different areas. We found the book called The Milepost which is a must-have before you go. After doing this research and talking with friends that have been to Alaska, we knew we wanted to go to the Kenai Peninsula. But where to stay? With 23 positive reviews, and 1 negative on Trip Advisor for Crooked Creek, we figured the one negative must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed. We were right. We started communicating with Auntie Dorothy months before we stayed at her beautiful retreat. She was instrumental in helping us plan for our trip! We knew we wanted to do some fishing along with some sight-seeing. We relied on her suggestions and they were spot-on. We ended up on 4 fishing trips with Russell Fishing Company (which we would recommend), Kasilof River drift, Kenai River power boat, Halibut Fishing out of Anchor Point, and a fly-out with Alaska Air. To give some insight on how this worked in our case was that we showed up at the lodge, and Auntie Dorothy and Jessica from Russell Fishing took care of the rest. They put us on fish every day! Auntie Dorothy and staff also gave us suggestions on where to go when we weren’t fishing. Our choices were the Kenai Fjords expedition, a river raft float trip, and exploring the local area based on Auntie Dorothy’s suggestions. To say the least, this was a phenomenal adventure. Now, about the lodge, when you read all the reviews that tell you that the food is great, the staff is excellent, the rooms are comfortable, etc, it is all true. For just relaxing, you can read a book in their library, go play horseshoes by the creek, or sit out at the fire-pit and tell fish stories. One of the best things that happened for us was hanging out with all the other guests, having a beer, and hearing about their adventures. We would definitely go back to the Crooked Creek Retreat, and hope to soon!

  • Stayed June 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
5 Thank tripsa47
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
kasilof, Owner at Crooked Creek Retreat, responded to this review, 25 November 2014
Thank you for the great review. Some may wonder why we show so many friend reviews, it is thanks to people like you who we welcome into the Crooked Creek family and you quickly become family and follow us on Facebook. We love to welcome you back anytime and hope you enjoy the postings we try to keep current. Come back soon, we have added more boats, more guides and have available great fly fishing, Steelhead, early and late season. Thank you again for the great review!
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Austin, Texas
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 June 2012

This was an amazing stay, From the amazing service, perfect location, great accomodations to the best meals available. Our arrival at midnight didn't stop Auntie Dorothy from staying up late to greet us, and also, Jessica was up bright and early to make sure we had our fishing license. To be able to be minutes away from all the action, made it a great part of the trip, we were within minutes from the Kasilof river and Kenai river made the early mornings more pleasent. Just a few more minutes and we were in salt water fishing where we had great guides at all times. The Crooked Creek Retreat also provides the fishing guides with Russell Fishing Co right on site. All you need is say what you want to catch and they take you right to it. Great bunch of guides!! The log cabin is amazing, if you take a minute to look at the support logs you will see amazing engineering and architecture working together yet seemless to the eye. Huge areas to relax so you don't have to fight for a good spot, with 8,000 square feet you will find "your favorite spot". I don't remember the last time I ate 3 great meals per day, from eggs benedict for breakfast, to a lunch box while your fish yet, when you come exhausted from a long day of fishing, you are greeted with your own appetizer (killer clam chowder- with fresh clams from the day before!!) to perfect salads, main dish I wont tell you wat it is but be prepared to finish your plate... everything was as good as a 5 star restaurant and make sure you ask for the Coconut crust fresh frout ice creamn pie. I am not huge on desserts but that was really amazing.

All in all IO would highly recommend Crooked Creek Retreat, the only thing that I would change is the name to Crooked Creek RESORT!!

Room Tip: Loved the lodge room, you have a back door to the patio and creek very nice to chill after dinner.
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  • Stayed June 2012, travelled with friends
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Rod J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Naples, FL
Level Contributor
29 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 June 2012

Well my friend and I decided we guys would go to Alaska and do a week of fishing followed by our wives coming up a week later for some sight seeing and a minor amount of fishing. After our first day it was clear these was no regular place. I have stayed over 1,000 nights at various hotels and bed & breakfasts around the world and my expectations for Kasilof Alaska were normal. Corrked Creek Resort exceeded my expectations on every dimension. The staff and management at Crooked Creek Resort were fantastic. The cooking was top notch and the accomodations were also excellent. We were treated to a first class, all-inclusive (except drinks) stay and when our wives arrived in Alaska they loved Crooked Creek Resort too!

If what you want is a first class stay with great food in a lovely log home all while you are visiting Alaska - - this is your place

We leave tomorrow after 10 days here, I am wondering how we can take the staff with us.

  • Stayed June 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Larry C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kerman, California, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 June 2012

Alaska is such an amazing place, beautiful mountains, rivers, ocean and wildlife. Our time at Crooked Creek Retreat will forever be one of our best vacation memories. Auntie Dorothy, and her staff are great hosts and made us feel like we were part of the family. We were spoiled with 5 star meals daily,never a lack of food. Be careful you will gain at least 5 lbs, I know this first hand. We had an amazing trip and are already planning our trip back next year! Oh and a special unexpected treat, we had a momma moose and her two babies visit the creek behind the property and we could see them off our balcony,truely amazing! Every one should plan a trip to Alaska and if you can stay with Auntie Dorothy at Crooked Creek Retreat,don't forget your camera!

Room Tip: ask for a room with the creek view.
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  • Stayed June 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Jana D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Crooked Creek Retreat

Property: Crooked Creek Retreat
Address: 59325 Sterling Hwy, PO Box 1190, Kasilof, AK 99610-9627
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Alaska > Kasilof
Amenities:
Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 B&Bs / Inns in Kasilof
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Our fishing lodge is full service, from your room to your fishing experience, we are a complete outfitter. We have earned a Cabela's Outdoor Adventure Lodge and Sportsman's News Platinum Outfitter designation. The lodge is on Crooked Creek far away from the other lodges in town, yet conveniently located for Salt Water and River fishing. King Salmon spawn in the creek and you can fish it after July 31st for trout, Silvers and in the late fall for Steelhead or you can watch Eagles catch Steelhead and trow them up on the bank. Service is our goal. Our staff guest ratio is 1 to 2. Everything is designed to make your Alaska trip one you will remember. During fishing season we offer all inclusive packages, 6 or 5 nights, with fishing adventures everyday, all meals, all fully guided trips, all gear, fish processing, fishing licenses and king stamps, short boots, hip boots, and rain gear. We have our own boats, we have only the best guides, all are fully licensed and ready to take you out on the Kasilof, Kenai, Ninlchik, Deep Creek, the Anchor and local lakes for Salmon, Trout. Steelhead, Arctic Char and Grayling. Your fishing trips include a Halibut trip on the Cook Inlet, a Fly Out across the Cook Inlet to the Alaska Peninsula, plus you will enjoy drift boat fishing on the Kasilof, power boats on the Kenai, or walk in for some great trout and Steelhead fishing. We also provide adventure packages that offer fjord cruises, kayaks, bear viewing that can be combined with fishing adventures. Guests enjoy meals with other guests and guides, hanging out at the fire pit, swinging in hammocks, relaxing in the hot tub, sight seeing, or watching wildlife from the decks. All rooms have private baths, spa robes, first class linens, and are fully appointed. You have available 24/7 cold beverages on the kitchen deck and in the breakfast loft there are snacks, coffee, teas, hot chocolate, and juice in the fridge. If you would like your fish cooked for you just ask, we will put it on the grill for an afternoon snack, or for dinner. All guests meet with the chef to discus and food preferences. The chef makes all of our bread, pastries, and all of our lunch meats are cooked in house, you will have options for fresh salmon, Halibut, and other Alaska seafood, as well as Prime Rib some great barbecue, and of course hot breakfast every morning. Of course you have available throughout the lodge Wifi, the great room has Sat TV, two of the rooms have kitchens and TV. There is always the Library loft for some great views or quiet relaxing with a book. ... more   less 

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