I led 23 people from our ski club to Whitefish January 26 - February 2, 2008, and we stayed at the Kandahar. It was an exceptionally good experience. Note that what follows is my own opinion and mine alone, although I know that many, perhaps even all, of the people on my trip share my enthusiasm. It's a warm, inviting, comfortable place, convenient to the slopes, and, above all run by a friendly, attentive, and helpful staff. What more could you ask for?
Other reviews refer to the hotel's "lobby." That's really not the right word. When I think of a hotel lobby, I think of a place where the hotel's business is transacted, and guests might meet each other, but not a place particularly designed for socializing. At the Kandahar, the check-in desk is right at the main entrance, but the "lobby" is off to your left, and it is much more of a lounge than a lobby. It's sunk three steps below the level of the check-in desk, and has a large wood-burning fireplace at the front, and the delightful Snug Bar behind. In between are multiple leather-covered sofas, love seats, and armchairs, and we found it an inviting place to meet for a drink before dinner, get together after dinner, or just curl up with a book on that day when you weren't skiing. The big-screen TV is off to the side, actually out of the lounge area entirely, for those of you who don't go to Montana to watch TV (and if you do, you seriously need to get a life).
There's a self-service ski storage room just off the lounge, and once you pick up your skis, it's about three minutes by foot to Home Again trail, and maybe another two to the bottom of chair 6. At the end of the ski day, you come down Home Again, which gets to the back of the hotel. You have to take your skis off once you get there, to walk to the front of the hotel and the ski storage room. In any case, getting on and off the slopes is so easy, I found no reason to get on the ever-ready hotel van to drive me to the lifts.
Our rooms were clean and well-maintained, and the heavy use of wood paneling on the walls gave them a more distinctive feel than you get at the large corporate hotels. I noted the lack of a safe in our room, but nobody from our group lost any property, even though many of us had brought laptops along.
The continental breakfast at the Cafe Kandahar was a step up from the usual fare; it included a waffle iron, pastries that you would expect to see on a dessert menu, and what my wife calls "scrambles," casseroles full of potatoes, eggs, onions, sausage, mushrooms, and the like. I spotted someone eating quiche one morning. One minor criticism: I grew up eating New York bagels, and the prepackaged ones they had fell far short of that standard. A bigger criticism: The staff running the show at breakfast sometimes seemed to have a little too much to do, what with pouring coffee for 20-30 people at a time, clearing tables, replenishing the serving table, and so forth. On the other hand, after the English-born couple in our group asked for tea at breakfast the first day, the waitress remembered to bring them tea every day afterwards.
And that last is just one example of the kind of service we got throughout our stay. Tom, the bartender at the Snug Bar, knew me by name after one day, and what I liked to drink (maybe because I was the trip leader?), and was as friendly and personable as you could want from the guy on the other side of the bar. The hotel management and front desk staff helped make my job as trip leader easier by handling every request I made for our group as if it were not only the most important thing they had to do, but also the most enjoyable.
We all had to leave at 3:45 Saturday morning (ugh...) to catch a 6:00 flight home. When we got to the check-in area, we found a table that usually had cider and cookies in the afternoon had been set up with coffee, tea, pastries, fruit, bagels, cream cheese, and bottles of orange juice, for us to put in supplied paper bags so we could have something to eat while waiting for our flight home. Just one of the many little touches that made us agree we'd happily stay at the Kandahar Lodge again.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Kandahar Lodge is a rustic, yet elegant lodge located at Whitefish Mountain Resort, 7 miles north of Whitefish and 32 miles from the west entrance of Glacier National Park. The Lodge has 50 rooms, a fully licensed bar and a gourmet restaurant that serves dinner only. A continental breakfast is included in the rates. The lovely lobby has a wood burning fireplace, free WIFI and comfortable couches and chairs. Other amenities include a large outdoor hot tub, steam room, exercise room and massage treatment room. The rooms all have queen beds, down comforters, microwaves, small refrigerators and a/c. Kandahar is open from the first week of December to the first week of April (ski season) and June 1 through September 30. The Lodge opens to prearranged groups of 20 or more in the spring and fall ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Kandahar Hotel Whitefish
- Kandahar Lodge Whitefish, Montana