The challenge with this property is that it has no competition. While there are some small inns in Gustavus (and I'd probably recommend them over the lodge for sleeping comfort and food), the lodge is the only location on the water, in the park. Aramark has no NEED to do anything to get business or do much to ensure guest satisfaction since few will return and future guests will make much the same choices between comfort and location. Although the local inns seem more expensive, once you include food, transportation, service and amenities it is probably closely priced.
Location - as others have written, the location is terrific - right in the park and up by the water. The nature element of lodge property itself feels a bit overgrown - beware of rooms saying they have a bay view - most have trees grown up in front. Nice nature trails around the lodge and down to the water with a nice interpretive trail.
Check-In - Inefficient. The lodges computer systems, like the lodge itself, probably date back to the late 70's so check in is slow and retrieving information is painful. We were not given our breakfast vouchers as the printer wasn't working and were checked in to the wrong type of accomodation - not a bay view room as we had booked. We chose not to switch and were credited the difference in price. Friendly front desk staff but felt like management/professionalism felt absent - lots of "stumbling" to get things together.
Lodging - The main areas are in need of modernization - more efficient common seating areas, electrical outlets and updated wireless would be nice improvements. There is a NPS outpost on the 2nd floor with information on the area which is informative and helpful. The sleeping accomodations are individual buildings holidng 2-3 rooms which themselves are a throwback to the 70's. The rooms are tired with all-purpose carpeting, beds featuring minimal mattresses, polyester bedspreads and tired linens and bathrooms with dispensers for shampoo, conditioner and bath gel that were all empty. (Photos attached). Lighting was OK and each room did have it's own coffee maker. For the $ charged I would rate this a one star. Housekeeping came very late in the day. As with other Aramark lodges - you are paying for the privilege of being in the park not for the quality of the lodging.
Restaurant - like the lodging - typical Aramark - nothing fancy and relatively pricey for what you get. They don't have to be good because there is only one dining option on-site and guests are usually only there for 1-2 meals. Several key items were out of stock during our stay including basics like bagels & a pork tenderloin entree. Our server Christian was good natured, helpful and attentive - as were most of the servers we encountered. We had one small challenge not getting our breakfast vouchers when we checked in so we mistakenly paid for a breakfast which the restaurant manager Michael took care of by crediting a later meal.
Excursions/Gift Shop - these are concessions and not operated by the lodge. Glacier Bay Boat trip is pricey but worth it to see these incredible works of nature along with a wide variety of animal life. (See separate review). We booked but didn't take a kayak excursion but heard from others that it was nice for a half day, but a bit long for the full day. Gift shop is stocked with snack items, some camping supplies and souvenirs. You can also rent bicycles ($25/half day) to get into "town"
Campground/Other facilitites - The park also has a walk in campground which was very lightly used while we were there and laundry and restroom facilities at the lodge.
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- Also Known As:
- Glacier Bay Hotel Gustavus
- Glacier Bay Lodge Gustavus, Alaska