We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“Amazing location & facility, but some staff members are totally incompetent” 2 of 5 bubbles
Review of Glacier Bay Lodge

Best prices for -
Check In dd/mm/yyyy Check Out dd/mm/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
Glacier Bay Lodge
Ranked #3 of 5 Hotels in Gustavus
Los Angeles, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Amazing location & facility, but some staff members are totally incompetent”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 August 2010

This location is awesome. The beauty of the boreal rain forest, the tranquility of the cove and nearby bay, the wildlife viewing and, of course, all the glaciers, is the reason to come here. The Lodge itself has magnificent architecture, designed to become part of the surrounding environment. It is all wood and glass, has a majestic view of the cove, and the rooms are away from the main dining hall and fireplace. A very relaxing base of operations from which you can venture out and do whatever you're interested in doing. I personally am a wildlife photographer and spent the days out on boats absorbing the whales, otters, sea lions, puffins, harbor seals, kittiwakes, and so forth...unlike anything else in the world.

BUT, the Lodge is run by Aramark Corp, an international company that works under the auspices of the National Park Service at Glacier Bay. It hires staff from all over the US, mostly oddball personalities that had nothing going for themselves in their home towns, and decided to ship out for the summer and pack away their earnings, since there is not much to divert your salary up here. Many Aramark employees were over-the-top in their customer service. We found the restaurant manager to be extremely helpful, one of the young women at the front desk always came through for us, and one of the shuttle van drivers was also very personable and professional. But just as many Aramark employees acted as if they were brain dead.

The problems started when we booked our rooms and glacier tours and connecting flight from Juneau through the toll-free Aramark phones. They double-billed my MasterCard for the trip package, and when I called them up to get the charges reversed, I got no where. I had to file a complaint with MasterCard who took action against Aramark. Aramark, I would come to see, is very good at draining money from your wallet, but very bad at refunds, especially when they make mistakes. I SUGGEST YOU BUY TRIP INSURANCE JUST IN CASE SOMETHING CHANGES AND YOU CANNOT GO TO THIS ARAMARK LODGE. IT IS THE ONLY RECOURSE YOU WILL HAVE FOR A REFUND IF YOU GET SICK, OR MISS A CONNECTING FLIGHT OR WHATEVER. Their 14-day no refund policy is carved deep into the stone tablets of the Aramark policy book.

Now to clarify what I meant by some employees being "brain dead," let me give a few examples that may serve as a "heads-up" to others who may choose this fabulous natural wonder as their destination. Again, employees like those mentioned at the top of this discussion were very helpful, but their compadres were not. I'll divide my examples of employee cluelessness into two areas: shuttle transportation and Lodge restaurant.

First thing you need to know is that the Lodge is 9 or 10 miles away from everything. And this is one of its features...away from the hustle and bustle, and nestled in the National Park. But should you need to go to and from anywhere: the whale watch boats or airport in Gustavus, or another dining establishment or gallery, you should expect that you might be left stranded for a long time until a shuttle driver happens to get around to picking you up. We were told a shuttle van would meet us at the airport when we arrived. Almost 2 hours later a big green school bus finally got us. On a whale watch trip from the Gustavus docks, the van dropped us of on the seaward end of the long pier, where the boats are, confirmed our return pick-up time, then did not show up when we got back from the trip. I used my cell phone and called the front desk and was told a van was "on the way!" An hour later I called again and was told not to worry, the van would be there soon. Not long after my 2nd call, the 4 of us spotted that big green school bus again, but it was 1/4-mile away on the landward end of the long pier where we were dropped off and where we were expecting, naturally, to be picked up. The bus paused for a moment, then turned around and left us stranded on the opposite end of the pier. I called the front desk a 3rd time upon seeing the bus leave, and was rudely scolded by the woman on the front desk phones for not being on the correct end of the pier. Of course, nobody told the 4 of us we'd be picked up at a different spot than we were dropped of. No apologies from the bus driver. Instead, the bus driver, annoyed at having to come back for us, floored the accelerator and sped down the roads back to the Lodge at about 65 miles an hour. The spruce trees flew by in a blur. We had white knuckles.

Second, lets discuss brain dead employees in the Lodge restaurant. The food here is not bad, but the menu is fairly limited and never changes. After a few days, you will get bored. And if you are a vegetarian, or on a low cholesterol diet as I am, you will probably come close to starving to death. One night we arrived and the host put our name on the waiting list of about 4 other parties. The place was full. We did not mind the expected 20-minute wait for a table, but when the host left the front desk for a few minutes, some of the "helpful" waiters began seating newcomers right and left, as if the waiting list did not exist. Well it did not exist, at least for him! This added another 40 minutes to the wait. Almost every time we ate at the Lodge, the waiter or waitress would "forget" things. That's why I used the term "brain dead" when describing some of the Aramark employees. I ordered the fresh halibut for dinner one night, then asked the waiter for some lemon and tartar sauce as it came with nothing. I waited 20 minutes to catch his attention and remind him again about my request as the halibut sat on my plate and cold stone cold. On another occasion I asked the waitress about the fish and chips special...how many pieces of fish? 4 or 5 was her reply. When the food was served it was 3. Another: may I have a refill on my coffee please? 15 minutes later...no coffee. I'd like some dinner rolls with my salad please. Rolls are served with entrees only, I was told, but could buy some for my salad for an extra $2. Okay, go ahead. 20 minutes later the salad has been eaten and still no rolls. I could blather on even more about some of the servers in the restaurant, but in the interests of time and out of consideration for anyone who has actually read all the way down to this point, I'll suffice it to say that service at the Lodge is spotty, mostly not so good.

In summary, Glacier Bay Lodge: one of the best facilities and locations in the natural world, but the Aramark money-grubbing, iron-fisted, and often zomboidial employees are a definite down side.

  • Stayed August 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Bob P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review

202 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
    59
    90
    29
    17
    7
See reviews for
45
105
13
1
Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (51)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
LAnse,Michigan
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 August 2010

The most beautiful place we stayed in Alaska.
We traveled all over Alaska and Canada for 6 weeks this summer and this stay was our best stop on the trip. We picked berries and fished the waters around the park and had a very good stay with lots of nice fish.
The food at the lodge was very good and if you like Pizza take the shuttle to town and there is out of this world Pizza in town.
The boat ride up into the park was very nice and the whale watching was worth the cost to sit still in the water with humpback whales jumping out the the water like salmon.

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank upbert
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Level Contributor
53 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 August 2010

rustic lodge, informal, nice people working there, very quiet, no tv's, wifi in lodge, beautiful park - will be going back. Great pizza at the hometown shore cafe in Gustavus. Had a great breakfast at Annie Mae's and nice dinner at the Bear Track Inn. Loved reading by the fire, nature trails, glacier tour and whale watching. The lodge restaurant is just ok.

  • Stayed August 2010, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank dpnsue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kingston, Ontario
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 August 2010

My husband and I stayed here as a start to a kayaking trip into the Beardsley Islands. We returned to stay a couple of more nights after our camping trip. Very basic but comfortable rooms. Roomy enough to dry out all of your camping gear : ) The staff were welcoming and helpful. The Rangers, located right inside the lodge, are particularly knowledgeable and have superb advice for how to best use your time. The rooms looking out into the forest were lovely. We particularly enjoyed waking up one morning to a moose and calf right at our window.
The lodge dining was disappointing. The food was mediocre but the view incredible. We always sat with our binoculars at hand.
The boat tour up to the glaciers is definitely worth the money. Time well spent.

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Lois11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mobile, Alabama
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 August 2010

I enjoyed the Glacier Bay Lodge, which sits on Glacier Bay and is surrounded by a temperate rain forrest. The lodge is a simple but classic national park hotel. Everything was clean and well kept. The employees were friendly and helpful. They were good at anticipating the needs of the travelers. When I flew into Gustavis, I wondered how I was supposed to get to the lodge. But to my relief the shuttle bus was there to meet the plane.
The lodge is somewhat isolated so that there is no TV or cell phone coverage, but they do have wireless internet in the lobby. There are phones in the rooms, but you need a phone card for long distance. Also, the only place to eat is the lodge restaurant. The food was good--the dungeness crab was the best! The lodge will shuttle travelers to Gustavis where there is a cafe and a small store.
I saw a moose outside my window--better than TV.

  • Stayed August 2010, travelled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Brendakay12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Denver
Level Contributor
19 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 August 2010

We were booked to stay at GBL on 8/4/10. We got stranded in Haines and could not fly because of the weather. GBL refused to refund our money. We had to cancel our flight out with Wings and our whale watching tour and had no problems but GBL refused to help us. Alaska was great but the weather is always unpredictable. Every hotel in Alaska knows this and works with travelers, except for GBL.

Stayed August 2010, travelled with family
Helpful?
6 Thank lukydawg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edmond, Oklahoma
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 August 2010

The staff was wonderfully accomodating. The lodge itself is situated in a beautiful, wooded area with easy access to the waterfront. Our room had a fabulous view of the water. There are hiking trails, rangers available for information and guided hikes; and the whale watching and glacier tours were great fun. The restraunt was the only thing that might need some improvement...the food was average and overpriced. I hope to visit again!

  • Stayed August 2010
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank MsRobyn123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hotels you might also like...
Travellers also viewed these Gustavus hotels
8.9 mi away
Glacier Bay's Bear Track Inn
4.5 mi away
Wild Alaska Inn at Glacier Bay
5.3 mi away
Annie Mae Lodge
Annie Mae Lodge
#4 of 9 in Gustavus
4.5 of 5 bubbles 41 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
6.2 mi away
Gustavus Inn at Glacier Bay
Show Prices

Been to Glacier Bay Lodge? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Glacier Bay Lodge

Property: Glacier Bay Lodge
Address: 179 Barlett Cove, Gustavus, AK 99826
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Alaska > Gustavus
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 5 Hotels in Gustavus
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:3 star — Glacier Bay Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 48
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com and Priceline so you can book your Glacier Bay Lodge reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Glacier Bay Hotel Gustavus
Glacier Bay Lodge Gustavus, Alaska

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing