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“Nostalgic charm tucked away in Seward, Alaska” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of The Van Gilder Hotel

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The Van Gilder Hotel
Ranked #9 of 14 Hotels in Seward
Lexington, South Carolina
1 review
“Nostalgic charm tucked away in Seward, Alaska”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 July 2013

A heartfelt thank you to Daniel, Daniella, Clint and Ciara for being the most accommodating and informative staff of any hotel we have every lodged with. We wanted to roll back time and experience the old charm of Alaska in a quaint fishing town and so we did. The Van Gilder is a gem in the rough. It needs some updating but the rooms were clean and I can't say enough good things about the staff. I would highly recommend them.

Room Tip: Rooms that over look the town and bay area are great.
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank taddyhaltiwanger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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143 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
    22
    48
    40
    16
    17
See reviews for
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (29)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
orcutt, ca
Level Contributor
101 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 July 2013

The Van Gilder is a cool little hotel. You need to know what you are getting into. Our family took rooms 301-303 (double room) on the top floor with a great corner view of the Mountains and Ocean. Older travelers, keep in mind their is no elevator. We had our own bathroom (not all rooms do). Being a 100 year old hotel, the rooms are drafty (probably could use some window work soon).

Their is a community kitchen as well as a community "living room" with flat screen TV (rooms have old small tube TVs), DVDs to watch, an eating area, and small fridge. Its pretty cool.

Danny the GM is a great guy and makes the hotel what it is. He baked cookies for our kids, had a pot of coffee out every morning, and was just a good dude to talk to.

I would stay here again in Seward.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank cbo49r
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fairbanks, Alaska
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 June 2013

I made reservations here for 4th of July weekend in March. MARCH, people!
They lost my reservation.
It is the busiest time of the year, and after furiously making a bunch of phone calls found something else.
How does a hotel lose a reservation?
How does a hotel not have any financial record of my reservation????
Is the Internet new to this place?
Take your business elsewhere.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with friends
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank leahdcurtiss
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these Seward hotels

Penang, Malaysia
Level Contributor
31 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 June 2013

The Van Gilder is on the National Register of Historic Places, and guide books as well as Tripadvisor reviews all stress its old world charm. There is also, possibly, a resident lady ghost- all very appealing.

The positives are; you can be sure of a warm welcome and usually there is free flow of hot coffee, but fittings, carpets etc are definitely on the 'too old' side of interesting and quaint. The wifi in some rooms was too weak to use; our TV had strange colours on screen - maybe there has to be a trade off if you want genuine old buildings. It must be a tricky balance to maintain- keeping the olde worlde atmosphere yet meeting people's expectations, but I think the owners do need to spend some money on refreshing the place.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank mike g
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Moab, Utah
Level Contributor
13 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 June 2013

This was the only hotel we could find online that could sleep all five of us in one room. That worked out well. There were two adjoining rooms with a Murphy bed in the second room. Everything was visually appealing, but we did feel like we were stepping back in time. We were there in June, when the sun hardly sets and there were no room darkening shades. The wi-fi was spotty. The very nice young man who was at the desk said there was a booster, but he was having electrical issues. The location, however was excellent.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Lafmom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Alaska
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 May 2013

Which I liked and was also 100+ years old. There are certain things that this old building will not give you. Fortunately, I don't care about most of those things. I booked this hotel because it was more cost-effective than the other options in Seward. The next time I travel to Seward, I will intentionally stay here. The room was cozy, warm, clean, and close to the Sea Life Center. Don't stay here if you are looking for a modern hotel experience. Do stay here if you can appreciate something different.

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled solo
    • 4 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?
Thank AKWeezy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Farmington Hills, Michigan
Level Contributor
51 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 April 2013

I think how much you like the Van Gilder will depend upon how you're traveling. If you're solo like I was, or perhaps a young couple, I think you'll find it charming. I loved the historic feel--it's very 1909, or at least, it's what I feel 1909 must have been like. The ruby carpet, the dark and thin hallway, reminded me of The Shining--in a non-scary way, but I still half-expected to turn a corner and see those two creepy twin girls. And I loved the old-fashioned windows--it's nice to slide it open and just enjoy the view with no screen or bars, just the crisp Alaskan air. And it's very refreshing that I'm trusted not to kill myself.

The room was clean, and even though it looked old, I didn't find it ugly or musty or anything like that. The room was nothing spectucular, but fine for a few days. I've slept in better beds, but this one was okay. I had desk space, a TV high on the wall, and reliable Wifi. A mini-fridge would've been great, but there are stores and restaurants literally minutes away on foot, so that wasn't an issue. The location is great--the stunning Resurrection Bay, and 4th Avenue (and its restaurants, cafes, and souvenir shops) pretty much right outside the front door.

However, if you're used to modern hotels and amenities, I guess I could see why you may not like the Van Gilder as much as some other places. I've heard a few people call it "musty"--I didn't think it was, but I guess I could see why some people might think it so. And regarding the window with no screen that didn't quite close all the way and thus didn't lock--to an athletic guy like me, on the third floor, it was no big deal. However, if you're traveling with small children it can be downright dangerous, and if you're a woman traveling by herself and you're on the ground flloor or even the second, it could certainly make falling asleep a bit tougher--you might want to ask if the window locks when you check in, or ask to move to the top floor. Just a thought.

Like I said, it depends on how you're traveling. This solo traveler looking to explore Alaska, then wind down at a restaurant or coffeehouse down the street, liked it.

Room Tip: If you're on an upper floor, no fridge isn't that big of a deal--just open the window and se...
See more room tips
  • Stayed September 2012, travelled solo
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Matthew M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Van Gilder Hotel

Property: The Van Gilder Hotel
Address: 308 Adams St., Seward, AK 99664
Region: United States > Alaska > Seward
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly)
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 14 Hotels in Seward
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:2.5 star — The Van Gilder Hotel 2.5*
Number of rooms: 23
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Van Gilder Hotel
Van Gilder Seward
The Van Gilder Hotel Seward, Alaska

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