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“just fine, good location”

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The Van Gilder Hotel
Ranked #7 of 14 Hotels in Seward
Cary, NC
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“just fine, good location”
Reviewed 27 July 2008

This is not a great hotel, but the accomodations are decent and comfortable, and the location is very convenient (in downtown Seward, near the Sea Life Center). The building has character (though apparently this isn't to everyone's taste), our room was clean and the staff was pleasant. The breakfast is basic, but the pastries at the gift shop/cafe 1/2 block down on 4th Avenue are terrific.

Stayed July 2008
Helpful?
Thank colorpenguin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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152 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (32)
Date | Rating
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
316 reviews
72 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 380 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 July 2008

We stayed here for two night so we could explore Kenai Fjords National Park (on water with Renown Tours - excellent, and on land at Exit Glacier). The hotel has a one night free coupon in the Alaska Tour Saver Coupon Book (well worth buying before visiting Alaska). The hotel is about a 1 mile walk from the small boat harbor where all the action is, and about 1/8th mile from the Sea Life Center. Very rustic, old, paint peeling type place - plenty of sounds from water pipes, creaky floors etc. But generally clean and comfortable. The 'free breakfast' was uninspired - trays of pastries, bagels to toast and muffins - juice cans - coffees. But no fruit - toss out a few bananas and it would have been better. We rented the family 'suite' - two bedrooms - fine for the kids and us for $199/night. Come with non-chain expectations and you'll be fine - come expecting 'chain hotel' standards and you'll be upset.

  • Liked — It was quirky different, and the location met our needs
  • Disliked — Water pipe noises (i.e. toilets flushing above running through walls)
  • Stayed June 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank LondonUnveiled
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 June 2008

This place smelled like onions from someone cooking on the first floor -- an aroma that wafted up to the third, where we had our shabby little room with the Murphy bed that folded out over the bureau. This is like a hostel, like a European hotel, old-fashioned, not without its charm -- but also disorganized, rickety, slightly unclean-feeling. The carpets on the front steps are worn through and distressing every time you walk up. It wasn't the worst place I've ever stayed by a long shot, but if I am ever in Seward again I will definitely look for a better hotel.
Great location, however. Just a short walk to the marine center and some nice places to eat, like Yoly's Bistro and the Sea Bean Cafe.

Stayed June 2008
Helpful?
Thank TipsyBaker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these Seward hotels

East Sussex
Level 5 Contributor
72 reviews
55 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 June 2008

After staying in many modern 'plastic' hotels this was refreshingly different. Very friendly staff.

Some areas, such as the front stairway are a bit tatty, but I found everything very clean. I was aware of the lack of elevator, but the climb to the top floor was worth it.

Breakfast in the communal kitchen was enjoyable. WiFi reception on the top floor was marginal and the water was rather too hot.

Think different style of hotel and enjoy it. If you want a large plastic, impersonal room, try elsewhere.

  • Liked — Individual style
  • Stayed June 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank Michael_East_Sussex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
worktraveler08022
1 review
Reviewed 19 June 2008

I recently stayed at this hotel. The front desk staff was friendly and personable. The hotel is older and it shows. I appreciate that it is a historic building, and wouldn't want the place to go out of business. However, I think the owner should take care of a few things. First, the carpet on the front steps is visibly ragged and worn, with huge raggedy holes in it. The paint on the outside really needs to be touched up and completely redone in places where it is chipping off. Also, as I will detail later, the shower did not work properly. Don't be fooled by the photos on the hotel website- this place is small, old, worn looking, and quaint but worn on the inside. It is also worth noting that the parking is in small, crowded gravel lot behind the hotel, and is the "one with the trailer parked in it."

As others have noted, there is no elevator. I did not have a problem with that, but it is something to be aware of. There are interesting photos of old Seward, important figures in Seward's past, and details about the town on the walls. There is also a nice painting from the 40's. Decor is acceptable and has a quaint historic feel.

The rooms open with regular keys, not card keys. The lock is older, not heavy duty or particularly secure. Inside the room, there is a brass bed and a really old looking, possibly vintage bedspread that looks like it hasn't been washed in months or years. The sheets, however, were clean and the bed was neatly made. There is a tiny TV in the far, upper corner of the wall, which is a bit funny, because there is a bureau in front of the bed where a TV could be placed. The TV on the bureau would be much easier to see, and would also not require all the effort that they took to install a shelf and a TV up near the ceiling. There is no hairdryer, AC, heat, or iron in the room, which is good to be aware of before your stay. The walls are also extremely thin, which is understandable for an old building, but is also something that one should be aware of. It was easy to hear other guests talking in their rooms.

The bathroom was small but clean, with a somewhat hilarious early 1900's photo of a lady with a bare behind standing next to a bicycle. I could have overlooked all the other problems, but my main gripe with the hotel is that the shower did not work properly. The shower is either scaldingly, dangerously hot, or ice cold. There is no in between. I struggled with it for about 20 minutes before wearing out the hot water for perhaps 3 minutes and managing to jump in and wash my hair before the water turned ice cold again. That is not a real shower and not what I paid 158 dollars per night for. I also thought that since the water starts out ice cold, then goes to lukewarm for about 30 seconds, then suddenly becomes scaldingly hot, that a child or older person that is not able to jump out in time could be seriously hurt or burned. When I informed the front desk of the problem, I was informed that the problem is common in the hotel and happens all the time. I am sure that is not the answer that potential guests want to hear and it is something to consider before staying there. For this reason, I would not stay at the hotel again.

  • Liked — good location
  • Disliked — shower did not work
  • Stayed June 2008
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank worktraveler08022
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Portland
2 reviews
Reviewed 18 June 2008

Bad exsperiance in Seward AK, Van Gilder Hotel.

Normally I let things go but this place tried to mess up my great day in Seward Alaska on the day before my day out with the Kenai Fjords tours. I am telling my 20 people and I will cross reference it and send as many people that I can here.

Get a place to stay for the night in Seward, but make sure that it is not the Van Gilder (my vote of the worst customer service in a tourist location, they gave me 2 different stories about why they could not turn on the heat in our room and I was just to [--] tired to check out and find another place at that time. So I am telling my 20 people about how Terrible the service and place is so that it comes back to bite them in the posterior in a very slow business year.) Now there were other issues with the place other than just no heat on a night that the temp dropped in to the 40's the night we were there. There was the TV, a 13 inch job, on a shelf above the bed so you could not lay down in the bed and watch it, you had to lay where your feet would be in order to see it. Now had these two things be the only thing I would have dropped it, but lieing to me twice, it is my own fault for staying.

First you try and tell me that the room is cold because the housekeepers are in and out of the room, then as you can tell I am not buying that brand of bull apples, you tell me that you have not turned on the heat yet or you would have to raise the prices but you will turn on the heat later in the evening. Well I am here to tell you that the radiators never got over room temp.(around 50 or so degrees).

The View that we had was of the police station, could not see the water but were told that it would be a room with a view.. Well it was on the third floor. No tub but a shower..

The next day I woke up and decided to take a shower. Now the bathroom was clean, and we had clean towels. Heat in the Bathroom? Newp.. Ok no biggie I can only see my breath but I need to wash off the funk from traveling for 3 hours and hiking for 3-4 miles the evening before (I am fanatic about starting the day with a warm shower). I managed to levitate to the shower stall and turn on the hot water and see how long it is going to take, I am half sure that the water is going to be glacier water from the tap and never come up to temperature. Well to my surprise and shock, guess what? Hot water, hot water right now! I barely got my hand out of the shower before discovering that the hot water they had not turned on for the room heat was being piped in to the shower, and it was scalding hot. Hmmm ok no biggie I can turn on the cold water and adjust it. I managed to get it so I don't burn myself, and can get in to the shower. Now I have been in showers that the temperature can change, but I have never had the temperature flux between freezing my tucuss off and getting burned by the hot water. Now I like a hot shower, but that shower is going to hurt someone, as the person (or child) in the room next to me flushed the toilet, and I shouted a curse word or 9 and jumped out of the shower, that shower lost all cold water and went full hot water, that hurt a lot. I also forget to mention that the shower stall is smaller than an pint sized porta-potty, and therefore the water did leak out and covered a small portion of the floor, but we had enough towels to wipe it up.

Now it was my third trip up and down the stairs and I grew up in a home that was built before this place so I understand Victorian era construction(read narrow stairs and steep). Now to say that the stairs were steep would be a lie, they are not, but they are tiny, about 9 or so inches deep and thickly carpeted, I almost missed a step, rolled an ankle, and tumbled down the stairs, But I lucky managed to grab the banister of the floor above me. Yay I lived despite the trials of the hotels attempt to kill me and collect the debit card from my corpse since I had no cash at that time.

So after the great wake up (did I mention the alarm clock did not go off when I set it the night before, go figure) and getting dressed, we managed to get down and check out (Matty managed to say goodbye with a strait face and sign the paperwork. It is good that she did as I would have went on a minor tirade and that would have been bad), I glanced at the week old bagels, caned fruit juice, and almost dead fruit, well it was called a small continental breakfast and went and got a bear claw at the local bakery and made the day a bit better.

So I feel better for warning someone out there about the "Van Gilder Hotel" and how terrible the service is and how they will lie to you about what they can and will do. Be warned!

  • Liked — the way that they bold faced lied about what they could and could not do.
  • Disliked — Staying there and spending money at there hotel
  • Stayed June 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank Strayz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lake Tahoe
Level 4 Contributor
43 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 July 2007

This is a "European style" hotel. That ususally means no amenities. In this case, there was a TV but no elevator, hair dryer, in room coffee, roomservice, air conditioning, microwave or refrigerator.
It's got a flavor to it though, and a lady who had obviously stayed here multiple times was familiar with the communal kitchen and knew enough to book a first floor room.
The rooms are small and awkward. Don't think Hilton when you book here, but the female half seemed to like the place.

Stayed July 2007
Helpful?
2 Thank MrWayne
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 #7 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
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Also Known As:
Van Gilder Hotel
Van Gilder Seward
The Van Gilder Hotel Seward, Alaska

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