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“Delayed by Winter Weather - Found by Accident”

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The Van Gilder Hotel
Ranked #9 of 14 Hotels in Seward
Kodiak Island, Alaska
1 review
“Delayed by Winter Weather - Found by Accident”
Reviewed 25 January 2011

If you would appreciate what it was to stay in an Alaskan owned, operated, and patronized hotel 110 years ago during the gold rush days, the Van Gilder would be your choice. This place is outstanding. Down to the last detail, the place is done to period, yet with enough amenities for comfort. The service is attentive, the location superb, the guests a nice mix of outsiders and Alaskans, and the value can't be beat. I had a wonderful stay! The other reviews that may find fault with, say, 'the thread-count of the linens'...GET OVER IT - YOU'RE IN ALASKA FOR GOD'S SAKE! I live in Alaska, this place is a gem; not phony hospitality and decorations, but real Alaska!

Happy Trails!

  • Stayed January 2011, travelled on business
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Helpful?
Thank Kielanders
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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143 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (29)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 October 2010

For the most part, I enjoyed my stay at the Van Gilder. For those looking for a nice, new hotel, this is not the place for you, the appeal here is the antique/historical nature of the hotel. As far as location, this hotel is conveniently located near the sea life center, but is a bit far from the port where many tours leave from. The breakfast included in the room rate is pretty basic (some muffins and drinks). The primary complaint I have is that while everyone was extremely nice at the hotel, the bill they provided was one of the most confusing bills I've ever seen. If they could just make a few upgrades to their breakfasts and billing services, it would be a really nice hotel.

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank janiepop
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Atlanta, Georgia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 27 September 2010

We stayed for 2 night at the van gilder in seward and had the best stay in our weeklong trip in alaska. Built in historic downtown district, the hotel is more a charming (and very reasonably priced) B&B than a inpersonal large scale hotel. The managers/caretakers were a nice couple who were friendly and v helpful..providing us with local phone nos and reccos for the various trips we wanted to do. The kitchen where guests can cook meals was great. Danishes and muffins and coffee were provided during the free breakfast. The hotel mgr baked cookies in the evening and served them to us, which was delightful. There was also a local town meet in the hotel and the guests were graciously invited to chat with the locals and eat the nibblets. On the other hand, the shower is small, the bathrooms do not have an exhaust..but if you like old time character in a hotel then this is your place. all in all a delightful experience.

  • Stayed September 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank alu123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nashville, Tennessee
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 August 2010

So overall the Van Gilder is fine, although having stayed at many historic B&B-type properties in the past, it could be so much better. Yes, no one should come to Seward expecting luxury, but even some nicer linens, cosmetic bathroom upgrades, and a cooked breakfast (or homemade breads, etc.) would go a long way. The location is great, though, and you really get a feel for downtown. And the walk to the seaport is really not that bad (~10-15min). The Van Gilder could really be a showplace property if someone put some $$$ into it, although that might not be what the majority of Seward travelers are really looking for.

  • Stayed August 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank RLW97
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TX
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 11 August 2010

We arrived in Seward planning to check into the Van Gilder to discover that I had made a big mistake when booking reservations and booked a room for the wrong weekend. The gentleman and woman at the front desk were extremely helpful and found us another hotel because the Van Gilder was full. We were able to get a room there for our last night in Seward.
Don't expect anything similar to a Best Western or any other chain hotel. Van Gilder was constructed in 1916 afterall! Hence, the rooms are tiny and all of the furniture are antiques. There is no elevator because of the time it was constructed. It's a lot of fun if you enjoy historical old buildings as there are panels lining the hallways with historical photos and descriptions. The building is in great shape considering its age and they keep it very clean. It's loaded with charm. They have a standard continental breakfast in the morning and the coffee and blueberry muffins were delicious. There is apparently a ghost haunting the hotel, which, personally, I felt added to the fun of staying there. We didn't see or hear anything that could be described as paranormal though. My only problem with hotel is that the plumbing is very old and finnicky and I was scalded in the shower (likely a result of a guest in another room flushing the toilet). They really need to turn the temperature on their water heater down. Other than that, it's a fun experience if you're into history and old architecture.

  • Stayed August 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank thepoetsmuse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tallahassee, Florida
Level Contributor
47 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 July 2010

I had heard so many good things about the Van Gilder that I really looked forward to my visit to Seward to stay in the hundred year old "restored" or so I thought inn. I waited several minutes to check in while the man at the front desk was on the phone with what must have been a difficult caller; his impatience with the caller was made clear from rolling eyes and sighs throughout the nearly ten minute call. My room was ready early and I made it up several narrow flights of stairs to a room just big enough for the bed. A wood structure was pinned to the wall with metal hooks over a desk; apparently it was an additional bed that hung from the wall. The closet was a plywood box that took up most of the access way from the front door to the bathroom. My view was electric and phone wires in an alley. The bed was comfortable and I slept well until awakened by a man shouting at someone that they had spent enough time in the bathroom. While my tiny room had its own equally tiny bathroom, some rooms share a bathroom. Apparently some were not sharing well about 2 am. The shower is about the size you would would find in an RV and I had to stoop to wash my hair. There were pipes in the middle of my bathroom floor that had been capped off and left to protrude from the floor. The free continental breakfast was coffee in a styrofoam cup and little store bought pastries under clear wrap. I tried to check out and the same perturbed man at the desk was dealing with a guest who was kept awake all night by fighting neigbors, water coming from the ceiling that set off her smoke alarm. She was trying to get the Van Gilder to adjust her bill for her bad experience and the perturbed attitude from the person at the desk was unbelievable. I dropped off my key and left. Unfortunately, the Van Gilder is only charming if you find old and unmaintained charming. I had hoped it was restored and as charming as I had read but was sorely disappointed. I will say that the location is excellent for shopping downtown although the walk to the marina area is quite a trek. I do not regret having taken a chance and experienced the Van Gilder but will not stay again.

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled solo
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Helpful?
1 Thank FloridaNative56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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  • Stayed June 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
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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
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Also Known As:
Van Gilder Hotel
Van Gilder Seward
The Van Gilder Hotel Seward, Alaska

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