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“A Wonderful Gem”
Review of Tutka Bay Lodge

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Tutka Bay Lodge
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed 11 September 2008

Wife and I had a wonderful week at the Tutka Bay Wilderness Lodge. This was part of our third trip to Alaska, and we have stayed at many lodges around the world as a part of our passion for fishing. Homer is, of course, one of the world-class venues for salt water fishing for halibut, salmon and reef fish, but I was delighted to find that there is also excellent fly fishing in the area.

The rooms were much better than I would have expected from a property carrying a lodge name. In fact, they were comparable to many upscale, urban suite properties. The linens and towels were upgraded, the bathroom was large and spacious, and the living room in our two-bedroom "cabin" (more like a villa) even had a television with satellite tv, as well as wet bar, fridge, etc. We had a great wrap around deck, with spectacular views of the bay. The main lodge house where meals are taken is also very well equipped.

The property is exceptionally clean and well-maintained. I saw not one area which needed painting or replacing.

The food was of excellent quality and quantity, and the service was of the highest standards. I especially appreciated that the owners were in attendance at every meal.

The management skillfully handled a very difficult activities agenda for us and the couple we were travelling with. The owner himself graciously ferried us back and forth to Homer in the wee hours of the morning to meet our fishing schedule, and in general every request (of which there were many) was attended to graciously and competently.

The staffing ratio at the property is very high and all of the staff were extremely well-trained and exceedingly pleasant and courteous.

Tutka Bay combines the best elements of a ranch or lodge, a European-style bed and breakfast and the conveniences of a modern hotel. As a former executive of a major world-wide luxury hotel chain, I give Tutka Bay a top rating. If you want a great Alaskan experience at a moderate cost, go there! You will not be disappointed.

  • Stayed: August 2008, travelled on business
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6  Thank Flyfisher_Bob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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30 - 36 of 41 reviews

Reviewed 29 August 2008

I'm sitting at Tutka Bay Wilderness Lodge as I type this review. I was concerned that normal life would take precedence after I arrived home and a review would fall by the wayside. Currently, I can see the lagoon, mountains, an eagle soaring and an otter resting in the water securely wrapped in kelp. (That's how otters rest.) Tutka Bay is the definition of peaceful.

As the other reviews have mentioned, Tutka Bay's biggest assets are the owners, John & Nelda. Having booked the stay sight unseen and being big city control freaks, we were concerned prior to arrival because we didn't have every minute detail for our many excursions to fish and watch bears. That was a complete and utter waste of anxiety. Nelda had already taken care of everything. Each evening at dinner, Nelda provided detailed itineraries for the next day. This has made our vacation anxiety free. As such, it's really been a true vacation and I'll be saddened to leave tomorrow.

The food has been exceptional. Even the lunches that someone criticized have been good. It's a boxed lunch, but, unlike any box lunch I've ever received or prepared, for that matter. At dinner one night, we were blessed with Nelda's rhubarb pie. It's a little piece of heaven.

As to the facilities and furnishings, they are far superior to most Alaska establishments. I keep wondering how John & Nelda managed to get all the building supplies and furnishings 2500+ miles. After all, it's not like they can run to the nearest Rooms-to-Go or Home Depot. You can tell that the place has been a labor of love.

Every amenity you would find at a 5-star establishment is available with the exception of room service and in-room telephone service. If you absolutely must have cell service, you can go to the dock or take a leisurely hike to the point. However, I encourage you to refrain from allowing the world to intrude into the serene surroundings of Tutka Bay. Simply relax and let the owners take care of you. And... You don't want room service. You'd miss interacting with the other guests and especially Nelda and John.

What I found most enjoyable has been their vast knowledge. Both can regale you with local history and scientific information on your surroundings. It's like having historians, geologists, botanists and biologists at your beck-and-call.

Whomever criticized the price hasn't been to very many places in Alaska. The cost is very reasonable considering the lodging quality, food, and, service received. As far as paying for the beer & wine, they are not expensive by Alaska standards. Obviously, some people forget those 2500+ shipping miles can double the cost of goods. From Seattle to Tutka Bay is comparable to New York to San Francisco without interstate highways.

The only thing we did wrong was book too many excursions off the lodge property. We'll definitely be back, but, the next time we come we'll spend more time simply enjoying the beauty and relaxation available at Tutka Bay Wilderness Lodge.

I know this review is lengthy with very few details, but, trust me... Book your trip now. I think Tutka Bay Wilderness Lodge is the best kept secret in Alaska.

  • Stayed: August 2008, travelled with friends
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4  Thank luv10s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 August 2008

The setting was breathtaking. Jon, Nelda and the staff provided warm hospitality for our visit to Tutka Bay to celebrate our 25th anniversary. This was our first visit to Alaska, and we learned a great deal from our hosts about the history of the state and the general area. We enjoyed the hiking and sea kayaking.

  • Stayed: July 2008, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank calcujo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 August 2008

Our visit to Tutka Bay had many highlights and most especially the charming hosts, Jon and Nelda, who offer great food and a high level of comfort in a beautiful setting. Be sure and have Nelda tell you about the Christmas poster.

We had a cabin that is shown in one of the posted photos. We thought it was pretty luxurious for such a remote area. The finish and furnishings were nice, the bathroom large and modern, the bed comfortable, the heat more than adequate. There was ample soap, shampoo etc, but robes would be a good addition, especially for going to the hot tub and sauna.

The personal service was a big plus, and every arrangement we asked for (like the fabulous bear trip) was handled courteously and professionally. The lack of laundry service was understandable due to the limited water resource, but a slight disappointment nonetheless.

Breakfast was wonderful. Dinners were outstanding, with the only downside being that wine and beer are both extra and expensive. We enjoyed mixing in with other guests and our hosts -- we’ve done this at other lodges around the world, and our table conversations at Tutka rank amount the best. The only significant negative aspect of Tutka Bay is that the box lunches were uninspiring, which is especially noticeable because the standards for breakfast and dinner are so high.

As to cost, we comparison shopped and found Tutka to be about half the price of other luxury lodges in the region (others typically charge $700 or more PER PERSON per night, compared to $795 for two at Tutka). In part the lower cost is because most of the excursions at Tutka are extra, but that was ok with us as we saved money by only going on trips we really wanted, rather than having a larger package of excursions rolled into the room rate. We did enjoy walking the property (it was big enough to provide real exercise, and interesting), and visiting Soldatna (a charming and classic Alaska town). While the odds are against you having our bear experience (9 bears eating a whale carcass and circling us within a dozen feet), it is still an absolute must.

In summary, if the lodge would only serve lunches that came even close to their other meals, we would put it near the top of our all-time best remote accommodations. But even with that shortcoming, we recommend it highly.

  • Stayed: June 2008, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank SantaFeUser
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 July 2008

We just finished our stay at Tutka Bay Lodge and we needed to write to you to rave about this extraordinary lodge in a magical setting off Homer, Alaska. Tutka offers kayaking, boating, hiking, sauna, jacuzzi and even ATV tours. The food, prepared by a friendly and professional staff, was exquisite.

The real gems that define Tutka, however, are its owners, John and Nelda, and their staff. We were cancelled out of a fantastic bear viewing experience at Hallo Bay before we arrived and were really bummed. We called John and explained what happened. Within minutes he had responded to us with an offer to go bear viewing on a last minute flight that he and Nelda arranged. This was just the beginning of their unbelievably friendly, attentive and even neighborly service and this was before we got there! They will bend over backwards to accomodate a guest's wishes. Tutka represents the best Alaska has to offer.

  • Stayed: July 2008, travelled with family
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2  Thank Toni L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 July 2008

This was our second visit to Tutka Bay. The location is fabulous. When we arrived a Bald Eagle circled over us and landed on a nearby tree. We were greeted like dear friends and treated as such for our entire stay. The food was fabulous with great attention paid to presetation whether it was a sack lunch or a wonderful dinner. If you want pretentious this is not the place. If you want to be see this portion of Alaska and be very well taken care of then you won't be dissappointed.

  • Stayed: July 2008, travelled with family
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2  Thank patandjodi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 July 2008

Our family, including 2 teenage grandsons have just returned from the lodge. From the time Jon met us on the dock the hospitality was wonderful I felt like we had been welcomed to their home and in reality we were. The staff was so friendly and informative about their past diverse travel experiences.
The food was excellent and the anticipation what the next meal or bag lunch included was fun. The day we brought home halibut and black bass, Nelda and her chef staff prepared the fish 4 different ways so we and the guests could enjoy the fish.
The "Oystercatcher" lodge met our needs and the boys even had the "man Cave", the loft upstairs. What a joy to sit in the hot tub after a hike or fishing trip, look up at the snow capped mountains and watch the eagles soar. Nelda was a wealth of information, whether you asked her about baskets or the Indian culture.
Even on the water taxi back to Homer the captain took the time to show us the family of otters and turned the boat around so we could see a whale.
The visit at the lodge will always be one of our fondest memories and I feel that was due to all the comfortable surroundings that Jon and Nelda have provided.

Stayed: July 2008
Thank Fishcolorado
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Additional Information about Tutka Bay Lodge

Address: Kachemak Bay State Park, AK 99603
Region: United States > Alaska > Kachemak Bay State Park
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 7 Speciality Lodging in Kachemak Bay State Park
Number of rooms: 5
Also Known As:
Tutka Bay Wilderness Hotel Homer

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