St Mary Lodge, Cabins and Motel
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Typical National Park Lodging
We stayed at St Mary Lodge on September 4, 2004. The website is less than useful for information on the main lodge. Like most lodging facilities in national parks this lodge was built more than 60 years ago and since there are such limited choices remodeling and amenities are not a priority with these properties.
The total size of our lodge room was 12x15 feet and this included the bathroom and closet. We paid $117 for a room which out in the "real world" would sell for $35-40 per night. Some may view such facilities as "rustic", but at $100+/night I want comfort, space and amenities.
If the Snow Goose Grill is really one of Montana's best resturants, the citizens of Montana have my sympathy.
Our room in Great Bear Lodge in September 2004 was gorgeous!!! The decor was amazing - very deliberately picked out. (The extra large chair was particularly appealing!)
We found the staff to be not overly friendly, but it could just be a culture thing. (Most were young people from foreign countries.)
The lodge is in a very convenient spot - accessible to the East Glacier, Two Medicine, Many Glacier, and Waterton areas, and on the end of the Going-To-The-Sun highway. Perfect for day trips/hiking. There's a grocery store next door, laundromat, quick 'grill' for easy lunch and dinner.
The one complaint we had was the noise in the morning - we were surprised to hear the footsteps of the people in the room above us in such a new building. And there was lots of traffic outside our room early in the morning.
Overall, definitely a great place!! After reading reviews of the park hotels, I was willing to spend $200 for a night in a gorgeous, clean room.
Wish we could have gotten a suite...
Wish we had made reservations earlier & had gotten in the Lodge. We had to settle for the 149 per night motor lodge rooms which we very clean but small & paper thin walls (no alarm clock or complimentary coffee), very basic for that price to me is outrageous. The suites in the lodge were 199 & we would have paid more for all those amenities I read about. So make reservations ahead of time if you want better accomadations.
Main lodge was very nice with a huge fireplace & sitting area by the bar. Nicely decorated western theme and just really comfortable to sit & have an ale from a Montana brewery & hang out. The Snowgoose grill was delicious too for dinner but the breakfast buffet was average as most are (bacon was good though). Great gift shop, outfitters, & Tshirt/sweatshirt shop, which was spendy & we spent too much of course! Good location to check out the park & hike during the day. Not much available in the town at all. 3 restaurants. Had Pie at the Park Cafe which was good but packed. Its too bad the area has to be so expensive. If you want to go cheap, I would camp next time in the park & really be in the mountains.
Loved the Great Bear Lodge
We spent 3 nights in the Great Bear Lodge in the Resort at Glacier in St Mary, MT. If you are looking for a place on the eastern side of the park -- this is IT! The rooms were great, service in the restaurant was excellent, and they also have a large coin laundromat on site. But nothing can compare to the sunrise in St Mary. The mountains turn red in the mornings! What a beautiful way to start the day! The Resort at Glacier has other accomodations, but spend the extra money for the 2nd or 3rd floor rooms in the Great Bear Lodge. You will not regret staying there!
Felt completely misled by web and other ads....
We booked a Glacier Cabin at St. Mary Lodge after speaking to the reservation clerk who assured us the quality of the cabins outside the main lodge was excellent. While the lodge was beautifully situated and looked beautiful from outside, the Glacier Cabins are an assortment of tiny structures, with rooms barely larger than the beds they contained, crowded together and situated with no view, on lower ground across the highway from the lodge, and away from the mountains. Several of the cabins had been boarded-up, giving the appearance of a shanty-town from our window. We asked to be upgraded regardless of the cost and were told there was no room in the lodge for three people. We agreed to move to a larger cabin known as the "Guest House" with two dark bedrooms fifty feet from the Glacier Cabins, and at a significantly higher cost. We had none of the room features advertised on the internet or in the print brochure -- no view, no attractive space, and very poor beds.
We had trouble with the customer service, too. Because we drink tea and not coffee, the first evening we asked for a tea bag and a plastic spoon instead of the complimentary in-room coffee service. We were told by both housekeeping and the front desk we should purchase them at the neighboring grocery store (owned by the hotel's management?). Remember that we were now paying more than $200 per night.
Finally, we explained our dissatisfaction to management and advised them that we wished to check out after three nights instead of the initially reserved four nights. The management first refused and threatened to add the $360 deposit to our full bill for three nights. We reminded them that due to the increased rate in the cabin to which we moved our total payment for three nights equaled the charge for four nights in the original cabin. We had a debate with the manager and waited more than an hour before he got back to us with a grudging approval for our departure.
The best feature in our cabin was the top-quality towels, although the sheets had holes and there was no mattress pad used on the beds. While the lodge looked great and its room balconies undoubtedly had wonderful views, readers should be warned to avoid all the cabins at this facility and stay elsewhere if only cabins are available.
Cabins were shabby, Lodge was great
Spent 3 nights in a Glacier Cabin plus 1 night in a standard room at the Great Bear Lodge. I was AMAZED at the difference in quality between the two. The cabins are satisfactory but pretty disappointing. They just seemed run-down. Mostly they need a lot of little fixes - floor boards missing, curtain rods barely screwed into the wall, wabbly tables, paint touch-ups, etc. However the lodge was in PERFECT shape. Everything looked brand-new! It seems obvious that a LOT of time and effort is spent on upkeep for the lodge but not on the cabins. My suggestion, spend the extra $ and stay in the lodge. Also wanted to mention that the Snowgoose Grill was FANTASTIC!!! We ate 2 dinners and 1 breakfast there - YUM!!! Best meals in all of Glacier! Try the Buffalo Meatloaf!
Turned Out OK But.....Beware
The hotel complex is certainly large. The pictures on the web have been doctored to make the place look different from what it does. What ever you do, do not let them put you up in the "West" lodge. It is a separate complex on the west side of the road from the main lodge. We checked in and were given our key. We were tired and looking forward to a nice shower and a rest. I tried and tried to open the hotel room and had no luck. I went back across the road and spoke with the front desk about this. They got another key and said to try it because the locks sometimes stick. I compared the first key to the second key and they looked totally different. We went back to the room and got in this time. The room was very small, musty smelling, and overall a disapointment. The tile in the shower was moldy and a big piece of plaster was missing from the bathroom wall. The door to the bathroom would not close all the way. The door to the hotel room had large cracks around it showing a huge amount of light. There was no deadbolt or deadbolt type device on the door. The metal piece that is normally on the door frame (that the lock interfaces with) was completely gone. This room was not fit to be stayed in (especially for $100/night). At this point my wife got on the phone and read the hotel manager the riot act. They moved us to the "East" lodge. Everything that was wrong with the first room was just fine with the replacement room. We tried dining at their hotel. It is fine if you like ok food, small portions, and high prices. The Park Cafe one block away has their act together with great food, desserts, and good prices. The hotel made things alright but.....should never have tried to pawn off the other room in the first place.
The guest has switched the lodge names. The original unit that is described as "not worth $100" is the East Lodge. The East lodge is a basic motel with minimal amenities. The units are not available for pre-selling. Guests staying in these units are encouraged to look at the East Lodge rooms prior to booking. The West Lodge unit the guest was upgraded to is a nicer, and more up to date motel. This is not a defensive response for the East Lodge, but I do want customers to be aware of which motel has the finer amenities.
Rooms Division Manager
St Mary MT
Nice place to stay. Price was okay. Lodge's common area is very pleasant.
Rooms were nice and clean, but a bit small. The common area at the lodge is a very nice place to hang out. Bar, comfy chairs, fireplace and nice views. The restaurant has good food and good service but is a little pricey and servings are not very big. The location is great, right by the entrance of Glacier National Park.
Great Bear Lodge worth every penny!!!!
We stayed two nights June 4-6 2004 at the Great Bear Lodge on the third floor, a king suite. The room had a fireplace, mini-fridge, satellite tv, and the most comfortable bed we have ever slept on!
The views are tremendous from the balcony with a stream just below. For the money, nothing compares to what you get here (Most of Glacier Park's lodging is rundown and overpriced).
One other small thing. The housekeeping staff are from all over the world. Many do not speak English. When we arrived to our room and pulled the bedspread off we noted that the king bed had been sloppily made with two queen size top sheets! The supervisor from housekeeping responded immediately and apologized explaining that it was difficult to train the staff. She didn't think to look under the bedspread. It was a small inconvenience. But do make sure your bed is properly made! Also, don't forget to check that the alarm clock is set off. They have two alarms and a snooze setting. We just unplugged the darn thing!
One last thing. Breakfast is mediocre at the hotel restaurant. There are better choices in the immediate area. Enjoy!
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Travel Blogs from Saint Mary
... a large black bear walked RIGHT by them. The ranger had them all scream & make noise to scare the bear. (They do not want bears getting acclimated to humans.) Wes & I heard the screaming from our motorhome & saw people with cameras walking quickly down the street, so we looked out the windows and sure enough, we saw the same bear running by our site! It was amazing.
After eating pork chops & roast potatoes, we played a quick game of Rumikube and headed to ...
... and we realized that we were actually walking in the other side of the ridge we followed during our Highline Trail hike. The lake was absolutely breathtaking, and there was indeed an iceberg floating on the far side near the glacier it most likely came from. The bright blue colour of the water comes from glacier flour - I'm not entirely sure what that is though (at the time of writing I don't have any internet access so I ...
Spent the morning driving to Great Falls to get Kristin and pick up groceries. Talked to the front desk and got the best driving route. That's the way we are getting out of here. Much better roads and even saw some Bison. The smoke was still thick in the valley so we headed back to Many Glaciers that evening to see ...
The park has a great webcam system. You can see the weather conditions around the park. So after a couple of drinks and getting the camper settled in we headed up the road to Many Glaciers area last night. If that was good, there were many hikes we could do there. Another horrible road! Do the Reservations just not fix things! But the VIEW. There is no smoke over here and it is breathtaking. ...
... tourist who could afford the exorbitant prices and spend their time at the casino etc. I saw so few backpackers or tourists who wanted to be there for the natural beauty. It seemed that here the place had been taken over commercialism and consumerism.
I did take a walk along the lake for an hour and yes it was a very nice place. Maybe it was a reflection of my mood, but I didn't take a single photo I'm afraid. After that I rode out ...