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Reviewed 16 November 2017

We visited Bettles to see the Aurora. The snow storm wasn't so cooperative with that but Bettles Lodge is a wonderful and unique place. It is beautiful, peaceful, quiet, like no place I've ever been. Eric, Heather and the staff were amazing. They treated us like family, The food was fabulous. We did some fun snow machine riding. The Arctic Circle is a place you just need to see and Bettles Lodge is a place I would recommend to do it!

  • Stayed: November 2017, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
1  Thank mushirah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Eric F, Owner at Bettles Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 18 November 2017

Thank you for the kind words. We hope you return to visit us in Arctic, Bush, Alaska soon! Warm Regards, Eric :)

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Reviewed 29 October 2017

My husband and I travelled to Bettles Lodge in September 2017, and the experience magical. We landed on an air strip right in front of the Lodge and were greeted by Eric, the hotel owner/operator. He took us on a tour of the town immediately and then gave us a tour of the lodge. The hospitality was great and our room was very comfortable. The staff was friendly and accommodating. The food was awesome. Everyone that we interacted with while we were in the town was so friendly. It was an awesome experience. We took a quick float plane trip over the Gates of the Arctic, which was amazing. My husband stayed a couple of extra days because he wanted to see the aurora (I used to live in AK so I'd seen them many times and had to get back to work). He got an incredible show. The staff was very good about waking up guests when the lights were out. He also flew out to a different spot in Gates of the Arctic and Kobuk Valley on his stay over. He hasn't stopped talking about his time at Bettles Lodge, and neither have I. It was a truly amazing experience to visit Bettles (and the Bettles Lodge). I highly recommend Bettles Lodge to anyone who wants to experience the Arctic. Truly amazing.

  • Stayed: September 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
2  Thank Mary A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Eric F, Owner at Bettles Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 31 October 2017

Thank you so much for your kind words Mary! My staff and I enjoyed you two and hope you come back to see us again in the Arctic soon.

Warm Regards from the Arctic,

Eric :)

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Reviewed 7 October 2017 via mobile

My fiancee and I visited here for 2 nights to experience remote Alaska and get a glimpse at the northern lights. Luckily for us, we got both!

This place isn't a resort, but considering where it is, and all the hard work that goes into keeping a place like this running, it's amazing.

We found the jacuzzi room to be super comfortable and cozy, and the staff to be the friendliest and most helpful of any place we've stayed lately.
The meals were good, home cooked food, and never left us wanting more, and the snacks and drinks were everything we needed during the stay.

We would definitely recommend a stay here any time of year.

Stayed: September 2017, travelled as a couple
1  Thank Clinton A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Eric F, Owner at Bettles Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 8 October 2017

Thank you for your kind words Clinton. We hope to see you folks back up in the Arctic soon!

Warm Regards from the Arctic,

Eric & Heather :)

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Reviewed 29 September 2017

My wife and I visited Bettles specifically to see the aurora - that didn't work out so well. Based on past history we stayed 3 nights to improve our probability of seeing the lights but it was very overcast and cloudy the entire time so we never saw the aurora - nothing the lodge can do about the wx!

We realized when we booked mid September was pretty much the "off season" with no snow for dog sledding or snowmobiling and really too late for decent fishing so there was really not a ton to do during our visit. Though winter is a great time for aurora my wife had no interest in going then due to the cold. We did think that normally September has decent wx it just didn't happen to be the case during our visit. Luckily for us we did have several chances to observe the aurora when we were in Fairbanks so that was nice.

Our flight on Warbelow's was about 1 hr 5 min both in and out - we flew directly between Fairbanks and Bettles each way with no diversions. The main lodge sits right on the airstrip and the Aurora Lodge is just a minute walk from there. We arrived around 2:00 pm on a Tuesday. Connie and Lily welcomed our plane on arrival and Lily took our baggage to the Aurora Lodge and then Connie offered us some hot chicken noodle soup & fresh chocolate chip cookies in the lodge - everything was excellent. When we arrived Eric was already out giving another couple a tour of Bettles but once he was done he took the other couple we flew in with and us on the same tour, describing the history of Bettles, pointing out all the facilities, familiarizing us with all the people who live and work there, etc. It was a great tour and probably lasted around 90 minutes or so.

We booked the Inclusive A.C.T. Package w/ the deluxe Jacuzzi room in the Aurora Lodge. The Aurora Lodge has about 8 rooms in it, arranged across from each other down a hallway off the lounge area. Only some of the rooms have a private toilet, sink and jacuzzi tub. The common area has a small fridge with soda and water in it, a sink, coffee maker, hot water pot, ramen noodle bowls, fruit (apples & oranges), some games (yahtzee, jenga, chess, monopoly, axis & allies, risk, dominos, etc. - there was just one full deck of cards), a large flat screen TV w/ lots of DVDs of movies, puzzles, some books, etc. There is a washer and dryer in a room that also had two shared shower/toilets (1 for men and 1 for women) - I think it was the washer that was non-functional when we were there but they said there was another one available - we didn't use the laundry. Along the hallway were two more shared shower/toilet facilities - 1 for men and 1 for women. The lounge area has 5 "booth" type tables with seats, 2 couches w/ recliner seats, 2 stuffed chairs and a couple benches w/ backs along one wall. Our room had a queen (?) bed (very comfortable), a single bed, sink, toilet and tub - no closet to store stuff but we used the single bed for that basically. The room was pretty small but comfortable. It also had a thermostat so you could set the temp in your room while the one in the lounge area is set.

The food was good and meals were served in the main lodge, which also has a few rooms upstairs, along with a pool table upstairs. Breakfasts were typically eggs any style you want, sausage (regular links, patties or reindeer sausage), toast, French toast, pancakes, hash browns, and juice/coffee/water. Lunch was typically sandwich/burger, soup, chips, etc. Dinners were typically a meat/fish, vegetable and a starch. For dinner we had salmon one night, pork chops one night and steak one night with either green beans or corn and rice/pasta/potato. For dessert we had blueberry crisp w/ ice cream, chocolate cheese cake and peach pie w/ ice cream. There were no bread/biscuits/rolls served with dinner but I never asked for any either so maybe that is an option. They have several good Alaskan beers in bottles, soda, etc if you want some and that is extra (a beer is $7.50). They always had fresh baked cookies, brownies, muffins, etc out for us and they were all excellent (thanks Elizabeth - sorry we didn't get to try your legendary cake!!).

The staff are all fantastic folks who went out of their way to make us comfortable and accommodate us. We met Connie (fabulous hostess and the one we interacted with the most during our visit!!), Lily, Elizabeth, Stephanie and Maki. Stephanie stayed up each night until around 0200-0300 to just to see if the aurora was visible so she could wake us up if we wanted to see it - very nice of her! Once she went to bed after her "watch" you were on your own to set an alarm, work in shifts with other guests or whatever.

We did not see Heather too much, just coming and going, and mainly saw Eric just on the tours of Bettles and Old Bettles. Eric took 5 of us on the boat down to Old Bettles (about a 15 minute ride down Koyukuk river) and we had a nice tour there where we spent about 45 minutes looking at the old buildings and hearing about the history of the town - very interesting. Eric offered to take pictures of the group of us which was nice. There is map of Old Bettles from 1949 at the main lodge so it was interesting to see it now and what it looked like then.

My wife and I visited with one of the rangers at the Gates of the Arctic visitor center which is just across the road from the Aurora Lodge. She was very nice and we had a great visit with her. During our visit there was also an "artist in residence" presentation at the visitor center on Wednesday afternoon so we attended that - it was fun and the presenter was very enthusiastic! We also stopped in the Sourdough Inn and met Tina who was watching the place for her parents. She was very pleasant and we sat down and visited with her for half an hour or so and looked through the native produced items in the gift shop - furs, hats, painted stones, jewelry, baskets, etc. During our visit we bought a couple post cards for our grandkids at the main lodge and mailed them from the Bettles Post Office just so they would have something mailed from above the arctic circle.

There were 3 other couples at the lodge during our stay, two were older couples (like us) who arrived/departed on the same day and one of them was there specifically to do the "Park Collector" flightseeing tour of Gates of the Arctic and Kobuk Valley NPs. The first day wx prevented them from flying but Kevin (pilot) was great about monitoring the weather on the computer in the lodge to determine when it was safe to fly. I believe there are numerous webcams located around the parks (FAA?) that can be monitored from the computer to help make such calls. Luckily the wx improved the next day and they were able to make the flight - they saw caribou, bears, moose, etc. I think they were gone about 6 hours total and they loved it. There is also a lake just a few miles down the road where float planes are located. From what I could tell Kevin is the only pilot there currently flying lodge guests so not sure that separate flightseeing tours can be done simultaneously. The couple doing the Park Collector tour had made those reservations well in advance so not sure how feasible it is to do a "spur of the moment" tour with a plane.

One of the older couples had taken a tour of the Richard Proenneke cabin in Lake Clark NP prior to visiting Bettles and said how interesting it was. The lodge actually had 2 DVDs about Proenneke building the cabin so we watched those on two separate nights and it was very interesting.

Bottom line is that we had an enjoyable time in Bettles even without seeing the lights. Having two other couples around our age there that we got along with very well certainly helped.

Room Tip: Listed as "luxury" due to cost of getting/staying there. Accommodations are rustic but perfectly comfortable.
  • Stayed: September 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
2  Thank MT1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Eric F, Owner at Bettles Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 3 October 2017

Hi MT1,

Thank you for your in depth review of our Lodge here in Arctic, Bush, Alaska. It helps tremendously when a Guest lets other hopeful travelers know about all the amenities and goings on around our tiny community. We hope you give us a call soon when you would like to return to the North.

Warm Regards from the Arctic,

Eric :)

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Reviewed 24 August 2017

We had a great time in the lodge. Eric and Heather were fantastic folks. Eric started our stay with a personal tour of the lodge, Bettles and the nearby community of Evansville. Very informative and interesting. We stayed at the Aurora section of the lodge. Room was quiet and comfortable. The staff to a person was always attentive, friendly and helpful. We can't say enough positives about the resident bush pilot Kevin. Safety first, he was personable and approachable. Great flight into Gates of the Arctic National Park. A must see. Take the raft trip down to old Bettles if you can. The ghost town is super interesting and the float down is wonderful.

  • Stayed: August 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank mosocwbrian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Eric F, Owner at Bettles Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 26 August 2017

Thank you for your kind words. We enjoyed having you folks with us if even for a short time and hope you come back to see the majesty of the Arctic in Winter! Give us a call when you're ready to return to the North. =-)

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