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“Exceeded our Expectations”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Knight Inlet Lodge

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Knight Inlet Lodge
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Glendale Cove
Certificate of Excellence
Columbia, SC
Level Contributor
28 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
“Exceeded our Expectations”
Reviewed 22 January 2012

As I am sitting here putting together my scrapbook about Knight Inlet, I decided to do a review of our great trip there. It is long because I want all readers to experience our trip and know what to expect. My husband, daughter, a friend of my daughter’s and I went to Knight Inlet on a 5 night package starting on September 27 with our arrival in Campbell River. We spent our day going to the Museum at Campbell River and wandering around downtown. The museum is well worth going to. My daughter had read about a store specializing in local First Nation’s artisans. She is collecting masks from around the world and she wanted a bear mask from British Columbia. She purchased a beautiful mask from a new artist.

Next morning Harold arrived in his “bear” bus to take us to the seaplane dock. There is a cute chain saw carving outside the waiting area of a sea plane with an eagles head, very photo worthy. The trip was brief, the scenery was beautiful and we arrived at Knight Inlet Lodge to find a welcoming crew. Casey and Finnegan, the lodge dogs greeted us also. Dean gave us a talk about what to expect and what rules we were expected to follow. There were wonderful snacks, especially the Nanaimo Bars which I will speak of later.

We checked into our rooms (very rustic, but trust me, you will be there only to sleep) and then donned gear located in the Equipment Room and went on a short Estuary Tour with Megan as our guide. As soon as we reached the area close to the mouth of the river, we saw Bella and her two cubs. Bella is a bear who stays in the area all year, so just about everyone who goes to Knight Inlet will see her. We also saw bald eagles. This was the beginning of a wonderful trip!

We went back to the Lodge where we had a wonderful lunch. All the lunches served that week were great comfort food, first day, hamburgers and fries, second day, shepherds pie, third day, ham and cheese sandwiches on the boat on the Marine Tour, fourth day, chicken pot pie and macaroni and cheese. Accompanied by salad and great desserts. Plenty of food. Very important to me.

That afternoon we went on our first Bear Tour to the Weir Stand, Dean was our guide. We took the boat across the inlet and walked to the bus that would take us to the stands. Our guide encouraged us to holler out “Hey, bear! Hey, bear!. This noise would keep the bears away (hopefully) until we reached the bus. As we approached the first channel, we saw a mom and her two older cubs just poking their heads out of the water watching us. We saw them at that same spot every time we did a Bear Tour. And we saw lots of bears on this tour. Our next tour was the Inlet Tour with Bob. We saw lots of scenery and he told us about the history of the area. I was intrigued by the tsunami story. You will hear that one. We then went back to the Lodge and got ready for dinner.

Cocktails were served in the bar area in back of the dining hall. The local beer is great. They charge for the cocktails and the money raised goes toward purchasing a lottery ticket for a license to shoot a grizzly (which obviously does not get used if the Lodge wins one!) Great appetizers each night, especially the Dungeness crab and prawns. Wine comes with dinner. Red or white. Okay, but not great. The first dinner we had was carved grilled tenderloin and grilled halibut with all the fixings. Dessert was gingerbread cake. Every meal was great. There was always a choice of fish and meat for the people who do not do seafood. During the cocktail hour, one of the guides would come around and assign the tours for the next day. The people staying the shortest time would get priority on what they wanted to see. Since we were there for four nights, we saw everything.

Breakfast was early at 6:30, plenty of food. Outside there were harbor seals on the jetty. They would leave when the sun came up and return at night. That day we did back to back bear stands. The Finger Stand first and then the Weir Stand. Lots of bears! In the afternoon, we did the Tracking Tour and got to help Christina release coho salmon into the river. We then did a longer Estuary Tour with Megan. There was a neap tide that afternoon and we were able to go further up the river than Megan had ever gone. As we reached a sandbar on which there were at least a dozen bald eagles flying around and feeding, we had to turn around. And to our surprise, about 15 feet away was a mom and cub. I do not know who was more surprised! Mom was chuffing so we got out of there quickly (after taking pictures). When we reached open water we saw a black bear walking along the edge of the water. We followed it almost all the way back to the Lodge.

Third day was Marine Tour. Bob was our captain and guide. This was an all-day tour going up into Johnstone Strait. We stopped at a place called Lagoon Cove where we did rest rooms and talked to the woman who ran the place. We then headed out past some abandoned First Nation’s settlements, and some interesting petroglyphs which may have been created around the time the English arrived in the BC area. Bob was obviously a history buff because he knew a lot about the history of the area. He wanted to take us to a museum somewhere out there, but everyone wanted marine life so that is what we did.

Our first sighting was of a dall’s porpoise, then we saw two colonies of stellar sea lions. Later we saw nine whales, then we came to a large school of white-sided dolphins who were swimming around the boat. Bob said “Watch this!” And he raced the boat across the water. The dolphins followed us, jumping out of the water. It was incredible!! Our last sightings (and one which Bob did not think we would see) were six orcas.

Next day we did double bear stands in the morning and in the afternoon I did the rainforest walk and everyone else in my party went on another estuary tour and a final bear stand. The walk is not for the meek. Alex our guide was terrific and told us many stories about settlers in this area. The walk was up and down on uneven ground, he told us at least the equivalent of five stories in all. There had been a tremendous storm earlier in the week and a lot of the established walkways had been washed away. We walked from the dock to the Kuliwati River. We saw a mink on a rock. That night after dinner my daughter and friend stalked the river otters who live under the lodge and got some great pictures.

You do not have time to get bored at Knight Inlet. You are kept busy from 6:30 a.m. until you fall into bed. After dinner there was always a talk going on. We all slept wonderfully.

Next morning there was time for a brief tour, estuary, kayak, etc. As you leave on the seaplane, if you sit on the right side, watch out the window after the plane turns. You can get an excellent view of the spawning channels from the air.

This trip was everything we expected and more. The Lodge provides all the protective gear, the boots, hats, coats, life preservers/coats. The food is first class, the guides are knowledgeable and friendly, the staff is great! What ever length of time you are able to go for, do it.

And the Nanaimo Bars. A dessert apparently that was a winner of a baking contest in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island which has become the unofficial cookie of British Columbia. A confection to die for (beware of the calories!). I got the recipe off the internet and made them for a potluck party I went to over the holidays. People were looking for more. Make sure you try one.

  • Stayed October 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
21 Thank Grannyto5Cats
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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349 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 December 2011

From someone who has been fortunate enough to travel on all 7 continents I can honestly say that this is the best travel experience that I have ever had. The scenery is stunning, the days are full and the animals do their part too, obliging us with their presence on every outing we had (a special mention to Bella and her cubs who wandered past the lodge each evening around dinner time - great timing guys!).
Hats off to the staff, especially Dean, Bob and Sean, your knowledge and passion is obvious to everyone who visits here.
Go visit if you get the chance. Yes it's expensive, but the experience is priceless.

  • Stayed August 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
15 Thank chrisfromMelbourne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
38 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 October 2011

September, and my third visit to Knight Inlet Lodge in Glendale Cove. After more than fifty years travelling the world as a travel reporter for radio and television I can honestly say that this is number one of only three places that I return to at my own expense for sheer pleasure.
What more can I say?
Perhaps adding something not mentioned by other reviewers; the rain forrest walk. It should not be a top priority if you have only a short stay, but it gives you a wonderful insight into the real habitat of the bears and of some of the pioneers of the area. You won't see any bears (hopefully) but you will be amazed to realise that a couple lived and raised a family in this wilderness.
And after being at the stands and seeing the salmon making their relatively easy way up the channel to the weir and into the spawning channels, on this walk you can sit and watch them fighting their way up the waterfalls to their birthplace, and realise just how hard is this last great journey for them, and how few make it.
And if you are lucky enough to have time to stop at Billy Proctor's 'museum' on the way home
from whale watching in Johnstone Strait I would urge you to purchase his life story 'Heart of the Raincoast'. Again, a great revelation of pioneering life in the area that incidentally gives emphasis to the environmental stewardship of the Lodge and all who contribute to it - which includes us, the visitors.

  • Stayed September 2011, travelled solo
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Helpful?
12 Thank POstcardswa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chislehurst England
Level Contributor
97 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 October 2011

This is an experience not to be missed. A unique opportunity to stay with like minded people and share the bear and wildlife viewing with knowledgable guides who are passionate about what they do. If you get the chance - go!!

  • Stayed September 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
6 Thank disneytastic31
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Zurich, Switzerland
Level Contributor
37 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 October 2011

We had seen quite a lot of other places, among them the terrible Hallo Bay, when we came here. What a difference! The guides were enthusiastic, knowledgeable and friendly. The rooms were excellent with our own bathroom and shower. The food fantastic and plenty of it, here you would never leave the table hungry. They even had programmes for you in the evenings.
This is the place to go to for bear watching! 5 star of course!

  • Stayed September 2011, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
9 Thank Richard M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Adelaide, South Australia
Level Contributor
93 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 115 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 October 2011

What a fantastic place - and this from someone who's not slow to criticise. This is an unusually long review, because there's just so much to write about, as Knight Inlet is not just a hotel.

We booked a 2 night stay through Scenic Tours at home in Australia - we probably could have done it much cheaper by going direct, but it was more convenient to take the package.

As other cautious reviewers have noted, it was going to be hard for the place to live up to its reputation, as so much depended on the wildlife turning up too. But it's where wildlife film makers go, and it's where researchers study. And the wildlife did turn up, and in abundance.

The Lodge itself is an excellent match between environment and creature comfort - our wood cabin was basic, but clean. The food was well prepared and plentiful.

But no one goes to Knight Inlet for the rooms and the food. You go for the wildlife. Which means you need guides. And Knight Inlet has plenty of them. Each day starts at 6.30 am with breakfast, and ends at around 9pm after an optional talk with one of the guides. What you do each day is arranged for you by the manager, who'll slot you in to a tour (mostly about 2 hours long and with a maximum of 4-6 people) according to your wishes and availability. In our case we most wanted to see grizzlies catching salmon, as per the Attenborough TV program. And each day we saw them. Up close, too, thanks to Knight Inlet's two stages, strategically placed along the spawning channel. For a couple of hours at a time, you stand on this stage, watching agog, as these beasts do what come naturally, and without being concerned at the presence of humans.

The guides were just terrific - clearly committed to the cause, and it was both educational and fun to be with them. When we weren't watching bears we took trips along the inlet, looking for black bears ( no luck), bald eagles (plenty), and other wildlife like Canada geese. On one trip four of us walked along bear tracks (and yes, bears do **** in the woods, and no, we didn't come too close). We also released salmon fingerlings into the river, truly a feelgood moment. Another trip took us further along the inlet, and Bob the guide (who's clearly not paid by the word) gave us some of the history of man's involvement with the area, such as it is. For those staying longer (one couple was staying 6 nights) there are other, longer trips, whale-watching, for example, which I know they loved.

The only downside for those flying in from Vancouver, and it's only a slight criticism, was the necessity to spend a day and a night in Campbell River before the seaplane journey to Knight Inlet the following morning. And while the transfers were efficient, and the motel ( a good 20 minute walk from the centre of town) was perfectly adequate, (as was the pub next door), I wouldn't say Campbell River on a Sunday had a great deal going for it, except for a small and interesting local market. But that's the only way to get to Knight Inlet, so we had to cop it sweet.

So thanks to Steve the manager and all the guides - we had a great trip. It's never likely to be repeated, and it'll live long in the memory.

  • Stayed September 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
17 Thank madpom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne
Level Contributor
42 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 October 2011

My wife and I and 2 daughters (ages 7and 10) recently spent 3 nights at Knight Inlet and cannot speak highly enough about the whole experience.
The guides at the Lodge were so enthusiastic. Special thanks to Dean and Lori who were great with our girls.
We saw all the wildlife that was promised and enjoyed all the activities: bear watching, marine tour, kayaking, rain-forest walk, estuary tour etc....
Reading many of the other reviews, it appears as though a lot of people felt a real connection with this special place. We were no different.
A special thanks also to Phil in the booking office who was so helpful both before and after our trip.
My only advice is to stay 3 nights at the Lodge, (4 night package) as this way you will be able to squeeze everything in!
Go book!!!

  • Stayed September 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank NickoMelbourne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Knight Inlet Lodge

Property: Knight Inlet Lodge
Address: 8841 Driftwood Rd, Glendale Cove, British Columbia V9J 1A8, Canada
Phone Number:
Region: Canada > British Columbia > Glendale Cove
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Glendale Cove
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Knight Inlet Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Knight Inlet Lodge is Canada's premier grizzly bear viewing destination. With over 15 years of experience and a world wide reputation for excellence we are the place to see grizzly bears in British Columbia. Our remote floating lodge has 16 guests rooms and offers a full range of activities for our guests including hiking,kayaking, marine wildlife tours, tracking and whale watching. Open from mid May until mid October with pacakges starting on any day of the week. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Knight Inlet Hotel Glendale Cove
Knight Inlet Resort All Inclusive
Knight Inlet Lodge British Columbia, Canada - Glendale Cove

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