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Fish Guts and Gun-Toting Guests, Oh My! "Hotel Impossible" Attacks Alaskan Lodge

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 812 Glacier Bear Ave, [map], Yakutat, AK, United States, 99689
January 30, 2013 at 9:33 AM | by | ()

Back in October, our favorite hotel roasting show and its polished, tough-lovin' host, Anthony Melchiorri, took up residence at the, ahem, "rustic" Glacier Bear Lodge in southeast Alaska. The result, which aired on the Travel Channel a few weeks ago, is one of Hotel Impossible's most entertaining episodes to date.

The fishing lodge's claims on its homepage -- that it "has all the amenities and activities to experience a true Alaska vacation" plus "world-class fishing" -- aren't exactly false advertisements. But Melchiorri quickly learned its self-proclaimed status as "the best lodging and dining in the area" were a bit off the mark, due to the fact that the 32 room property was quite literally falling apart.

Inside, years of untreated water damage was causing the floors, ceiling, and walls to rot away. Rusty, unhinged toilet seats and accumulated soap scum prompted Melchiorri (an admitted germaphobe) to declare that Glacier Bear's bathrooms were "the worst I've ever been in. You might as well go pee on a tree." It was hilarious when Anthony then discovered the maintenance department's favorite tool for fixing problems was simply "duct tape." (Trust us, it doesn't get much more Alaskan than that!).

As for the rooms, "nothing has[sic] been touched in literally 40 years." The carpet stank and had gross stains, while the sheets were "low rent" and the pillows and mattress "old and lumpy." (According to AM, "A third of hotel guests surveyed said a comfortable bed is the most important part of a hotel experience. Even if it's a fishing lodge"). There were a handful of other horrors, like cigarette butts lying willy nilly, large nails protruding out of the walls at eye level, and holes in window screens plugged with toilet paper.

As if that weren't enough to scare off unwitting city slickers on their dream Alaska vacation, the crew noticed hungry bears were constantly lurking about outside guest rooms due to all the fish guts lying around by the irresponsible staff. (Guess that's why this friendly guest brought along a loaded gun to his interview!).

Of course, Anthony brought his proverbial big guns, too. He and his reno team did their best to revive the place, installing a mud room for fishermen to stow all their stinky gear, refurbing a third of the guest rooms, and giving the good ol' boy owners some much-needed management lessons. Oh, and hiring an actual maintenance man with a real set of tools.

Brave enough to check out the changes at Glacier Bear for yourself this summer? Rooms start at an ambitious $195 a night.

[Photo: Travel Channel]

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