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All reviewsultima thulebush pilotsunique experiencemy wife and ihigh expectationswrangell steach eveningtrue wildernessan adventurethe entire staffelias national parkremote locationsandwichdaily excursionscan't wait to go backclauspaul
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Reviewed 14 September 2017 via mobile

Full disclosure: I am a safari lodge owner in Africa and I paid full rate for my stay.
I have built, opened and operated over 60 luxury lodges across Africa and India but I have never in my 35 year career experienced a lodge such as Ultima Thule.
For starters it is as absolutely in the middle of nowhere as you can possibly get - and only accessible by air.
Everything is brought in by air - think generators, airplane fuel, propane gas, building materials, front end loader, tooth picks, tractors and more ... and the planes are small - an 8 seater being the biggest.
This is hardcore operating but the guest experience is sublime.
The Claus family welcomes guests into their home with arms open wide. It truly is their home but every guest touchpoint is perfect throughout the lodge: service, food, wine and accommodation - I could fault nothing.
And all out here in the deep Back Country of Alaska.
Ultima Thule's luxury comes from the following (it is pricey so guests do have high expectations):
High owner touch (what a blessed change from group owned establishments)
Just the right amount of everything- more would not seem right out here
Pristine wilderness with not another soul in sight - priceless
The natural beauty of Alaska is legendary but has to be on this list
Story telling by Paul Claus at every opportunity - huge, hair raising, hilarious, scary and all true ...
And then there is the flight seeing in Super Cubs. Now this has to be without equal anywhere in the world. Seven of us had four planes flown by extraordinary pilots. Remember these planes are made of plastic stretched over a steel frame and are hand started by pulling on the propeller. Then you fly amongst the snowy peaks, skimming glaciers, down through deep gorges and up up up again. Landing? No problem - anywhere the pilots decided.
Oh my, words fail me except two: please GO!

PS - and when you do please be sure to ask Paul how he was nearly done in by a grizzypede

Stayed: September 2017, travelled with friends
2  Thank NickyFitzKenya
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 August 2017

It's hard to put into words just how exceptional, magical and fun our adventure was with the Claus family at Ultima Thule Lodge. It's the definition of "luxury", in the sense that an experience like this is incredibly rare and we feel so lucky to have been able to stay at Ultima Thule.

Your daily excursions are customized to your taste - care to fly in a Super Cub and land on a glacier to hike and sled down it? Get picked up by the DeHavilland Otter after floating the Chitina River and learning how to pan for gold? (my 12 year old son's choice). Fishing? Wildlife spotting? It's all available to you. Truly, the 4 days of exploration we had at Ultima Thule are unmatched by anything we have ever done. Our 12 and 13 year olds thought it was, in their words, "mind-blowingly cool".

It's the stuff of fantasy for anyone who loves the outdoors and wants to experience Alaska and all it represents - wild, stunning and exhilarating. We felt so lucky to be able to spend time with true Alaskan adventurers in the pristine Wrangell- St. Elias National Park.

A generation ago, the Claus family had a dream to settle in this remote location and honed their skills as bush pilots, explorers and guides. Guests at Ultima Thule are the lucky beneficiaries of this dream, as the Claus family are our guides, hosts and friends in this magnificent setting. As a family, we loved seeing our kids embrace this spirit of adventure throughout our stay. Everyone at Ultima Thule is expert at their vocation - we loved flying with Paul, Steve and Loni and the planes are like "magic carpets" that open up this amazing landscape to you to explore.

The blend of exhilarating outings every day, jaw-dropping views when we stopped to set up fantastic picnic lunches, and the comfort of our lovely cabins is amazing, given that everything on site has to be brought in by plane. Despite being in such a remote location, there's no "roughing it" at Ultima Thule. The cabins are very well-appointed with everything you need, the hot tub and sauna are terrific and the lodge where meals are served is surrounded by a stunning perennial garden. Meals are outstanding, with the freshest ingredients and wonderful execution.

I truly can't say enough about this amazing experience. There are simply not enough stars to rate Ultima Thule. We can't wait to go back. Our family left inspired, moved and grateful for our time there.

Room Tip: Every cabin is charming - with only 12 guests at a time, you can't go wrong.
  • Stayed: August 2017, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Guita G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 August 2017 via mobile

4 nights and 4 days -- travel does not get better than this. We were picked up in McCarthy AK (year round population = 28) by Paul Claus (founder of the Lodge) at the airfield. He was flying a de Havilland Otter. My wife and I flew to the Lodge in about 1/2 hour with a family of 4 from France. We would be joined that day by a family of 5 from Germany and a single traveler from Australia. Thus, the Lodge was full with 12 guests for the next 4 days.
Each evening we were served delicious family style dinners prepared by Paul's wife Donna and served by his daughters Ellie and Logan. Included as dinner guests were the bush pilots who would fly us around and though the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. My wife and I flew with Ben Gray, Ellie's husband, each day in a different take off direction to see different sites. Each trip involved 4 take offs and landings -- one, for example, on glacial ice. We saw bear, buffalo, moose, eagles, a hawk catching a fish, caribou, seals, and others I cannot presently recall. Ben flew low enough over an ice flow for us to get a perfect picture of the 75(!) seals on it. He flew low enough to a grizzly bear so that would could properly judge the true size of this magnificent predator.
We (and the rest of the guests) were being flown in Super Cubs, a plane that seats the pilot and 2 passengers. It takes off in less than 10 seconds using less than 200 feet of runway. Ben landed it on beaches, tundra, and, obviously, the home field at the Lodge. The flights were never bumpy (even though there was once a 20 mph wind) and we were totally comfortable in being able to fly under any cloud cover.
This was truly the trip of a lifetime. We will never forget it.

Stayed: August 2017, travelled with family
1  Thank Paul Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 August 2017

We travelled with 2 other couples from the Los Angeles area for a 5 night excursion at Ultima Thule Lodge. We were first greeted by the staff as we stepped off the Otter plane (that was an exciting ride). Yes, we had reservations about taking a Super Cub (small 2 seaters) each morning to see the sites of Alaska. However, once we met our pilots and understood their experience, our mixed reservations went immediately away. What an adventure each day!! We flew like birds all over the terrain. We sited Moose, Grizzlies, bald eagles, deserted gold mines, grassy meadows, large glaciers and more! The food each morning, lunch, and at dinner must have been prepared by America's Top Chef winner! The food was outrageously amazing. Next year, I plan to bring my mother on this adventure. She can't wait! Neither can I.

Room Tip: Each room is wonderful!
  • Stayed: July 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank Kerry F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 August 2017

The most important words to say are, GO What are you waiting for? Ultima Thule is everything you read about & more I cant express my thanks enough to Paul Claus, his family and extended family they are a amazing bunch of people.

For 4 days my wife & I flew in a Super Piper Cub airplane all over the Wrangell/St. Elias National Park, landing on Glaciers, Beaches & Mountain tops & other locations that you wouldn't believe possible .From the time we entered the plane around 10am each day until you finish around 4-5pm you have the biggest grin on your face because you see so much beauty you have sensory overload, you try to capture it in photos but soon you realize just enjoy the show.

The accommodations are wonderful the food is great and if your willing to become part of the family you will leave amazed.

Paul & Family we will see you next year

Ernie & Josy
.

Stayed: June 2017
Thank TheOldGringo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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