Aramark to operate, upgrade Glacier Bay Lodge

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GUSTAVUS, Alaska -- When the Glacier Bay Lodge reopened for business May 28, repeat guests might have noticed a few subtle changes.

The hotel has a new operator and concessionaire, Aramark.

Aramark is a national corporation with parks concession contracts at the Grand Canyon and as far away from Alaska as Ellis Island in New York Harbor. But it's also known locally: The company has handled the concession contracts at Denali National Park for the past 20 years.

Steve Halloran, the director of sales and marketing for Aramark's Alaska park operations, said things at the lodge will be a little different this year.

"Definitely [there will be] upgrades," he said, although he was unable to provide details.

The lodge takes its name from Glacier Bay National Park, where the 56-room lodge is located. The lodge is the only overnight accommodation within the park.

To bid for the 10-year contract, Aramark teamed with Alaska-based corporation Huna Totem, which also operates Icy Strait Point, the state's new made-for-cruise destination.

Aramark will continue to operate a day cruise from Bartlett Cove to some of the park's glacier viewing spots; Halloran said Aramark was bringing in a new boat to operate the daylong excursions.

The lodge also will offer hiking tours and activities from the hotel and run transfers to and from the airport as well as work with a supplier who offers whale-watching excursions on his ferry boat -- which also runs in and out of Juneau.

A Web site, www.visitglacierbay.com, lists details on several different activities, including the daylong glacier tour and the whale-watching expedition, guided and independent kayaking tours, flightseeing and fishing rentals.

The site's links include a travel agent section that lists the lodge's GDS codes. Glacier Bay Lodge pays 10% commission. Rack rates start at $179, double, for a forest view; a water-view room is $10 more.

For more information, call (888) 229-8687 or visit www.visitglacierbay.com.

To contact reporter Rebecca Tobin, send e-mail to [email protected].

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