Tag: Alaska Hotels

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Inside Princess Cruises' Two Denali Lodges

July 24, 2015 at 3:00 PM | by | ()

Relaxing and enjoying the view at Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge

In an effort to broaden the stay and experience of cruising in Alaska, Princess Cruises owns and operates five wilderness lodges throughout the state. The properties are constructed to accommodate large groups of tourists traveling before or after their cruise. In this way, they are not built for someone looking for a rustic stay in the wilderness. They are outfitted and able to accommodate families and groups, and with that comes lots of tour buses, long lines, and crowded common areas.

Princess has two lodges in the vicinity of Denali National Park, each with its own unique location and resulting benefits. During a recent visit to the Park prior to a cruise, I spent nights at the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge and the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge, transferring between Anchorage and the Park scenically and effortlessly via Princess' own luxury rail cars.

That last part is one of main reasons the lodges are so popular: A visit is extremely turnkey. Not only can you arrange transport through Princess, a stay is much like being on a cruise in that the lodges allow you to book excursions through them, providing ample and easy opportunities to explore the Last Frontier. The properties might lack true character because of the reality of their scope and size, but they are without question beautiful thanks to their location in the Alaskan wilderness.

With those things said and understood, I feel comfortable explaining that they are great options for general travelers who want to get a taste of the Alaskan wilderness before or after their cruise without taking on risk or doing a lot of planning. Below, we take a brief look inside them.

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Alaska Hotel News Brief: What's Up, Up North for Summer 2013

Where: Various locations, Alaska, United States
February 7, 2013 at 4:13 PM | by | ()

The mercury may be hovering around zero in Fairbanks today, but we've got summer on the brain, thanks to our mukluk-wearing buddies over at the Alaska tourism board. They just shared with us a sweet little ditty on all the new offerings debuting at lodges and resorts in the Last Frontier for "midnight sun season" 2013. Here's the region-specific rundown of what's up, up north.


Fairbanks' Regency Hotel is debuting a guestroom remodel featuring upgraded floors, bathrooms, and kitchen units. Summer rates from $128 a night include free in-room WiFi, 32" flatscreens, and breakfast.

Pike's Waterfront Lodge in Fairbanks has updated its exercise room and installed a new complimentary business center with desktops and boarding pass printers available for guests' use. Their "Great 2013 Summer Special" (July-September) rates start at $219/night and includes $50 lunch or dinner credit.

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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!).

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Somebody Save Alaska's Rundown "Igloo City" Hotel

Where: George Parks Highway [map], Cantwell, AK, United States
January 23, 2013 at 9:13 AM | by | ()

Brrrr! Here we are, HC'ers, riding out the winter all the way up in Alaska: mushing sled dogs, spending romantic nights beneath the aurora, and catching wind of fascinating local oddities. Like this wacky, abandoned igloo hotel.

Built back in the '70s along the highway between Anchorage and Fairbanks, the giant, four story-structure known as "Igloo City" has been picking up plenty of fresh press this month -- with even London's Daily Mail getting in on the action.

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The Year Was 1957 and the Place Was Alaska's McKinley Park Hotel

July 3, 2012 at 4:32 PM | by | ()

Happy Independence Day! This year, we're celebrating with a patriotic look back at one of the United States' most historic hotels: the McKinley Park Hotel in Mt. McKinley National Park, Alaska. Really, what's more "nuclear family" traditional Americana than a National Park?

We recently came across a vintage pamphlet from a stay at the hotel in the summer of 1957. The yellowed pages tout the 86-room property as "a friendly hotel in Alaska's scenic land of the midnight sun" and a perfect location for spotting the multitude of wildlife of the park, whose land measures an impressive 1,939,493 acres.

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And This is Why Politicians Shouldn't Stay in Hotels on the Taxpayers' Dime

August 26, 2011 at 5:12 PM | by | ()

When you vote a politician into office, you hope that he or she lives up to all their campaign promises, looks out for the little people, avoids wasteful spending, makes smart decisions and fingers crossed, doesn't get messed up in a sex scandal.

But thanks to Wasilla, Alaska's city councilmember, Steve Menard we will now hope that our politician doesn't act atrociously in a hotel room that our tax dollars paid for. The Claims Journal reports:

Menard was staying at the Westmark in Sitka earlier this month for a meeting of the Alaska Municipal League. The hotel reported that damage to his room included urine on two mattresses and a chair, vomit on the carpet, ruined bedding and a burned mattress. The hotel sent the city of Wasilla a $350 bill for repairs to Menard’s room, which was out of service for three days.

A burned mattress? WTF? Is that why there was urine on it?

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What's Kristen Bell's Hotel Alias? Ask Ted Danson

February 8, 2011 at 12:31 PM | by | ()

Kristen Bell all dolled up in '80s Anchorage garb for her new film.

TV show character names must be the go-to aliases for celebs. We told you about Justin Bieber's hotel handle—Chandler Bing—and now we find out about another star's make-believe check-in name. Kristen Bell recently checked into an undisclosed Alaska hotel under the moniker Holly Frobisher.

It sounds like an innocent-sounding name. The Couples Retreat star stole it from the show Damages; it's the name of Ted Danson's character's wife. Again, no big deal. But it turns out that Danson was in the hotel lobby after she checked in.

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For A Stay in Sitka, Try The Shee Atika Totem Square Inn

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 330 Seward Street [map], Sitka, ak, United States, 99835
June 8, 2009 at 4:52 PM | by | ()

Mention Sitka in surrounding Southeast Alaska island towns, and locals invariably perk up: “Oh Sitka? It’s really (drag it out for three syllables) nice there.” All starry eyed, you have a feeling they’re conjuring up mental images of rainbows and unicorns.

Although we rolled into town at an ungodly hour after a 13-hour schlep on the Alaskan Marine Highway Ferry, the chipper (caffeinated?) concierge Shee Atika Totem Square Inn made us feel right at home. After cracking open the windows for some cool night air (Alaska hoteliers tend to overheat rooms), our head hit the pillow for one of the most restful slumbers on the nine-day Alaskan adventure.

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Alaska's Newhalen Lodge :: Fishing for Big Tunas

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 3851 Chiniak Bay Drive [map], Anchorage, AK, United States, 99515
July 9, 2008 at 1:15 PM | by | ()

For some people fishing requires a cooler of canned beer, a couple bros, and a local lake or river. Then there are those "Big Tunas"-- heads of mega-corporations, sultans, magnates, and independently wealthy gadabouts-- that won't settle for mediocrity in any corner of their lives.

For those special souls there is a private fishing lodge 185 miles southeast of Anchorage Alaska only accessible by private plane called The Newhalen Lodge.

Ironically, the accommodations themselves are not particularly special. Bedrooms are shared, with wood-paneled walls, shaggy tan carpet and dorm-room linens on the beds. In their defense however, the people that are going there are not ones to sweat decor.

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Stuffed Polar Bears Still Guaranteed at The Hotel Alyeksa

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 1000 Arlberg Avenue [map], Girdwood, AK, United States, 99587
July 7, 2008 at 11:51 AM | by | ()

Ever considered Alaska for a far-flung vacation? Then we say hit up the town of Girdwood, Alaska located about 45 minutes outside downtown Anchorage and home to the state's biggest ski resort, Alyeska Resort.

The resort has seen numerous changes in ownership over the last few years and the newest owners have recently made a dedicated effort to improve the rooms inside the The Hotel Alyeska, the resort's "base camp" hotel.

Not to fear though, you'll still find stuffed polar bears in the lobby and massive views of Alyeska Ski Resort out of the huge panoramic windows, provided there is sun.

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It's a Motel, It's a Hostel, It's...Alaska

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: Mile 249.5 Parks Highway [map], Healy, AK, United States, 99743
July 12, 2006 at 12:57 PM | by | ()

If you are looking to add a few more hours to your day, you can always do it by going to Alaska. Not only will you get almost 24 hours of daylight, but there is not much to distract you from what it is you need to focus on; whether that be relaxing or working harder.

The word motel can be a scary one, but apparently it should not be rendered that way when referring to the Motel Nord Haven in Healy. Now, it has the looks of a motel, cheap outside panel, floral duvets inside, but even so, it offers a great escape and past guests claim its sense of community ix-nays the word motel with the friendlier sounding "Inn" as more appropriate. Others describe it as a  hostel...but in a good way:

The motel has the feeling of a fine scandinavian hostel, but with private rooms. The breakfast room w/ fireplace is huge and inviting, as is the deck looking out into the Taiga forest. The staff is friendly and helpful. Highly recommemded by a very picky traveler(but a budget traveler too!) Great for couples and families, as long as kids don't expect video games or a pool.

The one thing is does have amazingly is internet, so you will be able to get work done if that is your purpose for the sunlight. If not, escape into the forest, the Denali National Park, or just sip coffee all day long like the locals and get juiced up to do nothing, Northern Exposure style.

(Note The picture above taken from one of the room decks was shot at 10pm during the summer.)

Related Stories:
· Motel Nord Haven Reviews [TripAdvisor]