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A trip to Alaska may sound like a totally rugged, backcountry experience full of long hikes, cold weather, and unforgettable views of scenery and wildlife. However, there are some ways to make a stay in Alaska a little more comfortable, and there are some great lodges, hotels, and resorts here to choose from. These are some of the best resorts to consider booking while you explore Alaska.
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Back in 1994, the Hotel Alyeska opened and has been impressing visitors in Alaska ever since. The setting is a valley surrounded by mountains, glaciers, and views of the ocean. There are luxury guest rooms on-site, a saltwater pool, a whirlpool, a 60-passenger aerial tram, the Seven Glaciers Restaurant, a spa, and lots of meeting and event space. The hotel is part of one of the best ski resorts in Alaska; however, it’s open year-round with plenty to do in the summertime too. The hotel is near Chugach State Park and near the small town of Girdwood.
If your main reason for visiting Alaska is fishing, then Waterfall Resort is your best option. This is the most popular fishing resort in the state, and it’s located in a renovated historic cannery that was founded by pioneers in 1912. The resort is located on Prince of Wales Island, and the main fish to catch in the area are king salmon, silver salmon, and halibut. As part of this all-inclusive experience, you’ll be transported via seaplane from Ketchikan to the resort, and there you’ll join in an unforgettable guided fishing expedition. Aspiring fishermen of all skill levels and even families traveling with children are welcome here.
Near in the Denali Canyon and the adventure-filled Denali National Park, the McKinley Chalet Resort is another great place to stay in Alaska. You can even hop on a shuttle that runs from the lodge to the park, and popular excursions include rafting, flightseeing, and riding ATVs. There are spacious rooms and suites here, including ones that offer beautiful views of the national park from private balconies. Dining options include brick oven-fired pizza, Alaskan salmon, and quick casual bites to keep you satisfied out on the trails.
Hotel Captain Cook is one of the best hotels in Anchorage, and really the only luxury hotel in the entire region. So if you’d feel most comfortable in a familiar and upscale setting, this is the place to stay. This hotel is enormous, taking up a city block downtown. There are modern guest rooms and spacious suites, multiple on-site restaurants, exercise facilities, and a ballroom. You’ll enjoy all the familiar amenities including complimentary Wi-Fi, which can be hard to come by in many of Alaska’s remote wilderness lodges and resorts. Nearby attractions include the 5th Avenue Mall, the coastal trail that runs over 10 miles, the Alaska Center for Performing Arts, and the Dena’ina Convention Center. Guests also can enjoy lovely views of Mt. McKinley, the Cook Inlet, and the Chugach Mountains.
Chilly days are much more tolerable when you know you’re coming “home” to soothing, natural hot springs. The Chena Hot Springs Resort is open year-round and located 60 miles northeast of Fairbanks, Alaska. There are cozy lodging rooms here, a restaurant and lounge, and natural hot springs that have been flowing for hundreds of years. Some of the other popular things to do in the area (depending on the season) include dog sled rides, the Aurora Ice Museum, therapeutic massage, horseback riding, and snowmobiling. Guests must be at least 18 years old to use the outdoor hot springs, and you can even come to take a dip if you’re not staying overnight.
The Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge is located on the eastern side of Wrangell St. Elias National Park, which is northeast of Anchorage. It’s a remote location that’s great for hiking, fishing, and rafting. There are spacious rooms at this lodge, which aren’t fussy or over-the-top, yet are comfortable, inviting, and cozy. There’s also a two-level dining area with excellent mountain and valley views.
Many travelers to Alaska want to stay near Denali National Park, and one of the best places to stay here is the Denali Backcountry Lodge. While staying here, guests can join guided nature hikes, gold panning trips, fishing expeditions, or even book a massage at the on-site spa. This is an all-inclusive accommodation experience with a two-story main lodge and cozy cabins that are heated and have private baths. There’s daily meal service at the on-site dining room, a souvenir gift shop and a lounge to relax by the fireplace.
If you’re looking to have an authentic Alaskan experience, consider staying at the Kachemak Bay Wilderness Lodge. This lodge takes in just 12 guests at a time but is staffed by 10 people to be attentive and helpful at any time. This lodge is near China Poot Bay, and the most popular activities to do here are hiking, fishing, bird watching, and sea kayaking. The rate at this lodge is all-inclusive, so it includes gourmet meals, a private cabin, deck, sauna, and hot tub for a stay of two to five nights. This impressive lodge has been featured in magazines such as the New York Times, National Geographic Traveler and Vogue.
Ultima Thule is a lodge that’s been featured in National Geographic Traveler, Outside Magazine, and Financial Times. This is a great place to stay for hikers and adventurers who want to see the rare wildlife of Alaska on foot or by plane. The lodge prides itself on being 100 miles from the nearest road, and you’ll stay in charming cabins with views of the Chitina River and the mountains. The lodge only takes in a maximum of 12 guests at any given time. Fresh Alaska ingredients are served in the main lodge building for meals. There’s also a cedar sauna and self-spa on-site that’s perfect for relaxing after a long day in the wilderness.
Another amazing fishing lodge in Alaska is the Clover Pass Resort, which is located in Ketchikan. Halibut and salmon are common in the nearby waters, and the resort has been taking guests out on fishing expeditions since the early 1950s. The resort is 15 miles north of Ketchikan and has cozy rooms for guests. The rooms are only a few yards away from the marina, and this is an amazing place to watch the sunset.