Platinum Recognition at the Holiday Inn Express Anchorage
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I had a short overnight in Anchorage before my 6 AM flight to Barrow, so I decided to forgo my usual stay at the Sheraton and choose something close to the airport, preferably with a free shuttle.
Problem is it was still high season. One of the reasons I usually pick the Sheraton is that even though prices are usually $200+, I can get it for 7,000 points. Not a bad deal at all. I had not expected the hotels around the airport to be in the same price range though…
I narrowed down my choices to the Crowne Plaza and the Holiday Inn Express. Both well ranked on TripAdvisor, both with free shuttles, and unfortunately both in the $200 range or 35,000 points. Not a great deal for points, but since Royal Ambassador benefits had continued to diminish, I rarely stayed at IHG properties any way. And on this particular trip, where one day in Barrow alone was going to run over $400, I valued saving my cash.
The trip to Alyeska Lodge had taken longer than I’d anticipated and it was after midnight when I checked in. I received a warm greeting from the front desk and instant recognition of my platinum status – a bottle of water and a package of peanut butter crackers.
Funnily enough, I couldn’t have asked for a better welcome gift. I wanted a light snack before I went to bed and wouldn’t have been in the mood for cheese and wine, etc even if it had been available. On my way to the room I passed a basic, but well stocked snack center and a more cafeteria feeling room where the complimentary breakfast was served.
My room was in the back of the hotel, which ordinarily would have been great, as it would have less traffic and be quieter, but in this case was a disadvantage because I was ready to plunk down on the bed and not have to walk another 3-5 minutes to get there.
It was quite spacious and modern. Nice sitting area, which I didn’t have time to use. Fridge, which I also didn’t have time to use. The bed was quite comfy and I soon settled down to catch 3 hours of sleep.
The bathroom was also spacious, but my one complaint was that the toilet was so close to the shower that when you climbed out you were pretty much on top of it.
I’d checked the shuttle schedule at check in and my options for my 6AM flight were 4:20 and 5. Since I was checking a bag, I had to go for the 4:20 option which was rough. It did feel like a bit of a waste to spend 35,000 points for only 4 hours. But my days of going 48 hours without much sleep are over. It’s hard enough just to do Alaska in a weekend!
Verdict: Nice hotel. I would never pay $200 or 35,000 in the lower 48 and with other Anchorage hotels like the Hilton and Sheraton going for roughly the same price, I’d probably feel a little cheated (in contrast to the Holiday Inn Express Seward which was well worth the points). BUT if you need a place for a quick overnight that won’t require cab fare and maximizes your sleep, this appears to be one of the better options.
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