experiences

Hotel Review: Denali Princess Lodge

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Denali actually offers quite a few accommodation options ranging from the Denali Salmon Bake  Styrofoam cabins to some pretty pricey cabins deep in the park, but I wanted something in between. I finally settled on the Princess Denali Lodge (yep, owned by the cruise company) after I saw that they opened the day I arrived and were running an early season special of $99 a night.

Actually my first pick was an all inclusive lodge with a view of Mt McKinley, no roads, and could only be accessed by plane! It was expensive, but who needed tours or flights when I could just sit on my own porch for 3 days and take in the loveliness. My heart broke when I discovered the website was years old, the place had been bought out, and was in fact, no longer operational.

So for $99, I didn’t have high expectations and figured I’d be pretty happy.

I arrived, again noting that everyone was dressed as if they might be called to hike without notice and looking askance at me in my knee length dress, 4 inch wedges and light trench perfectly appropriate for paved roads and 50-60 degree weather.

The main lodge was nice, although even with the gigantic fireplace, not as luxurious as the descriptions made it sound. At check-in it was clear they don’t have many non-cruise ship guests, because they were surprised not to have a packet of information for me nor a schedule of events I’d be taking part in. I’d been assigned to a double room on the second floor of a building overlooking the park.

Walk to Princess Denali Lodge Room

There was no parking other that at reception however, so I could either wait for the tram or walk the ¼ mile to my room. Normally I wouldn’t care, but I was tired. Still, no tram in site so I schlepped my way to my room, regretting the lack of elevator to ascend to the 2nd floor.

Cabins at Princess Denali Lodge Room

The room was very basic, done in comfortable rustic décor. I liked the little table/seating area, I did not like the bedspreads that went OVER the pillows, nor the old fashioned TV that was clearly from the same time period.

But I was tired, it was already past 10PM, although the sun was still bright. YAY! So as long as I could sleep I’d be fine. And eat. I looked at the restaurant offerings but didn’t feel like spending $$ to be trapped at a table if I wanted to sleep. So I took advantage of the Lynx Creek Pizza & Pub “Room Service Special.” $10 for a pepperoni pizza delivered to my room. So I called up and within 30 minutes ( I was almost asleep) it arrived at my door. It’s your basic deep dish frozen pizza, and yet, it tasted great. I washed it down with the best screwtop wine I found in Anchorage since I was cheap and didn’t want to have to buy a corkscrew I would have to throwaway or check luggage to keep.

The bed was fairly comfortable although I kept waking up just to see what it looked like outside every hour (it never got darker than twilight). Since the tour departed at 6AM, and it was 11 before I’d finished my pizza, I didn’t get that much sleep.

Midnight at Denali Princess Lodge

The bathroom was probably the worst part of the room, but it wasn’t bad. It was just really small and the amenities were some off-brand that called itself luxurious. The shower was also the type where if you stepped wrong the plastic would sink a bit. But plenty of hot water and water pressure, so no real complaints. And hey, for $99 it was a steal!

 

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Heels First is the travels and tribulations of two twenty-something frequent fliers jumping into the world of travel. Join Keri and Jeanne as they tackle mileage runs, elite status, and of course–the perfect travel accessories.

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Living for the little (and big things) that make life so fun, especially mistake deals and crazy last minute weekend mileage runs across the world. www.twitter.com/klatravel

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