Hotels

Hotel Review: A Return to the Sheraton Anchorage

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I’d stayed at the Sheraton Anchorage Hotel & Spa before and was looking forward to returning.  Rates weren’t outrageous, but at over $200 a night, I decided to just do an award stay at 7,000 points a night. I’d gone back and forth about whether it was worth upgrading to a club room, but since I wouldn’t be checking in til after midnight and would be leaving at midnight the next day, I wasn’t sure 2,000 extra points (1,000 a day) was worth a free continental breakfast and heavy hors d’oerves in the evening.

I had a mixed experience this time around, but the one thing that stood out and makes want to return on any subsequent visits, is the unfailing friendliness and helpfulness of the staff. Particularly Chris.

So I arrive at the hotel around 1:15AM, take my (now) usual free street parking spot by the Country Kitchen and check in. There’s one person in front of me and a pack headed in behind me. The man, Chris, checking me in was the same guy who had to deal with all my reservation changes on my last stay, but fortunately he didn’t remember me.

And now for one of the weirdest hotel experiences I’ve had. I was informed, at 1:15AM, that they were waiting for housekeeping to finish with the rooms and I would need to wait at least 10-15 min. I’ve had that happen at 1:15 PM before, but never in the middle of the night! After thinking it through though, it made sense. Lots of people like me would be checking out late in the evening to catch midnight flights back to the continental US, and the turnover would be happening then rather than noon.

Although I didn’t get the usual Gold Preferred Guest welcome, he did offer me snacks and a drink from their convenience store on the house while I waited. The restaurant and bar were closed by then so  I took him up on it, grabbing a sprite and some cheez-its and catching up on my email in the lobby via Link @ Sheraton.

While I was waiting, I watched him handle the crowd behind me with incredible professionalism. Everyone was upset that they had to wait. And they weren’t nice about it, which is pointless, its not like it’s his fault!

My 15 minutes passed and I headed to the 8th floor. My previous room had looked out onto the city and bay behind. This room was on the opposite side and looked out to the mountains (and the parking lot). It was smaller and not quite as nice as the one I’d had before (on the club floor). It also had double beds which I’d agreed to in order to get a room sooner. I also missed the extra little toiletries that come with a club room – a loofa-thing, mouthwash, sewing kit, etc.

Sheraton Anchorage hotel & spa basic bathroom

But it was a solid, basic room. More importantly, very clean!

Sheraton Anchorage hotel & spa basic room

I quickly went to sleep and in 5 hours was up again to see about scheduling a flight over Denali. Once I was up, I realized that I hadn’t mentioned at check-in that I had two separate reservations for that night and the next night, that I needed to combine. Ack. I really didn’t want to have to pack everything up and cart it up to Talkeetna with me, just to check back in when I returned.

I called down to the front desk and they told me to just stop by on my way out and they’d make sure it all got taken care of. Since it was a two-night stay, I also realized that I’d forgotten to put out the little card Points, Miles, & Martinis highlights declining housekeeping in exchange for $5 credit or 500 points. (Always take the points!)

500 extra starwood points for declining housekeeping

The card said to display by 2AM though, at which point I’d barely been in my room, so I decided to risk it and stick it outside my door at 8AM. On the way out to my flightseeing, I stopped by the desk and they quickly handled all the paperwork to combine my two reservations.

I didn’t get back to the hotel until 5PM and had fully intended checking out the top floor fitness center and possibly sampling the services of the ice spa, but instead got sucked into the sweet sleeper bed and didn’t wake up until 11PM when it was time to leave for my flight. Upon my return I saw a $5 voucher had been slipped under my door, so when I checked out I asked if it could be converted to the 500 points which they handled with no problem.

Sooo…tips for staying there:

  • If arriving late a night, anticipate there might be a delay in getting your room.
  • Be nice to the staff and they’ll go out of their way to help you.
  • If you log in to the complimentary Link @ Sheraton in the lobby first, it will probably work for you in the room, eliminating the need to pay the daily internet fee.
  • There’s usually no problem getting safe street parking immediately adjacent to the hotel (I’ve been in May, August, and September) so save yourself the $12 a day.
  • If you get a room facing North or Northwest, you’re probably going to hear some drunken folks stumbling down the street in the evening.
  • When staying on points, the club rooms are worth the extra 1,000pts a day if you can get one.

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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

1 Comment

  1. Anna

    June 19, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    The Sheraton Anchorage is also under boycott and has been involved in a labor dispute with local workers for 5yrs. Please consider staying elsewhere next time you visit our town. There’s an app (Union Hotel Guide) that allows you to check boycotts at hotels around the country. Boycott means the workers of the hotel are asking you to not eat there, sleep there, or attend meetings there until a fair contract can be reached between the hotel & the workers. It also means you may encounter bull horns, picket lines & rallies during your stay.

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