The Hotel Alyeska
What We Love
- The location is convenient for exploring the rainforests, glaciers, national parks and mountains of southeast Alaska
- Free bike rentals
- Hiking and biking trails start right outside the resort’s front doors
- The concierge team recommends outfitters they personally know and trust
- The pool and hot tub remain open year-round
What To Know
- Sakura Restaurant is open Friday through Monday (it closes for the season on September 7), and the award-winning Seven Glaciers is open daily until September 20
- Alaska gets up to 20 hours of daylight in the summer
- The resort’s TRAM stops running on October 12 and reopens on November 28 (when the mountain opens); see their website for more info
- A $10 resort fee per night will be collected upon Jetsetter checkout
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
When you’re standing at the 2,300-foot top of Alyeska’s aerial tram in Girdwood, snowcapped mountains and hanging glaciers dominate the scene. To the west the cold, clear waters of Turnagain Arm twinkle; below you, the world’s northernmost coastal temperate rain forest. Alyeska Resort is — by far — the nicest place to stay for miles around. It’s billed as a chateau, but don’t think spires and steeply pitched roofs; Alyeska is a chateau only in terms of its ski-friendly location. The architecture and interiors are mountain-modern, with walls made of vibrant cherrywood and organic elements reflecting the region’s Native heritage (wood, alabaster and ivory sculptures).
Bed & Bath
The 304 guestrooms have large windows with the kind of views you want in Alaska: mountains, thick forests and blue sky. Like the state itself, guestrooms give you plenty of space to spread out (starting at a roomy 350 square feet). All rooms have heated towel racks, lighted makeup mirrors, bedside do-not-disturb controls, Serta Presidential pillowtop mattresses, Gilchrist & Soames products and more.
Though the area is relatively isolated, Alyeska itself has enough restaurants to keep you busy for days. There are four inside the hotel and another, Seven Glaciers, at the top of the Alyeska Tram. The views from Seven Glaciers — so named because on a clear day you can see seven hanging glaciers — are the stuff slideshows are made of. With the cold, clear waters of the North Pacific only a couple of miles away, the Sakura & Sushi Bar trades in the freshest of catches from king salmon and halibut to Kachemak Bay oysters. Also onsite? A heated indoor saltwater pool, a serene spa and a well-equipped gym.
In the Area
The resort is about an hour from the Anchorage airport; most guests rent cars and drive themselves. In the summer, suit up for lift-assisted mountain biking, hiking in the world’s northernmost temperate coastal rain forest (trails start at the hotel) and rock climbing with local guide company Ascending Path. Its creekside cragging area, Tram Rock, is just a 10-minute walk from the hotel. Get up close and personal with Alaska wildlife—brown and black bears, caribou, musk ox, bison, moose, elk and bald eagles—at the nonprofit Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, nine miles south of the resort. Ciri Cruises offers three- to nine-hour cruises in Kenai Fjords National Park to see sea otters, orcas, puffins, cormorants, harbor seals, Steller sea lions and porpoises. In the winter it’s all about the snow—650 inches on average blanket 2,500 vertical feet of terrain over 1,400 skiable acres. Oh and did we mention? Practically no lift lines.
How to Get There
I was there for one night for a conference in early September of this year. I have always loved staying at Alyeska for the luxury, the customer service, the views, the atmosphere, and everything about it. I have stayed there, eaten there, skied there, and visited for festivals so many times since it opened, and I was always happy with it. The resort was sold (I don't know when or tow whom, nor do I care) to people who have let this place get run-down. So this stay was VERY different, sadly.
The room was nice enough, but the beds, which used to be so comfortable, were hard as a rock. My guess is that they aren't replacing mattresses as often, to save money. The pillows were hard, too.
They've stopped offering slippers. It's not a big deal, it was just one of those amenities which was really comforting and lovely. There were two robes hanging in the closet, but one of them was torn.
I ordered a pot of coffee from Room Service in the morning, and for $14 we got a bare tray with a pot of coffee and ONE cup. No saucers, napkins, stirrers, or sweetner. I don't mind paying more for room service coffee. It's usually better than the gross pre-packaged stuff they offer in the rooms, but for $14, at least give me something to stir with!
There was electric tape over the message button on the phone. weird.
We had to move one of the beds completely to find the outlet AND to repair the iHome dock/charger (which wasn't plugged in and was wonky)
The room was very hot, and we tried to turn down the thermostat, but it kept going up! We finally found the fan on it and that made it better, but instructions would have been nice.
The pumped in air freshener/perfume everywhere (especially in the hotel's public restrooms near the conference rooms) was over the top offensive and made my eyes burn (a complaint I heard from many people).
This resort has been the same for decades and doesn't necessarily need a facelift. it does need to be brought into the 21st century with outlets, USB ports, proper lighting, etc. For as expensive as it is to stay there, These things, which seem minor, need to be addressed before they snowball. Thankfully, the customer service remains wonderful.
We enjoyed hiking while staying at Alyeska. Even though we did not have a car, we were able to walk into the town where there are a few restaurants. The pool was interesting- salt water. We did not eat at the restaurant on site but did like the boutique gift shop.
This was a fairly nice hotel. All the staff were very friendly. In fact, all the people we met in Girdwood were exceptionally friendly from the free shuttle driver to the waitstaff in a local restaurant. Your stay (well ours) includes a lift ticket to ride the tram up to the top of the hill. This is a ski hotel when in season.