Alaska hotels, new and renovated, await a new season

Hotels in Alaska are gearing up for summer travel with room renovations, new wellness options and aurora-viewing additions. Here’s a look at a few of the noteworthy updates.

Marriott Anchorage Downtown: The hotel finished a full renovation in December. In addition to updating all 392 guestrooms and suites with new furnishings and decor, crews added wall outlets, USB charging ports, high-speed WiFi, 55-inch televisions and back-lit vanity mirrors. Designers chose neutral colors and nature-themed artwork, including abstract canvas paintings reflective of Alaska’s glaciers and aurora-season skies.

The interior and the menus at the Promenade Cafe got a refresh, as did the Marriott’s six event venues, which together offer 15,000 square feet of gathering space. New communal tables and charging stations for personal electronics were added to the lobby-level Great Room restaurant and lounge, as well.

Open for lunch and dinner, the Great Room serves American food, cocktails and locally brewed beers. The Marriott Anchorage Downtown’s revamped lobby now spotlights Alaska Native art and aurora-inspired light displays.

T0207ALOFTANC_C_HR [credit: Courtesy of Aloft Anchorage]

Aloft Anchorage: The Aloft Anchorage is slated to open in March, bringing 146 new rooms to the city’s midtown neighborhood. 

Accommodations will be outfitted with WiFi; 55-inch, flat-panel TVs; in-room coffee and tea; air conditioning; walk-in showers; and other amenities. The four-floor property will also have accessible rooms with 32-inch-wide doorways and roll-in showers plus hearing-accessible amenities available upon request.

Nearly 3,000 square feet of event space will accommodate up to 240 guests, and the hotel will also have a restaurant, a business center, laundry facilities, a 24-hour fitness center and an indoor pool.

T0207SEALASKA_C_HR [Credit: Sealaska Heritage Institute]

When it opens this summer, the indoor-outdoor facility will spotlight northwest coast art and artists, headlined by members of the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian communities of Southeast Alaska.

Alyeska Resort: Located southeast of Anchorage in Girdwood, the resort is finishing construction on a 50,000-square-foot, indoor-outdoor spa anchored by a European-inspired hydrotherapy circuit. The venue features 12 hot and cold plunge pools along with dry saunas, steam rooms and an exfoliation cabin that incorporates Alaska sea salts into treatments. The updated spa will continue offering classic massages, and a new cafe will serve wellness-minded fare for spa guests.

Soaring Eagle Lodge: Two cottages debuted at the Kenai Peninsula property in 2021, and a third will be introduced this year. The accommodations are equipped with full kitchen and living facilities, fireplaces and outdoor decks open to mountain and Cook Inlet views. The all-inclusive destination near Soldotna offers themed and customizable vacation packages.

T0214PIKESAURORACONSERVATORY_C_HR [credit: Courtesy of Pike's Waterfront Lodge]

Pike’s Waterfront Lodge: The property in Fairbanks has introduced an aurora conservatory for indoor northern lights viewing. Set along the Chena River, the heated conservatory features three glass walls, a glass ceiling, a fireplace and various seating options. The resort also plans to introduce aurora-focused cabins in late 2022.

The E.T. Barnette building, which opened at Pike’s in March 2020, houses activities for travelers of all ages. Aurora- and nature-themed films play at the 14-seat Empress Theater, and visitors can play pool in an adjacent room dubbed Jay Bird’s Short Cue and (Slightly) Crooked Billiards Speakeasy. 

Cozy seating and stacks of books fill the 1,000-Book Alaskan Library, where guests can flip through volumes on Alaska Native culture, gold rush history, local wildlife and the aurora borealis and fiction inspired by the Alaska experience. 

Cape Fox Lodge: Work to replace the tram connecting Cape Fox Lodge to Ketchikan’s Creek Street waterfront will be completed this spring, and the new tram will deliver guests to the hotel’s lobby starting on May 1. A new brick-oven pizza place called Eagle’s Nest also opens at the lodge in May. 

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