Alaska haunts the dreams of skiers with big ambitions for deep powder days in the USA. Alyeska Resort, with a jaw-dropping 2,500ft (760m) of lift-served runs that sweep from top to bottom, is a gateway to skiing paradise. But making powder turns, which are likely, given the area’s reported annual snowfall of 50ft (15m), can wear a person out. With that in mind, hotels in nearby Girdwood, which tucks into a glacier-carved valley near the resort, and Anchorage, Alaska’s largest metro area, emphasize creature comforts and restorative seclusion. All the better to dream on.
From a vantage point tucked in among the pines of the Chugach National Forest, the Alyeska Hideaway Log Cabins feel off the beaten track, but their trio of one- and two-bed cabins are just minutes from the lifts. Thaw toes by the wood stove or dip into a claw-foot tub for a restorative soak before climbing up to cozy, lofted sleeping areas. Too spent to test the local nightlife? Fully equipped kitchens enable quiet evenings in.
Within this boutique hotel right in downtown Girdwood, no two rooms were made the same; look out for flourishes of modern flair such as vaulted ceilings and waterfall showerheads. Take it easy on your pocketbook by booking a room with a shared bathroom, or a bunk in a shared room or the hostel. A shuttle stop out front delivers riders to the ski resort.
Four B&B-style guest rooms fill the main lodge of Carriage House. Dive into pillow top mattresses and down comforters, warmed from the ground up by heated floors. A timber frame barn has been transformed into a chalet with three craftsman-style ‘cottages’, named after the working horses they once housed. All of it nestles among two acres of spruce and hemlock trees, situated just across the street from the famous Double Musky Restaurant, with a Cajun-inspired menu that serves crab-stuffed halibut, and shrimp and sausage jambalaya.
Make a home-away-from-home in the one- and two-bedroom suites at Girdwood Rentals, which are capped off with luxuries – like a private hot tub from which to watch snow fall on the surrounding peaks – while also covering the essentials, such as a full kitchen with a washer and dryer. Walk to ‘new Girdwood’ — popping into The Grind for small batch roasted coffee, or the Hightower Pub for a wild-Alaska spin on classic bangers and mash, with reindeer sausages.
Some suites in this château-style hotel, right at the base area, come with a two-level parlor and views that sweep as far as the Turnagain Arm to the south and glaciers to the north. Expect extra-deep bathtubs and original native Alaskan artwork or Edward Curtis photographs. Ease your tired legs at the on-site yoga classes or with a massage at the spa.
The Inn at Whittier is perched on the edge of the ocean, with a wall of windows looking out over Prince William Sound. Most rooms take in at least a piece of the landscape, where steep peaks plunge into the sea. The on-site restaurant menu is loaded with burgers, burritos and pasta. An extended family looking for an insulated getaway can also book the Fisherman’s Berth, with up to six bedrooms, by reserving both upstairs and downstairs units.
The Dimond Center Hotel is well positioned to serve the adventure-bound, with easy access to downtown Anchorage, as well as its airport, and the Chugach State Park looming in the distance. The hotel is owned by the Seldovia Native Association, and art made in its home region of Kachemak Bay adorns the hotel’s walls. Spend an off-snow day perusing the Anchorage Museum’s stunning collections of Alaskan artefacts, contemporary art and science exhibits.
Not every Hyatt expressly welcomes the ice tools and crampon-covered boots of an ice climber. However, the Hyatt House Anchorage does, pointing out that their midtown location isn’t far from the city’s coveted ice climbing routes at Flattop Mountain. For those who prefer skis to spikes, Alyeska Resort is just an hour’s drive down scenic Alaska Route 1, which runs waterside along the Turnagain Arm.