Sure, you may be staying on the edge of a canyon, but that doesn’t mean your Alaska hotel can’t have a geothermally fed spa and wood-fired sauna. Here are the best action-packed resorts in Alaska – all bookable on Culture Trip.
Who doesn’t have going to Alaska on their bucket list? If you don’t, you should. Here you’ll find vast open spaces, varied wilderness, frontier lifestyle and the aurora borealis, not to mention Denali, the highest mountain in the US. To enhance what will surely be a diverse stay, you’ll need some extraordinary accommodation. Lucky for you, there are plenty of excellent resorts in Alaska.
In the heart of Denali Canyon and on the banks of the Nenana River, McKinley Chalet Resort is only one minute’s drive from Denali National Park. It’s so close to the park gates that you’re well-placed for a day-trip to explore the natural splendour of Denali. Once back at base, you can unwind around firepits with fellow guests, or at the hearty on-site steakhouse.
In the quaint town of Wasilla, this authentic Alaskan retreat combines a boutique hotel, award-winning restaurant, a bistro and a bar with a resident mixologist, whose old fashioneds take the edge off a cold day. The resort works with tour partners in the area, so you’ll never be short of something to do. Plus, the rooms are bright and luxurious.
As secluded as it is exclusive, Meier Lake Resort is surely the one if being cut off from the outside world while ensconced in absolute luxury appeals to you. Think of it as a tricked-out summer camp, where TVs and phones are replaced with 3.5mi (5.5km) of private hiking trails, as well as a wood-fired lakefront sauna and cabins with decks overlooking the water. And the lake itself – surrounded by 160 acres (65ha) of pure Alaskan wilderness, isn’t just any mere lake.
A waterfront hotel perched on the tip of Homer Spit, Land’s End immerses you in the natural beauty of Kachemak Bay. The cute rooms give you the option between city views or the sea (pick the latter and there’ll be whales and sea otters basking right outside your window). You’re well-placed to partake in all the outdoor activities the area has to offer, and the hotel restaurant has sustainably sourced seafood and produce.
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This hotel may be attached to a ski resort of the same name, but it’s actually a year-round destination, just 50 minutes from the main city of Anchorage. The 300-room lodge has everything you need to get out there among the wondrous wilderness. Alternatively, stay closer to home with spas, shops, bars, restaurants and even yoga classes. Activities include day trips to the Kenai Peninsula and a mountain biking tour; in the winter, why not try heli-skiing, Northern Lights viewings and glacier boat tours?
Stillpoint Lodge Resort provides all the perks of civilization in a wild location. Stay in high-end cabins, but head to the central lodge to book tours, feast on a locally sourced gourmet meal, enjoy a massage and recline by the huge fireplace. Feeling active? Depart from the dock for ocean kayaking – waving to waddling sea otters as you go – or forge a path further afield for boating, fishing, glacier experiences and bear viewing.
Fancy relaxing in natural hot springs under the kaleidoscopic aurora borealis? This site was first discovered by weary prospectors back in 1905, who used the bath-warm waters to soothe their bones. It’s now home to Chena Hot Springs Resort, where traditional accommodation puts you smack bang in the embrace of natural Alaskan wonders. Open summer and winter, year-round activities include visits to the Aurora Ice Museum, created from more than 1,000 tons of ice and snow. Tour the Chena Kennel, home of almost 100 Alaskan-bred dogs. Winter activities include ice fishing, a sunset tour and, if you’re lucky, the Northern Lights.
With a range of accommodation – including suites, cottages and an RV park – River’s Edge Resort is perched on the Chena river, making it a perfect basecamp for your Alaskan expedition. Right in the heart of the 49th State, the summer resort is only a five-minute drive from Fairbanks Airport and 10 from the Museum of the North.