McKinley Chalet Resort
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Travel Blogs from Denali National Park and Preserve
Today was a long day as we got three excursions in. We did Black Diamond Side by Side ATV Tour, Jeff King's Husky Homestead Tour, and a River Float Tour. The ATV was like a golf cart on steroids. Was hesitant at first but it turned out to be fun. They stopped and served us a pretty big breakfast spread on the middle of it. Saw a moose as we were …
Up at 5 am to pick up out box lunches and head out on our Tundra Wilderness Tour. It was an 8 hour trip 60 miles into the Denali National Park. It was overcast and rainy but the scenery was beautiful. Our guide seemed to be a student of the hunting strategies of wolves and told some detailed stories. Alaska is not for the weak! We saw all kinds of …
Had to be up early to have our luggage out by 6 am. Went and grabbed breakfast at the sandwich shop. Then got on the coach to get on the train. Patricia was our driver. Got on the train and we are in the Teklanika car. The train goes an average of 35 mph on the trip from Anchorage to Denali. So it was an 8 hour train ride. It was a domed roof train …
we are going to try pictures now-hope this works
... the ridge, and got lost coming down the other side. If the elders can do it - it can’t be too bad. Our group got about two thirds of the way up the mountain, and decided that they could certainly reach the top if they wanted to, they just did not want to. But let me tell you that the view from two-thirds of the way up is pretty cool.
Waiting at home for climbers to return,
How has this hotel rated in the past?
- Room service
- Wheelchair accessibility
- Business Services
- Free parking
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TravelPod Member ReviewsMcKinley Chalet Resort Denali National Park and Preserve
Great setting, right in the river, a distance from 'town' there is a shuttle. Rooms are large, warm and have free wifi and coffee/tea maker. There is no fridge, but ice is available down the corridor. Clean
This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of TravelPod.com.
This was a very nice hotel--my only problem was that they didn't seem to be set up to handle a single person. Everyone else there seemed to be coming off of a cruise ship, which means mostly retired couples. The restaurants seemed to go into slow motion and scratch their heads trying to figure out where they would seat me.
That said, the room was comfortable and the food was quite good. The property is very spread out so you have to take a shuttle bus back and forth to the lobby where the front desk, restaurants and gift shop were located, unless you are willing to walk up and down a very steep hill. There wasn't much of a view from my room considering we were a mile from Denali National Park.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of TravelPod.com.
Historical Traveler Reviews McKinley Chalet Resort Denali National Park and Preserve
Very nice, and expesnsive!
This was a very nice hotel, however it was very expensive! The rooms were log cabin theme, ours had a balcony overlooking the river which was absolutely beautiful. About ten minutes after getting to our room there was a power outage for about 5-10 minutes, I don't know how common this is up there but I thought that I would just mention it!
We had previous reservations at another hotel which ended up being a dump when we got there, so we had to try and find a new hotel on Labor Day. The staff were very helpful and willing to get a us a room. If I ever go to Denali Park again I will get a room here again.
Overall this is a beautiful serene place to stay and I would absolutely recommend it. The price is well worth it!
We were booked to stay at the McKinley Chalet Resort and were quite worried about it, having read some of the reviews - especially those about the quality and price of the food!
We enjoyed the resort - nice rooms and no plumbing problems - plus they provide a 'northern lighyts' wake up call if you want one.
We found food to be very reasonable - for example in the snack bar a lunch box, consisting of 2 sandwiches, an apple, a bag of crisps (chips to you americans), a muffin and a bottle of water, was only $11.95, and breakfast cost about the same. The quality was good too - the sandwiches were fresh! We also had very nice, freshly cooked, pizzas in the restaurant which cost about $12 each - pretty reasonable we thought considering where the resort is.
We do agree about the serving staff - very slow and not bothered - but also found this to be the same in most of the places at which we stayed and ate in Alaska. Many people were students doing a summer job, and as it was the end of the season, they just wanted to finish off and go home. On the other hand, we found the lady we dealt with on reception at the McKinley Chalet resort very helpful. HAL staff had made a complete mess of our tickets and room allocations (we were in a group of 4 but had got split up on the train) and this lady sorted it all out for us.
The Wilderness tour was great - although the 'school buses' used are not the best for comfort or viewing. The other highlight was the Husky Homestead tour to Geoff King's (3 times winner of the Iditerod) - it was brilliant - started with being given a two week old puppy to hold!
We were booked into the McKinley Chalet resorts as part of a tour group. Having read some of the preavius reviews about the resort, we were quite apprehensive about our stay.
What a pleasant surprise. We found the rooms clean and comfortable, the grounds neat and attractive.
There were several dining room options. We found the food selection satisfactory, and tasty. The prices were good and the dining room staff were friendly and helpful.
In spite of the many tour groups into the resort, the movement of guests went smoothly.
We have no complaints.
McKinley Chalet Resort - Comfort near Denali National Park
After having read several negative reviews, my expectations were not high for the McKinley Chalets. I was pleasantly surprised. The resort consists of a number of buildings, many of which are two-story "chalets" with about ten rooms. The buildings are nicely hidden among the trees on a slope down to the river. It's a large property, which you never really see in toto because of all the tall trees. A shuttle bus travels regulary among the chalets and brings you up to the main building where there are two restaurants, a coffee shop, a gift shop, and the main lobby. While I wouldn't consider the resort to be luxurious, I would definitely consider it attractive-- rustic, which makes sense since the tourist area is surrounded by wilderness. Our room was actually a small suite. It was rustic in appearance, but very clean, modern and comfortable. Much of the staff is comprised of foreign students, whom we greatly enjoyed talking to. Most were from Russia or eastern Europe and spoke English beautifully. All the staff were very polite and attentive. We had three meals at the lodge, including a buffet breakfast, which was certainly satisfying, both in quantity and quality. The other restaurant was really of remarkably high quality (and pretty expensive, although not unreasonable considering the isolation of this area.) I especially recommend the Denali eggs Benedict, which I think was really spectacular. We had one meal at the Denali Grand Hotel, which had a much more elegant atmosphere (and was very expensive), but the food was no better than at the Chalets. We took the Tundra Safari adventure tour, which was beyond belief: We saw thirteen grizzlies, numerous caribou and mountain sheep, and a wolf! The guide was extremely informative. We also attended the dinner theater, which had some very talented performers. I loved the ribs, but my husband didn't. It's all you can eat, so most people stuffed themselves. Although we never saw Mt. Denali or any part of it in the three days that we were at the resort, due to overcast skies, we had a breathtaking view of it from the train on our way back to Anchorage. One more thing: Holland-America houses its tour members at the McKinley Chalet, so it's full pretty much all the time. Not a problem for us, we had a great time.
Upon arrival to McKinley Chalets via train, the told us they over booked the hotel for the next few days, after great debate on their part, they asked if we would consider changing rooms (down to river) in the middle of our stay. They said if we agree to this, they would give us a comlientary night. So, we decided on the second day to pack everything up & move down to the river to have the complimentary night. While checking out, they charged us for the room every night (no complimentary night) and also over charged what the reservation said. They seemed to have forgotten what they offered us, and the assistant manager (Emily) would not help at all. She told me the manager would call me later that day. I have left 15 messages with managers, etc. and no one will return my call. Totally unproffessional. We taveled for 18 days across Canada & Alaska & everyone was delightful. But I will not stay at Mckinley Chalet again, unless they make this right with me. Be very careful & have everything in writing! "TRADERS"
Run away! Run away!
I made the mistake of staying at the McKinley Chalets for four days earlier this summer, and off the top of my head I cannot recall having any less pleasant hotel experience in my life. Rooms are acceptably large and well furnished but there were plumbing problems, which we couldn't get fixed, and there is no air conditioning, which the hotel's publicity lies about. The staff is rude, surly, incompetent, and most of them don't speak any English at all. Trying to get problems fixed proved a waste of time.
The lines for everything are ridiculously long. We waited fifteen minutes for a cup of coffee at the cafe. Prices, needless to say, are absurd. We were looking at 12 dollars for a bowl of cereal, 14 for a sandwich (a small sandwich on stale bread), 3 for a small bottle of water. Service in both restraunts is quite lousy, staff is rude, food is awful.
We did both a bus tour of the park and a float trip. The scenery is impressive , of course, even though clouds shroud it most of the time, but the guides hired by the company aren't much. They didn't provide much actually guidance; the rafting guide barely talked at all during the entire trip. In the end, almost all the problems at this place come down to the staff. Any hotel that charges almost $300 per night should pay high enough wages to get friendly, English-speaking employees. This company clearly cares more about making money than about doing a good job. Regrettably the same company also owns the Denali Grande, the Denali Bluffs, and the McKinley Village, so your choices at the entrance are limited. I will certainly avoid staying in any of their properties again.
In fairness, I should say that despite Aramark's effort to make Denali the most unpleasant tourist destination on the planet, they haven't ruined Cabin Nite Dinner Theatre (yet). We had a lot of fun there and the salmon was excellent.
Front Desk Staff needs to be more focused!
We stayed at the Chalet for three nights last summer. When I called to book the room, I asked if the rooms were air-conditioned as I know not many hotels in this area have a/c. The girl who answered the phone put me on hold and went to ask someone. She came back on the line and said that yes...the rooms had a/c....Hence...I paid almost $800 for three nights in full as they wanted prepayment.
When my husband, my son, daughter and myself arrived, we were pleased at the sight of the lobby ( gorgeous), the restaurants, and the location. As soon as we were given the keys to the room, we discovered that they had given us a handicapped accessible room with only one bed. So...we had to make a trek back to the front desk. We were given another room an hour later....which looked like it was half cleaned and had no a/c...in fact....we were told that none of the rooms had a/c....and let me tell ya.....Alaska's interior gets HOT in the summer...that mixed with smoke from wildfires made for a very uncomfortable sleep experience!!!!!!! The rooms have paper thin walls and very cheap furnishings..a pity for what a person has to pay here!!!!!! Next time its the Grande Denali Lodge for us!!!!!!!!!!
McKinley Chalet staff rude & incompetent
- Stayed at McKinley Chalet 22/23 May
- The plumbing didn't work; no showers or toilet
-- The hotel didn't have any other place for us
to clean up; we spent the next day on the
train to Anchorage without a shower
- The staff knocked then immediately entered our
room on two occasions without waiting for us to
answer or unlock the door, they just walked in
- Our room wasn't ready; there was lumber and
old shelving in the closet--no room for our clothes
- The staff at the front desk didn't know how to use
the computer reservation system for the Cabin
Nite dinner theater. The clerk failed to print one
of our tickets, then inadvertantly double billed us
while trying to print our 2nd ticket--found out
about it when my Visa statement arrived, the
clerk had no clue what he had done
- No air conditioning, the room was hot, and the
screens on the windows were torn so flies and
mosquitoes entered the room while cooling it off
- When the problems were brought up to the
manager, he simply said that I'd have to fill out a
customer comment card, then walked off without
any offer of assistance or compensation
- The walls don't offer much privacy in the rooms
- After a month I haven't received a response to my customer comment form I left with the manager
Beautiful river scenery
The best thing about The Chalet is the view from its parking lot of the wild Nenana River . I always stop for photos there, when I go to the park. What you may not know is that there is an access road to the far left of the parking lot, it's very steep and it takes you right down to the river. There are rooms down there as well, and you can walk up to the river's edge for photos. You'll see a boulder of huge proportions along the bank. If you love the sound of rushing water, you'll love this walk.
The resort is well located. Many tours into the park leave from here so you don't have to take a shuttle from another hotel for your tours.The restaurants are overpriced with mediocre food. We stayed in the cabins and they are rather spartan but comfortable.Trails down to the Nenana riverside.Overall a positive experience.Holland America puts their passengers there.