Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge
Travel Blogs from Trapper Creek
Day 35 (Saturday). Alarm set for 5-00am for a 6-10am departure – makes for a very rushed breakfast! Straight onto the McKinley Express Train for our 5 hour train ride to Talkeetna. Not far past the wharf we enter the 2.5 mile long Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel (longest of its kind in North America that shares it with the cars – they …
We traveled by bus to the Mt. McKinley lodge. There are supposed to be beautiful views of Mt. McKinley, but we only saw rain and fog! There was a fabulous lobby/bar area where we enjoyed quiet reading time. I even sketched a little.
We took a jet boat tour and saw an eagle and a tree that had been chewed by a beaver. I was a bit unnerved when …
There was no call to notify us of the Aurora Borealis last night, the lodge has an arrangement where if it is visible they call the room, with a wakeup call (if you ask them to), we thought this was a great idea as if we are going to see it, it would be between 1am and 3am.
So the morning started in a relaxed fashion, we caught the bus …
We were impressed with how everything was arranged so smoothly to get off the ship – at our final port Whittier. It was very early when we left in the morning, before light and it was overcast and drizzly.
We walked straight from the ship to the train, the station is located at the port and we were on our way to Talkeetna, a town …
The day was cloudy today so the mountain top was not visible, so glad we saw it yesterday.We went for a walk around a lake about 15minutes drive away from the lodge it was beautiful. Early on the mist was rising from the lake after wards we could see salmon swimming in the water. The mountains were reflected perfectly on the still water. our guide …
How has this lodge rated in the past?
TravelPod Member ReviewsMt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge Trapper Creek
Lovely hotel that looks out to Mt Denali 40 miles away. Rooms were large and fairly basic but comfortable enough. TV but no fridge (just leave your stuff outside!). Restaurants were excellent - food and service - and reasonably priced. Main hall very comfortable with a log fire and great views. Fire-pits were lovely for a drink and to meet people. Transportation logistics well laid out and times manageable. Would definitely stay here again!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of TravelPod.com.
The rooms were clean and the restaurants were good. I enjoyed the bar with views overlooking Mt. McKinley. Too bad we couldn't see it because of the weather.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of TravelPod.com.
Historical Traveler Reviews Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge Trapper Creek
My husband and I stayed one night as a part of our Alaska travel package. The lodge is pretty much in the middle of nowhere (just off George Parks Highway), but has just about everything you will need right on site. Our room was very nice. Decorated in rustic style and clean. There are laundry facilities in a few of the lodge buildings ($1/wash, $1/dry) located throughout the property. We dined in the 20/320 Alaskan Bar & Grille. The food was good and reasonably priced. We had the breakfast buffet at Cub Cafe. It wasn't the best that I've had, but it gets the job done. Unfortunately, we were in Alaska during an exceptionally rainy summer (...according to the locals) and did not get a chance to see the mountain views from the lodge due to a lot of rain and fog.
Disappointed with Wilderness
My partner and I stayed for one night at Wilderness Lodge. From the hotel descriptions, we anticipated a relaxed and comfortable experience. What we got was quite a bit different.
As independent travellers, we arrived around 14.00 hrs to check in, and the man behind the desk barked at us that check-in was not until 15:30. I replied "so much for good customer service." Clearly the college students they have running this property have had zero training on how to handle guest relations or even basic politeness. We got back in our car and drove along the edges of Denali Park, admiring the lovely scenery, even spotting a bear fishing in a river. We returned at 15:30, and were told our room still was not ready, although check-out time was midday. I was, however, given a key, and walked over myself to find the room totally ready. So I just moved in. They had plenty of empty rooms that were ready, so I failed to see the reason for nazi-esque behaviour from the staff.
We decided to check out the spa, and see if we might be able to book some treatments, etc. Clearly the definition of a spa needs to be re-written according to this lodge, as it consisted of two hot tubs (which were empty for cleaning), one poor bicycle and one treadmill. There were no other spa facilities, and this is where Princess are missing out on a huge potential market. As Mt McKinley was shrouded in mist and cloud, there was little else to do. A full spa with massage, facial treatments, nail treatments etc. would be an absolute boon on days where there is little to do. What a shame this hasn't been created. We did find the selling of theatre tickets (at something like $8/ticket) for a film on Mt McKinley a bit stupid and a bit steep. Talk about being nickled and dimed!
Once in our room, it was pleasant (we upgraded for $30 more to a deluxe junior suite). Virtually none of the rooms faced Mt McKinley, which seems a bit strange to me when they could have easily built parts of the hotel with views. It was very "college lodge" inspired, with moose shaped lampshades, but spacious and clean. A strange handwritten note left next to the bed read: "Hi, my name is XX, and I am pleased to be cleaning your room for you. I am a college student from Wisconsin working her for the summer to earn my tuition. Should you need anything, please let me know, and I wish you a wonderful stay." Wonder if she gets lots of tips with this drivel. We ate in the main restaurant, and had a delicious meal at a great table next to the window. The waitress (another college student) was charm personified, and worked quite hard to give us good service, but was a little bit too intrusive and personal. We went to the same restaurant for breakfast, and she was working again, but didn't even say good morning to us, which told me it was all a show to get a good tip. Humph. Hostess tried to seat us next to the kitchen door, despite 35 tables being free at 08:45 a.m. - and she said they were "reserved". I told her that we just wouldn't sit at the table she wanted us to, and went and sat down where I preferred. Breakfast was fine, good service again, and surprise, surprise, only 1 of the other tables ended up being taken. Hello? Reserved for whom? The mind boggles.
I very much found being an independent traveller in this bus camp was difficult. The original non-welcome from the front desk staff set the whole tone, and I came away fairly disappointed from my stay. But you can bet your bottom dollar that I checked out at 11:59:59 a.m. - just to be sure I got my money's worth! If they want to watch the clock, then so can I! Dumb to put guests into such a stupid mindset, and a bit of professional training certainly wouldn't go amiss.
Independent Travellers give it a miss
A major disappointment. As an independent traveller I felt completely unwelcome and at a disadvantage. On boarding the shuttlebus at the station at Talkeetna, the hotel representative had packets and room allocations for all package travellers but nothing for independent travellers. Arriving at the lodge after about 7 hours of travel at 2pm, I was told bluntly by the woman on the desk that check in was at 3.30pm and she would not check me in before then (despite the fact that clearly the package travellers had been given their room allocations). She made no suggestions about what I might do for the next hour and a half. I have never experienced any major hotel which would not even check to see if your room was ready (as I am sure it was).
Having used some time to have a fairly ordinary late lunch in one of their restaurants, I approached the desk again at just after 3pm and asked to at least have access to my baggage. They found my hand luggage which they had opened but not bothered to close up properly again but could not locate my main suitcase. They finally agreed to check me in at about 3.10pm and sent me off to my room which was very clearly ready.
The room was pretty awful. Very drab and lacking in some of the nice touches you expect from good hotels/lodges like bottled water. The only window was directly adjacent to the entry stairs to the building so if I wanted the curtains open, I risked everyone who walked into the building looking in. It is difficult to believe that they have located the lodge to make the most of a view of Mt McKinley but the accommodation buildings seem to be located to mostly deny their occupants any view from their rooms.
I enquired multiple times about my bag and was given no assistance at all. It was some 4 and a half hours after I arrived that they managed to find it (following about 6 enquiries in person and on the phone).
They could not have been less intererested and less helpful. I was very glad to leave the next day and would certainly never recommend it to any independent traveller.
It was Okay
Stayed at the McKinley Princess Lodge for two nights as part of a rail trip from Anchorage. It was clean and there were friendly college students everywhere trying to be nice and helpful, but I kept feeling that something was missing for the money. I guess attentive service I expect at a large resort.
Don't ask for anything not planned or that they didn't know how to handle it. I was at one point told to take my suitcases to the bellhop about a half mile from my room to be checked in on the morning of my departure, then I would have to uncheck them and check them in for the bus to Talkeetna and then check them in for the Princess train to Anchorage. When I questioned this since everywhere I have stayed bellhops come to the room to pickup luggage, I then was told to leave them outside my door like everyone else going back on the train. All this checking and unchecking ended up in them being lost in Trapper Creek, although I was promised all along that they had them. When I got to Anchorage and no luggage I asked about an amenity kit, but was directed to their gift shop to buy a toothbrush and paste. I declined, but the nearby Hilton gave them to me and I wasn't even staying there. They came two days later via Federal Express to Pennsylvania.
Same with the tours. Don't ask since if not spelled out in their tour book, they can't give answers. Food at the lodge was okay. Better to eat at the Roadhouse in Talkeetna. Great pastry and tasty RLT (Reindeer Lettuce & Tomato) sandwich.
Didn't seem worth the money to me...
I expected more from a lodge run by a cruise ship company... This wasn't first class in any stretch of the imagination. Although, the views are beautiful, I think the views at the Talkeenta Alaskan Lodge are superior. (Speaking of the Alaskan Lodge, even if you don't stay at the Alaskan Lodge, you should check out the views!)
This lodge missed the mark on a couple of different fronts.
1) Our biggest complaint it that is doesn't have air conditioning. I realize this is Alaska! However, you need AC - and here's why. In the summer it doesn't get dark. You have to close your blinds in order to sleep - when you close your blinds you lose all natural AC you might have otherwise gotten from the outside. In addition, we had a room on first floor. It is unsafe to leave your windows open on the first floor. So, in order to actually be able to sleep, you have to close the windows and curtains - which makes the room get quite hot. (The ceiling fan helped, but not really enough.)
2) The "spa" consisted of 2 outdoor hot tubs plus 1 stationary bike and 1 treadmill. The stationary bike was in horrible condition and the treadmill didn't look much better. To make the claim of having a spa - I think it needs to have more than 2 pieces of equipment and 2 hot tubs for 334 rooms! I realize that there are a lot of outdoor exercise activities in Alaska; however, there are some activities such as weightlifting which need to be done with quality equipment, inside.
On the positive side, the area is nice, the rooms were cutely decorated and the restaurant (Twenty-320) wasn't bad.
In summary, this place wasn't horrible, but I think you could do better in the area for the money. (We paid $188.)
Location, location, location!
This is a great property - part of the Princess Cruises chain. The location affords an unparalled view of majestic Mt McKinley and the surrounding range. And what a view it is!
We went as part of a vacation clebrating our 25th Anniversary and this place was definitely one of the highlights. The rooms were clean, quiet, and just about perfect in all respects (maybe just a tad bit small, but nothing to complain about)
The only drawback to this property - and the only one - is that it is one hour drive to the town of Talkeetna where you can catch the Alaska Railroad. (Be sure to plan a day for the fantastic Hurricane Turn!) The property provides a shuttle between the Talkeetna Princess station (which is located about two blocks south of town) for $15 round trip. The drivers a trained to give pretty much the same patter to the passengers, so it can get a little monotonous.
We dined at the new 20 ThreeTwenty restaurant and found it to have very good food at a good price. We also dined at the McKinley View dining room (supposedly more high end) but found the food (and certainly the service) below average.
The hotel provides free high speed Internet access to all guests off the main lobby.
Cell phones work here.
The main drawback to this property (aside from the drivetime to the nearest "big" town (and Talkeetna is a tiny place) is that the Reservation Center (based in Seattle) was totally unable to provide what I thought was important information regarding the shuttle service and the Tour-type activities. My most recent call was opening week and there was still no info available. We took the train up from Anchorage (a MUST!) and had to cross out fingers as to whether we could really get to the lodge. The answer is two parts: IF there are PRINCESS cars on your train, then there will be bus to meet you and take you to the lodge at no charge. IF there are no PRINCESS cars on your train then you will have to walk along the tracks into town where you will probably find a PRINCESS bus parked in a large lot near the tracks -- if there is no bus, then your last hope is to go across the street to the PRINCESS TOURS office who will arrange for transport -again at no charge - IF you have a reservation for the McKinley Princess lodge.
Go For the VIEW!!
We went to the Mt. Mckinley Princess as part of a cruise/tour combination. It was wonderful. The lodge is spread out over a large area so you don't feel crowded. On the main deck in front of Denali ( Mt Mckinley ) it does get crowded at times, but make your way to the front. It is rare to get to see Denali completely, due to weather and clouds, but when you do it is like nothing you will ever see again. This deck is 40 miles from the mountain. You can get closer, but you have to hike into the national park and there are no trails. Behind the deck is a Great Room with a fireplace and plenty of chairs to relax in. There is a nice bar for a cold Alaskan Amber while you wait for Denali to show itself. The staff are very friendly and helpful. Most all of them I talked to are quite knowledgeable about Alaska and the surrounding area. The rooms are nice and roomy. The only minus I have to say is the Mountain View Dining Room. It is rather over-priced and stuck on itself. This is typical of many hotel restauraunts though. If you are staying here, it isn't because of the food anyway.
If you go, spend the money on one of the flightseeing tours of Denali. The glacier landings are just incredible. We flew with K-2 Aviation in Talkeetna.
You'll love Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge!
The lodge is a spectacular destination not to be missed. The staff goes above and beyond to make sure that your every need is met. The room's decor is tastefully decorated in an Alaskan theme, and the Great Room's views and architecture are breathtaking! Don't miss this!
Enjoyed Mt McKinley Lodge
I stayed at this lodge Sept 2002 and really liked it. The great room with fireplace was heavenly and the food was excellent. It is very far out from everything which I liked. Just don't forget anything!The room was fine. Clean and attractive.
A wonderful place with a fantastic view
The lodge and it's various lodges were very luxurious and clean. The air was so crisp and fresh to breathe, and the sights of Mt. McKinley were beyond belief. It was breath-taking. The food in the restaurants was fabulous. I truly hated to leave. If it hadn't have been for us leaving for a cruise, I would have wanted to stay on for a few more days. The gift shop was filled with delightful employees ready to help our every need, and it was loaded with many unusual gift ideas. All in all, my husband and I would love to come back to the lodge to stay for a while and revisit the Denali National Park and the surrounding areas of Willow, Alaska. Our three days there truly made our vacation a true joy and a wonderful time of relaxation.