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“Better than expected & moose sightings” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Chena Hot Springs Resort

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Chena Hot Springs Resort
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2.5 of 5 Resort   |   56.5 mile Chena Hot Springs Rd., Pleasant Valley, AK 99711   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Pleasant Valley
Altamonte Springs, Florida
Top Contributor
119 reviews 119 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
“Better than expected & moose sightings”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2009

I expected the worst because of so many bad reviews on here. Thankfully, the resort was not as bad as I thought it would be. We stayed in a Signature Room and found it to be an average hotel room. The thermostat did not work and the room was hot! I tried to open the windows, but they were locked. When I complained at the front desk, the maintenance man was sent to our room. He told me that the thermostat would not be fixed until the next day, so the only option was to turn off the heater and open the windows for us. He unlocked the windows, the room cooled down, and I had a great night's sleep. I give credit to the resort; there was a problem and they took care of it. The room had a TV that had more than one channel. When I last used the sink and turned off the cold water, the knob broke in half! I don't think I could have done that if I had tried. So hopefully someone is getting a room with a new cold water knob on the sink.

I expected to see horrible locker rooms near the pool, but didn't see them that way. I don't know if the resort has done remodeling or not (or maybe people are just used to immaculate locker rooms), but the locker I had didn't have any garbage in it and worked just fine. The hot spring is indeed very hot! It was hotter than any hot tub I have ever been in, but the hot water worked wonders on my muscles.

The Ice Museum/Hotel was another nice aspect of the resort. It is very cold inside, but they do provide you with a parka. You will need to provide your own gloves or hat if you feel you will need them. The appletini was very good, and the ice sculptures and lighting made the inside look very nice. Honestly, I wanted to see the Ice Museum it because it was on the Travel Channel. Now that I have been there and seen it, I wouldn't pay to do it again. I've seen better. (Like the ice sculptures that the Gaylord Palms' ICE! features every winter.)

The resort grounds do not look bad, but then again that depends on where you are standing. If you are near the check in building, you see paths, flowers, and the resort buildings. If you walk around the back of the hot springs and the moose lodge, you will see the supply/maintenance area. It didn't bother me because it has to go somewhere, but I guess some people who visit the resort may not like how it looks in that area. I suppose the resort could put up a wall to block the view of that area, but it didn't bother me any. Also, the resort does have some construction going on near the Ice Museum, so that particular area looks like a mess as well.

We didn't take advantage of any of the activities offered (guided hiking, dog sleds, ATV's, bikes, flightseeing), but we did go for a short walk on one of the hiking trails. That didn't last long. The mosquitoes were horrible, so we went back to our room. Bring repellent or a mosquito hat if you are going to go on any trails in the summer.

As far as the front desk goes, I never had a problem with attitude from anyone there. I found the woman who was working the desk in the afternoon to be quite friendly, and she was very informative about Alaska and what it is like to live there in the winter. There is a small gift shop there, and some great books on the aurora. (I bought one.)

The food: It was average. Nothing to rave about, but I also wouldn't deter anyone from eating there. The downside is there was only one waiter there servicing all the tables. Luckily for us, there were not that many people there. Unfortunately, there was a girls group (about six 20 somethings) near the bar, and one girl in particular who was just very loud. So much for a nice, quiet dinner. We went back to Fairbanks in the morning, so we skipped breakfast.

I had been told the best chance for me to see moose was along the Chena Hot Springs Road, and that was indeed the case. I saw three on the way to the springs and two on the way back to Fairbanks. If you have never seen moose before, take a drive out to the resort and you will most likely see them!

Overall, I am am glad that I went to the resort. I was so worried about a horrible room and even mentally prepared to leave if need be. I've been to better, and I've been to worse, and this place is not that bad.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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430 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
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Delta Junction, Alaska
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2009

I took my sister and a group of friends out to Chena for a bridal shower party. The cheapest thing on the menu was a salad at $14 and it was seriously just a salad, nothing great. The pool attendant said he had no dry towels, he would bring them out, never did. The resident discount for the rooms was $189 a night and what a rip off! I've stayed in luxury hotels for that much, this was a dive. The door looked like someone tried to break in, you could hear everything through the walls, hair in the sink and shower, bed and pillows were flat and hard, and the guestbook said dial 0 for questions.. except there was no phone! Breakfast the next morning was good but the waitress was really rude. There's a place that makes mochas and lattes but they don't open till 9, sorry I need my coffee a little earlier than that! If you want to soak in the Hotsprings pay the $10 for a pass then drive the hour back to Fairbanks, don't stay!

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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Travelers are raving about these Pleasant Valley hotels

silver spring md
Top Contributor
146 reviews 146 reviews
46 hotel reviews
Reviews in 107 cities Reviews in 107 cities
89 helpful votes 89 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 8, 2009

My husband and I spent one night here in mid May. We arrived around 4 in the afternoon after a very pleasant ride from Fairbanks through Chena River State Park. We walked the property, after an easy check-in, and almost immediately met up with a cow moose and her calf. Great photo op. There was an activity hall with snack bar and games, an ice museum, airstrip, and hiking trails. We decided to put off our hot spring soak until after dinner. The restaurant on property consists of a dining room and lounge. We were seated in the lounge and the atmoshpere was cozy and rustic. Our food--fried oysters, Ceasar salad, steak--was all very good. Then off to the springs--a wonderful end to the day. Soaking in the hot spring water rock pool was glorious with a fountain to cool us and a waterfall to relax the sore muscles. Then to the spring fed indoor pool and hot tub. Back to our room--very basic with 2 double beds, tv, shower--and a restful night sleep only to awake and go to the rock pool again at 6:30 in the am. Great way to start the day. The resort was rather expensive for the basic room, but we decided that the hot spring pools were worth every penny.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Virginia
Top Contributor
156 reviews 156 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 50 cities Reviews in 50 cities
71 helpful votes 71 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 13, 2009

We drove out there (56 miles east of Fairbanks) to kill some time and check out the place. We could have spent the night but found the price too steep ($189 was cheapest room). But we were hungry so decided to try restaurant. It was not busy so we were seated immediately. The bar is in same room and there was a loudmouth hitting on any female that moved. The waiter was very nice. The special was Halibut, and we both ordered it although costly ($30). We also had clam chowder. Both were excellent, the Halibut was cooked perfectly, probably the best I have had. The chowder was also excellent. And being mothers day, they gave away a piece of cake which was nice and very good. So overall, I would probably not stay there but it is worth the scenic drive to eat there.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Los Angeles, California
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 7, 2009

When my husband said he wanted to go to the interior of Alaska in the middle of winter, I almost stayed home.

I am so glad I didn't! Chena Hot Springs is incredible.

There are so many activities, you're hardly in your room! From snow-shoeing to dog mushing school to snow-mobiling, taking a dip in the natural hot springs, or going up in a snow coach to watch the Northern Lights, there is something to do almost every minute of the day.

Be sure to take the tour of the Ice Museum and have one of their apple martinis in a hand-carved ice glass.

The food in the restaurant has a wide array of choices and in varying price ranges - which is fantastic since literally Chena Hot Springs is "away from it all."

They have their own greenhouse where they grow their own lettuce and tomatoes. The salad we had was so tender - I wanted to eat salad every day One day we had tomato bisque made from their greenhouse tomatoes - it was fantastic.

The activity center has plenty of options and even has cold-weather clothes available for those that don't have the proper clothing for below zero temperatures. (We are outdoor people and were okay, but some people that joined us to wait for the Aurora borrowed "bunny boots" to keep their feet warm and others borrowed or rented parkas).

The activity center also has a coffee house and tables to play board games or just hang out, It also has snacks and is open until midnight.

The natural hot springs is really neat - we went at night and it was snowing but the water was nice and warm.

Our room was a Lodge room and was clean and comfortable. It was actually too warm as they have their own powerplant and use the geothermal waters to help heat the building. Even with our heat turned all the way down, we had the ceiling fan on and one day, had the window opened too.

I also had a massage while I was there and it was so relaxing and cozy in this small cabin with all the outside covered in snow.

I highly recommend taking a tour of the kennels and take a dog mushing class. That was the best! I never had so much fun!

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sherman Oaks, CA
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 11, 2009

My wife and I went to Chena to see the Aurora and enjoy some winter activites in Alaska.
Chena Hot Springs provides a geat setting and excellent staff and an activity center guaranteed to keep you busy. Rooms are clean. Food is very good. Staff is excellent. But the real treat at Chena is the number of activites designed to keep you fully engaged throughout your stay. Cross country ski, snowshoe, snowmobile, mush dogs, ride in a sled, view the aurora or just soak in a hot spring. It is all available and easy to access. If you want to sit in your room, take a cruise. If you want to enjoy Alaska, try Chena Hot Springs.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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San Francisco, California
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 3, 2009

We took a chance and booked flights for just 2 days at Chena and had a great time - fun ride from the airport with Mike, great food and service all around, loved the hotsprings, got a nice massage from Jake, got to go dog mushing with the huskies, but best of all was the aurora viewing on the snowcoach trip up the mountain from 10pm-2am with Dave (and thanks to the staff for loaning us the cold weather gear and bunny boots - they saved us!).
See pictures below (and don't worry about the ice toilet - you can stay in much comfier accommodations for less $):

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=58378&id=676398813&ref=mf

http://flickr.com/photos/sfjeff/sets/72157613270322195/

  • Liked — comfy and lots to see
  • Disliked — internet access was spotty and no cell coverage
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Chena Hot Springs Resort

Address: 56.5 mile Chena Hot Springs Rd., Pleasant Valley, AK 99711
Location: United States > Alaska > Pleasant Valley
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Pleasant Valley
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Chena Hot Springs Resort 2.5*
Number of rooms: 80
Also Known As:
Chena Hot Springs Hotel Pleasant Valley
Chena Hot Springs Resort Alaska/Pleasant Valley

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