This hotel was a bit of risk for us. I prefer small boutique accommodation and was hoping the Alyeska would have as much character as some of its photographs suggested. It kind of did...and it kind of didn’t.
Check in was long-winded because an error had been made with our booking (their fault) which took a while to sort out, but the staff were very courteous. Once they found us a room it proved to be absolutely tiny! We were travelling with our son and in order to get out of bed, I literally had to step onto his trundle and then shuffle sideways around the room. The bathroom was functional and clean but it ‘felt’ a bit grubby due to stained grout & dated fittings (we stayed a while ago so hopefully they will have updated them since) On the plus side, the room was well decorated, the linen was lovely and the beds were divine - without question the most comfortable of our entire trip - plus our room had magnificent mountain views. All in all, we were perfectly happy.
Venturing out of our room was a bit of an adventure because at the time the hotel was overrun (and I mean absolutely overrun) with several large Japanese group tours (complete with very loud guides) which made using or appreciating any of the indoor common areas impossible. On the plus side, the hotel has beautiful grounds and a magnificent setting. The tram ride up to the glacier was fun.
The hotel has good amenities including free parking and a very nice gift shop, but I can’t comment on any of the restaurants because the tour groups were so all-pervading that we avoided eating there (apart from buying the worst coffee of my entire life one morning after coming back down from the glacier) and we went into town every day instead. I can recommend The Bake Shop for breakfast and Jack Sprats for dinner (the food is great and they’re really good with kids) There is also a bakery at the highway turnoff to Girdwood (part of a little strip that runs behind the big service station) that looks insignificant but sold the best doughnuts in the entire world.
Girdwood itself is lovely and I can only imagine how magical it must be in winter. Driving into town in the mornings & evenings we saw black bears strolling across the road, which was a huge thrill for us. Unfortunately our helicopter dog sled tour with Chugach Express was cancelled due to inclement weather, so we took a longer helicopter tour (sans dogs) instead, which was fantastic , absolutely spectacular and a ‘not to be missed’ experience.
Overall, we had a great time and I’d happily stay there again.