My wife and I decided to take a road tour of Alaska for her birthday. We stay at the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge for 2 nights. As indicated in most of the other reviews, the view is beautiful, if you happen to be there on a day where the mountain can be seen. We were told that was only about 25% of the time, guess we were lucky, cause it was a sight to see on our first day.
Unfortunately, that is the end of the positives. If you are driving up from Anchorage you will see no sign to turn and drive up a large hill for the lodge. From the north, there is one sign. Remember mile marker 133, that is your landmark. I suppose this is because 95% of the guests come on buses?
Once you drive up the hill onto a one way road, you begin to see buildings that do resemble barracks. We found the lodge and proceeded to attempt to check in. It was 1:30 pm, and the look we received when we asked was as if we broke a law. After the unfriendly welcome, we were told we could not check in until 3:30 pm. Okay, it is in writing that check in is 3:30 pm, but I can not remember ever being denied early check in.
The wife and I decided to wander the complex as they write up about their trails. That was a joke. They are basically little paths around the buildings.
We quickly came to realize there wasn't anything here to do other than eat and drink. So we sat at the bar and waited for the magical 3:30 pm.
When we were finally allowed to check in, we received keys to a room in Building 21. If you could put a building any farther away from the accomodations, I am not sure how? After we found it, then we began to unload our luggage. By the way, no carts, elevators or bell boys to help you. I guess this isn't a problem if you are on the cruise as those bags sit in front of your room.
When we open the door to the room a way of heat hit us, that wouldn't be bad if it were cold outside, but it was in the 70's. The room plain with nothing more than a couple of below average beds and a bath. I started looking for the temperature couple and quickly began to realize there was no AC. Probably not a problem the 8 months of the year the facility is closed, but during the summer it actually gets warm in Alaska, and we are from Florida.
So once the bags are unloaded I get to go park the car, you would think there would be parking by the building, wouldn't you? Nope, you get to drive a couple of hundred yards and walk back up the hills. Of course if you are on their cruise package this isn't an issue, the all use buses and shuttles.
Well the next thing we wanted to do is figure out what was around that we could do. I attempted to log into the internet, guess what, no internet service in the rooms. So we call to the front desk and find out there are computers back in the lodge. Back to the car we go and then realize that one way road forces you to take a good 1/2 mile around the whole complex to get back to the lodge.
Once at the lodge and on the computers set to timeout after 15 minutes, we pretty much figure out the nearest town is Talkeenta about 40 miles away. That will be another whole review on that nothing town. But more importantly I figure out the entrance to Denali is over 100 miles away. So again, we figure out that other than the over priced day tours offered from the lodge, there is nothing to do here. Guess that isn't an issue if you ride in on a bus one day, spend the night and leave the next day?
As you can see we were very disappointed with the facility and I will make only one other point. I did talk with two managers about wanting to check out and go find something else. We were told we could leave and we would not receive any compensation. That is putting it in a good way, actually we were told they did not care we were unsatisfied, nor was the couple that were complaining in front of us. This one manager, "Rick" is all I got for a name, was even willing to put it in writing that he didn't care about our issues. I was literally in shock.
I am not sure why Princess books these rooms to non-cruise visitors and have not received a reply to my inquiry, but if you are looking for a good place to stay in Alaska, this is not the place.
PS if you want a cup of coffee, there are no coffee makers in the room and you must get up and drive to the lodge, pay two bucks and then drive back.
- Also Known As:
- Mt. Mckinley Princess Wilderness Hotel Trapper Creek
- Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge Alaska/Trapper Creek