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“If you are not on a Princess Cruise, stay away.” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge

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Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge
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4.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Mile 133 Parks Highway, Denali State Park, Trapper Creek, AK 99683   |  
Hotel amenities
Tampa, Florida
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“If you are not on a Princess Cruise, stay away.”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 19, 2009

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.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
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toronto
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2009

aside from the amazing view we had of mt mckinley, this place was awful. it felt like staying at a military barracks turned retirement residence.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ringoes, New Jersey
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2009

Our 2 nights were part of a Princess package, and if I had it to do again, I would have done one night here (with two nights at the Denali Princess). There's nothing "wrong" with the place, but it's really nothing to write home about. Food is average . . . tastes like it is reheated rather than cooked in the kitchen. Rooms are spacious and clean, just a little dated. The key here is to do the excursions or your teens will be bored stiff.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled with family
    • 4 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WHITEHOUSE STATION
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2009

We stayed here for one night on the way to Denali from Anchorage. We got the $99/night special. This hotel/resort mainly caters to "cruise" (Princess) passengers. I think they give you a great rate on "non cruise" nights.
We reached the hotel around 11 PM. Check-in was uneventful. It is hard to find the buildings (where the rooms are) in the dark. The lodge is spread out as different buildings over a wide area. The main building with the reception area is big with lookout window for Mt. Mckinley, a few restaurants, a theater and internet access. There is a shuttle that runs between the buildings.
We stayed in Building 21, second floor. Keep in mind, there is no elevator in the buildings. If you have heavy luggage, you may want to ask for a room on the ground floor. I struggled to carry the luggage upstairs. Since the hotel caters to the cruise passengers, they are taken care of separately.
Room was decent and nothing to complain about. We ate at the Cafe with the breakfast buffet. Little expensive for the breakfast spread they offered. We attended a session on the Alaska pipeline at the theater in the morning. They have more sessions like this through out the day to cater to the cruise passengers. They let you attend even if you are not a cruise passenger.
They have activity booking facility (for Mt. Mckinley flights) in the hotel. We didn't use it. There is a nice lookout for Mt. Mckinley. It was cloudy and pouring the day we stayed there. The facility also has a lot of walking/hiking trails. We didn't explore all that due to the weather.
The only complaint I have is the location of the place. It is very isolated (in between Talkeetna and Denali). We made it to this hotel from Anchorage airport in 2.5 hours and to Denali the next day in 2 hours (leisurely driving with stopping for scenery).
Overall, it was a good place to stay for the price we paid.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin, TX
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2009

We're here for two nights and leave tomorrow, and are having a great time. The mountain was out all day today and the view from the lodge is spectacular. Others have described the layout. The main lodge is large and has a outdoor great deck and indoor sitting area to view the mountain, which is 41 miles away as the crow flies. There is a 2.5 mile hiking trail, and free ranger talks talks thruout the day and evening. The rooms are like standard relatively small hotel rooms but are clean and well appointed, but not luxury. We just came from the Princess Kenai Wildneress Lodge which was also nice but like this place much better because there is lot more going on and more to do. We were on a Princess cruise so our luggage was delivered to our room, which was not far from the lodge, but some buildings are lot farther away, but not too far to be a problem. We ate at the Alaska 20300 restaurant and the food was good and prices reasonable. That restaurant is in a separate building not far from the main lodge.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Arvada
Top Contributor
89 reviews 89 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2009

The only way off campus is an excursion or bus trip 45+ min to town. No real hiking around there, dense forrest with little wildlife. Rooms are pretty darn small. I was told 10% of people actually get to see Denali, usually very cloudy on the mountain. On the good side, they could charge a lot more for food as you are trapped, however, the food is good and prices are not bad. The help is great and the national park talks are educational. They try, however, the location is not good. Unless you are in the lucky 10%, probably not worth it.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2009

The facility is disappointingly cheap. Use of the term"lodge" in the name raises expectations of luxury that are not met. Nice deck for viewing Mt. McKinley. Food and service were generally unexceptional, but OK. Since this hotel is part of a package sold by various vendors, presumably at differing rates, it may simply be that, in this case, you get a lowest common denominator value. Fortunately, the facility does nothing to diminish the location and overall experience.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge

Address: Mile 133 Parks Highway, Denali State Park, Trapper Creek, AK 99683
Location: United States > Alaska > Trapper Creek
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 5 Specialty Lodging in Trapper Creek
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 238
Also Known As:
Mt. Mckinley Princess Wilderness Hotel Trapper Creek
Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge Alaska/Trapper Creek

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