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“Best Place to see Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Aurora Borealis Lodge

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Aurora Borealis Lodge
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Cleary Summit Rd., 1906 Ridge Run Rd, Fairbanks, AK 99707   |  
Hotel amenities
San Antonio, Texas, USA
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
“Best Place to see Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 17, 2012

For anyone in North America, this is THE place to see the Aurora. Considering the number of Asians that also visit(charter flights on JAL from Japan), it seems they have come to the same conclusion.
Fairbanks is the most northern city in N. America that has easy airline access. The lodge is 20 miles N. of the city and almost 2,000 feet higher which not only gets it away from city lights buy also gets it above the clouds/fog that often form at lower altitudes. If I had stayed in or near Fairbanks, I would have been "clouded out" most of my 4 1/2 nights.
I emphasize these points since anyone reading this review is obviously interested in seeing the aurora and it would be a shame to spend the time, money and travel effort and not get the best shot at seeing them. Additionally, weather forecasts are for Fairbanks, not the elevated area N. of the city, and I found the sky at the lodge to be far clearer than what was forecast for Fairbanks, so don't be discouraged by a bad forecast!
Other reviews will tell you about how wonderful Mok is, how well furnished the rooms with full kitchens are, the "nearby" places to eat and drink beer, etc.--all true. But the set-up to view the lights is absolutely the best possible, and that's the only reason you'll be staying at this lodge. Wake-up calls till 2am if the aurora is visible allow you to sleep before 2am and then stay up "on your own" from 2am till daybreak if you wish--an important consideration if you're facing 3-5 nights of sleep deprivation! I was able to get fantastic aurora pictures, some of which I combined into a time-lapsed video of the aurora moving. "Lights out" policy with red or white lights to strap on your head if you wish optimized viewing/photography. A photographer from Italy was leaving as I was arriving and was planning his fourth return trip. That should tell you all you need to know about where to go to see the northern lights!
I was lucky on my trip. I ALMOST CANCELLED MY TRIP due to a forecast of 5 straight days of clouds for Fairbanks. Luckily I didn't. November is one of the more cloudy months, with December and January. It's clearer more nights after that. However, of the 4 nights I was at the lodge, it was clear two nights, light fog most of one night, and mostly foggy/cloudy one night. The second clear night and the lightly foggy night a light solar storm hit earth and the aurora was spectacular. I'm attaching photos which show a lot of red. This is unusual, as it was easily visible to the naked eye.
If seeing the aurora is on your "bucket list", stay at the Aurora Borealis Lodge--it will give you the best opportunity and best experience.

Room Tip: Upstair rooms are better for viewing the lights, which can usually be seen to the north through the...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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101 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (48)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Aiken, SC
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2012

This is the ultimate spot for viewing the Northern Lights. We stayed for an entire week because we wanted to ensure experiencing the lights. They were active the first two nights, but a bit subdued. On the third night, we actually saw them on our drive back from Fairbanks. By the time we reached the lodge, we were in awe! The lights are usually in the northern sky, but that night they stretched across a perfectly clear sky from north to the south and everything in between. Wow. No pictures can do it justice. The waves of particles moved as if God was waving a colorful curtain across the sky. So amazing! To top it off, we saw a shooting star streak across the Big Dipper as the aurora filled the sky completely surrounding us! What a magical evening - actually emotional for us.

The rooms are lovely and comfortable. There are only 4 rooms in the establishment, so you get really personalized service. Love the heated toilet seat with bidet. We want one! Mok (pronounced Moke) and his wife are such wonderful hosts. We wanted to watch the vice-presidential and presidential debates, so they invited us to the lodge to view it on their big-screen tv (no television in the rooms). Wifi is great for emails and web browsing, but don't try streaming.

There is plenty to do in town, and there is an Alaska app for your iPhone that will give you some great suggestions. It's called The Alaska App :)

We rented a 4WD SUV and definitely needed it to get up the drive to the lodge when it was snowing and icy. Bring your boots if you have any and are staying in the fall or winter.

There are several large grocery stores in town. Our favorite was Fred Meyer (parent company is Kroger), and it's more of a super center, with clothing, electronics, housewares, etc.

Favorite meal was at The Historic Pump House. Try the seafood chowder as an appetizer - amazing. The entrées selection is wonderful and the dessert tray is phenomenal!

Expecting snow the next couple of days (our trip is not over yet) so we are going to visit Chena Hot Springs today.

Overall, this has been an amazing and relaxing vacation, with fantastic accommodations and top-notch hosts. Their children are adorable too :)

Room Tip: Upstairs rooms have an amazing view from the picture windows, but remember that you have to carry gr...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Healdsburg, California
Top Contributor
129 reviews 129 reviews
34 hotel reviews
Reviews in 65 cities Reviews in 65 cities
69 helpful votes 69 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 25, 2012

While we only had one faint night of Northern Lights during our 3-day stay, it was well worth the trip. Our room was large and tastefully appointed , with beds so comfortable, we have asked Mok, our host, for the brand name! The large north-facing windows allowed me to see the Lights while ensconced on a very comfortable sofa. (My tolerant husband, after the first few displays, was able to go back to sleep!)
Though quite far out in the country (hence few lights to interfere with nature's spectacular show), there are several excellent restaurants nearby.
Note , our top-floor room had a well-equipped kitchen, and there's a huge Fred Meyer market not far away, so you can also make your own meals (not a bad alternative, to recover from the gigantic portions served in Alaskan restaurants!)
Be sure to reserve early, since the lodege is small, and usually booked far ahead for the entire season.

Room Tip: The two top-floor rooms are considered the premium ones, but all have great views--anyone to snag a...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oak Park, Illinois
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2012

My wife and I just returned from a stay at ABL. We spent five nights (we REALLY wanted to see the aurora!). We were not disappointed, seeing the lights on three of five nights, the last being the most spectacular.

The lodge is perfectly situated for viewing the aurora. While you can see it from your room, through large north-facing windows, you will want to be outside so that you can see the full sky. On one evening the lights were directly overhead.

Mok and his family are perfect hosts. So accommodating. His radio setup ensures that you will not sleep through a night of lights.

My wife and I did our own tracking of the local radar and aurora forecast, even when the weather was not good. You only need a small break in the clouds to see the aurora if it is bright that night.

Mok also has wifi available in the lodge, so it was easy to check weather, e-mails, etc. We have Verizon and did not have mobile phone service at the lodge, but this was not a problem since we could get on the Internet.

The room was perfect. Two large beds, a nice couch, dining table, full kitchen, bathroom.

One note about photographing the aurora. You will have best results if you are using a digital camera that permits you to adjust the shutter speed and ISO (all DSLRs should permit this; point-and-shoot cameras and cell phones may not). On an average night the aurora is somewhat faint. While your eyes can see the lovely movement and shapes you may not see all of the color but your camera will. I attached one of the more impressive pictures from our viewing.

All in all, this was a magical trip. We chose to visit in September when the weather was warmer than during the winter and saw some lovely fall color. If you visit, say hi from David and Darcy in Chicago!

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canberra, Australia
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2012

We stayed at the Aurora Borealis Lodge for three nights and just have to say how impressed we have been with the quality of accommodation, the friendliness of the owners and the magnificent location of the Lodge.
We had a party of 4 adults and an infant and we were made most welcome. Having 2 units, one upstairs and one at ground level, both were fitted out with quality fittings, full kitchen facilities and very comfortable bedding.
Mock (owner) is a really pleasant and cheerful gentleman. He will alert you when the aurora is active and make every effort to ensure your stay is Top Notch.
Thanks for a great stay.

Room Tip: All rooms are excellent and are fitted out with every convenience.
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, CA
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 6, 2012

My husband and I stayed here in Feb 2012 for 4 nights, our flight got in, in the afternoon and the first thing we did was grocery shop, we ate every meal at "home" for five days. The kitchen was perfect it had everything we needed. The room was great! It really was a studio with two beds, hooks right by the door for all our cold weather gear. Nice size bathroom with heated seat! and dining table with a great view. Couch right near the window so you could see the lights from the comfort of your room if they were out that way. The first night we were there they had one of the best shows of the year! On valentines day non the less, it literally danced across the sky we went outside to watch and before we knew it we had been out there for over an hour, it was so incredible. Mok took some great photos we can't even believe it so worth it!

That really took the stress off if we were or weren't going to be able to see the lights, but then spoiled us because non of the other nights compared. Its very addicting waiting for lights because you see how vivid and amazing they can be then you almost expect them to show up.

We took day trips during the days while we were there and the drive was usually only 30 min, there is also a great brewery in fox at the turn off point that is worth checking out called Silver Gulch, it amazed me that people road snowmachines to the bar, how cool is that!?

Mok and Logan were great letting us know what was going on at night, groups and such, asking us if we needed anything. Really amazing hosts.The lodge they have is cool you can go in anytime coffee already made, very welcoming. This trip was perfect for us, I spent days and weeks researching for a year on what to do, where to stay in fairbanks in feb and people thought I was crazy. I am so glad I found this place I would stay here again in a heartbeat, and next time I might bring my kids!

Room Tip: We stayed second floor which was great but honestly with only four rooms I don't believe you can...
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2012

The perfect place to see the Aurora. The rooms are wonderful - great view, very well equipped,
very comfortable. there is a very well equipped kitchen, so bring food with you.
We stayed at the second floor - and it was perfect.
It is aboout half hour drive from town, in the middle of nature.
Great place !

Room Tip: Try to get the rooms in the second floor.
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Aurora Borealis Lodge

Address: Cleary Summit Rd., 1906 Ridge Run Rd, Fairbanks, AK 99707
Location: United States > Alaska > Fairbanks
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 19 Specialty Lodging in Fairbanks
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 4
Also Known As:
Aurora Borealis Hotel Fairbanks
Aurora Borealis Lodge Fairbanks, Alaska

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