I've stayed at quite a few ESAs and ESDs and this one performed in line with expectations. Anchorage hotels in general have gone way up in price in the last year or two; I guess the days of being able to stay sub-$50 in mid-September have gone the way of free check-in bags on airlines. Maybe global warming has extended the summer season by 10 days or so. You probably have to go in late September these days to see peak fall colors and get much of a break on prices in ANC.
But I digress. I ended up with this hotel via Priceline, so imagine my delight when I get on TripAdvisor and read about the $10/day parking fee. (At least they don't make the parking "free" and charge a resort fee instead...that'd be the ultimate cynical move).
To be fair, the location IS a bit downtownish and hemmed in, and I suspect the dedicated spaces wouldn't be enough for all the guests if everyone had a car. Of course, I wanted to avoid the fee on principle. Thankfully the situation isn't as bad as feared, as it's on the edge of downtown and nights, Saturdays and Sundays are free on the street meters (which are 10-hour at 75 cents an hour, if memory serves). Which leaves weekdays during the day, when you can either pay the meter or try your luck with 2-hour non-metered street parking in the residential areas two blocks to the south (starting at 10th). Thankfully I had only one non-weekend day and didn't run into any of that, but YMMV. (To further complicate things, some streetsides can't be parked on overnight from Oct. 15-April 15 because of street cleaning).
The hotel isn't very well signed and can be tricky to locate, but if you're heading northbound on A Street just look to the right (eastward) just before you get to 8th.
Check-in was friendly and the room very ESA-like. You don't get daily maid service, so it's best for messy families, people who think they can cook but really can't, or the generally slovenly to stay elsewhere. TV had a smattering of channels, with Showtime, Showtime 2 and Showtime Extreme the movie channels.
The floor had an ice machine (that worked), which was nice. Many people don't like using ice trays in the frig they didn't fill themselves (and you have to wait if you do empty and fill them), so it's nice to have an alternative.
There's also a one-terminal "business center" for boarding pass printing and the wireless-less, which is good.
The indoor pool/jacuzzi were fine, if a little undersized for demand at times. In reading the signs I notice they're open 9 a.m. until 11 p.m., with 10 p.m.-11 p.m. designated as only for adults. I think this is a great idea and would be even greater if consistently followed (the maintenance guy had locked out all keycards by 9:42 p.m. on a Sunday night).
All in all it was consistent with other ESDs I've stayed at, though with the Alaska effect I paid roughly twice the lower 48 price, even through PL. This is in line with others in the local area, and certainly you could get a real dump on Spenard and pay just as much. OTOH, guests tend to let fewer smaller things slide when the nightly outlay goes up, even if it's just because everything's more expensive in Alaska.
This place can work in a pinch or as an alternative to a number of the poorly reviewed places, and if you're car-less it seems well-connected to the bus system and within walking distance for most of downtown.
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