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“Great Alaskan Experience!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of McCarthy Lodge & The Ma Johnson's Hotel

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McCarthy Lodge & The Ma Johnson's Hotel
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1.0 of 5 Lodge   |   101 Kennicott Avenue, P.O. Box MXY, McCarthy, Wrangell-St Elias National Park and Preserve, AK 99588   |  
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Hotel amenities
GreenLeadersSilver level
Anchorage, Alaska
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Great Alaskan Experience!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2013

I have lived in AK for 30 years. I can not believe it took me so long to discover McCarthy! It is rustic yet has the modern necessities - including Internet if you just can't bear to un plug!

We came here to do a rafting trip with McCarthy river tours &outfitters (also amazing!) and stayed @ Ma J's. When I booked they explained it was a walk into the past and was boarding room style - we had our own room but shared bath and showers. My partner was not crazy about the bathroom situation but it worked out just fine. In fact, I do not think I would stay any other place because of the authentic experience in an old-time (really well taken care of and very clean) boarding house. This will be on my destination itinary for all of my family and friends who visit us in the future.

A special NOTE: I have a medical devise that needs to be plugged in at night and did not realize the rooms do NOT have electrical outlets. However the staff were so accomdating and ran an extension cord to our room - and made sure it was propperly (safely) secured.

BOTTOM LINE: I have lived in both rural and urban AK - including an island & a community off the road system where everything had to be flown or barged in. McCarthy is the perfect combination of both then and now to allow you to comfortably experience Alaska in a way that Denali or a day of fishing can not do! Though I highly reccomed these destinattion experiences too! McCarthy is a must see - and you should plan for more than two days if you can.

The staff were super and the town charming. We plan to visit again next year for the 4th of July. We are already looking forward to it. Next year we want to see the glacier up close and hike to it - it was just so beautiful!

  • Stayed July 2013, 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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156 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    110
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23
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (29)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Portland, Oregon, United States
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2013

Thanks to everyone is McCarthy for showing my girlfriend and I the most amazing time. Not for the unadventurous type, and watch out for mosquitoes but holy smokes what a great time. The hotel service was impeccable, and all the staff we encountered were proud, knowledgeable, friendly, and accommodating. Vegan friendly (somewhat), no AT&T service but you will be out on the water, or on a glacier, or in a plane or something anyways.
Definitely go on the flight seeing tour. Kelley his wife, Don, Bill and all the pilots were amazing. The best sights I've ever seen in my life.
Patty at the hotel is very friendly, there is a bar, grocery store, shopping, and 2 restaurants very close and Kennecot is a shuttle ride away which doubles your options.

Room Tip: Mamma Johnson's is nice and quiet, centrally located
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Anchorage, Alaska
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2013

Just back from a wonderful 2 night stay at Ma Johnson's in McCarthy. Patty the manager was the best, always available to answer questions and make sure we were having a great time. We were in a side building with four rooms. The rooms were small but had everything we needed including robes and slippers. With no cell, internet or tv we had to relax. There is a shuttle that runs to Kennicott every half hour. The Golden Salon is the place for drinks and the Fine Dining Bistro served gourmet food. We were blown away by the quality of the food in the this small town. Great weekend and we will be back. Being a lifelong Alaskan, had heard stories about the road to McCarthy for years. However, after road improvements in 2012 we traveled about 35-40 mph. Took about 2-3 hours due to several photo stops along the way.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
New York
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2013

If you want an unforgettable off the beaten track Alaska experience, drive eight hours northeast of Anchorage to one of the coolest towns you have ever been to -- McCarthy, AL. On the edge of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, the largest national park in the United States, it is an amazing town from which to explore the majestic mountains and glaciers. McCarthy itself is an amazing town that used to be the center of a major copper mining operation. The town has an incredible hotel, Ma Johnson's, an old boarding house which brings you back to what it was like here in the early 1900s. The restaurant is incredible and Kurt, the new executive chef from Oregon, prepares meals as incredible as fine NY dining establishments do. And the ingredients hail from one of the coolest stores you will find off the beaten track, the McCarthy Center Store, which is a mini Zabars eight hours from Anchorage in the middle of nowhere! What an incredible little town in an amazing part of Alaska!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 23, 2013

This old time hotel is really the only place to stay in McCarthy, but besides that, it is a really fun place to stay if you like historic places. The gourmet restaurant McCarthy Lodge is also excellent.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington, District of Columbia, United States
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 14, 2013

We visited the McCarthy Lodge Memorial Day weekend 2013 aka the start of tourist season. It was an amazing experience. First off, yes the rooms are small. But they made sure we knew this on the website and when we made our reservation. So you should expect that to find the size smaller than you may be used to. We followed their advice and brought only backpacks for our 2 night stay and it was fine. They had a free shuttle that took us to and from the bridge. There were clean robes and slippers left in our room. Now there are no outlets in the rooms themselves, but power strips are available in the lobby to charge your cameras and such.

What was really above and beyond was the service. Everyone on staff was incredibly friendly and helpful. Patty and Nicole were always responsive to our needs. Our first evening we ate at the Golden Saloon and Nicole was there (clearly on a break from work) but went out of her way to ask how our day had went. And when our food was taking awhile to arrive, she got up from her meal unprompted to check on it for us. Just above and beyond. Finally, we checked out at 11 but they allowed us to keep our bags in the lobby for the remainder of the day while we explored the park.

All and all if you want to experience an historical hotel, in a very small out of the way town this is the place for you. What it may lack in "modern amenities" it more than makes up in charm and customer service. We would gladly stay there again.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Eagle River
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 3, 2013

My sweetheart, Mike, had been wanting to take me to McCarthy since we met two years ago. He had been there in 2010 with his daughter and her friend and Mike appeared to have a deep longing to return there. It was not until we went there together this past weekend that I came to fully understand his desire to return. It is difficult to put into words the transformation that you experience when you open your heart and allow McCarthy to enter in. All at once you are taken in by its charm and over time you are lulled away from the hectic life so many of us live in today's world. Our entire time there was peaceful and relaxing and provided a portal back in time. The small community spirit and ambience is like nothing I have ever experienced. We stayed at Ma Johnson's hotel and the staff were very helpful and attentive to our every need. The room was very comfortable, including the bed, and the hotel provided hand made soaps, shampoo, and lotion which were a special treat. The bath robe was so comfortable I bought one to wear at home. The bathrooms were clean and easily accessible. The attention to detail was impressive and added to the historical feel of our stay there. The food in the restaurant and fine dining was superb and the staff there were very friendly and helped us feel welcome. We arrived there as visitor's and left as friends. We will definitely be going back.

  • Stayed May 2013, 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about McCarthy Lodge & The Ma Johnson's Hotel

Address: 101 Kennicott Avenue, P.O. Box MXY, McCarthy, Wrangell-St Elias National Park and Preserve, AK 99588
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Alaska > Wrangell-St Elias National Park and Preserve > McCarthy
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 5 Specialty Lodging in McCarthy
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:1 star — McCarthy Lodge & The Ma Johnson's Hotel 1*
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Beautiful Scenery, Fine Cuisine, and True Alaskan History all rolled into one – Perfect for a weekend gateway!Our accommodations and restaurants are in the very center of the largest protected wilderness on earth. McCarthy is surrounded by more mountains and glaciers than anywhere else in Alaska! Experience the unexpected; unique tasting menus with casual style at McCarthy Lodge. The Golden Saloon offers a hearty menu of family favorites. Our greenhouses provide fresh produce for our restaurants, our Copper River Red Salmon is wild-caught by locals. Best of all, the fully restored Ma Johnson’s Hotel is the only authentic historic hotel in the park. Spend a few minutes in the Golden Saloon and make friends instantly. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
McCarthy Lodge & The Ma Johnson's Hotel Alaska

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