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Grande Denali Lodge
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Reviewed September 13, 2012

This is another of those hotels that caters to the bus tour groups. They are used to having a captive audience. Those travelers cannot go elsewhere. While the rooms are okay clean, the service, staff and sleep quality are a nil set. The staff is disinterested, bored, distracted and I saw more snarls than smiles but I did see two smiles in wait staff at the restaurant. The bar staff was in a continuous bad mood, the same could be said for the front desk staff. The property owners must treat the staff very poorly for this to be such a common thread. Trying to sleep was difficult for all the Gator Vehicle constant traffic between cabins below and the main lobby. Into the night and started early in the morning. If you have a private vehicle you cannot access your room and so my advice is eat there and sleep elsewhere. I must say they have the best view from the wrap around balcony and deck at the restaurant and bar but you don't have the sleep there to enjoy this.

Room Tip: Eat and drink and enjoy the view because that is as good as it's going to get. The staff will threaten to charge a cancellation fee if you want to change your reservation.
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Dannie K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Michelle G, Director of Sales at Grande Denali Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded March 15, 2013

We are so glad that you had an appreciation for our food and views! We at the Grande Denali Lodge pride ourselves in the amazing views that you get when enjoying a delicious meal from our restaurants, however, I'm sorry to hear that the staff and customer service you received was not friendly.

The one very exciting news that I can share with you is that we are under new management and the atmosphere that you experienced during your stay is the first focus we have as a group of managers. We have a dynamic team and look forward to creating a pleasing and joyful experience for our staff and guests alike.

If you have any future questions, concerns, or needs please contact me directly. I love hearing from our past guests.

Michelle Gruber
Sales Manager
mgruber@oldharbor.org

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 10, 2012

We traveled by train from Anchorage to Denali National Park during the first week of September 2012. Upon arrival, we were met immediately by a representative from Grande Denali Lodge who checked us off her list and handed us our room keys. We boarded a shuttle (not pretty, but don't be worried...it was reliable and always on time!) and were delivered promptly to the hotel.

Because we had our room keys in hand (we'd paid in full in advance), we went straight to our room. Within 5 minutes our luggage was delivered from the train. That's quick!
Our room had a view of the canyon, the Nenana River and the mountains in front of us. It's a basic, Holiday Inn type of room, but it was clean, lots of towels, hair dryer, coffee maker and cable TV. We also were able to use our Ipad in the room. I read lots about thin walls in previous reviews. I'm a light sleeper and didn't hear a sound. The hotel was booked to capacity too. The room was comfortable and we were able to leave the window open a little to let in the fresh, cool air. It was awesome!

We had a Denali Park Shuttle trip planned to Eielson Visitor Center at 6:30 the next morning. You can book this online well in advance to get the time slot you prefer. The coffee kiosk in the hotel lobby was able to provide us with a bag lunch for this trip. (no food or drinks are available in the park) Just place your order by 8pm the night before. It's $15 for a really big boxed lunch. (I know, $15 for a sandwich lunch?? but it's Denali....you'll get used to it!)The hotel provided a free shuttle to the Wilderness Access Center (WAC) where we arrived in plenty of time for our trip.

Take the regular shuttle (the cheaper one, the "green" shuttle) into Denali. The drivers give a great commentary and give you lots of time to take photos. Go all the way to Eielson because if the mountain is visible, you can pay cash to go on to Wonder Lake to see it better. If it's cloudy, you just go back and you haven't spent the extra money.

When you get back to the Wilderness Access Center, you just call the hotel desk and the shuttle comes back to get you. Easy and free. We couldn't have asked for friendlier or better service and we were there near the end of the season! I think sometimes people react to the way they are treated. We were delighted to be there and the staff treated us as if they were glad to see us.

Room Tip: 2nd floor of the main hotel had a great view of the Nenana River and the valley. If you are not very agile, stay away from the cabins. They are NOT for the elderly. You have to travel down a relatively steep dirt/gravel path and most have steps to get inside.
  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank SouthernGirl1214
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 10, 2012

I upgraded the tour I was on to stay at the Grande Denali Lodge and it was a total waste of money. I wasn't expecting the Four Seasons, but I was expecting a closet in the room instead of a closet FOR a room. I ordered a King bed and ended up with a full size bed, the smallest room on the floor, and no closet, just an exposed rod for my clothes. I was only there 2 nights, and I had just come off of a miserable bus ride, so I did not complain. I probably should have, but I'm usually pretty reasonable about these kinds of things and just wanted to enjoy the view. Unfortunately, the view was obscured by clouds and fog - not the hotel's problem but again left me with the feeling that I wasted my money. I vowed then and there to tell fellow TripAdvisors to not waste your money upgrading!

The Grande is at the top of a ridge and the view is probably gorgeous but it's also remote, so you have to take the shuttle to everything instead of having village access. I'd prefer to stay at the Princess if available or the McKinley Lodge closer to the road.

The restaurant was great and had a terrific, engaging staff that I thoroughly enjoyed.

The front desk was competent overall, until they were not. I checked out on a Sunday and was going on a tour. I asked the front desk if they provided a service to move my luggage from the hotel to the train. They assured me they did and tagged my bag with a red Alaska RR tag, giving me the stub. I went on my way, confident they would do as they promised. Unfortunately, I arrived in Anchorage with no bag. They "somehow" just didn't get my bag to the train. I was not reunited with my bag until late Monday night - and then they tried to charge ME for transporting the bag! I was dumbfounded. They told the bus company that transported my bag a completely different story than they told me and blamed ME for the lost luggage.

Despite a delightful restaurant, I will never stay at this hotel again and will never recommend it. I won't give it a "terrible" rating because most of the staff was great, but blaming a customer for a colleague's incompetency is unacceptable. Save your money and stay somewhere else for your Denali experience.

Room Tip: Pick another hotel.
  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled solo
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1  Thank SundayRiver2u
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 9, 2012

Many reviewers are rating and commenting on the Denali area like they expected Los Angeles quality hotels and resturants.
Denali is not a city...it is a jumping off place for Denali National Park and Preserve. The Grande Denali Lodge has the best view of any of the hotels in the area but is the least accessable due to its mile long partially paved road from the highway to the hotel. The rooms (we had one with a view of the park - Rm 3315, it also had a balcony and sliding doors with a screen) are pretty basic with no refrigerator or microwave. The strip heater worked as did all the plumbing. It was relatively clean and bright considering almost everyone was wearing hiking boots and the grounds are gravel and dirt.
When we walked around we found rooms that are located in lower levels of our building that made me think of dungeons.
Our room was close enough to the main lodge that we had wifi which was better than that of the Anchorage Captain Cook hotel.
Unless you ate at the hotel dining room or bar, you could take a free shuttle 10 minutes into town, eat at one of the (average) resturants in town then shuttle back to the hotel. It ran every 30 minutes and I found that if I occassionally gave the driver a tip ($1) he would arrange to drop us off in the National Park or at a desired location in town.
Since we were there for four days, we went to town, bought a cheap styrofoam cooler ($6) and keep snacks and drinks in it. There was an ice machine on most of the floors.
The main building is attractive, large and has a snack bar, dining room and a bar.
One negative was that we found the head bartender pushy trying, every five minutes, to get us to buy food or another drink.
Most of the hotel staff were from slavic regions of Europe and language with the cleaning staff became an adventure, especially for those guests who did not have a good command of english. The lobby and drivers all spoke quite good english.

Room Tip: Ask for (and pay for) a river view. The rooms will be warm in the summer due to the setting sun.
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Epags
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 9, 2012

We stayed here Aug 24 and 25 with a tour group originally scheduled for the Denali Bluffs accommodations. Given the seasonal nature of businesses in this area I imagine it is difficult to hire good staff and therefore maintain top quality. It is also located in a rugged place and its customers are in tour groups or interested in being outdoors not in a hotel. The room was average - standard double without fridge/microwave, dark lavatory area and bathroom. Cleanliness was average. However, the view was outstanding from the room window looking NW to the Park and over the village at an altitude of 2000 ft. The shuttle down the long, winding hill was helpful. The place seemed busy. The food was good and breakfast service staff good but neither was outstanding. I would stay here again because of the view and considering the decent price.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank lnois
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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