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“An Expensive Mistake”

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Kantishna Roadhouse
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed August 26, 2013

After a wonderful small boat cruise in the Inner Passage with Un-cruise Adventures, we headed inland to Denali for a stay at this hotel. Located in a small valley, the hotel did not have good views and was heavily infested with mosquitoes. The only repellants that worked contained a minimum of 40% Deet. The food was mediocre. On one day, a tour bus arrived to stay for lunch and a lecture. When the overnight guests asked about dessert with our lunches, we were told that cookies would be served to the bus guests only. As one of our fellow guests said, "this place is like a poorly run summer camp". It was very expensive -- a terrible value.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank Jim R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 26, 2013

We stayed in the Roadhouse for 2 nights. We left from Denali Train Station with a bus ("Charlie") driven by a wonderful lady (Kirsty); not only she is a highly skilled driver (I can ensure you the road is very difficult in some points), but she is also a unique expert of Alaska flora and fauna, and she has an amazing capacity to spot wildlife miles away while driving! She often stopped the bus to let us take pictures of caribous (lots of them), bears (we also spotted a mom bear and her cub), birds, dall sheeps, mooses.
I was only disappointed because when we left we discovered that the management overbooked the bus transfer and so some tourists had to take another bus by another company. Even if it was (I suppose) complimentary, this transfer to another bus managed by another company is totally unacceptable, given the very high price of the package that includes transfer+cabin+meals+activities.
The cabin was clean, and if one imagines that you are in the middle of wilderness in Alaska, electric power, running water,... are true comforts.
The meals were ok, but nothing exceptional; maybe the meals were the least appealing experience of our stay. Just outside the park we were in another hotel restaurant where the chef, using the same food ingredients used in Kantishna Restaurant was able to invent many more courses. So it is not a question related to the unavailability of particular kinds of food in a remote location such as Kantishna. It's just to choose a better Chef.
The daily activities were really good. All the staff (I remember Ananda for the excursions, Kelly for gold panning; and the native guy that managed the sled-dog demonstration) was very kind and professional.
Last point: mosquitos: yes there were mosquitos (normal, being there in august), but - in comparison with other comments posted here - I did not find them in the rooms. I also bought in advance the hats with the net to protect the face, but we did not use them, cause the mosquitos were not "aggressive".
All in all, I recommend the stay in Kantishna Roadhouse and the package that includes the transfer bus and outdoor activities.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Dado1970
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 3, 2013

It's interesting reading the other reviews of this place - we had a great time but probably also experienced a lot of the things others have written about.

To start with the good:
- The location and scenery for the trip in are breathtaking.
- The Drivers for the trip in are great - entertaining and informative.
- The food is not bad at all.
- I had a lot of fun fishing for arctic char in the stream even if they are not the world's greatest sport fish.

The not so good:
- The mosquitoes were unbelievable (but the again, it is Alaska in Summer - kind of hard to avoid).
- The walls in the cabins are thin - you can hear your neighbors pretty well (at this point we should probably apologize to our neighbors in Denali for the noise from our kids - sorry we did try).
- We flew out and the trip was a little rough. Again though, this is Alaska and the pilot was professional and handled it well.

In short, Denali is definitely worth seeing. Sure there a couple of rough edges around this place but it is still worth it.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank Elmosfamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 25, 2013

Went to the Kantishna Roadhouse earlier this month with four friends while visiting Alaska. We all had a blast, and as the previous reviewers have also pointed out it is a wonderful place to stay, as there were many activities to enjoy such as fishing in the river that flows through the property as well as a "canned" gold panning experience. They brought in dirt "tailings" from previous gold mining efforts from a nearby defunct mine- for us to pan in the river. It was a fun experience anyway. Beautiful scenery, comfortable accommodations, friendly folks and good food what more could you ask for? A highlight for me was catching artic grayling in the river at 11 at night!

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Roncor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 25, 2013

our experience at Kantishna Roadhouse was a mixed bag. We spend two nights there after the long ,yet very entertaining bus ride. Evvie the driver was excellent in her knowledge of the park and it's furry and featherred residents. The end of the bus ride was another story however. within 10 seconds of exiting the Evvie's bus I was covered with Mosquitos. I thought I had covered up well but they swarmed my face spotting some fresh meat. The greeter who introduced us to the property had at least 15 Mosquitos on his face during his whole speel. I couldn't
Even look at him it was so horrifying. Once in our modest cabin, we spent the next 20 minutes before dinner squishing the hundreds of Mosquitos in the cabin. the window sills were also full of them as was the bathtub. The staff was nice for the most part, but we're college students doing a summer job, and not very invested. there was no sign of a supervisor or manager on the property. When we asked, the front desk person said she had flown off to a board meeting. the food was sparse and unremarkable. when we asked if there was any dessert to be served, we were told that the cookies were for the people who were being bussed in for lunch, and not for the in house guests. nice touch? It also became a challenge for us to leave the Roadhouse since we had a flight to Anchorage as part of our package, but due to clouds , we were unable to complete the flight after two hours in the air trying to find a way out of the clouds. So as a result our departure involved another very long ride back to Anchorage via taxi. luckily we met several very lovely people on our trip to Denali which made our uncomfortable stay there worth the time spent.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank denver68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 24, 2013

If you want to stay inside Denali, Kantishna Roadhouse is a fantastic choice. Nice log cabins, very friendly and competent staff,
The all-inclusive stay provides bus transportation 90 miles into the heart of Denali Park, log cabin accommodations, 3 meals a day and a number of different daily activities. Guided hiking, Mountain Biking, Fly Fishing, Gold panning and Dog Team Presentation

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Steen K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 15, 2013

My family and I spent 2 nights, July 10-11, at Kantishna Roadhouse as part of a 10-day tour of Alaska and it was by far my favorite part of the trip. There were 7 of us in our group and we all enjoyed our stay. This is a true experience of Denali National Park, as it is the farthest into the park that you can go.

If nature and rustic accommodations are not a good fit for you, then you are better off just going as far as the visitor’s center! However, it is a shame that the visitor’s center is usually the only thing that people visit at Denali National Park, which does not provide an authentic experience.

The bus ride to Kantishna is over 6 hours down the 90-mile road, with lots of stops along the way. The road is bumpy, winding, and at times running along steep cliffs, so is not for the faint of heart. Our driver in was Kirsty and she was very knowledgeable of the park, its history, and the wildlife. It was rainy and foggy, but the scenery was still great--we saw Dall sheep, a bear, several moose, ducks and geese. Conversely, the weather was crystal clear on the drive out with a full view of Mt. McKinley and the Alaskan Range and more wildlife to be seen. The drive out was only about 5 ½ hours with less stops due to the need to coincide with the train schedule.

The roadhouse itself consists of several cabins. The accommodations are basic (no TV, internet, or phones), but are clean and in working order. The service was very friendly. The main lodge is quite nice with a bar, 2 dining rooms, small library, and screened in porch. The whole place is run by generators as there is no electricity within Denali. A supply truck comes only once per week. This is part of the reason the cost is so high, which many other reviews complain about. While the food choices were limited, we found it to be good quality and more than adequate. We did not find the cost here to be any more expensive than the 5 other places we stayed on this trip, relative to the location, food, and activities provided.

The activities offered here were numerous. The river runs right by the lodge and is beautiful. Some of our group went on a guided hike to a location high above Wonder Lake with wonderful views. A shuttle runs to Wonder Lake (3 miles away) every morning, and also in the evenings when the mountain is “out” (which it was during our stay). Some of our group also had fun with the gold panning and sled dog lecture. There were other hikes offered, as well as bike riding. Take plenty of strong bug spray, as the mosquitos were bad. This is a part of nature and certainly a signature of Alaska, so I don’t really understand the complaints of other reviewers.

We would have gladly stayed more nights to partake of the rest of the activities we didn’t have time for and to continue soaking up the beauty of Alaska that is offered here. Go here prepared to experience the true Alaska and you will enjoy it as much as we did. Special thanks to Ethan (our hiking guide!), Ananda (for her patience with the gold panning!), John (for the friendly bartending!) and the rest of the efficient staff.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank hoppersh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kantishna Roadhouse

Address: 1 Doyon Pl # 300, Denali National Park and Preserve, AK 99701-2941
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Alaska > Denali National Park and Preserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 26 Specialty Lodging in Denali National Park and Preserve
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Kantishna Roadhouse 2.5*
Number of rooms: 32
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Kantishna Roadhouse is a backcountry lodge resort in the heart of Denali National Park. Comfortable well-appointed cabin lodging, all-inclusive experience. Enjoy abundant activities including daily guided hikes, gold panning with expert guides, free mountain bike rental/usage, and fly-fishing for Arctic Grayling in Moose Creek. For those that choose to stay in camp for the day, our comfortable natural history library, cozy lobby, or outdoor screened-in porch -- offer pleasant alternatives. This is a true Alaskan adventure in one of the most beautiful national parks in the world. The transportation to and from the resort is half the fun. Our red and white bus, marked "Kantishna Roadhouse," gives you the opportunity to see abundant wildlife in its natural setting, including grizzly bears, wolves, moose, caribou, dall sheep, among other critters. Kantishna Roadhouse is the only resort in the backcountry with a bar/saloon. Sip wine on the banks of the Moose River while you take in a beautiful sunset by the fire. Enjoy activities and relaxation. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kantishna Roadhouse Hotel Denali National Park And Preserve

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