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Denali Mountain Morning Hostel and Cabins
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Reviews (272)
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Reviewed September 17, 2011

The cabins and grounds were very nice and clean and the surrounding scenery was gorgeous. The common area (kitchen and living room) was well stocked, organized and tidy. Other guests were very good about cleaning up after themselves. The only negative thing I can say is that if you're a light sleeper you'll need earplugs. I stayed in the women's dorm, which is on the floor above the common area. Even though there are quiet hours, I could hear everything going on downstairs. But, conveniently, there are earplugs for sale at the hostel for 75 cents. Overall it was a great experience.

  • Stayed: September 2011
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Thank Chickick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 16, 2011

We stayed here for a night before heading in to camp in Denali. It was a great location right on a lovely creek. Rooms and bathrooms were extremely clean. The kitchen was huge and also immaculate with lots of room for cooking and hanging out. Definitely would stay here again.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank naturbuf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 15, 2011

It was amazing finding this place! In the middle of nowhere! Comfortable, cozy, clean! The staff is amazing, so friendly! The creek passing by the hostel is wonderful, so peaceful! Everyone who wants to go to Denali should stay at this hostel!!!!

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled solo
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Thank CaMarrelli
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 15, 2011

As hostels go, this one is set up nicely and is well equipped (including decent WiFi signal, which was surpising). A couple of things that make this an average rating for me -
1) The shuttle - runs on a very limited and strict schedule. If you're traveling to Denali for the first time (like my mom and I were), you may not realize how remote the location of the hostel really is... it's 14 miles from the park entrance. There are only 2 trips from the hostel TO the park in the morning (6am and 8:30am) and two return trips from the park to the hostel at night (5pm and 9pm). It's a 14 passenger van and some days it is full to capacity, so you need to make sure you're signed up ahead of time. They wait for no one, and don't even attempt to be nice about letting you know... my mom witnessed one of the staff members scream at a guest to the point the guest was in tears because she wasn't at the designated pick-up location (although she was very nearby - had been there waiting for the van well ahead of time). We happened to be taking the train from Anchorage to Denali, and unfortunately our train was delayed about 3 hrs - putting us into the park around 6pm. There really isn't any option for cabs or other public transportation around there... NONE. So, we phoned the hostel who suggested we find another shuttle service to a local restaurant where they would pick us up on the 9pm run. Needless to say, that was hard to swallow after the already long train trip, but we had little (no) choice. I would strongly STRONGLY suggest that if this is your first trip to the area and you plan to stay at this hostel, make sure you have your own vehicle. Several of the other guests we met in our 3 day stay made the very same comment.
2) The common area/ kitchen facilities/ showers are CLOSED from 10am-4pm EVERY DAY (supposedly for "cleaning", but we later learned that this is actually the staff's break time)... this information was not shared prior to our arrival at the hostel, and it's only posted on signs at the hostel. After our horrendous adventure on the train, I had decided to spend our first day relaxing in the cabin we were staying in... but was informed (harshly) that the kitchen was CLOSED when I went in to get some of my food for lunch - side note here, not all of the guests were respectful of other people's food... our brand new carton of milk was all but gone on the very first morning there before my mother or I even had a chance to open it and without a vehicle it's VERY difficult to get more food.
On the good side, the cabins are clean and well equipped and the showers have plenty of hot water. I like staying in hostels for the variety of people you meet and the fact that you can bring your own food and little things like that. The scenery there also can't be beat...
Unfortunately, the shuttle and unfriendly staff made our stay at Denali Mountain Morning Hostel just average. If we are ever lucky enough to return to that magical place (Denali), we most likely won't be staying there...

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled with family
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5  Thank Emily921
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DMMH, Owner at Denali Mountain Morning Hostel and Cabins, responded to this reviewResponded December 8, 2011

Hello Emily 921;
I’m sorry it has taken me so long to respond, but I did see your post and wanted to comment and clarify a little.
Regarding your comments about our shuttle service, here are my thoughts. First, we do go to great length in explaining how the shuttle works. It is extensively explained on our web site and also in our conformation email because we don’t want it to be a problem, confusing or have anyone in the wrong place at the wrong time. The time’s you noted are not accurate. It departs the hostel for the Park at 6:35 AM and 8:20 AM. It departs the Park at 5:30 PM and 9:30 PM. As you said it is sometimes filled to capacity, but people need not worry about that. This is why we ask you to tell us on your reservation which shuttle you want to come to the hostel on and when you get to the hostel the first thing we go over is our shuttle sign up board and why it is so important that you sign up for the shuttles you want. Rarely we have situations where there are more than 14 people requesting a shuttle. When that happens, we either run two shuttles, one a little early, or we use two driver’s an another vehicle. We NEVER tell anyone they have to wait for the next shuttle because we are full.
I appreciate your comments about how we will wait for no one, even if they might be a bit overstated. I don’t think we yell or make people cry, but there have been times I have felt like it and I tell you why. Everyone is on vacation and to many this may be their lifelong dream to see Alaska and they have saved and planned for it for years and maybe they will never have a chance to come back. We run an expensive, free shuttle at the most needed times. The times are set so people can get to the park in good time for their planned activity. We feel it is our responsibility to them to get them there on time and we do. The only thing that causes problems is when some guests don’t understand or care about this and are not on the shuttle when it is time to leave. Should I care more about the person who, even after having it explained to them, still don’t do their part by being on time, or should I care more about the other 13 people sitting on the shuttle looking at their watches and hoping we actually do get them to the park on time? To me the answer is easy, but to the person running toward the parking lot as the shuttle leaves, it might seem unreasonable. I don’t like leaving people behind, I feel bad and we do try to make sure everyone is ready, but I will continue to get people to the park on time. I don’t think there is any more fair way of doing it. I will not condone my employees yelling at people or making them cry and from what I have learned looking into this, that isn’t accurate.
Continuing, our policy is, if the train is late, we either come back to get those guests when it arrives or if they are just a bit late we wait for them. Picking people up on the afternoon shuttles is different from the morning shuttles I spoke about in the previous paragraph. We do have a little more flexibility, albeit not a lot. There is a taxi service, just to clear that up. As you said, there are advantages to having your own vehicle. We have ample free parking and so does the Wilderness Access Center at the park. However, if you want to save that expense and are willing to sign up for the shuttles you want and be there before departure time, you certainly can and without problem.
About your second comment regarding the closure of the lodge and kitchen area for cleaning you are correct that from 10AM (check-out) to 4PM (check-in) those areas were closed for cleaning. You are not correct in saying this is done for staff break time. There is no break time. The person working grabs something to eat during their shift when they can and staff that isn’t working may use the kitchen during this time, but they stay out of the worker’s way and clean up their mess right away. But to say we close the area to guests so the staff can use it, is just not true. This is rarely an issue because most guests are not around from 10 to 4 because they are utilizing every minute they have here to experience the outdoors not the indoors. The closure of the Octagon and shower house from 10 to 4 was something the previous owner’s did and I honestly never gave it much thought in the 6 years that I have had it. But your comments have made me think about it and I think we can have this closure lessened to the time the kitchen is actually being cleaned and the same with the shower house. It doesn’t need to be the full 6 hours and I plan to make changes to the web site so people are aware of this. Thank you for bringing that to my attention.
Another thing we tell our guests - is to use the markers we provide to write your name and departure date on your food. If you don’t it may be used or tossed out. That may be what occurred in your case.
Thank you again for your comments and for the opportunity to respond. As always, everyone is welcome to email me with their ideas, suggestions or complaints. And to all the people who I don’t respond directly or on here, thank you for taking the time to write your thoughts and thank you for your praises. Our goal remains to make everyone’s trip as enjoyable and comfortable as possible and still keep our prices the lowest around.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 10, 2011

I have been to many hostels around the world. This one is the absolute best, extremely clean, free shuttles back and forth to the park, extremely friendly staff. Had a great time, will definitely stay again.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled solo
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2  Thank mike696
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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