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Chena Hot Springs Resort
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Pleasant Valley
Reviewed February 19, 2013

It's pricey, but it's Alaska, and it's worth the trip if you like something a little off-beat, a bit rustic, but really interesting. Like some others on the list here, I booked the Aurora Odyssey package, a package that makes life very easy. The hot springs pool is sensational at night, when nearby shrubs are covered with ice and snow and voices emerge and disappear in the steam. The kennels are great fun to visit when the dogs are pulling the sleds, the food is terrific (especially the tomato-basil soup with lettuce and basil from their own greenhouses), the beds are really comfortable, and there's NO wi-fi service! You're away from it all. They run highly organized snow-cat trips to a nearby hill to search for the elusive Northern Lights. But most interesting? the owners' commitment to renewable energy. The resort gets almost all its power from geothermal generators. (They can't run the snow-cats on geothermal yet, but they ARE hoping for hydrogen!) More than three nights might get a little dull, but there's plenty to do for two full days there.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled solo
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3  Thank Rough-it
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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526 - 532 of 835 reviews

Reviewed February 7, 2013 via mobile

It is an interesting experience to dip yourself in the Rock Lake open air pool, while it is snowing and it makes -20 celcius. In few minutes you have your hair and eyelashes frozen with snow. Rooms are quite bad for that price but as they don't have competition around, I think they don't care. Not to have phone line, internet is frustrating. And there was no aurora borealis as it was cloudy.

  • Stayed: February 2013
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5  Thank JoeBit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 30, 2013

We visited in January. The lodge was filled so we stayed in a private cabin on the grounds, which was very nice and comfortable. We enjoyed the hot springs tremendously. I like that it was large so we could move around to different spots. It was -8 degrees out and we were very comfy in the water. The locker room was comfortable. Bring a quarter when you go so you can lock your items. We ate each night at the restaurant. The food was good and the service was very good. I feel like Chena Hot Springs is a unique and wonderful experience for one to have. It is a beautiful drive there, even in the middle of winter. We had such a wonderful time in the hot springs and cabin that we didn't make it to any of the other ammenities, but they all looked great and watched people on their way to participate.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank camckh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 22, 2013

Our trip to Chena Hot Springs, overall was amazing. We booked the Aurora Odyssey package which included transfers, a room in the Moose lodge, geothermal and ice museum tours, dog sled ride, snow coach aurora watching one night, some meals and unlimited swimming in the hot springs.This is not a stuffy, upscale resort but a down to earth atmosphere with a five star experience.The transfers were run in a very timely manner by very informative and friendly drivers. The Moose lodge room was very nice, the decor looking a little tired but clean and spacious. Really enjoyed the geothermal tour and seeing how this place generates it's own power through innovative geothermal energy, very interesting. There is no WiFi here and cell phone service is spotty...Thank God! Appreciate the glorious surroundings and enjoy the circumstances allowing you to "unplug". We really enjoyed the ice museum even though we did not expect to. We thought it would be cheesy but actually it was really well done. The dog sled ride was very quick, about 15 minutes, but it was so cold that the short duration was very welcome. We did have ALOT of fun doing this though. The snow coach tour to the ridge to view the northern lights was an EXTREMELY rough ride of about 30 minutes. Be prepared to just endure this ride, there is nothing enjoyable about it. Once you get to the top though, there is a yurt with gas heaters and wood burning stove for warming up. They provide hot coffee, tea, chocolate, oatmeal, ramon noodles and things to help keep you warm. You can also take your own snacks. There are heated outhouses. Take a small flashlight as it is very dark anywhere you go outside. They try to keep it dark for the best viewing of the auroras. The snow coach leaves the resort about 9:30pm and returns around 2:30am. Best of luck getting to see the northern lights. Mother nature is fickle and if you are fortunate enough to get to see the lights it is an amazing experience and makes all the uncomfortable aspects totally fade away. The front desk will also put your name on a list to be woken up if the auroras are visible in the valley at the resort, but don't count on this service. Our first night on the ridge, we did not see any lights so returned to go to bed about 3am. The next morning we heard several people talking about the beautiful, bright lights that had occurred about 6am but we did not get any wake up call. In talking with other guests and some staff, we heard it is VERY common NOT to get the promised wake up call. Such a shame too, as people spend so much time and money to try to see what would be the highlight of the trip. Meals are outstanding! You will not go hungry, nor will you want for variety. My filet mignon was not only huge but cut like butter. We had lamb, scallops, salmon, curry dishes and more and it was all great. Really was not expecting such good food quality. There is also a full bar in the 100 year old log cabin, complete with the required moose, bison and other stuffed heads. Ok, the absolute best part of the trip was the hot springs. Even though it was negative 18 degrees we were very toasty in the water, even to the point of having to get out and rest on the rocks. It is a man made lake, about 4 ft. deep, using natural materials and is filled by the natural hot spring. It is large enough so that it never felt crowded. The bottom is finely ground, crushed granite. They recommend flip flops which they have for sale/rent if you don't bring your own. The locker rooms are large and clean. It will cost you a quarter to close your locker, every time, so if you forget something and need to return to your locker, it will cost you another quarter to close it. The lake is not chlorinated so children are not allowed in the lake and this is a very quiet,relaxing atmosphere. It is open from 7am to midnight every day. There is also a chlorinated pool and hot tubs indoors but we did use these so I have no info on their conditions.
Massages are available and we did not get to enjoy one but hope that next time we will be able to. They also have snow machining, horse drawn sleigh rides, flight seeing trips and other activities available. If you are from the south, as we are, and do not have the proper cold weather clothing, it is available for rent at a reasonable charge. My husband and I remarked often that the staff, mostly young people, all seemed to really enjoy being where they were and having fun doing their jobs. We had several people go out of their way to be helpful and we did not experience any rudeness or lack of courtsey. We spent several hours talking with the different bartenders and guides and very much enjoyed it. ONE VERY SMALL EXCEPTION, housekeeping. The rooms are spotless but they did not pay attention when we placed the "make up room" card on the door even though the carts were right outside our door. We tried a couple of times the first day to have our room made up while we were out, even telling one staff member and showing him our room as we went out, but our requests were ignored and after we had retired to our room for that night they came and asked to clean the room. It was a minor annoyance given the overall staff experience. Very much hoping we will get to return soon and enjoy more of Chena Hot Springs.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank wndrlst4us
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 20, 2013 via mobile

My experience at Chena hot springs was a once in a lifetime kind of thing. The hot springs are truly incredible, and the resort's location deep in the Alaskan wilderness is really rustic and unique. The dog sled ride was awesome, and the ice museum was surprisingly beautiful (not at all cheesy as I was expecting). The whole place is run on geothermal renewable energy using brand new technology developed to overcome the unique challenges associated with these specific springs - really interesting stuff. The rooms aren't fancy but they're clean and very functional. The food in the restaurant was DELICIOUS - especially breakfast and lunch. Steak dinner wasn't that great but all the vegetables are grown right there in a greenhouse. Truly amazing experience overall. Did I mention how cool swimming in the hot springs was? SO COOL. The only reason I don't give them 5 stars is because the service was pretty bad in a lot of cases. Some individuals really stood out, but for the most part the staff seemed annoyed that they had to deal with us. But if you can put up with a little cold shoulder, it's absolutely worth it to experience the array of amazing activities and experiences that come with staying at Chena.

  • Stayed: January 2013
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4  Thank jnicolaisen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 2, 2013

My husband and I booked the ‘Best of Aurora’ package back in the summer for our winter vacation. The first big downside is that you have pay upfront in full. We stayed in the Moose Lodge and it was okay. The bathroom had grime in the corners and could use some elbow grease to clean it. The staff is really hit or miss regarding service. Some people were great (Jameson) others were just mediocre. Overall, it’s not really a resort, but it was nice to soak in the outdoor hot springs.

1  Thank WilmaUpNorth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 29, 2012

The trip was fantastic- the views and hotsprings are really a miracle of nature. However, the staff at Chena can be very rude, unhelpful, and defensive. Save the museum operator- bartender who was great even with small children.

We visited this winter, it was a return trip, and the stay was great. For those other reviews out there...yes it is true the rooms aren't the hilton, and yes they only leave 2 towels, however there are very few places on earth that offer hotsprings in the middle of snow and views like Chena does. Nor are there many places that offer a view of the lights like you'll find here.

That being said, service does matter. The front desk people were apathetic and unhelpful. Any issues that came up during the stay weren't resolved and that didn't seem to bother anyone. When there was a serious issue the staff became beligerant, accusatory, and defensive. They managed to ruin my trip and instead of getting a reccomendation and a return customer, they are getting a very unhappy person who intends to tell everyone they can about this experience.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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15  Thank ditzyizzy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Chena Hot Springs Resort

Address: 56.5 mile Chena Hot Springs Rd., Pleasant Valley, Fairbanks, AK 99711
Location: United States > Alaska > Fairbanks > Pleasant Valley
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Pleasant Valley
Price Range: $181 - $302 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Chena Hot Springs Resort 2.5*
Number of rooms: 80
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Chena Hot Springs Hotel Pleasant Valley
Chena Hot Springs Resort Alaska/Pleasant Valley

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