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Chena Hot Springs Resort
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502 - 507 of 872 reviews
Reviewed November 4, 2013

I stayed at the Chena Hot Springs Resort the first weekend in November, hoping to take advantage of the new moon for some night-time aurora and star trail photography. The geothermal tour and the Ice Museum tour were okay, and when combined with an afternoon hike on one of the resorts 6 or 8 hiking trails filled an afternoon in their off season. The resort heats and generates electricity with geothermal power. As the water is 165 degrees, it is the lowest temperature geothermal electric production facility in the world, and offers a pretty interesting tour of the generating facility and greenhouse powered and heated by the hot water where they grow the produce used onsite. The Ice museum is a year round geothermally cooled building filled with ice sculpture and serving appletinis in ice "glasses" for $15 for the tour and another $15 for the appletini (you can keep the ice "glass", but why?). Of the three, the hike was the best, stunning views, unspoiled snow, beaver dam in the stream, and more. A soak in the geothermal rock pool was good on the muscles after the hike. The on-site restaurant was okay (it is the only choice for miles), but I had to send the crab cakes back to get them cooked through, and even then it seemed they were more salmon than crab. The room was spartan, two double beds, a shower and small tv, but staying in the room isnt what this place is about.
I headed out at 10:00 for a short but steep hike to the "Aurorium" a heated lodge overlooking the resort and high enough up the south slope to get a pretty good view to the north over the next mountain. It was a clear night and the stars were plentiful, with the aurora a soft glow on the northern ridge-line. After midnight the aurora came out in earnest, with a display higher in the sky and more varied. The "Aurorium" provided a needed warming lodge function was the hours in the sub-20's air left a chill. One drawback is that the steam from the geothermal rock pool floats up to the north of the "Aurorium", reflecting the lights of the resort and providing some local light pollution to make it harder to see the stars and aurora. I understand that in the on-season for aurora chasing (beginning December 1) the resort offers a trip out to another spot which has a clearer view without the steam and light pollution from the rock pool.
Overall, this was well worth the 90 minute drive from The Fairbanks Airport (they will pick you up for a fee). Not luxurious, but an energy conscious piece of cold weather, hot water nature, and sky show.

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled solo
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1  Thank Silverspringer1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 23, 2013

I visited during daytime for an afternoon only, mainly for the outdoor hot springs. Re-energized after the dip. Ice museum is interesting too, though a bit small. Apart from these, I did not find other amenities or activities particularly interesting. It's October when I went there and no sled dogs. I believe this is not a good place for watching aurora as there is a hill quite near that block the view. The price for staying overnight is too high, not worthy.

Front desk staff are all Japanese youngsters. I was told that in winter time, huge groups of Japanese tourists came here, so no wonder.

Overall, while there are not much to do in Fairbanks in October, having a day visit here is a good idea.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled solo
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Thank MissHK2009
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 22, 2013

We were in Chena Hot spring for a nice dinner, a good couple of drinks, an AMAZING ice cream and a few moments of starry night sky. People were super nice all-around, not just the hosts, the guests, as well! It was just a rotten bit of luck that clouds had accumulated later the night, blocking the northern light, which would have made the occasion even more SPECTACULAR!

Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
Thank Changxing C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 22, 2013

We didn't pre-plan but the resort had a special for October so we decided to book two nights. We were greeted promptly and the room was nice given the remote location. There is no mobile phone or data service out there but you get used to it. We took a flight from their air strip to the Arctic Circle and it was excellent. Hot Springs are for 18 and up only and the on-site restaurant is okay, but could be better (scallops were overcooked and a bit pricey). Full-price may not be good value, but when they have a special, it's a decent place with lots of activities and friendly staff.

Stayed: October 2013, traveled with friends
1  Thank ke k
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 14, 2013

After spending 15 nights on a Cruise/Land tour with Holland America we decided to spend a few extra days in the Fairbanks area. We booked a special 2 nights package deal plus 1 extra night at Chena Hot Springs Resort just 60 minutes outside of Fairbanks. The package deal included a shuttle pick up at our hotel and a return to the airport, 2 breakfast or lunch vouchers per person per day, 2 dinner vouchers per person per night, a tour of the Aurora Ice Museum, a tour of the geothermal facilities and grounds of the resort, and unlimited use of the hot springs. We were picked up at our hotel in Fairbanks by Ed for the shuttle ride to the resort. He was on time and very friendly. We picked up another couple at a nearby hotel and were on our way. Along the way he pointed out the various sights and even spotted a mother Moose wading in the waters along side the road. He pulled the van over and allowed all of us to get out and take pictures as long as we wanted to. This was a thrill for us as the Moose was fairly close and this was the closest we had gotten to wildlife in the past 3 weeks! We arrived at Chena Hot Springs and Ed helped us get our luggage up to the second floor in the Moose Lodge. Our room was large, clean and comfortable with plenty of storage to unpack everything from our trip. This would be our final repacking/organizing for the trip home in a few days so it was important for us to be able to spread out. There was a separate bathroom with a commode and tub/shower. The sink and closet area were just outside this room. We had 2 Queen beds, storage drawers, a TV, and a small table and 2 sitting chairs by the window. We walked around the grounds and took pictures before heading into the bar. The grounds were well maintained and the trees were in full fall color. We loved the 'feel' of the whole place. It was pretty much what we had expected from our research. The bar/dining room was just past the small lobby area. We found it to be very cozy. We enjoyed our drinks and got a table for dinner and had one of the best meals we had had in weeks. This was going to be the case for the next 2 days and nights. We had breakfast, lunch and dinner and everything was fresh and delicious; so kudos to their chef! The wait staff was efficient but not very friendly, except Carol. The next day, we signed up for our Ice Museum Tour and were part of a group of about 12-15 people. Our friendly guide was Craig. We were all given Parkas once inside and it was appreciated although it wasn't as cold as we had anticipated (20 degrees) due to the lack of wind. We were really excited about this part of our visit as we had seen pictures of the museum on line during our research. It did not disappoint. It was beautiful. The $15.00 pp Appletini's were a nice treat and we are now making them at home. There was plenty of time to take pictures and since my husband & I had hung back a little, we were fortunate enough to see Heather Bryce (World Champion Ice Sculptress ) at work. The Geothermal tour was interesting. We loved that all of the fresh produce that we were eating came from their gardens. We didn't use the hot springs but others were enjoying them. We walked through the Dog Kennels but I found them depressing seeing all the dogs chained and sleeping on little boxes. We were lucky enough to catch the Northern Lights on our last early morning (beautiful to see ) and to top it off, we woke up to snow on the morning we left. Ed drove us to the airport arriving in plenty of time for our flight. All in all we had a great time. Two nights might have been enough but then we might have missed the northern lights and the snow!

Room Tip: Ask to get a room on the second floor in the Moose Lodge. I believe it is the newer of the facilities. We were in the first room at the top of the stairs facing the main building.The other buildings did look a little worn.
  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank suedallas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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