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“An Alaskan alternative”
Review of Mount Aurora Lodge

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Mount Aurora Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Fairbanks, Alaska
Level 6 Contributor
128 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 119 helpful votes
“An Alaskan alternative”
Reviewed January 21, 2014 via mobile

If you are looking for a place to stay that is unique, Alaskan, and "off the beaten path", Mt. Aurora Lodge is the place. I stayed a few times in the past and just had my first stay under the new owners. Lori and Jeff are warm and welcoming, the common area is cozy, and the food is excellent. The rooms are clean and comfortable (but not large) and there are options for a bathroom shared between two rooms or a two-room suite with a private bathroom. It's just a short drive north of Fairbanks. And the view is great. I highly recommend it.

Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
Helpful?
1 Thank Ardith L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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97 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (23)
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English first
Portland, Oregon
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed January 14, 2014

I just returned from a visit to Fairbanks, Alaska, where my adult son and I joined with friends from Australia in pursuit of the Northern Lights. We selected the Mount Aurora Lodge as our place to stay because it is located near a mountain top that made viewing the aurora more convenient. It turned out to be much more than a convenient location -- it is easily the best and most welcoming lodge experience I have ever had. The owners, Laurie and Jeff are tremendous hosts, who do everything they can to make the stay a memorable experience. The rustic 90-year old lodge is very comfortable, with cozy rooms (and very comfortable beds), and a large welcoming great room--with comfy couches and local decor. The food was delicious and well prepared. Breakfast was included in the cost of the room, and lunches and dinners were both reasonably priced and and better than meals we had in local restaurants. The free wifi allowed us to be connected with the very distant world.

Jeff and Laurie were extremely helpful in arranging outings, like dog sledding. They were also very knowledgeable about the range of activities and options for us to choose. It was like we were staying with friends who cared about us and were interested in us. I cannot recommend any other place as highly as the Mount Aurora Lodge. On top of everything else, the lodge is very reasonable priced, and in a great location. It is an experience you won't want to miss.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank MichaelH60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 12, 2014

I booked a last-minute trip to Fairbanks to see the Northern Lights in early January 2014 (the 9th-11th)--I ended up choosing the Mount Aurora Lodge for a hotel, and I'm really glad that I did. The overall experience was fantastic, combining the best elements of a hostel for grown-ups and a bed & breakfast. I lucked out and had a great set of traveling companions, too, which made it even better.

Here are my top three reasons why you should stay here the next time you're in the Fairbanks area:

1) Laurie and Jeff go above and beyond in every possible way. For example: When I arrived at the airport at 11 pm and couldn't find a taxi to take me up to the lodge for a reasonable price I called Laurie for her recommendation, and instead of recommending a different cab company Jeff just came to pick me up himself; I borrowed snowshoes and warm boots for aurora viewing and took a snowmobile ride up to the top of a nearby hill, all for no extra charge; and the food, in addition to being amazing (I had both the best Copper River salmon and the best [fresh, homemade] danishes I've ever eaten while I was there), is much cheaper than it should be--breakfast is included in the price of your room, but for a basically never-ending supply of homemade food and snacks, including two amazing dinners, Laurie and Jeff charged me what I I would have been happy to pay for just one meal.

2) The views are amazing--the lodge itself has great visibility, but there's a hill you can hike to in about 15 minutes from which you get a full 360 degree view of the entire area. I was fortunate to have clear weather the second night and to see the lights around 2 am.

3) The lodge itself is very warm and cozy, with comfortable rooms, an open-plan common room, great couches, big tables for eating, playing cards, etc, and a very efficient fire.

This really was the best lodge I've ever stayed at; I wouldn't even consider staying anywhere else the next time I'm in Fairbanks, and you shouldn't either :)

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank solarlemur
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Honolulu, Hawaii
2 reviews
Reviewed January 11, 2014

Our family stayed at Mount Aurora Lodge from December 26 to December 28, and all in all it was a wonderful experience. As I am writing this, I am seeing reviews on the sidebar, all from those we met during our stay, all saying five stars of the place.

For any Fairbanks visitor, the main attraction is the Northern Lights, and Mt. Aurora Lodge is the perfect spot to view it from, being situated on a mountaintop and unaffected by the weather of Fairbanks (better detailed in other reviews.) In fact, on multiple occasions, when the Aurora Forecast claimed that the Aurora was quiet, one could merely step outside of the lodge to prove them wrong. While we did not actually see the aurora on the three nights of our stay, Lori was kind enough to allow us to come back to the Lodge in the following nights (which happened to be all booked), so we could have a place to warm up and rest as we watched the Aurora.

That being said, the lodge's location was advantageous for another reason, as Fairbanks in the winter is not exactly a city bursting with attractions. Living at the lodge, however, meant that one could never be bored and run out of things to do, with the winter wonderland being right outside the door (as opposed to outside the city limits). On more than one occasion my children spent most of their daylight hours playing in the snow (which, being from Hawaii, was a novelty.)

Apart from being a great place for aurora viewing, the Lodge a great place to meet many new people. In fact, the friends we made in the three days our stay ended up calling us after we moved into a hotel when the aurora began rising, which was extremely convenient opposed to waiting outside in the cold for hours on end.

As other reviews have said, the highlight of Mount Aurora Lodge are Jeff and Lori, who did everything they could to make us feel welcome and comfortable. Even before we checked into the lodge, we called them multiple times regarding car rental and other aspects of our trip, and they were more than willing to be helpful on such subjects. Knowing that we stayed up late each night, Lori thoughtfully kept breakfast until whenever we woke up (often around 11 a.m.) One evening, when everyone in the Lodge was awake and watching for the aurora, Lori and her assistant Leo stayed up with the guests and prepared snacks. When my children required a sled for their various snow adventure, they asked Lori, and although she didn't have one, lent them a trash can lid (which they ended up cracking). All in all, it is a wonderful place and the three nights we stayed at the Lodge were probably the best three nights of our entire two-week trip.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Tianzhen N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
State College, Pennsylvania
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed January 7, 2014

I stayed in Mt. Aurora Lodge with my group from Dec 28 to Dec 31st. The experience was awesome and we loved this place (honestly, I was not expecting such a beautiful place at the price we payed). The lodge might not look impressive from outside (you might have seen photos on the website and didn't like it), but you'll like everything about it once you stay here for a day or two. The lodge is located around 20 miles away from the city on the top of a hill, which makes it a perfect place to watch the Aurora. The ski-land is just 5 minutes away for those who want to get a little more adventurous. They have really nice suites and a big dining hall which is perfect for social interaction. They also let you use ski gears, snowboards, musical instruments etc without any charge.

The highlights of this place are the owners, Lori and Jeff. They are so nice people that you'll feel like home. Lori is like a wonder-woman! She drove us from the railway station, helped us towing our van when it was stuck in snow, made sandwiches for us at 3am in the morning (for free) and drove us on her truck to the ski-land at 12 am! Moreover, she tolerated a big and noisy group like us without any issue. She even welcomed and fed dinner to an outsider who got incessantly glued to us. I highly recommend this place if you are planning to have a vacation in Fairbanks.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Smarajit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denver
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed January 6, 2014

My wife, daughter and I stayed with Jeff and Lori at the Mt. Aurora Lodge from December 27th to January 1st. If you don't read any further, just know that our experience was incredible and I would, without reservation, recommend Mt. Aurora to anyone.

We went to see the Aurora Borealis, which is a gamble no matter where/when you go. Fortunately, the weather was good and our location was excellent. We saw the aurora 4 of our 5 nights there. Here are the details of our stay...

The Mount Aurora Lodge sits on a hill about 20 minutes outside of Fairbanks. This means less light pollution and better weather. Often, when Fairbanks is under a low cloud layer, Mt. Aurora lodge has clear skies. Also, the temperature is 20-30 degrees warmer in the hills around Fairbanks than it is in the city. When we landed in Fairbanks at 5 pm, it was -40F. We arrived at the Mt. Aurora Lodge an hour later and the temperature up there was -5F. Yes, it makes a difference, particularly when your standing around outside in the middle of the night watching the sky.

The Lodge is about a 10 minute stroll to Skiland, which is at the summit of the hill and offers unobstructed views of the sky. Skiland is open overnight for aurora viewing. They offer a warm place to take a break, snacks, hot chocolate, tea and coffee, but they charge $30/person. Typically, tour buses pick people from hotels in Fairbanks around 10 and drive them out to Skiland until around 4 am, then drive them back to Fairbanks. If you stay at the Lodge, you can do the 10 minute stroll to the top of the hill, bring your own hot chocolate, and save some money. The other advantage is that your a 10 minute walk from your bed, so if you've had enough, or your 13 year-old daughter has had enough, you can tuck yourself into bed while the rest of the group continues their aurora adventure. The disadvantage is that it's a 10 minute stroll to some place warm. However, dressed properly, we were outside for an hour at a time and comfortable.

Because the Lodge is close to the top of the hill, you don't have to suffer a bus ride and long night if the aurora isn't active. You can wake up, go check outside and, if the aurora isn't out, go back to sleep.

Regarding the accommodations, we were very comfortable. The Lodge was originally used as a dormitory for miners back in the 1930's. They relocated the building to it's present spot. It's 2 stories. The guest quarters are upstairs. The rooms were warm and the beds comfortable. Keep in mind that it started as a no-frills dorm, so the walls are thin. However, that was never an issue for us because everybody was up at strange hours, including us, to see the aurora. It actually made the stay more fun, kind of like summer camp when I was a kid. The downstairs is a common area with a wood burning stove, some couches and chairs, and some tables. It's a nice area to read a book, chat, play games or watch a movie.

Breakfast was basic and good. It's served buffet-style. Over the course of our stay, we had eggs, biscuits and gravy, bacon, sausage, fruit, muffins, bagel, coffee, juice and tea. As much as we cared to eat. Lori even brought our a tray of chocolate-dipped strawberries she had just made (the strawberries were very good...Alaska in December...go figure). Lori asked us each morning if we would also like to have lunch and dinner at the Lodge, a convenient option.

One advantage, in my opinion, to the way the Lodge is structured is that it lends itself to social interaction (due to the huge common area). We made friends with the other guests, and they came from all over. We were lucky enough to meet people from Korean, Japan, India, China, Hawaii and New Jersey.

I saved the best for last...the highlight of our stay was Jeff and Lori. They made us feel at home and like we were part of the routine. I missed a turn into theie driveway when we arrived and got the car stuck in a snowbank, about 100 yards from the Lodge. I called Jeff and he came and pulled me out. He did the same for some other guests. They invited us to join them and their friends for a party and some fireworks on New Years Eve. They lent us headlamps and clothes when we needed them. They did everything they could to make all of the guests feel at home. I could go on and on and not say enough good things about them.

So, in short, wonderful stay, wonderful people, wonderful experience. Again, I highly recommend the Mt. Aurora Lodge.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank barbaraandrobdenver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lori K, Owner at Mount Aurora Lodge, responded to this review, January 27, 2014
Wow, thank you so much for the review, we sure enjoyed having your family stay with us, we miss you guys! Come back anytime, it was a pleasure.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Barcelona, Spain
Level 4 Contributor
16 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed January 4, 2014

Its was great, warm and cozy. Plenty of hot water and warmth during the winter. Great location to see the Northern Light too. Had a big breakfast every morning and tons of hot drinks available 24 hours a day. I really appreciated the owners and all they do to make you feel special. Lori and her husband are the greatest inn keepers ever and Leo, the young assistant, is a happy lad and happy to assist. I will return there in the future. The place is not the same in the photos but it is big, sturdy and extremely quite. the noise from the living room does not carry over to the upstairs and there are two loving dogs, Hank and Blaze, they rock. They are not indoor dogs and Lori is respectful if they bother you, but they make the experience worth it.

Room Tip: Map it out first and print it or ask the owners for a map. iNTERNET IS SPARCE but there is wifi in t...
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank ssgtdanica
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lori K, Owner at Mount Aurora Lodge, responded to this review, January 27, 2014
Thank you for taking the time to give us a review. We had fun with "the girls" and hope you come see us again.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mount Aurora Lodge

Property: Mount Aurora Lodge
Address: 2320 Fairbanks Creek Rd, Fairbanks, AK 99712-1753
Location: United States > Alaska > Fairbanks
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 24 Specialty Lodging in Fairbanks
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Mount Aurora Lodge 2.5*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Rustic Bed and Breakfast in an old Gold Miner's Bunkhouse. 30 miles north of Fairbanks. Beautiful Aurora viewing, hiking, snowshoeing, skiing. Welcome to Mount Aurora Lodge stay where the ambiance is real historic Fairbanks. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Mount Aurora Lodge Fairbanks, Alaska

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