We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Ridiculous policy!”
Review of The Aurora Express

We can't find prices for this accommodation
Our online travel partners don't provide prices for this accommodation, but we can search other options in Fairbanks
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
The Aurora Express
Ranked #5 of 40 Fairbanks B&B and Inns
Salt Lake City, Utah
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Ridiculous policy!”
Reviewed June 2, 2010

I was so excited to discover this place on a list of "quirkiest hotels" by TripAdvisor a few months ago. My husband and I love to take advantage of unique experiences when traveling, and now that we live in Alaska, we don't have as many options as we used to.

We are now planning a trip in a few weeks to Fairbanks, and I was very excited to finally have a chance to stay here. We are in the process of moving, so this is our last trip in Alaska. Because we'll already be moved out of our house, we'll be traveling with more belongings than usual, including our two cats. Many hotels do not accept pets, and we have a generously sized carrier in our car that the cats can comfortably stay in overnight with no problem. Not ever imagining that it would be a problem, I mentioned this to the owner when I called to make a reservation. Imagine my surprise when I was told that we would not be able to stay there with cats in our car. She stated that they have a dog that might smell the cats and might bark, and that would be a problem. This is Alaska, where animals of all types are wandering around at any given time. Is her dog so poorly behaved that he just barks all the time at everything? Regardless, the owner did not try to come up with any kind of solution, such as having us park down the road or further away from the house, simply told me that we would not be allowed to stay.

It is disappointing to discover strange policies anywhere, but especially unfortunate in this case since the place was recommended on a TripAdvisor list. They don't deserve the publicity if this is indicative of the type of service they offer. And they clearly don't need the extra business if they are willing to turn us away for such a silly reason without even attempting any problem solving.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Service
Helpful?
12 Thank kdietz97
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

76 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    70
    5
    0
    0
    1
See reviews for
12
44
2
1
Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (17)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
london
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed October 12, 2009

When I found this place on the internet, I thought I would book it as a surprise for my partner and not tell him until we got there and when he saw the trains he loved it!!! it is so wonderful. You have to have a real vision to put this place together. It is more comfortable than a lot of hotels that I have slept it and warmer too, I can promise you that. A variety of foods are available for breakfast. There is a fantastic view of the Chena River and Mike and Susan are very welcoming and friendly and are up for a good ole chat. It is nice to sit around and look at everything that is put together in these carriages as it is an art. If you like to stay at places other than the norm and like things a bit different to the norm book in here, you will love it.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank pumpkin68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Altamonte Springs, Florida
Level 6 Contributor
157 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
Reviewed July 9, 2009

I have yet to take a vacation on a moving train (that's to come), so this was the next best thing. Our room was the most basic of the train cars, but I liked that fact. I have always had an interest in trains and getting to see and sleep in a real car was a great experience. It was also nice to have an entire railroad car to ourselves! We got a chance to see some of the other cars and they are very nice, especially the caboose!! What also amazes me is thinking about everything that went into hauling these cars along icey roads, up the Chena Ridge and down the curvey driveway. That alone is incredible!! There is a very nice view of Fairbanks and the valley below. Using a real water car for water purposes was a nice touch as well...it kept with the railroad theme!

Since our stay was at the end of our trip, that extra room was needed for the many purchases we made. Breakfast is very filling, so no one can stay there isn't enough! (The eagle on the ceiling of the dining car just can not be missed!) For our last morning, we skipped breakfast to sleep in (since we were going to have a very long day of flights to come). We still wanted to have breakfast, but since it was already 11AM, we knew breakfast service was over for most restaurants. We asked about any restaurants that might still be serving breakfast and were told that Denny's was our only option (which we did not want to go to). So as we drove on Airport Way, we found a place that does serve breakfast all day long! I can not find information on it online, but it is called the AW Cafe (not A&W like the root beer chain). So Mike & Susan, there is now an option out there to Denny's, and they are good!

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Maketrax
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kirkland
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed July 5, 2009

My 16 year old son and I stayed at the Aurora Express for 2 nights. Our perfectly restored Alaska RR car was clean, spacious, comfortable, and decorated to perfection. Of course the summers in Alaska are wonderful....we had 24 hours of daylight, so it was easy to lose track of time.

Breakfast overlooking the Chena River was delicious; baked egg dish, fruit with french toast, reindeer sausage, etc...We spent one afternoon in a cool, shaded, screened car overlooking the river and valley below. We enjoyed a tour of the other train cars, each unique in color scheme and artwork.

Sue & Mike, the hosts, are interesting, fun, and kind people. They have slowly created this unique bed & breakfast, full of art and history. I felt like I stepped back in time to visit the real Alaska. This is way better than a boring hotel.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Kirkland1KirklandWA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Florida
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed June 15, 2008

The Train Cars offer a truly unique lodging experience; each room has its own individual style. Perched high on a bluff, you have an amazing view of the river. Wish our plans would have allowed us to stay longer. Mike and Susan are wonderful hosts and provide you with some of the best breakfasts you will find anywhere. If you go to Fairbanks and do not stay at the Aurora Express, you will have missed a golden opportunity to make a lifelong memory. Many Thanks, The Smiths in Tallahassee FL

  • Liked — The View and Breakfast!!!
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed June 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
Helpful?
2 Thank SOAC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Logan, Utah
Level 5 Contributor
34 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
Reviewed August 27, 2007

This is one of the nicest and most fascinating accommodations I have ever stayed at (me and my Mom stayed two nights in the Arlene railcar and one in the Can-Can room). Alaska is a land that is extraordinary beyond one's imagination and Mike and Susan's Aurora Express B&B truly does justice to this great state. First of all their idea of getting a bunch of vintage railcars beautifully restored and lined up along a green hillside with a magnificent view of the beautiful Tanana Valley is just so special. I cannot even imagine how much hard work and ingenuity it must have taken to get all these cars up to their current location and then restore them so beautifully. Add to it the wonderful atmosphere created by the two hosts with their easy-going, unpretentious, charming hospitality and their gourmet breakfasts and you have something pretty much one of a kind. I have traveled all over the world and stayed at all kinds of name-brand deluxe hotels and none of them comes close to this kind of experience. In my view Alaska is one of the world's greatest places, and this is one great B&B. To me it perfectly captures the spirit of Fairbanks - the right mix of friendliness, charm, unpretentiousness, and just a little quirkiness - that makes me want to return to this part of the world again and again. And when I do, I will be happy to stay at the Aurora Express once again. My highest recommendations for this one!

  • Liked — Everything ... this is one of those special places on earth!
  • Disliked — No complaints whatsoever.
  • Stayed August 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank utqiagvik
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fairfax, VA
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed July 15, 2007

We had a great time and Sue and Mike are super nice folks. Staying in an old rail car is kind of neat and the view overlooking the city is unbeatable.
Its a bit hard to find but once your there you get a feel for the area pretty quickly.
They serve a ton of food for breakfast and it kept us going all day.

I would recommend staying here vs a traditional hotel as it is a lot friendlier. Not having internet access was nice for a change and we would go back in a heartbeat.

  • Stayed July 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank AmberLantern
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
Travelers also viewed these Fairbanks hotels
4.8 mi away
Pike's Waterfront Lodge
Pike's Waterfront Lodge
#2 of 23 in Fairbanks
1,170 reviews
5.7 mi away
Sophie Station Suites
Sophie Station Suites
#3 of 23 in Fairbanks
386 reviews
7.2 mi away
Best Western Plus Pioneer Park Inn
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
4.1 mi away
La Quinta Inn & Suites Fairbanks
9.5 mi away
Hampton Inn & Suites Fairbanks
23.9 mi away
Mount Aurora Lodge
Mount Aurora Lodge
#5 of 24 in Fairbanks
97 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to The Aurora Express? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about The Aurora Express

Property: The Aurora Express
Address: 1550 Chena Ridge Rd, P.O. Box 80128, Fairbanks, AK 99709-2609 (Formerly Forget-Me-Not Lodge)
Location: United States > Alaska > Fairbanks
Amenities:
Free Parking
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 40 B&Bs / Inns in Fairbanks
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Aurora Express is a bed and breakfast nestled amongst towering spruce in the western hills of Fairbanks, Alaska. Overlooking the mighty Tanana River and the Alaska Range, this unique property has a panoramic view of the city and its surroundings. Sleep in authenic Alaska Railroad trains that have been renovated to reflect the gold rush era of the north. Join hosts Susan and Michael Wilson for Copper River smoked salmon, wild alaskan blueberry jam, fresh fruit, hot coffee and eggs every morning while you hear their stories about life in territorial Alaska and working the pipeline. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Forget-Me-Not Lodge And The Aurora Express Hotel Fairbanks
The Aurora Express Fairbanks, Alaska

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing