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Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge

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Townsville...
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Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge

Be aware that if you book at this lodge as an independant traveller that you may be bumped (evicted, kicked out, not allowed to check in) I am still waiting for an answer as to why, but I believe they will accept bookings from independant travellers and then as cruise tours fill up, they bump people like us.

They do send an email to tell you ours was dated 7 days prio but due to some issues with our email we did not know until we arrived at the reception desk. The person who dealt with us was very blunt, no room sorry, Mckinley Chalet down the road is booked for you.

Pricess did refund our money and pay for the McKinley Chalet, we chose Princess because the Chalet has so many poor reviews, which I can vouch for Block D downstairs,,,ohhhh the noise is terrible.

Fellow travellers, if planning an independant trip in Alaska avoid Glitter Gulch at all costs stay in a B&B at Healy and drive to the front entrance of the park, its about 10 miles (16 km) and worth every one. Catch the earliest shuttle bus you can best for wild life, you can also self drive the first 15 miles into the park, we saw moose and bear in that 15 miles!

cheers

Wasilla, Alaska
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1. Re: Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge

To quote: "Fellow travellers, if planning an independant trip in Alaska avoid Glitter Gulch at all costs stay in a B&B at Healy and drive to the front entrance of the park, its about 10 miles (16 km) and worth every one."

You'll find that recommendation made very often on these threads... Now if we could just get people to read them before they travel.

Townsville...
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2. Re: Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge

Yep made the mistake once and will never again.

Guys do not stay at Glitter Gulch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! stay at Healy.

if you have been to Skagway, Ketchikan or Jenuae you have seen all the shops before! It is horribly expensive for nothing at all. The Park is the attraction not the shopping strip.

Suffolk, England
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3. Re: Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge

For those of us who are having to rely on the bus or train for transport to Denali, is there any way of getting to Healy or are we 'stuck' with the hotels around the park entrance?

haines, alaska
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4. Re: Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge

Peter, if you haven't already done it.......would you please do a review in the hotel section.......it could help folks to know about your experience before they book.........Thank you !

USA
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5. Re: Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge

potters_clay, here is a discussion from the Top Questions regarding lodging with shuttles back & forth to the park:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g143022-i1271-k324…

fti
MN
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6. Re: Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge

>>You'll find that recommendation made very often on these threads... Now if we could just get people to read them before they travel.

Exactly. When I suggest to people not to stay at Denali Princess sometimes I get flamed for it (not by the regulars). Even with a 2-for-1 coupon you would find me hard-pressed to stay there.

Actually I like staying south of the park (between the entrance and Carlo Creek). That way I totally avoid even passing through Glitter Gulch unless I want to go to Healy for some reason (eating, visiting a friend, picking up a bicycle, etc).

At least Denali Princess did what is the industry norm - not only refund your money but pay for your lodging elsewhere. I could live with a fair amount of noise for "free" :-)

USA
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7. Re: Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge

LOL Me too, John. Free would be a plus in my book LOL. But then you & I are the frugal travelers of the century.

Lake Tahoe...
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8. Re: Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge

Interesting as we have never received ill treatment from Princess lodges. We were at McKinley Chalets in 1994 as independent travelers and on a cruise tour at Denali Princess (probably 2007) and from what I remember McKinley Chalets was a better location and would have been my choice anyway. Evidently, it appeared that you wound up with free lodging for the night, so what is the compaint?

Paxson, Alaska
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9. Re: Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge

This experience demonstrates, obliquely, another important reason the independent hosts in Alaska have a hard, hard time loving the Princess hotels and their ilk:

What this poster encountered was the method by which these hotels are able consistently to undercut the smaller inns and lodges. It is not simply the economy of scale that provides them a lower cost structure - which is if not noble, at least understandable and appropriate. Rather, it is their ability to ensure they maintain a 100% occupancy rate, night after night...the wrong way. And this traveler found out, in difficult fashion, what happens when their hard-nosed mathematics was just a leeetle wrong. Princess popping for a bed at McKinley Chalets was a minuscule cost for that algorithm.

This brings me to another facet of our business. As have most other accommodations hosts, we have a fairly stringent cancellation policy. Ours provides a 0% refund if a guest cancels within two weeks of stay-date. The specific is not what is important here, it is the pact that exists between host and guest: a reservation is a COMMITMENT that the lodge has made available a room for the visitor, and the visitor agrees that to ensure that convenience, it will be paid for, regardless of whether he or she is able to show up.

Does that sound too elementary to be posited? It is not: Princess, by its actions, shows that it is no more able to play by those simple rules than is the traveler who neglects to purchase trip insurance, and then, whether for health reasons, missing an airplane connection, bad weather somewhere else en route or any other reasons, figures he or she need not bear the cost to the host for an empty room.

There is, unfortunately, no penalty to Princess for such actions, other than the exposure presented here and in similar outlets.

The only mild correction I might suggest to the original post is that, as also mentioned by another respondent, there are independent alternatives to Glitter Gulch not just to the north in Healy, but also to the south in the direction of Cantwell.

Audubon L. Bakewell IV

Denali Highway Cabins

Paxson

Edited: 02 October 2012, 17:47
fti
MN
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10. Re: Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge

Audobon, your point is well-taken but it applies not just to lodging. I have been stood up literally within 2 hours of tours by both Regal Air in Anchorage and Homer Ocean Charters in Homer. Basically they took my reservation (and my payment) but when they either had a more lucrative opportunity (Regal Air) or too few people to make the boat trip profitable (Homer Ocean Charters), they canceled my reservation. If *I* had canceled just 2 hours before the tour time you can be assured that I would have been severely penalized - as in not getting any money back.

Unfortunately customers are at the mercy of the lodging, tour operator, airline, etc.