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Chena Hot Springs 2 night stay

Mill Creek...
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Chena Hot Springs 2 night stay

My wife and I are traveling to Fairbanks to visist daughter and new husband for thanksgiving. Want to see the Northern lights up close and personal. I booked a family suite(two bedrooms) for two nights the 24th and 25th. Anybody stay there recently that can tell me the condition of the rooms, pool, public areas. I did see some old posts but nothing recent. will be renting a car(subaru most likely) so getting around shouldn't be a problem. I am used to driving in snow having lived in, Mont. for two years. Will 2 nights be too long? Thanks

fti
MN
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1. Re: Chena Hot Springs 2 night stay

If your goal is the Northern Lights, you might find that 2 nights is way too short.

A year ago March I stayed at a place on the Chena Hot Springs Road for several nights and we didn't see the Northern Lights. You just never know.

Mill Creek...
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2. Re: Chena Hot Springs 2 night stay

Thanks for the heads up. Staying in Fairbanks I hope we will be able to drive out to the outskirts to view them. We will be staying in the area for a week. We will be at the hot springs for only two nights though. Time enough for some x country skiing and maybe a snowmachine tour and many soaks in the water.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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3. Re: Chena Hot Springs 2 night stay

Gardo I like your plan to send a couple of days (max) at Chena Hot Springs Resort to take in their activities and hopefully the aurora too. Yes, if you're in Fairbanks, there are plenty of places you can drive to, to get out of the city light to see (and photograph) the northern lights.

If you are planning to do some photography, you'll need something like an SLR/DSLR camera that has manual settings for exposure, a wide angle lense and a tripod.

p.s. Be sure to check out the "Top Questions" area (upper right side) for some past posts regarding viewing/photographing the northern lights in Fairbanks.

Von

Edited: 06 November 2010, 04:19
Chugiak, Alaska
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4. Re: Chena Hot Springs 2 night stay

I personally recommend one night in the Winter, mainly to do the snow coach tour. I stayed there last Winter and found the rooms run down for the amount of money they cost. If you are staying in the newer rooms (Moose Lodge), they will be nicer. The shower stall in my room (Signature Room which is, I think the same as the suites) was so small that I just managed to fit and I'm 5'7" and not in bad shape at all.

The pool and hot springs were in good condition and seemed fine to me. The restaurant had good food, but the prices were quite high and I'm used to the higher cost of eating out in Alaska. I recommend getting the bowl of chowder as it was filling and only about $10. Bringing a cooler with food for one or two meals is a good idea as well.

If you can do the snow coach tour, it's a great way to get up to the top of the hill to see the Lights. The ride itself was pretty neat and there are yurts up there to keep warm in and have a hot drink or soup while you wait for the Lights. That was my favorite thing about Chena. Snow machining is fun and my friend had a good dog sled ride.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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5. Re: Chena Hot Springs 2 night stay

RE: the snowcoach aurora viewing tour . . .

It is rather pricey ($75 in '07) so I wouldn't schedule or commit to it until knowing what the aurora forecast is for the night(s) of your visit. In the absence of active northern lights (and clear skies) it could be a very long and cold night in a yurt.

With good viewing conditions, however, I fully agree that it's something not to be missed.

Von

Edited: 06 November 2010, 19:03
Chugiak, Alaska
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6. Re: Chena Hot Springs 2 night stay

Excellent point, Von- it was still $75/person last year. Definitely shouldn't be a need to pre-book it. Besides the Aurora forecast, they can see what night looks better weather-wise as well. Our forecast the night we went up was a 2 or 3, but we saw a moving line of green throughout the night and saw it dance for a good twenty minutes just before we left. The stars are ridiculously pretty as well if you're into that kind of thing. I am and sat out in the cold for a couple hours just enjoying the quiet, the stars and the dimmer Lights.

Oh, and I managed to get pictures with my point-and-shoot because it allows me to change some settings like the f-stop and ISO and such. You may want to look into it beforehand and practice on a dim light in a dark area to see if it will work. I actually messed with mine that night and when I could get a picture of the top of the yurt (it was lit from inside), then I had it set right. Sadly, I didn't write it all down, so now I can't remember what exactly I did. LOL!

Fairbanks, Alaska
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7. Re: Chena Hot Springs 2 night stay

I was just out there last night. Can't say anything about the rooms as I live in Fairbanks so just drive out but I know they have the reputation of being a bit old. The road out was clear and dry with the exception of a few spots. Guess what though, I saw Ted Danson and John whatshisname, the guy that plays Jim on The Office while we were soaking. That was fun. Apparently Ted's wife Mary Stienburgen was there too. They are down in Anchorage filming a whale movie and had a few days off so came up to check out Chena Hot Springs.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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8. Re: Chena Hot Springs 2 night stay

AKTiger . . . good to know that the point~n~shoots are getting sophisticated enough to manually do the settings to get nighttime photos!

1stimestar . . . cool on the "other" star sightings at CHS.

US
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9. Re: Chena Hot Springs 2 night stay

We did the same short of thing your talking about. We wanted to see the Northern Lights so we booked a suite for 4 nights. We left after the first night. Could not get out of there fast enough. The room was TERRIBLE. it was not clean, it smelled of mold and musk, the bathroom was small and dirty. Thought we would get something to eat at the resturant, but that was a bad idea as well. Not only is it overpriced, even for Fairbanks, but nothing we had was even close to being fresh.

Wish I could say what a great time we had, but that was not the case. Now after we left Chena and found someplace else to stay, then we had a great time.

Fairbanks, Alaska
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10. Re: Chena Hot Springs 2 night stay

Personally I would not schedule anything around the Northern Lights as they sometimes do not want to participate in you activities.