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“Overpriced and Over Rated”

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Denali Backcountry Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Melbourne, Australia
Level 6 Contributor
106 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
“Overpriced and Over Rated”
Reviewed 1 September 2013

We have been reading the August reviews, well we must have been in a slightly different place! At $1,000 a night, you have to stay 2 or you would arrive after 8pm and leave at 6am. OK, we were happy to do that, a once in a lifetime stay as others state. We expected too much maybe? I don't think so! There were 18 of us independent travellers who arrived on the bus, about 8pm. Went to our cabins, all quite nice but I'm sure I was shown independent cabins when we booked, not a long row of wooden rooms. For $1,000 a night I do expect to have a nice meal at the end of the day - not bay marie food, kept warm, ready & waiting for us to help ourselves! Dessert was no better, sponge cake for goodness sake! Don't tell me they are a long way from supplies, the driver said 100 buses a day go in and out of the park. Yes, the girls were great and we did have a lovely walk to Wonder Lake, but then the rain came & came & came. No one can help that, so some of us thought we'd go to the lounge room, have a drink and sit around the fire - comments - "the bar isn't open" - "the fire is broken" - "we don't know how to light the fire" - so we went back to our rooms until the evening meal. The Sou Chef (What does this mean?) grandly announced his latest delights & left, all again in heated bay maries, this time I think we had frozen veg, tough pork, lumpy mashed potatoes & spiced sponge cake for dessert.
The morning we were to leave, everyone was on board at 6am as required, we all sat quietly waiting, waiting, waiting, eventually the driver turned up, told us we shouldn't be on the bus before he's warmed it up. He told us he was retired - big deal - he said he had to warm the engine up and he hadn't even loaded the luggage. To add insult to injury a family of 5 wanted to fly out but due to the weather (which was terrible) couldn't - so they all held us up even more by not wanting to go on the bus. Finally, about 45 mins later we were off. On the way in we had hot drinks, 3 toilet stops and all was sweet and lovely, on the way out it seemed it was OUR fault we were running late, so one short toilet stop, a biscuit each and nothing to drink. Fortunately we had water but others had nothing, expecting a stop for a drink as we did coming in. Seems there were cans of drink loaded but not issued. A guest on the bus asked for a drink stop, twice & was totally ignored by the driver. We knew we would be woken at 5am to be ready for the bus leaving 6am but when the driver arrives unhappy then blames the guests for the late arrival at Denali to get the train, it's just not good enough. I am writing to Denali Back Country Lodge and Alaska Denali Travel once we are home. By what others have written I really think we were given shoddy treatment, several others were to make complaints and hopefully they will add their notes to this site as promised. Arriving in to Denali & taking the 12.30pm train meant most of us had not had a drink since 5.30am, just not good enough at - I say again - $1,000 a night!

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
12 Thank davmar70
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
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  • Value
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (87)
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English first
El Paso, Illinois
Level 6 Contributor
277 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 229 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 August 2013 via mobile

The views, the area, the trails, the atmosphere in and around the Backcountry Lodge will not be found elsewhere. That said, you need to understand that this is NOT a high end hotel. No Internet, tv, cell service, hair dryer. The food is average but plentiful. The lodge rooms are all you need but not large and what you find in them is minimal. This is not the Hyatt. You won't find your favorite soaps or shampoos. You will find a bar of soap and a bottle if shampoo/ conditioner. You may or may not get the kind of room you requested. We did not.
The guides for the most part are college grads out for a one year adventure. While knowledgeable enough, they are not especially invested in the area or your safety. Our guide left one person alone on the trail for over half an hour. Our suggestion is to remember that your safety is your responsibility not theirs.
Backcountry Lodge has great potential. Not sure they have achieved what they should for the price you pay.

  • Stayed August 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Cabdg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Scottsdale, AZ
Level 4 Contributor
19 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 August 2013

Our stay at the Denali Backcountry Lodge last week was wonderful. Lovely property, great massage at the spa by Nancy, enjoyed the organized hikes and nature programs. The staff was very helpful and accommodating. Their knowledge of the area and easy going manner was most appreciated. Another perk for us was the "drying room" really helped after a long soggy day of hiking

I really enjoyed the family style seating for meals and made some lovely new friends on our journey. Happy hour offerings were good and plentiful.

The food was okay, which for locale at the "end of the road" that's probably what we expected. More variety of soups due to the cold weather would have been nice.

We'd return to Alaska in a heartbeat and I can't imagine not going back to the Denali Backcountry Lodge

Room Tip: Pay for the upgrade and be near the stream. Cabin 39 was lovely and far enough from the fire ring w...
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank tldiet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Franklin, New Hampshire
Level 6 Contributor
145 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 August 2013

I guess we lucked out. Going in it was cloudy with rain at times. Gave a surreal look and kind of what I expected Denali to be. Came out the next day and it was perfect weather. We saw McKinley, which only happens 10% of the time. As advertised we did see more wildlife going in with poorer weather. It was lucky to see both types of weather. I think to take the day tour would be a bit too much. Staying in the park, while expensive, allows for a better chance of good weather and is much less exhausting. But it is expensive. You are going you really need to expect the weather to be so-so at best and everything to be expensive. If you HAVE to have good weather and are on a tight budget you shouldn't go. It is Alaska, not Florida after all.

Helpful?
Thank BAR845
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Franklin, New Hampshire
Level 6 Contributor
145 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 August 2013

Remember this place is being rates against other cabins. To rate against a 5 star hotel would be unfair. They are cabins at the end of the world so one needs to look at it that way. That being said; wow! Outstanding! The service was exceptional! They realize that this is an expensive deal and for most of us a trip of a life time. Nothing here comes cheap. After 6 hours going 93 miles you should realize that. Service was exceptional. Everyone of the staff we encountered were interested in helping us get the most out of the trip. Expect it to be pricy and expect the weather to be bad. It is Alaska. That way you won't be disappointed. We lucked out in that the weather was bad one day and awesome the next. Make the most of it. It isn't supposed to be cushy in a cabin, however, it was pretty cushy. Cabins are great. Comfortable. We were on the river and I think it was worth the extra cost. They have plenty to do, a lot of which is guided. You would expect someone on the staff to be crabby having to spend the summer in the wilderness but we couldn't find anyone that didn't seem to love the job. Hikes are easy to moderate, with an occasional strenuous one. If you are out of shape the guidelines are right on. If you are an avid hiker, biker, etc. you will have no problem with any of the hikes. The food was outstanding in quality. The menu is limited for obvious reasons. It is all high end and we wouldn't mind seeing some simple comfort food. Mac n cheese type, but at the price you can understand their need to go high end. Bring layers of clothes as it is cool in the mornings and bring wet weather gear. Even if it doesn't rain you can get soaked walking through the brush on a hike. So rain pants or gaiters are very useful. The activities seem designed to be active but allow some relaxing time too. They strike a nice balance. Over all we felt as budget travelers this place had good value for a once in a lifetime vacation.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank BAR845
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Loveland, Colorado
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 August 2013

Looking for a "far out" experience? Denali Backcountry Lodge offers it. The food was amazing for being 93 miles back in the woods. The staff leading activities were extremely knowledgeable, as well as very personable. The lodging facilities were modest but very comfortable. Although a bit on the pricey side, this was once in a life-time opportunity to get to know Denali from as far back as I cared to go!

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank RLW80538
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sasolburg,South Africa
Level 5 Contributor
16 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 August 2013

Hats off to the entire staff of the lodge,they have made my stay in Denali a memorable one.The guides were very good in the transfer of their knowledge to us hikers.It would have been nice if an early evening shuttle ie. 9:00 pm to wonder lake could be arrange as this was the ideal time for photography

Room Tip: Stay out late for spectacular sunsets
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank DaySouthAfrica
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Denali Backcountry Lodge

Property: Denali Backcountry Lodge
Address: Mile 95 Denali Park Road, Denali National Park and Preserve, AK 99755
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Alaska > Denali National Park and Preserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 7 Hotels in Denali National Park and Preserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Number of rooms: 42
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
When planning your Alaska vacation don't settle for just another Denali hotel! Journey with us winding through the Alaska Range, deep into the heart of the Denali National Park, with opportunities to see Denali's famed wildlife: Grizzlies, Caribou, Moose, Dall Sheep, Wolves, and Eagles. At the very end of the Denali Park road, past Wonder Lake, you'll find a unique enclave in the park known as Kantishna. This area is home to Denali Backcountry Lodge. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Denali Backcountry Hotel Denali National Park And Preserve
Hotel Denali Backcountry
Denali Backcountry Lodge Alaska/Denali National Park And Preserve

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