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Chena Hot Springs Resort
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Pleasant Valley
Reviewed 18 March 2014

Stayed in Moose Lodge and it was dirty and hot. We had to keep the window cracked which invited noise into our romantic weekend, Amenities like tv were non-existent.We like to watch local news but no channels worked. Changing rooms were horrid. I did not pay good money to have a stranger's butt in my face in the cramped space and I am certain she did not pay the same to have my butt in hers! Staff seemed to be demoralized and after a conversation with a couple different staff people it is not surprising that they have a high staff turn-over!!

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank musherpeg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 17 March 2014

I arrived with refrains of “Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful,” and “later on by the fire...” going through my head. We did lots of “walkin’ in a winter wonderland” because thank heavens the weather wasn’t frightful, but clear and crisp and lovely. But what fire? There was none. Nor a cozy place to sit and lounge and be with friends, enjoy the lovely view, or relax and read? This was not my dream lodge. There are no public rooms for people to gather that any of our group of four would want to be, only a large room with long tables and plastic chairs, no windows, and no people during our four day stay. The tacky looking coffee bar has no view. Large areas of the resort, insideand out, are strewn with junk.

Our guest room was very basic, bleak, with small windows, no view, a smelly bathroom with old linoleum, and one small chair. A phone in the room would have been great, given that there is no AT&T cell service and no wireless provided by the resort. I would suggest a room in the newer Moose Lodge, with rooms probably more 3 star than 2 star. We had reserved almost a year in advance, were put on a waiting list, but still couldn’t get a room there.

There are a few options for aurora viewing, Charley Dome offering the most unobstructed. The problem with that is you are dropped off by snow cats and have to spend almost five hours either in a yurt with a refugee camp atmosphere, no windows, the air murky with kerosene smoke and the smell from the heaters, on uncomfortable chairs. So we were in and out, but even with the minus 17 degree weather, warmer than the average, you couldn’t stay out for very long. Also, the strong smell from the outhouses made me glad I had limited my fluid intake earlier that evening. The evening did culminate in a spectacular aurora.

You could also view the aurora from the airfield next to the activity center, again waiting in a small dark room with uncomfortable chairs, although there is ambient light from the resort. Or, something I wish I had done and think is a good compromise, viewing from the aurorium, a small building with a panoramic window facing north which is short walk up a steep hill. Unfortunately, we had gone to bed early, then heard the next morning there was great aurora seen from there.

The dining room and bar are the only charming areas, and the food is average but uneven. Breakfasts are very good, lunch and dinner not so great except for the lettuce they grow in the greenhouse, and the very succulent scallops with Thai curry. The salmon was tasteless and way overcooked.

The ice museum, where you had to reserve for a 45 minutes visit and an appletini in an ice glass, were fun. The sled dogs were great to see and the sled ride was exhilarating, but only lasted about ten minutes. There were no options for longer rides. I loved soaking in the hot springs, surrounded by snowy boulders and a thick cloud of steam.

Best of all were the hikes we took each day on the great trails through the scenic and pristine valley. These were invigorating and serene, one of the most memorable parts of our visit. I wish the resort lived up to these surroundings, instead of the ill planned and bedraggled place it is. It need to be totally redone by someone with an aesthetic sense and knowledge of what hospitality is.

For other details one should read my fellow traveler’s (RoamerLosAngeles) review titled “So much potential, but...”

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled with friends
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4  Thank tawnbc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 March 2014

The drive up to the resort is breath taking. That being said, ask yourself ..... do I want to drive an hour to an hour and a half (depending on weather) to a .... warm/hot swimming hole that smells like sulfur? We did not stay in this resort.... but we did get lost trying to find the entrance to the hot spring. This led us to the hallway of the hotel/resort. An old motel comes to mind. I did not see inside a room. They had several activities ... dog sledding ... ice museum.... tour of geothermal/greenhouse. We did not complete any of these as they seemed a bit pricey for the time allotted compared to other places we had seen, (we paid $90 for a full hour of dog sledding elsewhere) In all fairness the Ice Sculpture contest was in Fairbanks at the time. We were told the Ice museum was cool but it would pale in comparison to the contest so we didn't check this out. The contest was quite impressive. If you have several kids to entertain.... and need a one stop shop to do it.... then maybe okay.... but for me...... Ummmmmm no!!!

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Jennifer B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 March 2014 via mobile

Very impressed with the commitment to geothermal energy and recycling efforts. Many leisure options for a three day stay. Though pricey it was good to know that the resort was on the cutting edge of geothermal technology. The hot springs, dog sled, aurorium, ice house museum, geothermal tour and greenhouse made Chena Hot Springs a memorable stay. And an aurora viewing as well!

  • Stayed: March 2014
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Thank Dorothy G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 March 2014 via mobile

We just finished our stay at Chena Hot Springs in AK. Not impressed. We were excited to experience all the winter activities that Chena had to offer. However, we were highly let down. We signed up for a 20 minute, 2 mile dog sled ride for $60 per person. It turned out to be 5-10 minutes and hardly 2 miles. We felt ripped off. The Ice Museum was cool to see, but expensive. The Apple Martini at the end was something cool to do..but it was about the size of a shot for $15.
We wanted to experience the "rustic" feel..but our room had no heat and about 3 channels on the TV. The restaurant food was good but highly expensive. One pancake and 2 eggs for $9. Since there is nothing for miles..you have no choice but to pay the prices. This place is a tourist trap. I suggest not staying here. If you want to experience the activities or "rustic" feel..there are better places more worth your money. It is advertised for seeing the aurora right outside your cabin..but there are too many lights unless you pay for the Snow Coach Tour. Another way to get your money. Chena Hot Springs is a rip off. Not worth your money.

Stayed: March 2014, travelled with friends
2  Thank meggzdabi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 March 2014

Did a day trip to Chena this weekend. Wow, am I glad we did. Experience of a lifetime. Yes, it's remote. No, there is no phone or internet, and I imagine TV channels are at a minimum. We arrived at about 11 am and stayed until the snow cats brought us back at about 2:30 am.
The service and guides were top-notch. Everyone seemed to care about making our experience great. I highly recommend the ice museum. It's not huge, but it's a beautiful work of art that should be seen. The restuarant was great, food and service fantasitc. I honestly don't have one bad thing to say about it. Thanks especially to guides John and Chaz. Our snow machining trip was great, as was the snow cat trip to see the northern lights. There is no gaurantee that they will dance for you, and it's cold as hell. But if you get lucky it's the experience of a lifetime. Thanks to a crash course on our camera from Chaz, we were able to get some amazing pics we will cherish forever. Thanks a million!

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Heather L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 March 2014

My fiance and I stayed here for only one night because the resort was totally booked when I was trying to make reservations. First, I know a lot of reviewers have issues with the resort and accommodations. We stayed in a 2 bedroom 1 1/2 bath family suite with my in laws and it was perfectly fine. Though not the most modern of hotels, we barely stayed in the room because we were out most of the time either doing activities, going to the hot springs, ice museum, or staying up extremely late to see the Northern Lights. True, there were only a few channels on TV, no phone, and no internet. But, isn't the point of being there to enjoy the outdoors?! All I cared about was the hot shower, warm room in -27 degree weather outside, and comfy bed. The hot springs experience was awesome because the temperature was perfectly hot when it is freezing (literally my hair froze) outside! Ice museum was really cool--I've never seen sculptures that detailed. We had dinner and drinks at the little restaurant near the checkin desk. Food was good and the staff was extremely nice. Lastly, to see the Northern Lights, we did the short hike to the Aurorium, which is this warm little hut up on the hillside. Bring a flashlight to make your way up the hill and around the Aurorium. There's large windows to see the sky and potentially see the Lights. Because it was so cold when we went, we ended up going outside for a short periods of time to see the Lights, then back inside to warm up! I believe it's open 24 hours a day (we went from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.) and we saw the Lights at around midnight. Beautiful! Anyhow, we had a great time at Chena and saw some once in a lifetime sights!

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank bestshoeshopper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Additional Information about Chena Hot Springs Resort

Address: 56.5 mile Chena Hot Springs Rd., Pleasant Valley, Fairbanks, AK 99711
Region: United States > Alaska > Fairbanks > Pleasant Valley
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Pleasant Valley
Price Range: £129 - £215 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Chena Hot Springs Resort 2.5*
Number of rooms: 80
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Also Known As:
Chena Hot Springs Hotel Pleasant Valley

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