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“Best Aurora Viewing Ever!”

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Aurora Borealis Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Wayside, New Jersey
Level 5 Contributor
51 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Best Aurora Viewing Ever!”
Reviewed 8 April 2013

We stayed at the Aurora Borealis Lodge for four nights and saw the Aurora 4 times! What could be better? Our room was extremely comfortable, with a small kitchen area, a large comfy bed, and a huge picture window with a lovely sofa to view the aurora from the warmth of our room. Stopped at Fred Meyers in Fairbanks on the way up to get groceries for breakfast. Mok was a great host, and suggested several good restaurants close by for dinner. He also takes great pictures of you with the Aurora in the background! He does host quite large groups of Japanese tourists every night from 10 PM to 2 AM, so his viewing decks get a little crowded and noisy. This sometimes interferes with peaceful viewing of the northern lights, but it keeps him in business. Altogether an outstanding place to stay.

Room Tip: Either the first or second floors are fine.
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  • Stayed February 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank ZiggyWStardust
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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206 reviews from our community

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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (86)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Padua, Italy
Level 6 Contributor
106 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 321 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 April 2013

Torrents of words have already been written about Aurora Borealis Lodge. Most of them are indicative of a full satisfaction and enthusiastic appreciation, and I do quote and agree with many reviews I’ve read here on T.A. On the other hand, if I’ve come here from Italy for the 3rd time in one year, certainly there are some good reasons why. And I never kept disappointed.
Also this time I’ve got the proof that, under a strictly geo-climatic point of view, the location of ABL is one of the best in Alaska: far from the city light pollution (20 miles North of Fairbanks), and high enough (more that 2,000 ft) to avoid the (icy) fogs of the plains, that could often affect a good view of the northern lights. The last day of my stay (March, 31st) it was heavily snowing from the afternoon till to the evening. But late in the night, at around 1 a.m., Mok’s voice was waking us up by the walky-talky because the lights were visible far westward, and above our head, a widespread break in the clouds of a blue starry sky, was promising great views. Maybe Mok took some mysterious agreements with the “gods of the skies” above his lodge!?!
Meeting Mok, Akiko – his nice and so discreet wife – and their 2 kids, or joking with Logan, the co-owner of ABL, or running in the snow with their black, docile Labrador dog, is always a nice way to spend some good moments, to feel like at home, in the total respect of each other’s privacy. I stayed for a while in the new Logan’s lodge, too. Excellent! And here are some pictures of that new construction, next to the main lodge.
Just a couple of final observations: doesn’t matter if there is no television set; sometimes it’s so useful to keep strictly in touch with the nature and with himself (maybe it will be a bit harder to keep so close with our mother-in-law…) and, anyway, the free wi-fi is perfectly working. Last, but not least, a part the kindness of our hosts, it’s a great thing to share our stay with good neighbors (there are 4 apartments in the same lodge) and I do thank them, because they were respectful of the rules in terms of noise and of lights from the windows (so crucial when taking pictures in the dark of the night). And referring to the pictures, it’s as pathetic as useless to try to capture the lights with iPhones, iPads, tablets and so on. As others have correctly mentioned here, a tripod is required and a camera which can be manually set at high ISO speed, long time exposures (some 15 seconds or even more, depending on the type of lenses) etc. In any case, when Aurora is active, Mok is always available to take pictures to us and for us with his own cameras.
Thanks everybody, Graziano

Room Tip: Best views from upstairs, but the 1st floor rooms are closer to the outside wooden terrace, perfect...
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  • Stayed March 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
6 Thank OscarItaly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
North Bergen, New Jersey
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 April 2013

We recently stayed at this lodge for a couple of days and it was great. Mok was very welcoming and patient. We stayed on the first floor with two huge windows making it easy to view the northern lights from indoors. There are walkie-talkies in the room are for Aurora alerts from the Main Lodge, which made sure we didn't miss out on any shows. We were able to see the Northern Lights 2/3 nights we were there. On the third night, it was cloudy, however, the lights could still be seen vaguely. The room had a great heater that warmed up the place in a matter of minutes. Our room also had a kitchen with all the necessary equipment to make meals.
Although the lodge does have equipment for you to go snow-shoeing and a beautiful fun black labrador to keep you company, I would highly recommend renting a car (All-wheel drive) to allow you to do other activities. We went to Chena Hot Springs (1.5 hrs away from the lodge and has tons of activites), Santa's house in the North Pole (30 mins from lodge), an Ice Park, Pioneer Park, an antique auto museum (only open on sundays during winter season), and 2 great restaurants (Turtle Club known for its prime rib and Silver Glutch Brewing and Bottling). We managed to fit all that in a long weekend trip.

Bringing a professional camera and tripod is a must to be able to capture pictures of the Northern Lights. Mok does offer to take your pictures and sell them to you at a reasonable price.

Overall, great experience for all ages.

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
3 Thank karinaj806
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago, Illinois
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 March 2013

We stayed here in Feb and we had a great stay. Mok and family were so accommodating.
We stayed on the 2nd floor of the lodge but I think it doesn't matter if you stay on the 1st or 2nd floor of the lodge. Make sure before you get to the lodge to stop by at Fred Myers to get grocery.

We saw the amazing Northern Lights during our stay. It was a once in a lifetime experience. I would definitely go back again to see the aurora borealis.

My husband though was bored during the day because there was NO TV at the lodge. I do agree since not a lot of people would like to do anything outdoors because it is too cold. FOR THE PRICE THEY CHARGE, IT WOULD BE WONDERFUL TO ADD A TV ON EACH LODGE SO GUEST CAN REALLY FEEL AT HOME. This is the only thing missing but they still deserve a 5 star.

Please consider adding a TV maybe will stay 10 or more days next time.

Room Tip: First or second floor have great rooms. We saw our neighbors 1st floor unit - it was also nice. Aga...
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  • Stayed February 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank dancewithme4102
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cambridge, Massachusetts
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 March 2013

We recently (early/mid March) stayed at the newly completed "Logan's Chalet" at the Aurora Borealis Lodge for an extended period (10 nights) and had a wonderful time. The Chalet is just down the road from the main lodge/ accommodations. The Chalet has one bedroom downstairs (one bed), a main room (kitchen and living space) along with an open upstairs loft (two beds), and a good sized bathroom (with a shower, and heated toilet seat and bidet). We were 5 adults and 2 children and we fit well with the use of a cot, but 6 adults would fit perfectly if sleeping in couples (and it should be mentioned that the beds were really comfortable). The main room is not huge, but is a comfortable living space (a couch for ~3 people and a comfy chair along with an island table with plenty of chairs). The kitchen is fully equipped and appliances are modern, so it is very convenient for preparing meals (which is useful if you are staying for a while or if you just want to stay inside and be cozy). There are big screen TVs in the main room and in the downstairs bedroom and there is WiFi as well. Overall, the Chalet is very stylish with a great rustic cabin feel and modern features/ convenience!

The Aurora viewing is great. The lodge is located in the hills north of Fairbanks providing great views to the north, and away from the city's light pollution. There is a walkie talkie in the cabin for Aurora alerts from the Main Lodge. Occasionally, displays can be seen from the back windows in the cabin, but to really see everything you can go out to the road (which offers good overhead views but restricted horizon views) or make the short walk up to the main lodge, where there is a spectacular north-facing view (outdoor viewing deck and indoor viewing area with picture windows, hot drinks and cookies). We had 9 clear nights (even when it was cloudy during the day it reliably cleared when the sun went down), and the temperatures were consistently warmer than in Fairbanks. We had 9 clear nights and saw Aurora displays on 8 of those nights, ranging from visible and mostly static to spectacular dynamic displays. At the lodge, Mok will take your picture in front of the aurora and will help you set up your camera to get your own aurora shots (although you should have at minimum a tripod and a camera with a manual mode for long exposures, and higher ISOs).

The proprietors of the lodge (Logan, Mok and family) are great hosts and clearly care about taking care of guests. There were welcome treats waiting for us upon arrival, and they checked in with us throughout the stay to make sure that we had everything we needed. They have good suggestions for places to eat and things to do during your stay.

The Lodge is located 20-30 min from Fairbanks, where you can pick up provisions (just a note, if you are renting a car and are new to winter driving conditions, take it slow and be prepared for some ice!). For an extended stay, having your own transportation is recommended, since many attractions are at least a short drive away. The Lodge is very close to Skiland, a small but fun downhill ski area open on weekends (there is just one chairlift, but all the runs are long and nice, but it is not a place for first time skiers). At the Lodge, you can borrow the snowshoes and walk around or you can take the sleds and have some fun. The Lodge sits on an old (small) ski area, which makes for some nice snowshoeing/ sledding.

Overall, we would highly recommend staying here for some great Aurora viewing and exploring of the Fairbanks area. In short: friendly hosts, comfortable lodging, great location, lots of fun!

Room Tip: Logan's Chalet is great for large groups.
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  • Stayed March 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
8 Thank HikerT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 March 2013

This was one of our most memorable trips. We couldn't thank the owners Mok, Akiko and Logan enough. Their place is awesome and they are great!! We have stayed here twice and looking forward to more visits!! Seeing the Auroras was beautiful, the main reason to stay here. The view was perfect. We were in a bottom room both times and have no complaints at all. No one can see in your room at night as said in another review. If outside they are looking at the sky to view the lights. Also lights are suppose to be off at 10:00 p.m. making the rooms dark so there is no light pollution. Rooms are very Cozy and they have everything you need.
If you have a desire to see the Northern Lights this is a perfect spot as long as Mother Nature cooperates.

  • Stayed March 2013
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
4 Thank kdrdtravelers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Columbus, Georgia
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 March 2013 via mobile

Mok is a very warm, welcoming guy and the room was in great shape. The view was amazing! Water pressure was good, everything worked, and the heated bidet was awesome too.

That being said, we went for a romantic night to ourselves and had a bottom room. The curtains only go halfway down on the north Side (where there is a deck). If you stand on the deck you can see anyone in the room unless they are laying completely flat in the bed. It definitely ruins the mood for romance when you know people could be watching.

Also, you could hear people in room above every time they moved around. The downstairs rooms can be great if you have some mega camera and want to rush outside to capture the lights quickly but otherwise the top rooms are the way to go.

Other than those two things everything was great!

  • Stayed March 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Lovetohaggle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Aurora Borealis Lodge

Property: Aurora Borealis Lodge
Address: Cleary Summit Rd., 1906 Ridge Run Rd, Fairbanks, AK 99707
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Alaska > Fairbanks
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 24 Speciality Lodging in Fairbanks
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Number of rooms: 4
Also Known As:
Aurora Borealis Hotel Fairbanks
Aurora Borealis Lodge Fairbanks, Alaska

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