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“A true magic charm! Medicine for the soul!”
Review of Ma Johnson's Hotel

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Ma Johnson's Hotel
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Anchorage, Alaska
1 review
“A true magic charm! Medicine for the soul!”
Reviewed 3 September 2013

I visited Ma Johnson's Hotel in the beginning of summer. I had recently gone through a break up and needed the most remote location possible. As SOON as I arrived, I knew I had chosen correctly. The people here have a genuine interest in your well-being and go out of their way to make sure you have fun. After all, you are visiting the largest area of wilderness in the WORLD, and it can be rather daunting. The hotel staff are knowledgeable of the area, even though they themselves, didn't grow up here. The rooms are incredibly clean, and meant to be cozy, and that they were. Too many people nowadays, put focus on the rooms being large and fully equipped with a bathroom, TV, cable, etc. The point of Ma Johnson's is to meet the other guests, have FUN, and be part of the charming town. There is a very kept parlor for all guests to enjoy, and I met plenty of great people also staying in the hotel. There is so much to do, that I found myself only in the room for sleeping. That being said, the walls are thin, but you are so exhausted from the days activities, I hardly noticed.
The fine dining restaurant, The McCarthy Lodge, is a real treasure. The chefs behind the menu are extremely gifted at creating and executing a menu that foodies from ALL OVER should be excited about.
The Golden Saloon also serves food, which is done well, and to my experience, quite fast. You can really tell that the people behind all of these places actually care and want to see you enjoy everything, down to your perfectly paired glass of wine. Not to mention a very local and SUPREME collection of brews, spirits, and bubbly.
There is a grocery store in town, that provides fresh fruit, yogurt, granola bars, and most importantly, ICE CREAM (which you could tell the locals really appreciated).
Overall, it was a stellar experience and I have FULL intention of returning as soon as possible.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled solo
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Helpful?
Thank COOPDEE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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239 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
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  • Service
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  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (50)
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English first
Seneca Falls, New York
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 2 September 2013

I recently spent four enjoyable nights at the McCarthy Lodge. I couldn't have been more pleased. The staff was friendly, warm and goes out of their way to make you comfortable. The rooms were charmingly small as advertised, very clean, and my bed comfy. I don't mind a shared bath, and never was inconvenienced by that aspect. I could have used another hook to hangs up things, but it wasn't a biggy. The town of McCarthy is a gem. The guides are fantastic..so knowledgeable and friendly. I cannot wait to return. This is a must see destination and well worth the extra effort to get there for people of any age and families! Thank you to hotelier Neil and the people of McCarthy.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled solo
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Helpful?
1 Thank Vivace41
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Anchorage, Alaska, United States
2 reviews
Reviewed 22 August 2013

I've had to pleasure of staying at the Ma Johnson's at least once a summer for the past 3 years, as well as in many of the rooms in the hotel. One of my favorite parts of visiting McCarthy is walking into the town. Even though the Hotel provides a shuttle from the foot bridge, i prefer the 15 minute trek. Upon arriving in the town there has always been welcome activity, from dogs roaming the street to visitors hanging out on the porch of the Golden Saloon, or the Ma Johnsons, seemingly enjoying one anthers company.

Up until this summer I had never ventured up to the neighboring town of Kennecott, so, this time, I decided to check it out. It was great to see and I recommend it to all visitors of the area, but it was nice to return to McCarthy in the afternoon; it feels more like home than a tourist destination . if you can, take 20 minutes to pop into the visitor center and learn all about Kennecot while you're there.

My many trips to the area have also given me an opportunity to try out the food at the lodge. The bar is great for dinner or a late night snack; I'm a fan of the burger (bison - i think), and the fine dining is worth the drive all by itself, and has continued to be this way even as the offerings have changed over the years.

The closest thing i can compare this hotel too is some of the boutique hotels in the states. I've had the opportunity to stay at many Kimpton hotels, as well as the ace hotel in Seattle and find the experience to exceed those hotels. The rooms may be a bit tinier and the amenities less modern, but what i've learned from the town has made every stay more memorable than my trips out of Alaska.

If you are going to plan a trip to the area make sure you can afford to stay for two nights. it's worth it to travel from your starting destination straight to McCarthy and skip breaking it up. there isn't a lot between Anchorage and McCarthy that's worth stoping for, or any other destination you may be coming from, for that matter. If you can't make it for at least 2 night just try to arrive as early as you can. This is one part of Alaska you don't want to miss.

Room Tip: So far, my favorite has been upstairs in the front of the hotel. Even though it may be a bit noisie...
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with friends
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank swnsn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ormond Beach, Florida
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
Reviewed 18 August 2013

Experience of a lifetime...McCarthy,Alaska and Ma Johnson's Hotel!! From the first email ,to bidding Pattie adieu, everything was perfect. Professional handling of inquiries and reservations for both hotel and dinner at MCcarthy Lodge,friendly welcome upon arrival from Nicole and Patti,even the owner ,who happened to be in the hotel when we arrived ,couldn't have been more cordial! Every attention to comfort in the lovely,albeit small, rooms. Period decor and modern plumbing..what a delight! We had planned one night and two days in McCarthy and Kennicott but now wished we had alloted more time to the area...the ambiance and people were so delightful we weren't ready to leave after the second day. Truly unique and so worth the effort to get there!

Room Tip: Twin beds worked fine for us seniors...liked having lavatory in the room. Loved sleeping on ground f...
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Jeepmom84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 17 August 2013

Absolutely wonderful. We planned a wedding at Kennecott mine, but the morning of it was raining. The owner Neil let us have it in their lobby. Patti and Nichole set out fresh wildflower and got everything ready for us. Neil stopped traffic into the hotel for the ceremony. It was a small wedding party, just 6 total, so the lobby was perfect. They were all so kind and helpful.
We plan on celebrating our anniversary there for years to come.

  • Stayed August 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank tracyleesoptick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bethesda MD
Level 5 Contributor
78 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 August 2013 via mobile

Enjoyed our stay here. Comfy room and lounge area. No electrical outlets in rooms but plenty in lounge (left my cameras in lounge overnight by mistake and were still there in AM). Convenient saloon across the street.

  • Stayed August 2013
    • Value
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    • Rooms
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Helpful?
Thank DocLeJeune
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Texas
Level 6 Contributor
351 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 246 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 August 2013

We agonized over whether to stay at this hotel or at the Kennicott Lodge in the nearby town of Kennicott. We made a mistake. We made the reservations only a day in advance and were surprised to even be able to get a room. We made a mistake in that we did not ask about the bedding arrangements and ended up with a room with two twin beds. Lesson learned: ask about bedding arrangements. The young lady that checked us in said that they were completely full and there was nothing that she could do. OK. However, the manager had been setting at the front desk and was able to change us to a room with a double bed. Great - thank you. We knew that the rooms would be small and they really, really are small! The shared baths turned out not to be a problem as there are a lot of baths to share. So far, so good. The problem began that evening. There was to be a party at the bar across the street. Great. We went to the party and left about 11:00 or so. We went to our room to find that the music seemed louder there than in the bar! The party went on and on.The music stopped at about 2:00 in the morning, but the party simply moved outside and was louder and the cursing got more creative. Around 4:00, it started calming down so that we were able to get a couple of hours of sleep. So, if you like to party, this could be the place for you.Now we know that this is not the fault of the hotel, but it is a fact of life. We were told by locals that this is not a once a year occurrence, but happens many nights. Strange, there were two rooms next to us that remained unoccupied for the night. So, unclear how it was "full".

Room Tip: Ask about bedding arrangements and make for sure you get the type of bed you want. Try to get room...
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank TexasTravelerGoGo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
AK400400, Owner at Ma Johnson's Hotel, responded to this review, 12 August 2013
Dear TexasTravelerGoGo:

Thank you for taking the time to review the Ma Johnson's Hotel in McCarthy. We are glad you enjoyed the town and hotel, and sorry to hear about the late night disturbance from the Saturday night “prom” party at the saloon.

Two nights a week, there is a party in town. The Golden Saloon has Open Mic on Thursday’s and a band or party every other Saturday night.

You note in your review that the room configuration you expected was not offered to you right away. The reason you were first shown a room with two twin beds is because these are quite rooms in the back. We do not sell front of the house rooms on party nights unless the guest is informed (or they are in town for the celebration) That night, the only available rooms with one large bed was in the front of the hotel. The policy of holding back these front rooms is also why it seemed unusual that the “Full” hotel would have other “empty” rooms next to you. These four front rooms are the last rooms used on bar party nights (rooms 1,2,3, & 4). Indeed, if we had known that you were not getting a restful sleep, we could have changed you back to the quite room in the back of the hotel. Again I apologize for the disturbance.

If you do get to return to McCarthy, please let us know if we can make this up to you. I would be happy to give you another night complimentary to make up for the disturbance.

Kind regards,
Neil
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Additional Information about Ma Johnson's Hotel

Property: Ma Johnson's Hotel
Address: 101 Kennicott Avenue, P.O. Box MXY, McCarthy, Wrangell-St Elias National Park and Preserve, AK 99588
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Alaska > Wrangell-St Elias National Park and Preserve > McCarthy
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 7 Speciality Lodging in McCarthy
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Beautiful Scenery, Fine Cuisine, and True Alaskan History all rolled into one – Perfect for a weekend gateway!Our accommodations and restaurants are in the very center of the largest protected wilderness on earth. McCarthy is surrounded by more mountains and glaciers than anywhere else in Alaska! Experience the unexpected; unique tasting menus with casual style at McCarthy Lodge. The Golden Saloon offers a hearty menu of family favorites. Our greenhouses provide fresh produce for our restaurants, our Copper River Red Salmon is wild-caught by locals. Best of all, the fully restored Ma Johnson’s Hotel is the only authentic historic hotel in the park. Spend a few minutes in the Golden Saloon and make friends instantly. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Ma Johnson's Hotel McCarthy, Alaska

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