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“Go for the hot springs and northern lights only”

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Chena Hot Springs Resort
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Pleasant Valley
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Don't let their website fool you. This is not the kind of resort you're expecting. The photos look very nice and makes it look like an amazing place, but actually when we got there it was more like a campground with some hotel rooms. My husband called it "The hippie resort" since most people there looked and acted like that. Not to mention the life size statue of the dragon, and all of the neon lights and lazer beams everywhere. The cabins are dark and dreary. We upgraded to the lodge and that was better, but still your run of the mill basic room. You're paying resort pricing for a budget roadside motel. And that would be fine if advertised that way, but we thought it was going to a "resort." Lastly, the water! The water is brown and tastes like sulpher due to the springs. Luckily we brought bottled water. We even got sprite at dinner and it tasted terrible cause they use their tap water to mix the soft drinks - or maybe it was just the ice. But it was completely terrible. Bring your own water! The hot springs was nice and the locker room was clean. There was one staffer who was very nice and helped us tremendously. But most people who work there are hippies looking for a job and free rent. Basically, just don't expect a "resort" experience. It's nice to visit for the springs, and aurora, but don't make it a long trip.

Room Tip: Book the lodge for a hotel style room. Cabins are dank.
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  • Stayed: October 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
3  Thank parismountainphotog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed 5 November 2017 via mobile

We planned a week long visit to the Chena Hot Springs area. Perfect amount of time. We knew the Aurora timing could not be pinpointed so we gave ourselves plenty of time/nights to view it. We were blessed with two gorgeous viewings. The resort is rustic but perfect for the area and the activities. The staff was awesome. Josh was so personable, Michele so helpful and Winter was extremely attentive. We got to know the staff and appreciated their helpfulness. The Hot Springs helped sooth our aching bones. Overall this experience was GREAT!

Stayed: October 2017, travelled with family
Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 October 2017 via mobile

We weren’t sure what to expect based on other’s reviews.  When we got there, we found what I would consider an authentic Alaskan stay.  It’s what I had pictured for a hotel/resort in “The Last Frontier,” minus the trapper cabin.  You’re in the middle of nowhere, which was awesome for us. 

When we first arrived, we got our room (Bear Family Room).  Our room did need some maintenance, it seemed there was a water leak in the floor.  On the pro side, this room had so much space and privacy for 4 adults, which was really nice.  So, remember, you’re signing up for an authentic Alaskan experience.  

They have all sorts of activities for you to do, some cost and others are included with your stay.  Some of the activities are pricey, but we found them to be worth the money.  Make sure you check out the dogs.  Everyone that ran an activity was knowledgable and excited about their role. 

We found the staff to be kind, helpful, and very laid back.  We were there for a week and made an effort to learn the names of all the staff we interacted with.  Treat people like friends, and they become friends.  You should keep in mind the staff comes from different backgrounds and cultures.  So, this needs to come into play when creating perceptions of their service.  

This is a very relaxed and laid back resort.  We were there for a week, so laid back was nice.  We stayed there Oct 17-23, 2017,  so it was already snowing some and cold.  We weren’t looking to move back and forth into Fairbanks, everyday.  In fact, we only went to town one day to take an Aurora photography course (through Skyfire in Focus - awesome experience).  If you are on a tight schedule (or budget) and trying to plan out every minute to maximize your experience, this may not be the place for you.  Also, the word “resort” may be throwing some people off.  This is not your typical resort. This is a true Alaskan experience.  This is probably what you were thinking Alaska would be like, then were thrown off by “resort.”  So, do yourself a favor and manage your expectations.  

This place is really neat.  They are a self-sustaining “resort”.  They have a green house and grow most of their own food there, so it’s all really fresh!  Remember when you’re at the restaurant, this is a laid back resort.  Your service may be slower than what you usually receive.  So, plan accordingly and relax about that.  Our server most nights, Wynter, was very friendly and kind.  Get to know the staff members there.  They all have an interesting story on how they got to Alaska.  In fact, we met many wonderful people there, including other guests. 

If an experience wasn’t all that you thought it would be, then ask the staff.  Don’t walk away pouting.  They may be able to provide more information.  We found this to be true.  Also, we visited during a lull in their busy season.  I would highly recommend visiting during these times.  It allowed us to get the most out of our experience, even though some of the activities weren’t available.

If what I described doesn’t sound like something you can enjoy, then I would look into something different.  If you’re looking for a more authentic Alaskan experience, allowing yourself to slow down a bit, then Chena Hot Springs Resort is for you.

Stayed: October 2017, travelled with family
1  Thank Jaime J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 October 2017

A relaxing, quiet, rejuvenating spot far from most people and things. Everything you need to enjoy a few days away. I would go back in a heartbeat. I wish I could stay for a few months!

Good food in the main restaurant breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Excellent dinner dishes were the fried oysters and the rack of lamb. Cheaper, lighter, instant fare from the cafe next to the activities center.

We didn't want to spend a lot of time in our room anyway, but for the price it was quite small. From pictures it looked like it would easily accommodate 3-4 adults, but when we arrived it felt very cramped. The beds were comfortable, and there was hot water, but the room was arranged awkwardly and there was a table set up with a lamp and clock on it, placed on a side of the room without any electrical outlets.

One serious issue was that the room felt very cold. We informed the desk on night one and they sent a technician to check the heat valves, but we felt no change after his visit. Thankfully, he brought us three extra blankets as back up, and with those we were reasonably comfortable for our two night stay.

Hot Springs
The hot springs were so amazing. The smell of the whole area is apparent when you get out of your car on arrival - it smells like sulphur, which comes from the hot springs. Apparently there are very few other springs worldwide with this particular water makeup, and it is said to provide therapeutic benefits. I believe it!

The hot springs 18+ outdoor pool was sensational in mid October. In below-freezing temperatures morning, afternoon, and evening. The water temperature was pleasantly hot enough to induce relaxation, but not too hot to be uncomfortable. The pool features a cooling off shower fountain in the center and a water spout coming in at the far end that you can get a good shoulder massage by standing under.

The steam coming of the pool glows in the sunlight during the day and at night is lit up by the colorful lights installed around the edges. Beautiful and surreal, and amazingly relaxing, any time of day.

Other Activities
The other activities we took part in were all fun - the bar and restaurant in the lodge, hiking trails, reindeer & donkey pens, the ice museum, geothermal tour, a dog kennel tour (with optional dog sled/dog cart ride). My husband really enjoyed going on an ATV ride one morning, and we both enjoyed the ice museum sculptures and meeting the dogs on the kennel tour.

We also saw the northern lights the first night of our two night stay. It was fantastic viewing of a mix of fast moving green and purple lights. So stunningly beautiful.

The second and final night of our stay, there was a snowfall of about 3 or 4 inches. It was enough to play in outside, and it made the drive back to Fairbanks a bit hairy in our small rental car. We made it though!

Many people brought bottled water along with them in their luggage - to avoid the marshy/swampy flavored tap water available to drink at the resort. These visitors must be veterans, we are going to bring plenty of water next time.

If you are traveling with 3 or more adults, opt for a larger room than a Fox Room. It was too cramped for us.

Make use of the activity center! The tours are worth the money, take less than an hour each, and mix up the day with a lot of fun and different topics.

  • Stayed: October 2017, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank snapjanet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 October 2017 via mobile

Our restaurant experience in the resort is the worst we have ever had. The server there is absolutely rude and not caring at all. We waited for more than 30 min for our food. When we asked, the server simply said they don't know, and just yelled at us, asking us to be patient and wait. The worst part is that on the bill, they listed our group as 6 people, and include 18% tips on the bill. However, we only have 5 people!!! They are extremely dishonest, and trying take advantage of us. I won't recommend the restaurant to anyone. This is the most unpleasant experience I have had.

Stayed: October 2017, travelled with friends
5  Thank bontjason
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
Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Pleasant Valley
Price Range: ₹ 9,672 - ₹ 19,473 (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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