Pike’s Waterfront Lodge on the Chena River in Fairbanks, Alaska is as convenient as it comes for places to stay in the Fairbanks area. About a mile from the airport, complimentary shuttle-service can whisk you to and from your scheduled flights, 24-hours a day. This takes on added significance when you have to be a the airport at 4 am, as was the case with me. Complimentary shuttle service is also available to the Train station.
A favorite with fans of the Iditarod, Pike’s was the host hotel for the 2003 and 2015 Iditarod, and has now become somewhat synonymous as the place to stay.
One of the largest hotels in the Fairbanks area, Pike’s Waterfront Lodge offers 208 rooms (including 28 cabins) with scenic views, upscale amenities, a riverside deck, and many onsite activities. Check out their Forget-Me-Not Gardens in the summer under the light of the Midnight Sun. View an aurora-themed film in their complimentary 14-seat theater. Then take advantage of their newly dedicated Aurora viewing room during the months of October to March – when viewing of the Aurora Borealis (also known as the Northern Lights) are at their peak during clear winter nights. Stay warm in the dedicated and heated room while viewing the sky through expansive ceiling windows. If you still can’t sleep, then shop for gifts and snacks or use the ATM in the 24-hour gift shop, next to the check-in desk.
The rooms are large and ample, with WiFi, flat-screen television with cable, refrigerator, microwave and hairdryer in every room. It’s all about Alaskan comfort. Some have a balcony with a river view.
Bathrooms are well-stocked with Aveda aromatherapy amenities and over-sized bathroom towels.
Be sure to check out their collection of original art throughout the public spaces including the lobbies, lounges and restaurant. The resort offers a regularly scheduled history tour. Other amenities include an aromatherapy steam room, exercise room, and business center. During the summer, Pike’s operates shuttle service to downtown Fairbanks for a fee. A self-service, coin-operated laundry is located on the first floor on the main building.
The resort recently added a billiards room where guests can play complimentary pool. When my colleague Dana stayed here a couple years back, she had more time to check out the recreational options.
Pike’s Waterfront Lodge offers a number of what can only be described as atypical hotel amenities. Rocks by the bucket full are available for guests to throw into the Chena river. In addition to a putting green, you can purchase golf balls to hit (or try to hit) across the river. The property also boasts a fitness center, aromatherapy steam room, and two Bocce ball courts.
Next door to the hotel is Pike’s Landing which offers full service lunch, dinner and Sunday Brunch (pre-quarantine). My visit coincided with the state just opening up for visitors from the lower 48 states, so the restaurant was continuing with a rather robust take-out menu when I checked in late June. The hotel offers a complimentary breakfast starting at 6 am on the first floor, just off the lobby. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to sample the breakfast fare as my plane took off at 5 am.
The good news is that the popular hotel is open for business. Travelers from the lower 48 states and Hawaii will first want to check current requirements for out-of-state visitors coming to Alaska. At the time of this writing, air travelers are required to have a COVID19 test within 72-hours of arrival in Alaska. If you don’t have one, you will receive a test at the airport. However, it is required that the traveler self-quarantine at their hotel or destination until receipt of a negative test.
For reservations call 877.774.2400 or visit their website at Pikes Lodge. You can also book your stay through Expedia or other hotel booking sites. Rates start at $131 with taxes and fees. A special military standard room rate with breakfast is available from May 7 – September 15 for members of the service with ID.