There aren’t many airport hotels that can brag about their backyard. Set minutes from the Fairbanks International Airport, Pike’s Waterfront Lodge offers the best of two worlds – a convenient location to hop a flight and a scenic riverfront locale that’s impressive regardless of the season.
Along with 180 rooms in nearly a dozen room categories, Pike’s Waterfront Lodge offers 28 cabins. Double queen rooms are the property’s most popular room type and its standard room equivalent. Located on all three floors of both buildings, rooms have two queen beds, a desk, and armoire. Some rooms have a small balcony.
Riverview Deluxe rooms have two queen beds or one king, upgraded linens and towels, and a balcony overlooking the Chena River. Room 131 boasts a forest green and burgundy color palette. Rich fabrics drape the windows and bathtub/shower combination, creating a feel reminiscent of Alaska’s gold rush heyday.
Regardless of category, every room offers a microwave, refrigerator, and coffee/tea maker. All rooms are non-smoking.
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.
The property offers a quirky take on Alaskan history. An outdoor walking tour that leads from one colorful sign to the next, teaches guests about pioneers that once called Fairbanks home. There’s a commemorative arch from when the Iditarod was staged in front of the hotel in 2003 and 2015, because conditions were too warm in Anchorage. Paintings throughout the property are from the owner’s private collection of Alaskan art, and in true Alaska lodge fashion, there’s an assortment of taxidermied animals in the lobby.
A buffet breakfast is served in the Binkley Room, overlooking the Chena River. Selections include the likes of oatmeal, sausage and egg biscuit sandwiches, hash browns, French toast, cereals, yoghurt, and assorted breads and pastries. During the summer season, an Italian buffet dinner is also served Sunday through Wednesday in the Binkley Room.
Lunch and dinner are available at neighboring Pike’s Landing restaurant. Dinner choices range from Center Cut New York Steak and Flat Iron Steak, to chicken nachos and Alaskan King Crab Bisque.
During the summer, Pike’s operates shuttle service to downtown Fairbanks for a fee. Self-service, coin-operated laundry is located on the first floor on the main building. Guests that want to be alerted when the Northern Lights are visible, (weather permitting, in fall, winter, and spring) can let the front desk know.
Pike’s Waterfront Lodge is just minutes from the Fairbanks International airport, and 15 minutes from downtown and the Alaska railroad. A number of Aurora Borealis viewing tours pick up from the hotel. For guests wanting to explore Fairbanks and beyond that are not booking organized tours, a rental car is recommended.
Double queen rooms range from $119 in low season; to $267 in high. Riverview Deluxe rooms from $157 in low season; to $303 in high. Breakfast is included mid-September through mid-May. Wi-Fi is complimentary but does not work in rooms even steps away from the lobby. Free self-parking. Make your reservations at the hotel website or Expedia.
Review and photos by San Francisco Bay Area travel writer and television correspondent Dana Rebmann. Her stay was organized by Explore Fairbanks, but as always her thoughts and opinions are her own.