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Old July 26th, 2003, 06:01 PM
SF Sharon
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Default Anchorage Lodging

We were all set to depart on a Vancouver to Seward/Anchorage cruise this weekend, when two days ago the cruiseline called our TA and said they are overbooked for that sailing, and they made us an attractive offer to move to a different date. After some negotiation about which date we would sail (their first offer was for a date and itinerary we did not want), we agreed to the switch, and now need to line up a good hotel (minimum 3-star) in Anchorage for an attractive price for 2 nights next weekend.

I would prefer to use the reasonably normal channels, i.e. no Priceline. Does anyone have any suggestions for a 3 or 4 star hotel around $85-$120 per night? Nothing worn-down, shabby or basic. I have something lined up just in case, but am very underwhelmed with the price/amenity ratio.

Even if you don't have the answer to that question, could you post your experience (recent, please) with hotels you have liked or not liked in Anchorage, with details about location to airport, shuttle service to the airport and town (essential). Any great B & B's or hotels that might not be in my AAA guide? (I have the Entertainment Book and those rates aren't being honored this season, even though there are no blackout periods listed in the book.)

Thanks!
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Old July 26th, 2003, 06:11 PM
Wookie
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Default Re: Anchorage Lodging

Just to let you know we just got back from Anchorage yesterday.... we stayed in something that ended in Motor Inn.... I believe maybe the Lake Shore Motor Inn.... not what it looked like online at all! The Microtel down the block was quite nice, some family was staying there and it was 10 times better than our apartment suite at the motor inn.... Not sure about the prices since I wasnt the one paying for it but the rooms at the Microtel were very spacious, clean, and they looked relatively new, also the free breakfast was nice also you may want to look at that one, just PLEASE stay away from the Lake Shore Motor Inn!!!!
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Old July 27th, 2003, 03:21 AM
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Default Re: Anchorage Lodging

We stayed at the Holiday Inn Anchorage Downtown for two nights, the room was fairly big, but not great to look at, no fridge in the room just an ice machine in the hallway. I guess it depends on your own expectations and needs when staying at any hotel. Breakfast was quite good and reasonably priced. They do have a shuttle but you can't book it (as we found out) so you just have to wait for it to get back (they must only have one shuttle bus!). We did not know we could ring the hotel to get the shuttle when we arrived at the airport, subsequently we paid a taxi $20 for the trip into town.

Cheers,
Kim
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Old July 27th, 2003, 10:43 AM
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Default Re: Anchorage Lodging

There will be little available in that price range at this late date. Will you have a car??? I have stayed in several very nice B&B's but a car is needed. You can try the new Ramada- they were running a $99 special and offered shuttles to/from Depot and airport. The other Ramada on Muldoon also offers shuttles but is not near any attractions. Sometimes good internet specials. There is also a Super 8 by the airport. Choose carefully if you don't have a car.



8. RAMADA INN DOWNTOWN ANCHORAGE: If you're looking for a bargain, this is
the place! As low as $99 per night ($99 Sun-Mon; $109 per night Tue-Sat)
at the all-new Ramada Inn Downtown Anchorage!

VIDEO-ON-DEMAND is up and running! In conjunction with GCI, the Ramada is
offering the TOP EIGHT MOVIES for hotel guests. That means you can watch
your favorite NEW RELEASE movie right in your room!

LAPTOP HEAVEN: Each room features FREE broadband GCI Cable Modem. Also,
video-on-demand for first-run movies. There's a charge for this, of
course.

Can't wait to chow down at the adjoining "Yukon Yacht Club" restaurant
with 35 microbrews on tap. My neighbor, Kevin Tubbs, is running the
restaurant. Check out the "Fair Maiden" which graces the mock-up boat
inside the restaurant. Too cool.

Located on Third Avenue between A St. and Barrow St., the new Ramada Inn
Downtown Anchorage is central to downtown with FREE PARKING! Plus:
a. ON-SITE workout facility.
b. ON-SITE business center, featuring hi-speed internet.
c. ON-SITE guest laundry facilities.

Make your reservations now to get the special $99/$109 rate. Space is
limited--so call today: (907)272-7561 or toll-free (866)619-4656
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Old July 27th, 2003, 03:27 PM
SF Sharon
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Default Re: Anchorage Lodging

Hi Wookie, will definitely avoid the Lake Shore Motor Inn. Thanks for the heads up.

Hi Karen. We will not have a car and in fact have the Cruisetrain booked through Holland America, so we need to stay either near the airport or downtown or in-between, with a hotel that offers a shuttle both directions.

I called the Ramada (thanks for the tip) and they are available on the 1st but booked on the 2nd. They are not a new hotel, though. (I shuddered when the fellow said they used to be a Howard Johnson Lodge [ugh], but he told me they have remodeled extensively. )

I have reservations that are above $160 per night for two nights at one of the 3-star hotels, and may have to look into Priceline or some other discount operation in order to bring the price down. I don't want to do it, though. I have successfully brought prices down significantly by telephone direct with hotels all my life, and it is very frustrating that the very same hotels that may get only $50-$60 through Priceline haven't offered much through my direct calls. I know there has to be a better alternative.

Any hotel owners out there who don't want to see one of their rooms go empty, with lost revenue that can never be regained? Post here, and I'll give you a call.
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Old July 27th, 2003, 11:46 PM
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Join Date: May 2002
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Default Re: Anchorage Lodging

Actually the Hojo wasn't a bad hotel either. You aren't likely to find much of anything in your price range of less than $120. Since you will have to be at the train depot by about 0730, I would get a location closer to downtown.
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Old July 28th, 2003, 12:28 PM
SF Sharon
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Default Re: Anchorage Lodging

Actually, the train is not the regularly scheduled Coastal Classic that departs from the downtown train depot, but rather Alaska Railroad's chartered "cruise train" that departs from Ted Stevens Airport around 11:15 a.m. or so and arrives as close to the cruise ship dock as possible around 5:30 PM. At least we'll be able to sleep in a bit and have a decent breakfast before boarding the train.

Has anyone stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn in Anchorage? It's more than we want to pay, but is available both nights and appears to have some decent features, including complimentary airport shuttle and shuttle to downtown if the shuttle is not needed for an airport pickup.

Thoughts, tips, suggestions? What is the lowest price paid for this hotel high season?

Has anyone stayed at the Voyager Hotel?
Others?
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Old July 28th, 2003, 11:37 PM
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Default Re: Anchorage Lodging

Some (if not all) cruise contracted trains also pick up at the depot before the airport- which is new this year.
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Old July 29th, 2003, 09:13 AM
SF Sharon
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Default Re: Anchorage Lodging

"Some (if not all) cruise contracted trains also pick up at the depot before the airport- which is new this year."

This is good information to know. Alaska Railroad told me that the train departs from the airport, and that has some bearing on which lodging to choose. If the train departs from the depot (downtown?), then perhaps it might be better to stay there or nearby, since we'd like to visit the downtown area anyway. We definitely don't want to rent a car for this short visit, and want to avoid long taxi rides, too, so a shuttle going both to town and the airport is important. It's too early to call the Railroad now, but I'll try them later to see if there is a depot stop prior to the airport stop. Thanks, Karen.
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Old July 29th, 2003, 09:19 AM
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Default Re: Anchorage Lodging

I think the Courtyard Marriott was fairly reasonable, but don't remember the exact price. We were there in May though ,so the price might have gone up as tourist season got going good. It is near the airport.
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Old August 13th, 2003, 01:23 PM
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Default Re: Anchorage Lodging

Hello SF Sharon,

I don't know how you feel about a B&B, but my husband and I decided to go for it after reading a really good review on www.fodors.com for the Sleeping Lady B&B. I believe their names are Steve & Sherry, and it was so fabulous!!!! We had been gone from home for over 2 weeks at that point, so we thought a home stay might be cozier, and it was right on target. We got their large bedroom (with bath of course) with the great view of the ocean, and it was so nice. They do a lot at breakfast (quiche, fruit, quite a spread), and they are so nice. There are some chairs outside and a lovely living room to enjoy, and they are located just a few blocks from the train. We took a taxi because we had too much luggage to walk it, but it was only $5 or so. It's just about 3 blocks from the heart of the sightseeing district in Anchorage, so we found that the location could not be beat. I think we paid $150 per night (stayed 2 nights and went to the Alaska Heritage Center and the zoo as well as the scenic drive recommended on www.frommers.com). Here's the web site: http://www.anchsleepingladybnb.com/.

Hope you have a great trip.

Donna
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Old August 14th, 2003, 07:03 PM
SF Sharon
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Default Re: Anchorage Lodging

Thanks to everyone. We returned from our cruise this past Sunday. We had the best weather of any week this season, absolutely gorgeous. Our entire cruise vacation was very enjoyable.

We decided to stay at the Ramada Inn Downtown (room became available for Saturday, August 2nd), mostly for the free transportation to and from the airport. (The Courtyard is near the airport and provides transportation only to and from the airport. If I recall correctly, and I'm not sure now, I think the rate was $161.)

The rate we got at the Ramada Inn Downtown was $ 119 per night plus 8% Anchorage city "bed tax." Anchorage is very expensive. It's hard for us to pay that much money for a 2-star hotel without gagging as we are accustomed to much nicer lodging for the same price or slightly higher, but we didn't have a lot of attractive options. The Hilton Garden Inn originally stated they would ferry us downtown, too, but they kept emphasizing that "the airport has priority." When I pressed them for an explanation, they said that an airline uses their hotel and the people have to be shuttled to and from the airport quite frequently. The same is true of their "sibling" hotel across the street, the Hampton Inn. Asiana stays at the Hampton Inn and a cargo airline stays at HGI.

Saturday night we went down to the Ramada's restaurant at 9pm and the kitchen was already closed. We were too tired to go anywhere else, so we ate a piece of bread and went to bed. In the morning we went to their $7.50 buffet breakfast, which, to be kind, is not quite ready for prime time. The server hadn't been working for the hotel as long as we had been staying there. People staying in the hotel as well as locals who turned out to try the buffet and to support a local business, were constantly looking around for something to eat, coffee to pour, etc. Many grumbles were heard. No one was happy. There was not a single time when all food items that should have been on the buffet table were there at the same time. People had to keep coming back and asking or checking to see if the milk for their cereal was there yet, where were their eggs, how about some HOT coffee, etc. (We had the table next to the buffet, so we could pounce on things when they did arrive, and we informed others when something new was added). The server carried one thing at a time, but she was cute and friendly, if that matters.

Pluses: the airport transportation and the friendly drivers, bathrooms were reasonably large and were very clean and new, comfortable bed and pillows, excellent sound insulation between rooms (we only noticed a crying baby next door when we went out into the hallway and walked past their door), within walking distance to the Saturday market, sound-insulating windows which made the train whistles bearable, hotel recently redone so fresh paint, carpet everywhere, bus stop outside the door, free parking, interior corridors (in the part of the hotel where we were located, though not throughout), coffee maker in the room, good TV reception.

Minuses: Very limited services, the dining room food, hours, service, exterior windows need cleaning, no closet at all, just a small hanging area, not convenient to restaurants, no snack machine (needed due to early closing hours of restaurant and inconvenience to other restaurants), absolutely no recreational facilities whatsoever that we could see (definitely no swimming pool or jacuzzi inside or out), if there was a workout facility, we didn't see it and no one mentioned it to us. limited services. Also, the reservationist told me on the phone that our breakfast would be included, but then her manager got on the phone after the reservation was essentially finished and said that she could not honor the free breakfast (the restaurant is sort of separate, though it opens into the lobby of the motel), and that we would have to buy it if we wanted it.

I would like to know where the $109 rate was listed, since what I found was a $159 rate (which is what they quoted), but I found it on a website that mentioned a $50 reduction, so they honored that. I did not see the $109 rate anywhere.

We had such a great time in Alaska that we might consider another cruise there next year, and by then the Ramada Inn could be a worthwhile place to stay, but I'd like to see them extend their dining room hours. They make the restaurant a selling point of staying there and then it's closed early on a Saturday night. That was very uncool.
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