by Amanda Norcross
For prime views of the Northern Lights in Alaska, book a stay at the Chena Hot Springs Resort. The resort provides nighttime wake-up calls for those who don’t want to miss the light show, seen from the resort’s “Aurorium.” Of course, the natural springs are also a highlight at this resort, located about an hour from Fairbanks. There’s also an indoor swimming pool an Ice Museum onsite. Accommodations include guestrooms, cabins, and heated yurts.
Our Editor Loves
- Northern Lights "Aurorium"
- Cozy, heated yurts and cabins
- Chena Shuttle
- Free Wi-Fi
- Onsite Dining
Be cautious ! Very bad experience while visiting the Hot Springs. My friend got a little over heated and passed out in the locker room, that was very humid, warm and crowded . When I called for emergency medical attention from the front desk no one showed up. I finally was able to cool him down with cold water and regained consciousness “very Scary”. After about 25 minutes a young girls voice screamed in the locker room telling me policy would not allow her to enter the men’s room. I took my friend out to the entrance room and had him finish getting dressed. After another 20 minutes passed still no one came to see if he was ok.
When I asked why no one was concerned or cared about his condition and why no one reacted to the emergency in the locker room, the young girl at the desk replied , “We don’t have a dude on staff”. I asked if any of the girls on staff at the time were even trained in any way for even the basic first aid, they all replied “NO” . Good thing my friend did not suffer a heart attack or fall and smash his head.
About the time we were going out the door the staff gave him a small packet of electrolytes to add to a bottle of water but didn’t even offer a bottle of water.
Let’s start with the good:
1- The hot spring- It was very neat. Walking around in the spring you could find the ideal temperature you enjoyed because it ranged from warm to VERY hot. Relaxing in a hot spring when it’s -2 is an interesting experience.
2- The hot stone massage- My favorite part of our stay. It was very relaxing and done so well! The little cabin was warm and comfortable and the stones were the perfect temperature and texture.
3- The ice museum was cool to see.
4- The pool and hot tubs were kept at a nice temperature.
And now for the bad:
1- The restaurant- It was uncomfortably hot the whole time. The service was slow and servers constantly brought the wrong thing (ex: wrong breakfast order, burger with mayo when we specified without due to allergy, wrong drink). Food was so-so.
2- Activities- There were so few things to do! I expected a lot of activities like the website showed, but all you could do was visit the ice museum or dog kennel, take an expensive flight, or learn about the geothermal power plant.
3- The room- Ugh, it was so bad! First off, it was either boiling or freezing and I don’t think moving the thermostat actually affected the temperature. The floors were uneven and sloped to one side. Stairs were treacherous because they never shoveled. And the walls must be paper-thin because when people walked by talking it sounded like they were in the room with us. The beds were horrible, just so uncomfortable.
4- Parking- You have to park way too far from the rooms. Trying to wheel suitcases down poorly maintained paths to get to the room is rough. This could have been helped if they had shoveled or plowed any areas.
Overall, I would recommend that you come out for a day. Visit the hot spring, get a massage, and then go back to town to stay in a decent hotel.