HAL Reveals Newest Addition To Alaska’s McKinley Chalet Resort

Cruise Week

The ribbon-cutting for the McKinley Chalet Resort addition.

An aerial view of the new 99-room building.

A bedroom in the new section of McKinley Chalet Resort.

Holland American Line executives recently cut the ribbon on the newest addition to the McKinley Chalet Resort in Denali, Alaska. The 99-room three-level, two-wing Ridge View building has a total of 54 junior suites, the first of their kind in the McKinley Chalet, as well as 45 standard rooms.


Cruise Week’s Art Sbarsky reports that the junior suites are really quite nice, with balconies, large living areas, plenty of premium amenities, heated bathroom floors, and a really well-done floor-to-ceiling map of Denali National Park and Reserve.

The first two floors of the three-story building have open-air lobbies with gas fireplaces and comfy furniture; the top level has an open deck area with a wonderful view.

The building is entered via the middle floor, which is also the level where ADA-equipped rooms are located. Access via the walkway and sidewalk/road/bus is extremely convenient for everybody.

Overall, Ridge View is an excellent addition to the 582-room McKinley Chalet, not just because of the rooms, but in the way it fits into the overall layout of the property.

It's adjacent to Denali Square, which has restaurants, shops, a public market and amphitheatre. A local who was there for the Ridge View opening told Cruise Week that Denali Square has become extremely popular with residents of the area as well as cruisers. She cited Karstens Public House & Market in particular, with its inside and outside restaurant/drinking areas.

The scenic walking path along the nearby Nenana river is fun, with easy access to the starting point for rafting trips, which makes it even better.

The trip also offered the opportunity to check out the newest of the facilities at the adjacent Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge. Travel advisors can book Holland America Line cruise customers at the Princess property and vice versa, since they're sister brands.

At the 663-room Princess lodge there's also a good assortment of facilities for guests. For instance, those in the Caribou Ridge rooms, which are the furthest away from the main building, have their own bar, breakfast express cafe, and a large viewing deck.

In the heart of Princess Village, there's an assortment of shops, snack places, and main restaurants, including the fancifully designed and themed indoor/outdoor restaurant Fannie Qs Saloon; it's very lively with live entertainment and fitting for the area.
 
The majority of people at both properties mix a one-night, two-night, or three-night land package with an open-jaw cruise.

To get passengers to the lodges, Princess and Holland America have combined forces to move everybody by trains and buses. It's a huge task. To put it in perspective, the entire Alaska HAL-Princess operation encompasses over 350 motor coaches, making it the fourth largest private bus company in North America. Yet their challenging task is handled seemingly seamlessly.