Kenai Princess Lodge
During the winter, to fight against cabin fever, Claimjumper and I like to try to get out and visit some of the lodges in Alaska. Winter is a great time to take advantage of the discount season as most travelers to Alaska come in the summer. Prices on some of the fancier lodges are slashed, so Claimjumper and I decided we would spoil ourselves by staying in the deluxe room for a weekend. The Kenai Princess Lodge was a wonderful getaway. Very few people were there in early March. We enjoyed the cozy accommodations and absolutely breathtaking views -- both from the lodge itself and from our room. The Kenai peninsula is always a great adventure spot with activities year-round.
The lodge is located in Cooper Landing overlooking a bend of the Kenai River. From Anchorage, head south on the New Seward Highway out of town. There will be large signs indicating a right turn on the Sterling Highway toward Soldotna/Homer. Follow the Sterling Highway to milepost 47, and then start looking for Bean Creek Road on the right. Actually, Bean Creek Road looks like you go straight off the Sterling Highway as the highway bends to the left and Bean Creek goes straight ahead. Along Bean Creek Road there will be signs to follow directing you to both the lodge and the Princess RV Park, which are within walking distance of one another.
Since we were visiting in the winter season, we took advantage of the inexpensive rates and spoiled ourselves by staying in the deluxe room for $129 per night. (It’s a far cry from tent camping, but we managed.) The room featured a king size bed, a separate bedroom and living room, back deck, wood stove, television, telephone, and restroom. The standard rooms were running only $99 per night. During the peak season, the standard rooms go for $239 and the deluxe for $269. All rooms have a wood burning stove, and the lodge provides wood and starter for its guests. This large commercial lodge impressed us with a charming and romantic setting that can typically only found in small Bed & Breakfasts.
We had plenty to keep ourselves busy for the weekend. During the day we took a horseback trip along the frozen Kenai Lake with Alex Kime at Alaska Horseman Trail Adventures. This was by far the best horseback riding tour we have found to date. The incredible scenery draws adventurers out to explore all the wonders of wintertime. I will never forget the fairyland trails we rode, watching sparking ice crystals floating in the breeze. Alaska Horseman Trail Adventures excursion is a must-do if you enjoy horseback riding.
We also enjoyed exploring the old logging roads on cross-country skis. The front desk of the lodge has maps on how to locate the hiking and ski trails. The staff told us that there is even a frozen waterfall, “Juneau Falls,” that one can ski out to. Unfortunately we started to late in the day and had to turn back because the trails are not lighted. So we could not confirm the existence of this waterfall. But the trail was a lot of fun. It was not groomed, but in some ways we appreciated this. We liked to cut our own tracks in the fresh snow that had fallen the night before. One of the employees invited us to join her and her friends at a bonfire they create in the evening where they all meet on cross-country skis. They really went out of their way to make us feel welcome.
In the evenings we enjoyed soaking in the hot tubs at the lodge. One of the tubs is indoors and one is outdoors. We just love the sensation of sitting it the outdoor tub when it is snowing. Since there were so few people there, most of the time we had the tubs to ourselves.
The dining was excellent at the main lodge. Food is something that Princess consistently does well. They served a vegetarian pasta dish that was out of this world. The price for the food was fairly reasonable and the service was excellent. When we told our server we were going on the horseback adventure, she filled our thermos with hot apple cider for the trip and did not charge us. I hope we do not get her into any trouble for disclosing that! We definitely felt pampers while staying at the lodge. An outdoor deck overlooking Kenai River runs the entire length of the main lodge. We stepped out of the restaurant onto the observation deck and used a high powered spotting scope mounted on the deck to watch eagles hunting for fish. Claimjumper found one on the bank trying to eat a salmon while badgered by ravens wanting to steal the meal.
One thing that was a bit disappointing was that the gift shop was closed during the winter season. We pressed our faces against the windows to take a peek inside and it looked like a great place to find interesting Alaskana. We will have to return in the summer to check this out, and also take another crack at finding Juneau Falls. Also, once the lake thaws, we look forward to trying one of the float trips that can be arranged through the lodge or by contacting the local guides.
Click here for contact information on the Kenai Princess Lodge.
Last Visited: March 2002