For many travelers, B&Bs are the best deal in Fairbanks, with reasonable prices, friendly hosts, and a free breakfast to boot. The downtown visitors center has racks of cards from local B&Bs, or find links on their website (www.explorefairbanks.com) or that of the Fairbanks Association of B&Bs (www.ptialaska.net/~fabb).
A fine bargain choice, Ah, Rose Marie B&B (302 Cowles St., 907/456-2040, www.akpub.com/akbbrv/ahrose.html, $65 s, $90 d) is a small historic home a few blocks from downtown. The four guest rooms have shared or private baths, and the big hot breakfast is always a hit.
Another good budget option is Downtown Log Cabin Hideaway (304 Badger St., 907/452-1100 summer or 520/841-2913 winter, www.mosquitonet.com/~apfvrf, mid-May–mid-Sept.), where the five rooms are just $75–85 d, including a full breakfast. They also provide free train or airport pickups and Wi-Fi.
Conveniently located in the heart of town, All Seasons B&B Inn (763 7th Ave., 907/451-6649 or 888/451-6649, www.allseasonsinn.com, $165–215 d) features eight elegant rooms, delicious full breakfasts, friendly owners, Wi-Fi, a guest computer, private baths, and air-conditioning for those hot summer days.
Minnie Street B&B Inn (345 Minnie St., 907/456-1802 or 888/456-1849, www.minniestreetbandb.com) is a large and modern downtown place with 13 rooms ($119–159 d), deluxe suites ($179–219 d) with jetted tubs and full kitchens, and a small private house ($189 d, summer only). All include a big breakfast, an outdoor hot tub, a guest computer, Wi-Fi, and a surprisingly quiet setting. Check out unusual breakfast recipes on their website.
A Taste of Alaska Lodge (907/488-7855, www.atasteofalaska.com) is a 7,000-square-foot log home five miles out Chena Hot Springs Road. Located on a 280-acre homestead, the hilltop location faces south toward the Alaska Range, making for dramatic wintertime aurora displays. Eight rooms are available in the antique-filled main lodge ($185–195 d). Also available is a two-bedroom log home ($235 d) with its own hot tub, and a one-bedroom house ($205 d); add $35 for each additional guest. Amenities for all accommodations include private baths, an indoor hot tub, a guest computer, Wi-Fi, and full breakfasts.
On a hill a dozen miles southwest of Fairbanks near the town of Ester, A Moose in the Garden B&B (1691 Flat Pick Rd., 907/479-2767, www.amooseinthegarden.com) is another real-Alaskan treat. One room ($129 s, $149 d) features views of wintertime northern lights, plus a corner hot tub and a separate loft with twin beds for the kids. Two downstairs rooms ($89 s, $109 d) share a bath, and all guests have access to the sauna, the large deck facing Denali, Wi-Fi, and full breakfasts.
Fairbanks’s most unique lodging is—without a doubt— Aurora Express (907/474-0949 or 800/221-0073, www.aurora-express.com, late May–early Sept., $145–160 d). Susan and Mike Wilson have assembled a nostalgic collection of seven Alaska Railroad cars (the oldest dates from 1924) and decorated the interiors with playful themes, including a 19th-century bordello with antiques and crystal chandeliers! Families will love the restored Pullman sleeper with two baths; it sleeps four for $225 (but kids must be over age 12). A big breakfast is served in the dining car each morning. Be sure to ask Susan about her time as the only woman on a pipeline construction crew in the 1970s. Aurora Express is definitely recommended, especially if you’re a train enthusiast.
A gorgeous log home along Chena Ridge west of town, the appropriately named Grand View B&B (907/479-3388, www.grandview-bb.com, $135 d) overlooks the Tanana River and the Alaska Range. Guests can relax in the big hot tub, warm up in the sauna, or just enjoy the vistas from the back deck. Four guest rooms all have private baths and Wi-Fi. A filling breakfast is included.
Constructed from massive logs in 1976, Anschen Log House (1260 Heldiver St., 907/452-6336, www.anschenloghouse.com) is everything you might imagine in an Alaskan lodge. A rugged stone fireplace dominates the living room, and you’ll enjoy a delicious breakfast with picture-window views across the Chena River. The B&B contains two large guest rooms ($100 d) that share a bath. The suite ($125 d; named for Sarah Palin “because it is just as pretty”) has a king bed, a private entrance, and a sun porch. Children are not allowed; this is a romantic adults-only place.
Located on Chena Ridge with sweeping views—sometimes all the way to Mt. McKinley—Dale & Jo View Suites (3260 Craft Rd., 907/378-0186, www.daleandjo.com) consists of two rooms on the third floor ($175–198 d) and two on the first floor ($137–160 d), all with private baths, Wi-Fi, and a full breakfast. Winter guests come for the spectacular northern lights viewing from this ridgetop location.
© Don Pitcher from Moon Alaska, 10th Edition