Billie’s Backpackers Hostel (2895 Mack Rd., 907/479-2034, www.alaskahostel.com, year-round) has four-person dorms for $30 per person, or pay $15 per person for a tent space. Private rooms are $80 d, but these go fast. The hostel provides a kitchen, showers, computers, Wi-Fi, and travel information, and has the added bonus of a sundeck, a barbecue, and free bikes. The friendly owner, Billie Maire Cook, bakes bread and cinnamon rolls daily for guests. You can call any time if you’re coming in late at night.
GoNorth Base Camp Hostel (3500 Davis Rd., near the airport, 907/479-7272 or 866/236-7272, www.paratours.net, mid-May–mid-Sept.) has beds in cozy tent cabins ($25 pp), along with tent spaces ($12 s, $18 d). Kids love the tepee, and other facilities include a kitchen, a barbecue, coin-op showers, guest computers, Wi-Fi, outdoor equipment rentals (from canoes to satellite phones), and trip planning. Staff members are fluent in German and French.
Close to the airport, Golden North Motel (4888 Airport Way, 907/479-6201 or 800/447-1910, www.goldennorthmotel.com, $79–99 s, $89–109 d) has clean and quiet (but small) rooms at reasonable prices. Don’t come here expecting the Ritz Carleton, but guests appreciate the continental breakfast, computer, free Wi-Fi, and 24-hour courtesy van.
Fountainhead Development (907/452-6661 or 800/528-4916, www.fountainheadhotels.com) owns three Fairbanks lodging places: Bridgewater Hotel, Sophie Station Hotel, and Wedgewood Resort. All three include free airport and train depot shuttles, along with guest computers. There is free Wi-Fi throughout Sophie Station, plus in the lobby area and some rooms at Wedgewood and Bridgewater.
Conveniently located downtown, Bridgewater Hotel (723 1st Ave., mid-May–mid-Sept., $145 d) has attractive rooms; ask for a corner unit overlooking the river.
Sophie Station Hotel (1717 University Ave., 907/479-3650, $185 d) provides large and attractive suites—all with full kitchens. It’s also smoke-free, with a fitness center, a restaurant, and a lounge on the premises.
On the north side of town, Wedgewood Resort (212 Wedgewood Dr.) offers homey apartment-style units, all with full kitchens, living rooms, and dining rooms. One-bedroom units are $170 d or $190 for four people, and two-bedroom units run $220 d or $260 for six people. Also on the resort grounds is the seasonal Bear Lodge, with standard hotel rooms for $170 d, along with the Alaska Bird Observatory.
Regency Fairbanks (95 10th Ave., 907/452-3200 or 800/478-1320, www.regencyfairbankshotel.com, standard rooms $162–172 d, suites $210 d) is a large, centrally located hotel where the well-kept guest rooms all have full kitchens. The Regency provides a free airport and railroad shuttle, plus a business center, a workout room, and Wi-Fi.
Extended Stay Deluxe (4580 Old Airport Rd., 907/457-2288 or 888/595-2151, www.extendedstaydeluxe.com, $125–135 d) has all the amenities travelers have come to expect: an indoor pool, a hot tub, an exercise room, a business center, in-room fridges, microwaves, Wi-Fi, free airport and train shuttles, and a continental breakfast. Standard rooms, family suites, Jacuzzi suites, and suites with full kitchens and king beds are all the same price.
Similarly set up, and brand-new in 2009, the 101-room Hampton Inn & Suites (433 Harold Bentley Ave., 907/451-1502 or 800/426-7866, www.hamptoninn.com, $189 d) has an indoor pool, a hot tub, an exercise facility, a hot breakfast, big TVs, microwaves, fridges, Wi-Fi, and a business center. It’s located across from Wal-Mart off Johansen Expressway.
River’s Edge Resort (4200 Boat St., 907/474-0286 or 800/770-3343, www.riversedge.net) consists of 90 modern cottages crowded together along the Chena River. Each is charmingly decorated and includes two queen beds; rates are $189 d or $209 d for riverside units. A restaurant and pub are on the premises.
A modern six-story hotel in the center of Fairbanks, SpringHill Suites by Marriott (575 1st Ave., 907/451-6552 or 877/729-0197, www.springhillsuites.com, $189 for up to 5 people) is just across the street from the Chena River. Spacious suites contain two queens or one king bed, and guests appreciate the excellent restaurant (Lavelle’s Bistro), indoor pool, exercise room, Jacuzzi, sauna, mini-fridges, microwaves, flat screen TVs, Wi-Fi, buffet breakfast, and free airport shuttle.
The 180-room Pike’s Waterfront Lodge (907/456-4500 or 877/774-2400, www.pikeslodge.com) is on Airport Way next to Pike’s Landing Restaurant. Rooms and suites are attractively furnished, sleeping four people for $220 d, but the cozy modern cabins are more private at $235 d. All guests have access to the fitness center, sauna, steam room, Wi-Fi, and courtesy airport and train station shuttle. More unique is the hydroponic greenhouse next to the lodge, which grows tomatoes, lettuce, and strawberries for their restaurant (Pike’s Landing). Owner Jay Ramras is a well-known Republican state representative.
© Don Pitcher from Moon Alaska, 10th Edition