My Favorite Fairbanks Hotel

28 02 2011

Ordinarily I try to seek out and (where warranted) sing the praises of independent, locally-rooted properties when I travel.

It’s not that I necessarily have anything against the big chains — I’ve stayed at many a Super 8 when in need — but, well, I just don’t tend to think that they need my help. And it’s very rare that a chain spot truly stands out, really makes itself memorable.

One major exception to this rule is the Best Western Chena River Lodge, my go-to Fairbanks hotel.

My first stay here was born out of desperation. A friend and I had decided to take a detour up the Parks Highway to Fairbanks from Anchorage, instead of heading straight home to Whitehorse via the Glenn Highway and the Tok Cutoff. (Hey, what’s another few hundred miles, right?)

But we hadn’t made any plans or done any research about hotel options in Fairbanks, the drive had taken hours longer than expected thanks to icy roads, and we arrived in town tired, cranky, hungry and lost. We drove aimlessly around for awhile, selecting highway exits at random until, finally, I spotted the Best Western sign looming ahead of us. A familiar brand-name logo never looked so good.

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