PHOTO: The McKinley Chalet Resort (Courtesy Holland America Line)
Three years ago, Holland America Line acquired the McKinley Chalet Hotel in Alaska’s Denali National Park with the goal of developing the property even further.
That included extensive room updates and upgrades and the development of their own Denali Square, which includes Karstens, a 7,000 square-foot, two-story restaurant, as well as an amphitheater, fire pits, an artist-in-residence cabin, and incredible views of Denali National Park.
The results of all that hard work has paid off and, just recently, the Alaska Tourism Industry Association presented Holland America with an Alyeska Award. The Award recognizes outstanding leadership, professional excellence and group contribution to the Alaska travel industry.
Celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2016, Holland America has 14 ships that currently offer 500 cruises to 400 ports around the world. The company announced a $300 million brand enhancement which included this refinement at the 60-acre McKinley Chalet Resort. The resort features 345 rooms, fine and casual dining, an on-site dinner theater, on-site raft departures and trails for walking, biking and hiking. McKinley Chalet Resort is located right at the Denali Canyon on the banks of the Nenana River, only a few miles from the entrance to the National Park.
Holland America also owns 26 acres adjacent to the chalets as well.
READ MORE: HAL Captain, Crew Recognized For Sea Rescue
The Chalet provides accommodations for guests on one of the 16 Holland America Line’s Land+Sea Journeys tours. Denali Square became a key part of that package for Holland America, which combines an Alaska cruise with a tour of the 6 miilion-acre Denali National Park.
The stunningly beautiful national park has six campgrounds and is the only national park with a kennel of working sled dogs. Over 160 bird species call the park home and you can explore the backcountry of Denali by backpacking or mountaineering. The Denali National Park and Preserve is home to moose, caribou, wolves, Dall sheep, and grizzly bears. It is also home to America’s highest peak, Mt. Denali (formerly Mt. McKinley), which is more than 20,000 feet high.
The cruise itineraries to the park include a ride along the luxurious domed rail cars of the McKinley Explorer which are bound for Anchorage, a 6- to 8- hour fully narrated sightseeing excursions to see the park’s mountain and wildlife, Beluga whale tours, a visit to the Portage Glacier and a tour of the fort Ketchikan which is rich in salmon fishing. Cruisers will also get explore Juneau, the capital of Alaska, where they can either shop till they drop or just explore.
Visitors to Denali Square will enjoy shows, ranger talks and demonstrations. They can also listen to live music at the Gold Nugget Saloon, which is home to the Music of Denali Dinner Theater. The Denali Square walking paths allow guests to enjoy the mountainous landscapes and beautiful setting just across the Nenana River at Denali National Park.
Holland America continues to expand, with a 2,650-guest ship, ms Koningsdam, that was delivered in April 2016, and the Pinnacle Class ship, ms Nieuw Statendam, due for delivery in November 2018.