01. Introduction: San Diego to Anchorage on Alaska Airlines
02. Alaska Airlines first class San Diego to Portland
03. Alaska Airlines first class Portland to Anchorage
04. Comfort Suites Anchorage Airport
05. A day and a half around Anchorage
06. Alaska Airlines Board Room Anchorage
07. Alaska Airlines first class Anchorage to Seattle
08. Alaska Airlines first class Seattle to San Diego
When booking a hotel for this trip, the primary requirement was distance to the airport. I had an early flight out of ANC the day of my departure, and having a place to stay as close to the airport would certainly make things as easy as possible. Judging by what I saw on Google maps, Comfort Suites seemed to fit that bill nicely.
That’s a dangerous way to pick a hotel, and I learned that the hard way this time. Here is my experience with the Comfort Suites at Anchorage airport.
After an excellent afternoon of aviation photography, I drove myself (in my rental car) over to the hotel. I thought that it was going to be rather easy based in the fact that it appeared to be on a major road leading into the airport. Heck – I didn’t even need a map! That proved to be a mistake, however, as I quickly realized that this hotel is located on a service road which is located parralell to the main highway – and it took me two trips around the block to fully understand where the entrance was. It’s not clearly marked at all, with only one tiny sign and a hidden driveway serving as the main entrance.
Once I figured things out, it was an easy and quick check in process. The lady at the front desk couldn’t have been more nice and helpful, which is always a nice thing to see after a long day of travel and adventure! My first impressions upon walking in the front door: rustic and very Alaskan – there’s even a huge stuffed bear in the lobby. Would you expect anything less?
I took the stairs to my second-floor room, and as soon as I entered the hallway I was hit with the feeling that this was most certainly not a luxury hotel. I think the hotels I’ve been staying in recently have been too nice, as I couldn’t help to immediately feel as if this place felt very cheap. It’s difficult to explain why, but the faint smell of chlorine, buzzing from the vending machines, and super-wide hallways just screamed “budget”. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but this place was the classic definition of the airport hotel. I’ve stayed in some nice airport hotels recently and this one was certainly not up to that caliber.
The room itself was actually a nice surprise. I wasn’t expecting much, but it was huge! The layout wasn’t anything special, but overall it felt very spacious.
It wasn’t long, however, until I realized that something was very wrong. The pounding and loud noises coming from the room above made one thing very clear: the walls and floors of this hotel were paper thin, and one could hear everything coming from the rooms all around. Yup – there was a huge family with young children in the room above mine and the non-stop stomping and running back and forth was driving me insane within a matter of minutes.
It only took an hour before I called down to the front desk to see if they had any other rooms available. Yes, I was that desperate! Unfortunately, the only available rooms were the much higher-priced suites, and I wasn’t willing to pay for that. I would have even switched to a different hotel if I hadn’t prepaid my room for both nights through hotels.com. I was not a happy guy.
The stomping and running eventually ended around 11pm, so I was able to get to sleep at a reasonable hour. But I remember waking up at 4am worried that those little demons above me would be waking soon. Luckily, I was able to sleep all the way until 8am before I heard the first bang on the floor.
Over the course of my two day stay at the Comfort Suites, I noticed a few more things that annoyed me:
- There aren’t any blackout curtains, which is a problem during summer here in Alaska. My room was bright 24 hours a day, and I ended up sleeping with a pillow over my head to block out the light.
- The flat screen TV was really low quality, and the aspect ratio was off enough so that it clipped part of the screen on many channels.
- The bathroom door would not stay open on its own, which was stupidly annoying. It drove me mad to walk into the bathroom for something really quick only to have the door gradually close behind me.
- I didn’t eat in the restaurant, mostly because the hours were inconvenient. Dinner was served from 5:30 to 8:30, which didn’t work for me due to the fact that it was prime-time for aviation photography out at ANC and I couldn’t return before they closed.
Would I stay here again? It’s hard to say. The location is pretty good (very near the airport) and I found the staff to be pleasant and nice. But the fact that the walls and floors are so thin makes me apprehensive about another stay. If the neighbors are quiet, this is a great place. But it’s downright miserable with noisy guests.
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