One of the things I’ve always found fascinating about my hometown of Anchorage is its diversity. Something like six of the ten most ethnically diverse zip codes can be found in the Anchorage Bowl, but it’s visitor diversity that comes to mind when I think of the city’s hotels.
Anchorage is far more cosmopolitan than virtually anyone who pictures an American city of 250,000 residents would be, owing to its position at a crossroads of continents and it being the only city of any significant size in the vast northern Pacific region between Vancouver, Canada and Sapporo, Japan.
It’s also the commercial and administrative center of a state of 750,000 that has little other option than to come into town for all sorts of business. Couple that with a stream of visitors, workers en route to oil fields, mines, or fish canneries, scientists of all sorts studying resource management and climate change, airline crews and a host of others working to support the state’s large visitor industry and it’s easy to feel that, upon arriving in Anchorage, all paths have led to this modern metropolis that appears at once incongruous and harmonious with its spectacular natural surroundings.
A good number of that diverse spate of travelers find themselves in the lobby at Hilton Anchorage, which has stood at the corner of 3rd Avenue and E Street since the middle of the last century and is regarded as something of an institution in town. Countless generations have ducked into the hotel to warm up during downtown winter celebrations like Fur Rendezvous or Iditarod or attended celebrations in the chandelier-capped ballroom.
The city’s traveler profile has changed over the years, but the hotel’s international character is still apparent when entering the lobby. The vaguely standard décor from thirty years ago transitioned to more Alaskan in character in recent times, but the time zone clocks behind the front desk and the Asian cargo airline crews waiting for crew shuttles all hours of the day and night still bely the hotel’s position as an outpost of intercontinental commerce.
The evolution of customer tastes in the upper-upscale hotel segment hasn’t ignored Anchorage either. Hooper Bay Café is the hotel’s morning-to-midday restaurant where guests can breakfast on reindeer sausage from the buffet where friendly servers also offer wide ranges of dishes cooked to order or fresh Alaska seafood at lunch.
In the evening, it’s the bar/lounge-with-food option in the form of Bruin’s Bar, where a number of big screens can get any sports game on the airwaves, reflecting the difficulty of many hotels to draw local traffic to their dining venues, but still turning out high-quality meals for in-house guests not wishing to venture out to the myriad nearby dining options.
Guest rooms were refreshed in early 2019 along with the rest of the hotel’s public spaces, and are done in the latest Hilton-standard designs with natural colors and well-placed outlets in a variety of layouts—some rooms feature easy chairs with ottomans while others have couches; others alternate between step-in showers and those with bathtubs. All have views of the Alaska or Chugach mountain ranges, Cook Inlet and the downtown core.
Also boasting views of Cook Inlet and the Alaska Range is the hotel’s fitness center, which also has an indoor pool and hot tub. In fact, there are few locations in the hotel that don’t benefit from a view. For years, the Top of the World Restaurant on the 15th floor served up views to patrons during the dinner hour and was the host of numerous special event dinners and Sunday Brunches, but the space now serves as some of the city’s most scenic function space.
A grand old lady fresh off a renovation with views and a location that can’t be beat, the Hilton Anchorage offers up the best of Anchorage’s diversity to visitors of any stripe.
Rates start at $149 per night and vary by occupancy and season.
This hotel is all about views, and views will certainly get engagement.
Good to Know
There is no self-parking provided by the hotel, but valet parking is available and public pay lots and street parking are plentiful nearby.
As a general rule, higher floor rooms have better views. Hilton Honors members checking in via the app can select their own room from a floor plan.
The hotel is conveniently located to the attractions of Downtown Anchorage, and the Alaska Railroad Depot.
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