It’s hard to find luxury in the wilderness of Alaska. Ask me, I know. After driving for three weeks on an Alaska Highway road trip where Alan and I were lucky to find a halfway decent place to sleep each night—with a hard mattress, scratchy sheets and pillows that definitely weren’t made from memory foam—arriving at Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge felt like falling into the lap of luxury. This travel princess wanted to shout hooray at the top of her lungs and thank her lucky stars that Princess Cruises had invited us to experience their brand of luxury in the Alaskan wilderness.
The luxury—in my book an extravagantly scenic wilderness equals luxury—started long before we arrived at wonderful Wilderness Lodge. From Anchorage, our route took us on the Seward Highway, which hugs Turnagain Arm, with its panoramic views of the glaciated Kenai Mountains. During an interview with Kris Valencia, editor of The Milepost, Kris told me that she considered Seward Highway to be the most scenic route in Alaska. Although our day on the highway was so rainy that stopping at the scenic pullouts wasn’t an option, we could still easily see why the road has been named a National Forest Scenic Byway, All-America Highway and Alaska Scenic Byway. In case you need visual proof, check out Meg Millure’s Seward Highway photo essay at Plum Deluxe.
At Tern Lake Junction, we drove onto Sterling Highway to mile marker 47.7 and Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge. The rain lightened up, then finally stopped, allowing for forested views of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, which is home to Dall sheep, brown and black bears, mountain goats, caribou and fish. Lots of fish. In fact, the region is considered one of Alaska’s best known fishing areas for both lake and river fishing.
But I wasn’t interested in any fishing. My goal was to rest my road-weary bones on the deck of the Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge and watch others do the fishing, far down below in the Kenai River, while I enjoyed a relaxing glass of pinot noir.
Our log bungalow proved to be a good place to recover from too many days on the road as well. With a separate bedroom, full bath, living area with flat screen TV and covered porch, Alan and I finally enjoyed some personal space after all those close days in the truck (everyone needs that right?). Although sitting on the sofa in the living area with a fire roaring in the wood-burning fireplace and a vaulted wood ceiling soaring overhead offered some romantic moments, too.
In our opinion, Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge makes for a fine romantic getaway in Alaska. That’s why we’ve added the lodge to our recommended list of Romantic Getaways for Boomers.
We traded meals on the road for luxurious dinners (breakfast and lunch, too) served under the gorgeous antler chandeliers in the lodge’s Eagle Crest Restaurant. Rafter’s Lounge provided a more casual choice when Alan and I tired of formal meals. And sitting by the extra large fireplace in the lodge’s great room was a comfortable spot to check emails on the complimentary wi-fi.
Although Alan and I intended to rest and relax during our stay at the lodge, we did manage to break away from the relaxation long enough to enjoy the lodge’s hiking trail that led down to the Kenai River. But active travelers will find plenty to do here by booking a tour through the lodge’s excursion desk. Choices inlcude:
- Fishing tours on the Kenai River
- River rafting
- Nature hikes
- Wildlife viewing cruises through Resurrection Bay and Kenai Fjords National Park
- Gold panning
- Trail rides
- and more
Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge serves as a pre or post-cruise option for Princess Cruise guests who want to add a land option to their Alaskan cruising adventure. But road trippers, don’t let that put you off. We felt perfectly comfortable experiencing the lodge as independent travelers.
Read the entire collection of Alaska Highway road trip articles to plan your own trip. Boomer adventure guaranteed.
Disclosure: Princess Cruises provided our stay at the Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge (we paid for the meals). As always, the opinions are our own.