Where to Stay in Fairbanks, Alaska: Pike’s Waterfront Lodge

September 19, 2018
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Where to Stay in Fairbanks, Alaska: Pike's Waterfront Lodge

About Pike’s Waterfront Lodge, a hotel along the Chena River in Fairbanks, Alaska, and Pike’s Landing, a long-time popular restaurant

(Disclosure: Although I was a guest of Explore Fairbanks and Pike’s Waterfront Lodge, opinions and observations, as always, are my own.)

We stayed at Pike’s Waterfront Lodge for part of our visit to Fairbanks, Alaska this summer. Pike’s is located on the Chena River just a few minutes from the airport and fifteen minutes from downtown. With its riverside location, beautifully landscaped grounds, outdoor seating areas, log construction, and moose and caribou heads mounted on the lobby wall, it felt like a cross between a hunting lodge and a lakeside resort. It was a comfortable place to stay.

Iditarod Arch at Pike's Waterfront Lodge

Iditarod Arch

An arch and flower display on the grounds commemorate the start of the 2003 Iditarod. The Iditarod is an annual dog sled race of approximately 1,000 miles running from Anchorage, Alaska to Nome, Alaska. In 2003, the start was moved to Fairbanks due to a lack of snow in Anchorage. This also happened in 2015 and 2017.

Garden at Pike's Waterfront Lodge in Fairbanks, Alaska

Garden area behind the main lodge building

Riverside deck at Pike's Waterfront Lodge in Fairbanks, Alaska

Deck overlooking the river outside the movie theater. In the summer, “North to Alaska” airs in the theatre at 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm free of charge.

Sign outside Pike's Waterfront Lodge movie theatre in Fairbanks Alaska

Could be dangerous!

Bocce ball court at Pike's Waterfront Lodge, Fairbanks, Alaska

Bocce ball court

Cabins at Pike's Waterfront Lodge in Fairbanks, Alaska

Our cabin

There are 180 rooms in the main lodge and 28 individual cabins made from Nenan spruce logs. All of the rooms and cabins have microwaves, refrigerators, and coffee/tea makers. We stayed in one of the cabins.

Cabin room at Pike's Waterfront Lodge in Fairbanks, Alaska

Cabin room at Pike's Waterfront Lodge in Fairbanks, Alaska

Old-style phone at Pike's Waterfront Lodge is actually a modern touch tone phone

Loved the touch tone phone designed to look like an old dial phone

Fire pit at Pike's Waterfront Lodge in Fairbanks, Alaska

The cabins are grouped around gas-operated, glass bead fire pits surrounded by bench seating. They appeared to operate on timers, coming on in the early evening. The firepit was an inviting space in the evenings of extended daylight, but we didn’t need the warmth it generated. Temperatures were in the high twenties to low thirties Celsisus (the eighties Fahrenheit) during our July visit.

Guide to the stories of Fairbanks pioneers on the outside walls of Pike's Waterfront Lodge cabins

On the outside of each cabin is a story about a Fairbanks Gold Rush pioneer

My only complaint about our stay at Pike’s Waterfront Lodge was the wifi. Although there is free wifi available throughout most of the premises, printed hotel information noted that wifi was spotty in the cabins. It was worse than spotty in ours; it was non-existent. One of the hotel clerks told me they were working on getting stronger routers, but that future improvement didn’t help me in the present.

Seating area in the main lodge at Pike's Waterfront Lodge

A seating area off the main lobby

I took my laptop to a sitting area in the lobby in the main lodge when I wanted to access wifi. Other than ruling out online work in my pyjamas before bed, this wasn’t a particularly bad thing. The lobby area is pleasant and it was interesting to see other guests coming through. I should note that although wifi was more consistent in the lodge, it was not lightning fast.

Lobby at Pike's Waterfront Lodge in Fairbanks, Alaska


The art collection on the walls in the lobby areas and the halls focuses on Alaska subjects by Alaska artists. An ice cream shop is open in the early evenings, starting at 6 pm. The Captain’s Lounge Bar opens in the late afternoon.

Stuffed bear on display in lobby of Pike's Waterfront Lodge in Fairbanks Alaska

Don’t forget to look up in the lobby

Grand piano in an elevated nook in the lobby of Pike's Waterfront Lodge in Fairbanks, Alaska

I don’t know how one gets up to the play the grand piano in this elevated nook or if it is ever played

Binkley's Dining Room at Pike's Waterfront Lodge in Fairbanks, Alaska

Binkley’s Dining Room

Binkley’s Dining Room, located off the lobby, is a beautiful room. In the summer they offer a hot or cold breakfast at additional cost. The choices were excellent and serving staff were friendly. Reindeer sausage became a favourite. There is no hot buffet in the winter, but a complimentary continental buffet breakfast is available.

From Sunday to Wednesday, an Italian buffet dinner is served in the dining room. I didn’t have a chance to try this, but I did eat at Pike’s Landing, a restaurant next door to the hotel and owned by the same people.

Pike's Landing patio in Fairbanks, Alaska

Pike’s Landing patio

Pike’s Landing has existed as a restaurant since 1959. Lloyd Pike homesteaded the area after World War II. After selling part of his land for the creation of the airport, he opened Pike’s Landing. After it was destroyed in the 1967 flood he built the log structure that is there today. In 1967 he sold it to Don Pruhs, who ran the restaurant during the colourful days of the Alaska Pipeline construction. Guy and Lillian Kasnick purchased the restaurant in 1985. They created a dining room and added a 400-seat patio and atrium that is open from spring to moose hunting season. They opened Pike’s Waterfront Lodge the following year.

Alaska crab stuffed mushrooms at Pike's Landing in Fairbanks, Alaska

Alaska crab stuffed mushrooms – I would definitely order these again

House salad at Pike's Landing in Fairbanks, Alaska

House salad

Halibut burger at Pike's Landing in Fairbanks, Alaska

Halibut burger

Dessert tray at Pike's Landing in Fairbanks, Alaska

Dessert tray

I am not big into desserts, but the dessert tray was too hard to resist. Plus, it had one of my favourites – créme brûlée. It was perfectly cooked. The caramelized sugar top was crispy without being burnt and the inside was smooth and creamy. My husband enjoyed a blueberry bread pudding (he can’t resist anything with blueberries).

Amenities at Pike’s Waterfront Lodge include an exercise room, a steam room, a 24-hour coin-operated laundry, a business centre and a 24-hour gift shop. Given its location, unless you’re staying as part of a tour that buses you from place to place, a car is desirable. (In general, you need a car to explore Fairbanks and its attractions.) In the summer, Pike’s operates a shuttle service for a fee.

Our stay at Pike’s Waterfront Lodge was very pleasant and I would stay there again.

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  • Reply
    Tag Along Deb
    September 19, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    Looks like a nice place. I’m with you on wifi — while it’s nice to have the option to work in a common area, I want solid wifi in my room. To me, this is like a hotel not having solid water service. it’s just not on!

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      September 20, 2018 at 8:35 am

      Deb, solid wifi is generally a requirement of mine too. It may not be as important to all travellers as it is to travel bloggers. Even so, I wouldn’t hesitate to stay at Pike’s again and in one of the cabins.

  • Reply
    Ken Dowell
    September 20, 2018 at 4:45 am

    Looks like a lovely, rustic place to stay. I think my preference would be a summer visit.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      September 20, 2018 at 8:36 am

      Ken, I haven’t visited in winter so I can’t speak to that experience, but summer was pretty great!

  • Reply
    September 20, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    The room you stayed looks lovely!

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      September 27, 2018 at 3:34 pm

      Terry, it was very comfortable and welcoming.

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