Alaskan Hotels Need to Learn From Las Vegas Casinos

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I think a meeting of the minds is in order for the hotel owners in Alaska, and the folks that run the big casino hotels and resorts in Las Vegas.  It might seem to be a very strange pairing, but one that makes a bunch of sense in one respect.  You see, folks in Vegas often party it up until late and night and consequently sleep through the bright hours of the morning.  Alaska visitors often just want to sleep at night after exploring the great outdoors during the day, but in the summer this means sun at midnight, and even later.  In Northern Alaska it can mean sun 24/7.  Both groups of tourists count on the hotels to utilize drapes and shutters that keep out the sun in order for good sleep to occur.

The big Las Vegas resorts I have stayed at usually get this right with fantastic blackout shades and systems.  Not to mention the beds are often fantastic as well.

So far the two hotels we have stayed at in Alaska have needed help in the blackout drapes department.  The Sheraton Anchorage wasn’t perfect, but I suppose was tolerable.


However, at our hotel from last night (Holiday Inn Express in Seward) we ended up having to have a “MacGyver Moment” and use the desk chair, luggage rack, ironing board, and blanket to build a contraption to block the sun that was just streaming through the flimsy white plastic blinds on the patio door.  The blackout curtains on the window were far from perfect as well, but the door was just insane.


10PM in Seward, Alaska

It still was far from perfect, but it was an improvement over the practically nothing that we had before.

But come on, seriously?!  This nighttime sun issue is the norm for summer in Alaska, so I’m a little surprised that so far the two hotels we have hit (and especially the one from last night) don’t seem to really be addressing this issue.  I guess we will have to add aluminum foil to the packing list for our next trip to this great state!  In the meantime, if some hotel reps from Alaska could please visit with the fine hotel folks in Las Vegas to get some blackout tips that would be fan-tas-tic.

If you have visited Alaska, what was your experience with hotels and blackout drapes?

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  1. Was there last summer with our one yr old and stayed at the above 2 hotels. Though, since it was September, 10 PM wasn’t this bad. In addition, most of the times, we were so tired after day full of hiking, driving, sightseeing, that it didn’t matter if sun was still out! 😉

  2. We stayed at the Seward Windsong Lodge, the Marriott in Anchorage and the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge. Were in Anchorage on the Solstice when the sun never set and they partied all night. We had no problems anywhere with the window shades and all the hotels were great – only complaint was thin walls at Windsong where we could hear the water running when people next door took showers. Obviously we only used points for the Marriott but Talkeetna was well worth the money. Hope you enjoy your trip- Alaska is fantastic!

  3. Real Alaskan use tin foil on the windows so their kids can sleep! No I am not kidding…

  4. That is too funny – and yet terrible at the same time. When we travel from west to east coast for a quick weekend getaway, we often try to keep our kids on west coast time so they can stay up a bit later and not have to deal with time zone changes. Consequently, we really depend on hotel blackout shades so the kids aren’t up with the sun in the morning. Nothing is more frustrating than when those shade are inadequate!

    • I live in Alaska so I totally understand how you feel especially during the summer time. The best way to solve this problem is to use eye mask 😉

  5. When I went to Alaska, it worked out great with the many extra hours of sunlight. We only had about 5-6 days there, but we were able to do stuff until at least 10 p.m. every day so we worked in a lot more so it was like free time. Find a store and get a face mask if you have left all yours in TEJAS.

  6. My policy is: if I pay high price for a hotel room, I expect it to be perfect. But if I pay points, I am grateful and dont complain much.

    • Hotels could think so, but you yourself shouldn’t. The points ain’t free. It’s like hard earned cash. Why look down upon yourself when redeeming points?

      • This is NOT a matter of “look down at yourself”. This is the attitude. I just dont have this “entitlement” attitude. I am thankful for getting hotels using points, even though points are not “free”. Using points is still a lot cheaper than paying hard cash. And for that, I am THANKFUL.

        • Guest, the way I look at it is I am getting a hotel because I need somewhere to sleep. That need and expectation does not change based on how I am paying for it. So, if it is just way too bright/noisy/whatever to sleep then that issue is the same regardless of points or cash.

  7. I tend to have at least one eyemask packed for every trip. I rarely use it, but if I need it — there it is. No tinfoil required, and tinfoil also rarely comes in handy on flights.

    • I have an eye mask but the four year old doesn’t really do well with eye masks yet. If she isn’t sleeping well then no one is. Ha!

  8. currently staying at the crown plaza in anchorage. my room has the same issue. For $250 a night i expected black out shades

  9. On my first trip to Anchorage, I stayed in a B&B. The darn room was on the top floor and had a skylight! I sure wished I had an eyeshade then.

  10. We stayed at both those hotels as well and had the same problem. Hopefully someone up there reads this blog!

    • Now at hotel/cabin #3 and the light issue is even worse. Ha! We’re learning to just deal with it, but it is very strange to me that this isn’t better addressed.

  11. When we were in Alaska, we stayed in the Embassy Suites Anchorage and Best Western in Seward. No issues with the blackout blinds. Good to know about Holiday Inn Express in Seward. We will probably avoid that property if we ever return to Seward.

  12. I feel your pain. I hate bright hotel rooms. Hotel black out curtains also minimize noise in addition to light. We actually have them in master BR at home, but that’s because our dog is deathly afraid of lightning. They work great as he is deaf and cannot see nor hear the lightning and sleeps in our bed. Thus, I would suggest a trip to the hardware store;a few extra heavy mil garbage bags and some blue masking tape (the kind used when painting walls) allows you to easily mask out the sun and not worry about doing any damage to hotel room walls or wallpaper from using the tape. I travel with a roll of blue masking tape and use it to secure black out curtains better as many have gaps at top and sides. The 5 minutes it takes to block the window/doors is worth the added sleep one obtains. Enjoy AK, we loved it a few times we have been!

  13. We were at the Radisson Blu Saga Hotel in Reykjavik, Iceland this summer and had the same problem. They had curtains that did a fairly good job blocking the midnight sun, but they didn’t cover the ends and also gapped in the middle. It was pretty hard to get used to and my toddler took longer to get settled down since the room wasn’t dark.

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