Value Score Poor Value
Good For Families
Yup, It's a Holiday Inn
This property reminds me a lot of the accommodations on the beaches of the east coast in that there is a high demand in the summertime, so they gouge the prices in the name of demand, but don't put much of it back into the hotel.
Excellent staff - everyone was very helpful, especially when it came to checking our bags for the railroad while we were out on a boat trip.
Clean room - the bathroom was very clean; well-maintained fridge.
Pillows - they have cases that mark them "firm" and "soft" - I think it's very cute and they were comfy.
It's close to everything, especially the Kenai Fjords Boat Tours office and the Seward Railroad Depot.
Breakfast - if the sole mission for breakfast is to consume calories, then this will fit the bill, but Jimmy Buffett isn't wrong about the menu...
More price-gouging at the vending machine $2.25 for water or soda - fortunately there's a gas station across the street to pay normal prices for such things.
Furniture - it's OLD.
Balcony - I would have loved to hang out there (especially since I paid extra for the room with one), but it creaked when I walk out there (I'm a fairly fit woman), so I didn't feel comfortable out there. I don't recommend wasting money on this upgrade, but I have heard that the street side can be noisy, so if there is a harbor-side room with no balcony, that's your best bet.
Overall, I would still recommend the property for those that want to be close to things - it was very convenient to be able to walk to the Kenai Fjords Tours office and to walk right next door to a great restaurant (Chinooks). I believe I made the right decision for this past visit because we arrived by train and the HIE made our departure day very easy (Alaska Railroad checks bags straight through to the HIE and HIE will check bags upon check-out for pick-up by the railroad). If I return to Seward, I will probably try Windsong Lodge. I was already waffling between the two but made my decision based on my anxiety of being late for stuff - I didn't want to rely on a hotel shuttle to get me to my destination on time - but I would probably drive the next time rather than take the railroad (only because I've already done it twice) so I wouldn't be forced to rely on the shuttle.
Unique Quality: Location. If you're arriving/departing by train, this is the most convenient.
My family and I stayed there in July 2009. We had not reserved an harbor view room but asked if one was available when we checked in. We were immediately given a harbor view room at no extra charge. The room and the entire hotel was clean and well maintained. It is within walking distance of everything in town we wanted to see. The continental breakfast was adequate and well attended. I would recommend this hotel.
Unique Quality: The view of the harbor is priceless.
On the Harbor
Seward has lots of places to stay. From B&Bs to hotels to cabins to lodges, there's something for all classes and most budgets. Because it was the off season, we went with the Holiday Inn Express. Well, that's not the only reason--we are part of the priority club and really like their cinnamon buns for breakfast. In books, this hotel is only rated 2 stars but I don't think it's that low at all. It sits right on the harbor and you have a choice of the water view or the mountain view. You also have a choice of a balcony which is very nice to go out and sit on in the evening. The rooms are large, the beds comfortable and all Holiday Inn Express hotels have the awesome showerhead.
Unique Quality: Additionally, there is an indoor pool and a jacuzzi downstairs, unlimited coffee, great view and access to the harbor from the main floor. And cookies. They had warm large cookies in the evening when we were there. Like every other place in Seward, the staff is very kind and helpful. Again, being off season, we didn't have all the options that are available in the summer but the prices are much better this time of year (April). We paid $65 for a room with a balcony but I saw on the door it can go for something like $364 a night. I assume that's on holidays and festivals over the summer.
Directions: Easy to miss the one little sign that says "holiday inn express"...but the building is blue right at the harbor.
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