As designers outlined a recent multimillion-dollar renovation project at the Hilton Anchorage, multiple goals guided their plans.
"Visually, we wanted to find that balance between knowing you're at a Hilton and also knowing that you're in Alaska," said Kate Sprout, director of sales and marketing at the downtown property, where I was a guest in July.
Consider my morning tea at the hotel's Hooper Bay Cafe, for example. The blend came not from Starbucks, as is often the case, but from Anchorage-based Kaladi Brothers Coffee. The local company has been caffeinating Alaska residents and visitors since 1984.
Vibrant Alaska landscape photographs graced a nearby wall. Guests checked in at a front desk made of rich Alaska jade, a feature not changed during the recent interior updates. Near the glass-walled business center at the far end of the lobby, a taxidermy display case held a brown bear and a polar bear. Standing tall, with teeth bared, they have also been part of the hotel's backdrop for decades.
Fresh, Alaska-inspired design cues continued throughout the public corridors and guestrooms, where rugs had earth-toned patterns that resemble scattered leaves and stately tree branches. In the hotel's 606 rooms, which include 11 suites and more than 50 club-level accommodations, pops of blue and teal played off the skies and waterways just outside. Most of the hotel's rooms offer views of Cook Inlet, the Chugach Mountains or the downtown Anchorage skyline.
The Hilton Anchorage's updated rooms also feature new furnishings, including spacious workstations, fold-out sofas, Cuisinart coffeemakers and 49-inch TVs. During the 10-month project that was completed in April, crews refreshed the property's 23,000 square feet of ballrooms, boardrooms and event spaces on the first and second floors.
Two other venues -- what Sprout calls the "crown jewels" of the property -- offer additional special event options on the hotel's 15th floor. The Chart Room looks out at the Chugach range and Cook Inlet, while Top of the World overlooks mountains and sea on three sides and from an adjacent outdoor patio.
On clear days, the view extends all the way to the peaks of Denali National Park & Preserve.
The Hilton Anchorage is one of several properties renovating or debuting new rooms in Alaska's largest city.
StayBridge Suites opened on Calais Drive, off A Street, in December 2018. Accommodations at the 154-suite, extended-stay property have full kitchens, workspaces and flat-screen TVs with cable, plus access to self-service laundry facilities, a fitness center and a complimentary breakfast buffet.
A mile away in midtown, a new Hyatt Place hotel opened in May 2019. The modern, 150-room property on East Tudor Road includes seven suites and offers an indoor pool, a 24-hour fitness center, free Wi-Fi and an on-site coffee and cocktail bar.