Many visitors to Alaska begin and end their adventure in Anchorage. Most arrive by plane at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, the state’s largest airport. From there, most will either board a cruise ship in nearby Whittier or Seward, or rent a car or camper for the rest of their journey. My flight from Portland, Oregon was a short, easy jaunt. For many of Alaska’s more than 2 million annual out-of-state visitors, however, launching an Alaskan trip means a full day of travel. This likely necessitates a hotel stay at the beginning and/or at the end of your trip. We decided the best place for us to be was right by the airport. Downtown was conveniently only five miles away. Our stay at Anchorage’s Coast International Inn was an excellent fit.
Whether you need the extra day or not, time in Anchorage has a lot to offer. Our Alaska itinerary had us exploring the Kenai Peninsula and Chugach Mountains area. We rented a car and traveled by road and by ferry, staying in a combination of lodgings that included an upscale resort, an out-of-the-way sports lodge, and an an Airbnb. But I made a point of starting my trip with a full day in Anchorage specifically to visit the Native Alaska Heritage Center and the Anchorage Museum. (Along the way, I came to regret I hadn’t arranged more time in Anchorage and the outlying area, so I’ll encourage you to do so, if possible. Regardless, one day was better than none!)
The Coast International Inn started us off perfectly.
Anchorage’s Coast International Inn
Anchorage’s Coast International Inn is the hotel closest to the airport. The complementary 24-hour hotel shuttle had me at the hotel lobby just minutes after my arrival in Anchorage.
The hotel’s entry welcomes you with two carved totems.
Rooms at the Coast International Inn
My room was spacious and had all the comforts and amenities I needed for an overnight stay, including a coffeemaker, fridge, desk, bedside outlets and USB ports, quality pillow-top mattress, and other amenities. Rooms are in the process of being refreshed and the hotel’s restaurant was in the finishing stages of a remodel as well. The hotel has 141 rooms.
Dining at Piper‘s Restaurant and Sports Lounge
After a long day of sightseeing in town, I took advantage of a pleasantly warm evening and sat at a table on the outdoor deck of Piper‘s Restaurant and Sports Lounge.
The deck was in full swing. I had a great chat with folks at the neighboring table who were about to end their Alaskan vacation.
I enjoyed a cocktail and, naturally, some Alaskan salmon. The clam chowder and Niçoise salad with fresh grilled salmon was delightful.
Don’t Miss the Float Planes
Watching the float planes take off and land at the Lake Hood Seaplane Base just across the road from the hotel provided added entertainment. An airport hotel is not usually the most opportune for a walk. But I enjoyed a stroll around the lake to get a better look at the float planes.
Return to the restaurant in the morning for a complimentary continental breakfast, or use your breakfast voucher to order off the breakfast menu. Biscuits and gravy gave me a hearty start to the day.
More Amenities at the Coast International Inn
Anchorage’s Coast International Inn’s lobby features a cozy lounge area with a fireplace, a 24-hour fitness center, and a sauna. There are five meeting rooms, with the ability to cater events for up to 300 guests. Indeed, there was a conference going on during my stay.
If time allows, I also could have rented one of the hotel bicycles.
The desk staff was helpful with directions and recommendations for my short time in town. And they’re right; I really will have to return for a longer stay in the Anchorage area.
Stay at the Coast International Inn
The Coast International Inn offers great value. Coast Hotels, a Seattle-based company, includes budget, moderately-priced, and luxury lodging that individually reflect their location. The company includes properties in Alaska, Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii in the United States, as well as throughout Western Canada.
- Coast International Inn, Anchorage, Alaska
- Visit Anchorage
- Travel Alaska, official state tourism site
- On our site: 3 Unique Lodgings in Wrangell, Alaska
-All photos by Nancy Zaffaro.