Review: Baranof Downtown - BW Signature Collection (Juneau, AK)

Last updated on May 14, 2024

Posted on May 13, 2024

Juneau, the capital city of Alaska, is not that large of a town. The entire area has a population of 32,000 people, and during Summer time when the cruise ships come into town can easily be overrun with thousands of extra visitors.

I managed to visit the area right before the big cruise ships came into town to experience this small Alaskan capital town. For the entire area, there are only two major chain hotels, a Four Points by Marriott and the Best Western Signature Collection Baranof Downtown.

Booking

Booking was fairly easy since the Baranof is a part of Best Western. I chose to book cash for the two night stay at the hotel during late-April. Even for being on the edge season for the area, it was still quite expensive at $250 per night for a 1-King Economy Room.

However, if you plan to stay during Summer, expect to pay a lot more. Looking at some rough days throughout July and August, the hotel is easily over $400 per night.

Location

I really enjoy the location of the Baranof hotel, I consider it pretty centrally located for the area. The wharf area is just three blocks down the street, and the hotel is surrounded in all directions with small shops and eateries.

In the Summer, everything you would want to go and see is an easy stroll around the area. We found some fantastic tourist shops with local artistry and multiple locally owned food establishments.

Check-In

Our flight to Juneau landed early in the morning, and we arrived around 10AM. It is about a 10-15 minute taxi ride from the airport to downtown. The check-in staff was very friendly and allowed us to check-in when we arrived, which is always a great thing.

I happen to be a Diamond Select member from a status match I had from the previous year, and they gladly gave me an upgrade to a 1 King Bed Suite along with some complimentary bottles of water.

The Room

The suites all seemed to be located on all the corners of the hotel's rectangular design. Three of the four people in my group got upgraded to these suites, which all felt a little dated and needing for a remodel.

White everything seemed a bit dated, nothing was wrong with the room. The shower had good water pressure, the bed was comfortable, and the couch was useable (and doubled as a pull-out bed).

One thing I did notice when I entered the afternoon sun facing side of the room, it was hot. These rooms don't have air conditioning! Since Juneau is a cool temperature for most of the year, the hotel staff instruct visitors to use the windows and provided fans to regulate the warmth of the room. If you require heat, there is a base board heater and that's it. It took a little bit to get the windows opened just enough to regulate the temperature to how I like it, but after I got settled in, I didn't notice I had no air conditioning.

Food

The Baranof offers both a dining room and bar area. During my visit they were working on the bar area and the dining room was open for breakfast only. While breakfast was included, I found that nearby places had better quality food and selection than the hotel.

One place we frequented probably every day we were in Juneau was The Rookery Café, just a block away, the café served up breakfast and lunch items with a lovely social atmosphere. By the looks of the café, all the locals loved the place.

For dinner, we tried a few places around town. Another local favorite was The Hangar On The Wharf. Serving up great view, both the salmon spread and the fish tacos were to die for!

We also found a great dinner place called V's Cellar Door, which was featured on Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. The Mexican-Korean fusion really hit the spot after a long day walking around. We ended up sharing both the Fusion Nachos and the Short Ribs, both we found flavorful, filling, and tasty.

Service

Overall, the staff was easy to talk to and work with for requests. You could tell that it was the start of their busy season, as they had new staff at the front desk they were training up to work during the Summer.

The cleaning staff did a good job of cleaning the room and leaving it spotless, and when passing by them in the halls they always asked if the room needed a refresher or any restocking of amenities.

In talking with the front desk manager, during the Summer it is a very popular place to stay for those not coming by cruise ship. They usually host large wedding parties and have live entertainment during their peak season.

The large sitting area is just off of the bar and a perfect place to sit back and relax after a long day with a drink and someone playing the piano. In the winter time, I'm sure it'd also be a great place to gather and socialize after being out in the snow all day. Being one of the two major hotels in the area, and just down the street from the state house, I'm sure you'll be passing by multiple politicians.

Final Thoughts

I am not typically the one to book Best Western branded hotels, not that I actively avoid them. However, this is one hotel that I would probably visit again if I was going to be staying in Juneau. The only other chain hotel in the area is the Four Points by Marriott, which is fine for what it is, but I believe that the location of the Baranof is more preferable, being closer to the main street area.

While having no air conditioning is a disappointment, it wasn't a dealbreaker. I was able to easily manage the temperature with fans and opening the windows. And while the rooms felt dated, they were kept fairly well. If the hotel could get a remodel, that would certainly justify the price they demand for peak season.

; ; ; ;

Share on

Tags

JOIN YOUR FELLOW AVIATION LOVERS

SUBSCRIBE TO GET EXCLUSIVE POSTS, OFFERS, AND DEALS!

Subscribe Now