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Alaska has long been a place of unparalleled rugged beauty that has attracted those who desire a closer contact with the power of nature than they can reach elsewhere. But Alaska’s ruggedness and adventurous appeal need not force visitors to sacrifice their comfort to appreciate what the Great Land has to offer. On the contrary, within Alaska are a number of exclusive luxury accommodations, tours and programs, which, because of their exclusivity, are able to take guests into seldom-seen parts of the state and engage them actively with the nature around them — creating a frontier where the comforts of civilization meet the marvels of the wild, and offering the best of both worlds.
Alaska Sea AdventuresAlaska Sea Adventures announces itself as a “small cruise company offering exclusive trips for families and smaller groups.” Their forte is reaching the wild and pristine areas of Alaska’s Inside Passage that are inaccessible to larger ships or tours.
“Small is what allows us to offer the personalized service that people love,” said owner Dennis Rogers. “Because of the geography of Southeast Alaska, we are often the only way for people to access these remote areas.”
This isn’t a sit-back-and-watch type of adventure. Clients can set shrimp and crab traps and haul in the catch each morning for an all-you-can-eat feast that evening, or angle for salmon, halibut or rockfish that the onboard chef prepares to order. Wildlife is abundant in the smaller bays and inlets. Clients typically observe sea lions, harbor seals, Dall’s porpoises, Orcas and humpback whales exhibiting their unique bubble-feeding behavior. Clients should expect to shoot gigabytes of photos of wildlife and scenery. Onboard kayaking is often great in the quiet backwater areas.
An eight-day, seven-night custom adventure that reserves the boat exclusively for families or small groups can range from $32,500 post season to $42,500 for peak times.
Alaska Sea Adventureswww.yachtalaska.com
Kenai Fjords Glacier LodgeKenai Fjords Glacier Lodge is the only lodge within the 700,000-acre Kenai Fjords National Park. With a full view of Pedersen Glacier and the surrounding 1,700-acre Pedersen Lagoon Wildlife Sanctuary, each cabin offers a private bath and panoramic view of the lagoon, with fine dining at the main lodge. Protected waters offer ideal guided sea kayaking. On the trip in, clients can often observe Orca and humpback whales, bald eagles, puffins, Steller sea lions, black and brown bears, mountain goats and sea otters. Guided canoe exploration of the easily navigable coastline, with the glacier as a backdrop, is a highlight of the trip.
Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodgewww.alaskawildland.com
Alyeska ResortAlyeska is an upscale base of operations in south-central Alaska for clients who prefer to explore at their own pace. Located 40 miles south of Anchorage, this year-round, full-service resort is close to three national parks and offers world-class fishing, glacier hiking and wildlife viewing. The award-winning Seven Glaciers Restaurant offers spectacular views of Turnagain Arm. I have found the food and deluxe service among the best in Alaska. Winter offers optimum downhill skiing, while the on-site concierge service will schedule everything from custom glacier climbs and rock-climbing instruction to whitewater rafting and mountain bike trails.
visit the website for package deals or customized itineraries and costs.
Steamboat Bay Fishing ClubListed as Alaska’s most exclusive luxury sportfishing lodge, this newly built lodge experience caters to select groups of up to 16 guests. Located in a remote bay in southeast Alaska, the lodge offers waterfront and forest-view rooms with an open bar, hot tub, sauna and spacious club room. The executive chef personalizes meals to each guest’s preferences, including their catch of the day. The fishing is among the best saltwater fishing for king and silver salmon, ling cod and halibut. The lodge will custom-process fish to order, vacuum-seal the catch, freeze it and have it ready to ship as accompanying baggage.
A four-night package runs $5,995 per person. The lodge says that “reservations are by invitation only,” meaning that agents who request a date will receive an “exclusive invitation.” The agents can then share this with their clients in order to make them feel even more special.
Steamboat Bay Fishing Clubwww.waterfallresort.com/steamboat-bay