We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“I Stay Here Every Year for the Iditarod Finish”
Review of Hotel Polaris

Hotel Polaris
We can't find prices for this hotel
Our online travel partners don't provide prices for this hotel, but we can search other options in Nome
Check In dd/mm/yyyy Check Out dd/mm/yyyy
Hotel Polaris
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Nome
Anchorage, Alaska
Level Contributor
16 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“I Stay Here Every Year for the Iditarod Finish”
Reviewed 17 August 2012

The first rule of travel is "smile and be flexible." Yes, this is an old, beat up place. Yes, there are sometimes colorful characters staying in the room next to you. But it's warm, it's dry, and it's about 20 feet from the race finish line. And the staff is great and really do want to please. The onsite bar and restaurant are convenient, and the grocery is also just out the door and a block down. Airport Pizza is two blocks away. The church is one block away. Everything is really close. After the first year, I learned to take my own towel, take a sleeping bag, take shower sandals, take my own soap. Also, if you can, pack a case of bottled water, as the water in Nome is not tasty. I've noticed that each year, it gets a little bit cleaner, a smidge more dolled up. Yes, the bar is open until five, and it is the center of Iditarod week activities such as the Web Buns Contest (guys); the Wet T Shirt Contest (girls) and Karaoke Night. Take earplugs, you'll need 'em. All in all, I've become kind of fond of the place. Like another reviewer said... "it's all part of the experience."

Room Tip: Don't have any tips here. It is what it is.
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Marilyn K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review

16 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
    0
    3
    5
    1
    7
See reviews for
Families
0
3
3
4
Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (7)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
panama city Beach, Florida, USA
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 April 2012

My husband and I stayed here for the Iditarod 2012. We were very excited just to have a room, It was tiny, clean and warm. The bar below is a little noisy but that is all part of the experience. Staff was very friendly but some guest were a little strange. Had a domestic dispute in the room across from us but after I threatened to call the police it quieted down. Great location, walking distance to all the bars, grocery store, visitors center and restaurants. We enjoyed the locals best, Buford @ the Breakers and Leon @ the Board of Trade ( BOT). This little town likes to party!! We will definitely be going back.

Room Tip: Make sure you rent a car for at least a day to drive around and see the local sites, beaches and dre...
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank fl2ksjeep
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New Jersey
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 October 2009

I stayed here back in May of 2008...

As three of the four other reviewers so far have said, this er..."hotel" is a terrible disappointment. It would not even qualify as a motel in the Lower 48 (much less Anchorage or Fairbanks). It is owned by an Asian family (or cooperative thereof), and is a combined "hotel", liquor store and bar. The building is old and in a terrible state of disrepair. The PRIVATE rooms are directly above the bar (which is in the back of the building)...and the paper-thin floors mean that you certainly will NOT get any sleep prior to 2 A.M. (or even after that during special weeks like the Iditarod). You can hear conversation and pounding music through the floor as if you were practically in the bar itself. UGH.

When I called for a reservation, I was made to believe (by the nature of the conversation) that I was booking in the same quality hotel that one might find anywhere. Having never been to Nome, I had no way of knowing otherwise. Of course I realize that you can't expect five-star accomodations in a remote bush community. The various Alaska trave guides I read confirmed that fact...and now I have the experience to back it up (no reflection upon Nome itself, which I enjoyed immensely otherwise). But I was expecting more than what one might find in a seedy backwoods motel. When I got to the "hotel" and checked in, I was sent up a dank, musty stairway to a confusing tangle of hallways which reeked of cigarette smoke and mildew. The interior decoration was about thirty or more years out of date, and the doors of some rooms were simply left cracked open (where one could hear all manner of interesting noises coming from them).

The room was interesting. Beds were makeshift repairs of old furniture (all of which in the room was mismatched and very outdated). When I sat one one bed, it collapsed immediately. The other held. The small refrigerator in the room seemed to be a good convenience, until I opened it and found it unplugged, and was greeted with a horrid moldy/mildewy smell, which remained throughout my stay (I did not open it thereafter). When I turned on the television (like all places in Nome, they receive a satellite feed for programming), the satellite box wasn't working properly. I went back down to the "lobby" to make my concerns known, and must admit that they attended to the concerns. The broken bed was repaired, and the sattelite box was switched out with one from another room (not perhaps something which inspired confidence, but at that point I took what I could get).

The appliances were plugged into poorly-situated outlets, some of which were old and unsafe (I was reluctant to plug anything into certain outlets, for fear of a fire starting). The bathroom was laughable...the toilet was situated SO close to the shower stall that one could barely sit upon it. The shower stall was so thin and confining, a person could literally not turn around or move one's arms comfortably unless he or she were emaciated. The towels and washcloths were laughable. And I had to go down to the lobby each day to request new ones, as none were replaced...because there was no maid service at all (even though there was one old Oriental lady constantly vacuuming the hallways, and the very nasty old carpets). The windows to the outside provided no view to speak of, but the screens and windows themselves were so dirty, it would hardly have been worth the effort if there were.

The "lobby" had a window to the "front desk" on one side, through which it opened immediately into the liquor store on the other side (which was entirely visible). The other side had a "laundry" room of sorts, which was available to the guests. There was also a pay phone...and a locked door (which was buzzed open from the lobby) to the rooms on the upper floor. However, while I didn't see any drunks collapsed (or puking) in the hallways, there certainly were signs of it emanating from other rooms. AND there were random strangers hanging around the lobby...especially unattended teenagers.

When I was visiting at the Nome Convention & Visitors Bureau, and talking with one of the nice young women who worked there, and a Nome police officer who had stopped by, and I was musing about the horrid conditions of the Polaris Hotel, they both chuckled quietly and shook their heads, and offered their sympathies to me. The police officer suggested I try to get out if I could. Sadly, I could not. But boy did their reactions ever drive home what even Nome citizens think of the Polaris.

I'll never, ever stay here again. And you should avoid it like the plague. And, to allay any concerns that I am being insensitive to Asians or other races, I should point out that the best hotel in the town is the Aurora Inn, run by a Native Alaskan cooperative...and run very well I might add. That's where I'm staying NEXT time.

  • Stayed May 2008, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank JerseyCaptain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these Nome hotels

Alabama
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 April 2009

This place is the nastiest place I have ever been to. The carpets and linen are filthy. It smelled like smoke and spilt booze. There was drunks sleeping in the hallways puking all over the place. We had a shared bathroom and one of the doors had a fist hole through it, and there was a man sleeping on the toilet when we arrived. The locks worked sometimes at best. One guest had left his door open and there were at least 4 people passed out on the floor, one woman with a cigarete still burning between her fingers. The bar is rude and goes on all night so dont plan on sleeping that is if you dare crawl in bed. Bring a flytrap you will need it!

  • Stayed March 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank AlabamaBiker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vancouver, BC
Level Contributor
79 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 March 2009

The owners were friendly enough, but the room was pretty rough. We booked late and were lucky to find a room (Week of the Iditarod finishers) - but it is not for the faint of heart. One towel (I did get a second towel on the second day but was informed that it was the last one they had). We were told it was a queen bed,it was a twin, blankets for window coverings, florescent ceiling light, no bedside lamp for reading, no bathroom door, burn holes in the linen and bathroom floor... . Bring ear plugs, the bar is open until 5 am during the Iditarod week. and make sure you specify smoking or non-smoking ...We did check out the Aurora Hotel on a last day and it looked very clear and well maintained. Surprisingly it was less expensive that the Polaris, well worth the walk. Did I mention there was no maid service?....

  • Stayed March 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Tsawwassen-Wayne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Been to Hotel Polaris? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Hotel Polaris

Property: Hotel Polaris
Address: Nome, AK
Region: United States > Alaska > Nome
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Kitchenette Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Nome
Number of rooms: 36
Also Known As:
Hotel Polaris Nome, Alaska

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing