Exclusive doesn’t seem a big enough word for this luxury lodge on Ruth Glacier in Alaska.
Sheldon Chalet is located 600 kilometers from the nearest main road, in a mountain range that doubles the Czech Republic in size. And you are served fresh Alaskan oysters and Taittinger on arrival.
A Luxury Hotel in Alaska?
Here the chef melts water from glacier snow to make a reindeer sausage paella. They serve a thermos of sangria with halibut ceviche during a glacier sledding excursion.
Remote is an understatement. The Great Gorge has walls as high as the Grand Canyon and glacier ice a kilometre thick. At one end of this gorge, the Don Sheldon Amphitheatre is framed by North America’s highest mountain peaks. Here we find Sheldon Chalet, the only building on a 50-kilometre glacier.
But how do you travel there?
There are two ways to get here. Helicopter. Or hiking for two weeks through an ice land of grizzly bears and wolves. We recommend the helicopter, because two weeks of Champagne won’t fit into your luggage.
Both the Amphitheatre and lodge are named after Don Sheldon, a legendary Alaskan mountain-rescue pilot who landed his two-seater Piper Super Cub on the glacier, way back in the 1960s. Even with Don Sheldon, trips out here were Shackleton-style polar expeditions.
Now the chalet chef makes a full bouillabaisse seafood dinner on the glacier, using a portable butane stove and a dining table dug into the snow – at least chilling the white wine isn’t a challenge.
Now is the best time of year to visit
The chalet itself is hexagonal, because hexagon is the only shape that can withstand the wind. But surprisingly, Sheldon Chalet doesn’t close in winter. Instead, this is a time for viewing the northern lights, full moon glacier hikes and cosy sauna sessions.
At around €30,000 for an all-inclusive three-night stay for two people, we recommend the best time of year. March and April offer aurora viewing, backcountry skiing and glacier adventuring.
Think ice-climbing, sledging, snow-shoeing, and other things unthinkable without staying at a hyper remote luxury hotel. We’re told that the latitude and elevation make this one of the very best places to see the northern lights. Summer brings the midnight sun, so lots of time for activities.
Looking for privacy, silence and exclusivity?
The real experience is not the exploration though. It’s the silence. It’s looking out of the window watching light dance on the glacier. Wi-Fi? Not a chance. There’s not even a phone signal out here, so you won’t find photos of the Alaska bison short ribs with mountain blueberry glaze on Instagram. Actually, leave your watch at home with your phone – you can tell the time by watching Venus move from peak to peak across the nighttime sky.
When everything at the chalet has to come in via helicopter, it doesn’t make sense to cut costs on the linen. The five-room chalet is exceptionally appointed, a place for quiet reflection and warm comforts, in one of the wildest places around.
Ready to explore?
Obviously you can’t go for a short weekend. First you will need to fly to Anchorage, Alaska, which is unfortunately a three-leg route from Prague. However, remote Alaska can be a great centrepiece of a longer United States trip, a chance for some absolute serenity in between other American experiences.
And sure, they’ve probably built hotels in even more remote locations around the world. But not with this level of luxury. Not where you get a platter of Alaskan crab and lobster for lunch.