Seattle, Wash., June 3, 2016 — Guests on Holland America Line’s award-winning Alaska Land+Sea Journeys can now experience new dining, entertainment and amenities at the Denali Square complex located in the heart of the company’s McKinley Chalet Resort at the gates of Denali National Park. To celebrate today’s grand opening, Holland America Line presented the Denali Borough School District with a $20,000 check that will be spent on modernizing interactive classroom technology.
Holland America Line President Orlando Ashford welcomed attendees to Denali Square and unveiled the geomarker that was installed to commemorate the opening of the facility. Special guests included Alaskan U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski; Superintendent of Denali National Park and Preserve Don Striker; Denali Borough School District Superintendent Dan Polta; and Ken Karstens, grandson of Harry Karstens, first superintendent of Denali National Park and namesake of the new Denali Square restaurant, Karstens Public House. Carnival Corporation President and CEO Arnold Donald and Holland America Group Chief Executive Officer Stein Kruse also attended.
“For nearly 70 years Holland America Line has been at the forefront of Alaska exploration, and the opening of Denali Square is another exciting moment in our company’s history because it elevates the way our guests will experience Denali and Alaska,” said Ashford. “A complex like Denali Square is unrivaled in our industry, and it brings more facets of the region to our guests by showcasing local cuisine, art, entertainment and so much more. Denali National Park has been and will continue to be the centerpiece of our incredible Land+Sea Journeys.”
A highlight of the ceremony was a performance by the local Tri-Valley High School choir from Healy, Alaska. Husky dogs from the National Parks Service at Denali National Park were also at the event with handlers for guests to learn more about and enjoy.
Over the past three years Holland America Line has been refining the guest experience at the 60-acre McKinley Chalet Resort, and last year an enhanced property layout and freshly remodeled guest rooms were unveiled. Holland America Line’s Land+Sea Journeys feature up to three nights at Denali, with an included Tundra Wilderness Tour deep into the Park for all multiple night guests.
Alaska-based companies heading up the McKinley Chalet Resort’s enhancement project include general contractor Dawson Construction and Stantec, which is providing engineering services. Additional firms involved are lead and landscape architect The Portico Group, restaurant architect Heliotrope Architects, structural engineering company Michael Leonard Associates and project manager Costigan Integrated, all of Seattle, Wash.
About Denali Square
Denali Square is at the heart of the 60-acre McKinley Chalet Resort, which provides accommodations for guests on Holland America Line’s Land+Sea Journeys, which combine an Alaska cruise with an overland tour to Denali National Park and beyond. Denali Square is centrally located between the main part of the property, containing the reception hall, dining facilities and guest rooms, and the riverfront guest rooms that provide stunning views of the Nenana River.
Denali Square serves as a new gathering area to relax, shop, dine and enjoy music and entertainment. The largest building in the complex is Karstens, the grand 7,000-square-foot two-story restaurant showcasing views of the neighboring mountains for dining guests. An inviting deck with fire pits and outdoor seating also allow guests to immerse themselves in this special venue as they drink and dine. Denali Square is best described as both a hub and a retreat for Holland America Line guests at the doorstep of Denali National Park.
At the center of Denali Square is an amphitheater with a covered performance stage and bench seating for guests to enjoy a variety of local shows, ranger talks and demonstrations. Those wanting to quench their thirst or listen to live music can visit Gold Nugget Saloon, home to the Music of Denali Dinner Theater.
Denali Square also features cozy fire pits to gather around on cool Alaska evenings and make s’mores; outdoor seating for guests who wish to enjoy the scenery; retail shops offering local goods; and an artist-in-residence cabin where Alaska native and local artists display and discuss their works. Walking paths in and around Denali Square show off the property’s mountainous landscapes and beautiful setting nestled just across the Nenana River from Denali National Park.