My Experience at the Alyeska Nordic Spa (Alaska)

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One random day a few years back I was lamenting about how much I missed German pools and how nice it would be if Alaska had an outdoor pool. Even indoor pools are far and few between up here.

In Germany, we had access to indoor and outdoor pools in nearly every town. We had a rather large pool and spa a few minutes away that I would frequent in the winter months.

So when I first heard Alaska was getting a Nordic Spa I didn’t believe it. Alaska isn’t exactly known for its upscale amenities, and outdoor pools are unheard of.

Luckily I was wrong.

This article outlines my firsthand experience visiting the Nordic Spa.

This post isn’t sponsored, and unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take any photos once inside (they’re not allowed due to privacy). But I snagged some of the dressing area and the main areas.

Girdwood Alyeska Resort view from mountain winter
Skiing view

Where is the Nordic Spa?

The Nordic Spa is located at the Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, Alaska. It’s a 50,000-square-foot facility built on the hillside to the left of the hotel.

With the way the main building is situated, guests have near complete privacy once they enter. The Winner Creek Trail is located behind the spa in the woods, so occasionally you’ll see hikers walking along the trail.

Winner Creek Trail Summer Girdwood Alaska Alyeska
Winner Creek Trail

What is a Nordic Spa?

The Nordic Spa is centered around the Nordic style of hydrotherapy. It’s a belief that by moving from hot to cold temperatures, you can alleviate toxins and improve your immune system.

More specifically, the process goes hot – cold – rest – repeat.

We followed this regimen dutifully over the span of a few hours. I thought I’d get bored after an hour but was surprised that we spent nearly three hours moving through the different areas.

As we went through I could feel my muscles relaxing and tension disappearing. By the time we left, I felt completely relaxed.

What’s Inside?

Once inside, you’ll experience the following:

  • Full restaurant with alcoholic drinks (drinks must stay inside the restaurant)
  • Massage therapy

Hydrotherapy

  • hot pools
  • relaxation pool
  • hot tubs
  • cold plunge
  • steam rooms
  • exfoliation cabin
  • saunas (Finnish, banyan, barrel, halotherapy)
  • relaxation areas with fire pits

Is There Food and Drink?

There is a bistro, Two Trees Bistro, and you’re encouraged to stay in your bathrobe while you grab a bite to eat. Just be sure to grab your wallet when you go.

I’ve been to the Nordic Spa five times now and the menu has changed a few times. Most of the items are locally sourced, which I love.

However, the portions are tiny for the prices, and I am usually still hungry after eating. Perhaps the idea is so you won’t get full before going into the pools, but for the price, I’d expect more.

The flatbreads are the biggest items on the menu and the best bang for your buck.

Just as an example, for four drinks and two avocado toast, it was $130 before tip!

Girdwood Road Winter Alyeska Alaska

How Much Does it Cost?

So I thought this was straightforward, but I found out there are a few ways to purchase the spa, or hydrotherapy.

There’s the regular ‘hydrotherapy’ pass, which allows you to enter anytime between 9am-9pm and stay as long as you like. The catch is that once you leave, you cannot return, so be sure to plan your stay so you can enjoy it for at least a few hours.

In 2023 they updated their pricing structure and there’s no longer one flat rate. The weekday price is $119 and weekend days (Fri, Sat, Sun) are $129. And then there are peak rates which are even higher (holidays, spring break, Christmas, etc). Since you can theoretically stay for 12 hours, it’s not a bad price.

They’ve also added a Twilight Soak from 5-9pm that costs less, but follows the same overall pricing structure.

Another way to get access to hydrotherapy is by purchasing a massage. With a massage, you get complimentary hydrotherapy access with the same perks.

And there are often hotel + spa packages to save money too.

What’s It Like?

This place is an experience. Before we went all I had to go on was the website, the Instagram pictures, and a few iffy reviews on TripAdvisor. I assumed I would love it but I had my reservations.

This place exceeded every expectation I had. From the moment we walked in, to the moment we left, we felt like we were at a 5-star mountain resort spa.

The lady’s locker room has thoughtful touches like hairbrushes, q-tips, makeup wipes, and other toiletry items. Each guest is provided a robe, towel, slippers, and an exfoliation scrub (to be used in the exfoliation room!).

Everything is new and the amenities are kept clean. The interior design has been well thought out making the space feel peaceful.

Should You Visit in Summer or Winter?

I’ve been to the Nordic Spa both in the summer and winter months. While I think there’s something magical about warming up in a hot tub while it’s snowing, the spa is just as magical in summer months too.

A nice perk of the summer is that you don’t freeze when you’re walking between pools. Also, the last time we visited, our robes froze while once they got a little wet. But you may have some pesky bugs to deal with.

My Experience

We arrived at 9:15 in the morning hoping to beat the crowd. We walked through the Alyeska Resort, up the stairs, and took a left past the ski rentals. Once outside, we spotted the stairs to the left with a sign overhead and made our way to the glass entrance.

When we walked in the door we were greeted at the front desk with general information about the spa. They gave us wristbands with a number assigned to our locker. The wristbands locked and unlocked your locker only. In each locker, there’s a towel, robe, slippers, and exfoliation scrub.

After changing and snooping around, I showered and then made my way to the hydrotherapy area.

Immediately when you step outside you’re immersed in a wilderness oasis. There are firepits and chairs for hanging out, a large covered area with lounge chairs (although these aren’t too useful in the winter), and multiple levels of pools. Surrounding the pools are around five different buildings, each housing a different experience. There’s a Finnish sauna, a salt sauna (my favorite), a large steam room with two rooms once inside, and an exfoliation room.

In the main area, there are two large hot pools, a relaxation pool in the center, and at least four cold plunge pools with cold waterfalls. The cold plunge pools are shallow with the exception of one that is four feet deep. All of the hot and relaxation pools have large seating areas around the perimeter. Both the hot and cold plunge pools are of varying temperatures.

Beyond the main area is a boardwalk leading you through the rainforest of towering Western hemlocks. Here you’ll find hot tubs of various temperatures. They look like barrel tubs on the outside but are actually built-in concrete tubs surrounded by wood.

We made the mistake of choosing the coolest one, at just 92 degrees, and each tub gets warmer as you make your way around the circular path. There are also multiple barrel saunas along the path.

Alyeska Nordic Spa Girdwood Alaska

Do I Recommend It?

Yes! The Nordic Spa is absolutely worth it. We’ve been lucky to go every few months since it opened and hope to continue that trend (as long as we have childcare covered!).

I would recommend getting there in the morning or later in the afternoon and staying past dinner. We went right after they opened and were the first ones there.

It didn’t start to get busy until around 11:00am. Then our friends went later in the day (we had to switch out watching the kids) and said after 6:00pm it started to clear out. This may have just been our experience but it was less busy around opening and closing times.

Be sure to book your hydrotherapy or massage ahead of time to ensure you have a spot. The booking system isn’t the most user-friendly but it’s not difficult to navigate on their site.

Alyeska Nordic Spa Pinterest Image

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