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 U.S. Senator for Alaska 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.