Roadtrippin’: Luxury living at the Sheldon Chalet

Published: Jun. 7, 2021 at 1:27 PM AKDT|Updated: Jun. 7, 2021 at 8:44 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - This year’s Roadtrippin’ was all about Alaska’s bucket list. The state is known for its vast beauty, but where Ariane Aramburo and crew ventured to is only accessible by air and takes the word breathtaking to a whole new level.

The adventure started out in Talkeetna where an A-Star helicopter flew the team to the Sheldon Chalet, located inside Denali National Park. The roughly 45-minute ride showed off Alaska’s beauty — flying over trees, cabins and moose below.

Then came the big reveal: Perched on a nunatak in the Don Sheldon Amphitheater was the five-bedroom luxury lodge that was the beginning of a three-day adventure. Once the stunning scenery set in, it was time to learn how the architectural wonder operates.

Marne Sheldon is the owner and manager of the Sheldon Chalet and said she wants guests to walk away with not just a change in their soul, but touched by Denali and the spirit of Don Sheldon and Roberta Sheldon — and that can happen when everything inside is running smoothly.

It’s a high bar to set, but from the moment you land on the helipad, the Sheldon Chalet is firing on all cylinders. From the staff and the views to the smallest details, it all adds to the grand experience.

“Look at this grand majestic setting, feel what it does to your soul, we cannot supersede that with our experience here, but we can darn well try to match it,” Marne Sheldon said.

To ensure that happens, a crew of four — a chef, concierge and two mountain guides — fly in from Talkeetna a day ahead of guests. Everything from food, firewood, recreational equipment and more is all flown in.

Depending on the load, it might take staff several hours to trek everything up a mountain of wooden, snow-carved stairs that takes them past the historic Sheldon Mountain House and over to the five-bedroom chalet.

The chef starts prepping meals while the guides go on a scouting mission to make sure the Ruth Glacier hasn’t shifted and also to determine what activities might be safe for guests.

Marne Sheldon said it’s their job to do whatever it takes to make the experience grand, which is why it’s important for her staff to stay fresh, energetic and bring a personality that pops.

“We can’t out do this beautiful creation, but we can rise to its level, because everything, anything else would be a disservice to our location,” she said.

Once you become a guest, that’s when the real luxury living begins. From the moment you walk inside the chalet, there’s really only one word to describe what you see — and that’s gorgeous.

The 2,000-square-foot building is outfitted with the finest interior designs, a full kitchen, three bathrooms and 360-degree views of Denali National Park. That’s not to mention the Alaska history that can be found along the walls, all thanks to the pioneering achievements of a glacier pilot named Don Sheldon.

Robert Sheldon, Don Sheldon’s only son, said his dad’s favorite aircraft was a Super Cub and pointed out a propeller that was unbent, but hanging on the wall. That’s just one of many relics that adorn the interior at the chalet as art.

Once upstairs, the views only continue to amaze. Each bedroom features a plush bed, fluffy pillows and is named after its vantage point or what you’ll see looking out your window. Even the bathrooms are like stepping into a spa.

“We have all the touches of home here that you would be used to,” Marne Sheldon said.

“I’m especially proud of our water management up here and our energy management, these bathrooms are examples of that. We’ve come up with a brand new efficient way to make it even more effective for everybody, so people can take their hot showers here on Denali a third of the way up towards the summit,” Robert Sheldon said.

Full-size showers, a large vanity, heated towel racks — all the touches that make you feel special because when you’re at the Sheldon Chalet, they say you’re family.

No outside distractions — just you and the truly unforgettable views.

Bookings have been steadily increasing since February 2018, when the chalet first opened for guests.

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