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Baranof Downtown, BW Signature Collection, in Juneau, Alaska [In-Depth Hotel Review]

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James Larounis
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James Larounis

Senior Content Contributor

563 Published Articles 1 Edited Article

Countries Visited: 30U.S. States Visited: 35

James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

38 Published Articles 3340 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 48U.S. States Visited: 28

With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now editor-in-chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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I visited Juneau, Alaska’s state capital, as part of my itinerary flying the Alaska Airlines Milk Run in April 2024. My trip would take me to Juneau for 2 nights before flying out from Juneau south to Seattle via a few remote Alaska towns, part of this iconic flight.

I’ve been to Juneau before, and I know I’d have slim pickings for hotels. I’ve previously stayed at the Four Points by Sheraton Juneau but opted this time to stay at the Baranof Downtown, BW Signature Collection, which is labeled as the nicest hotel in the city. While it certainly was not the nicest hotel I’ve been to, it was passable by Juneau standards and did the trick for my short visit.

Booking Baranof Downtown, BW Signature Collection

When I was looking to book a hotel for this trip, the Four Points by Sheraton Juneau, where I would have likely redeemed Marriott Bonvoy points, was sold out for my preferred dates. The next best option was the Baranof Downtown, BW Signature Collection.

I paid for my stay using the Capital One Travel portal, thanks to the $300 annual credit that comes with my Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card. To use this credit, I went to Capital One Travel, selected the hotel room I wanted to reserve, and the $300 credit was automatically applied. Keep in mind that this credit is once per card anniversary year, not per calendar year. I redeemed 25,222 Capital One miles to cover the remainder of the stay, as I had plenty of miles in my account, which are good for covering travel purchases.

As you can see, the Baranof Downtown, BW Signature Collection, even during the “off-season” (before the cruise ships arrive), still cost a pretty penny. It was around $275 a night, and while the hotel isn’t fancy by any means, you’re paying for the location more than anything.

Cap1 Travel Portal Booking Hotel Baranof
Image Credit: Capital One
Hot Tip:

While you can’t earn Best Western Rewards points when booking through an online travel agency like Capital One Travel, you can if you book directly at BestWestern.com. You can then redeem Best Western Rewards points for hotel stays.

Location of Baranof Downtown, BW Signature Collection

Baranof Downtown, BW Signature Collection, is located in the heart of Juneau. Although the city is not big by any means, you can walk from end to end in the downtown area in just a few minutes.

Baranhof Front Hotel
The hotel is located right in the heart of Juneau.

From the airport, it’s about a 20 or so-minute drive. While a public bus stops near the airport, it’s a lengthy ride and doesn’t stop right at the hotel, so while you certainly could ride it, a taxi or ride-share vehicle is probably best. Because Juneau is a small place, you’ll want to prebook any taxis or ride-shares when possible.

The hotel is walkable to most of Juneau’s attractions and is steps away from several restaurants in town. The only thing not walkable from the hotel is the Mendenhall Glacier, about a 25-minute drive away. If you’re staying at the hotel as part of any official government business, the capital is only 2 blocks away, so it’s extremely convenient to visit there.

Baranhof Suite View
From the top of the hotel, you can see down into Juneau.
Hot Tip:

Check out how I spent my 48 hours in Juneau, with tips on what to do, where to eat, and how to get around.

Checking In

Arriving at the hotel, you’ll find no fanfare. There are really no other guests milling about, no bell person, no one greeting you at the door, or anything that you’d usually find in an upper-end hotel.

Baranhof Front Desk
Check-in was simple, and I was given a free upgrade to a suite.

The front desk clerk was friendly, but the check-in experience almost reminded me of checking in at a roadside motel rather than what is supposed to be the nicest hotel in Juneau. Check-in formalities were very quick, and I was surprised to learn that I was upgraded to a 1-bedroom suite on the top floor with views of Juneau and the surrounding mountains for no extra charge! I greatly appreciated this upgrade and assumed it came from booking through Capital One Travel, though this hotel is not listed in the Capital One Premier Collection or Lifestyle Collection.

The Room

I was given a corner suite on the very top floor. Coming out of the elevator, the room is to the left, all the way down the hall. The first thing I noticed was how warm the hallways were.

One thing to note about this room and all the rooms on the property is that there is no air conditioning. There is no central air, and the rooms do not have window units. This means the rooms can get uncomfortably hot, even in the coolest of seasons, so the hotel provides a few fans on stands to position around the room to keep you cool. If you don’t like to sleep warm, this may not be the hotel for you (although it’s worth noting that the Four Points by Sheraton Juneau nearby also does not have air conditioning).

Hot Tip:

Due to the heat in the rooms, you’ll want to get the fans going before you think you need them. I suggest opening the windows and turning on the fans as soon as you arrive.

As you entered the room, a living room was off to the left, a bedroom straight ahead, and a full bathroom to the right. This hotel clearly hasn’t been renovated in years, but it has a certain “Alaska charm” to it.

Living Room

The living room was something out of the Brady Bunch era. It had a dining table with 2 chairs that almost looked like they belonged in a conference room.

Just behind that was a closet with a luggage rack, ironing board, and iron, with an ancient foldable door that hadn’t been used in years (and I didn’t want to touch it, figuring I’d be the lucky one to break it).

Baranhof Suite Table Overview
The suite featured very basic, dated furniture.

Deeper into the living area, there were 2 sitting chairs with a small table between them, and then just behind that was a window that looked out onto the city of Juneau and the docks down the street (during the peak season, this is where you can see cruise ships).

Off to the right was a chest of drawers and a television. I couldn’t figure out how to get any regular channels on the TV to show, but oddly enough, I did notice it had a Roku system set up, so I logged into my YouTube TV account so I could at least get a few basic channels.

Baranhof Suite Living Room TV
Unfortunately, the television didn’t have cable.

On the other side of the room was a couch, and next to that was a desk. On the desk was a basic telephone and a lamp with 2 outlets.

Baranhof Suite Couch
This room definitely had a lot of places to sit!

Bedroom

The bedroom had an armoire with a television and a sitting chair in the corner.

Baranhof Suite Bed Toward TV
The bedroom was small compared to the rest of the suite.

This room featured a king bed with nightstands on either side. My biggest complaint was that there were no electrical outlets near the bed! In order to charge my phone, I had to maneuver the mattress to plug my charger into the outlet behind the bed and then put the mattress back. I don’t care how old the hotel is, to not have power outlets acessible by a bed in this day and age is just inexcusable. A simple charger port on the nightstand could do it, and that could be plugged in behind the bed.

Baranhof Suite Bed
There were no power outlets anywhere near the bed!

Bathroom

The bathroom was back in the common area, featuring a tub, sink, and toilet.

Baranhof Bathroom
It was a small bathroom, but it got the job done.

The toiletries were mounted to the wall, and I distinctly remember having difficulty pumping any of the soaps out.

Baranhof Suite Soap
The soap dispenser broke several times while I tried to use it.

Amenities

This hotel has very few on-site amenities, but there are a few essentials.

Lobby

The lobby of this hotel felt historic, and there were several pictures on the walls of what this property looked like many years ago. However, you won’t find much excitement in the lobby. There are a few couches to gather on and a few refrigerators with drinks for purchase, but other than that, there’s not a whole ton going on.

Baranhof Lobby Sitting Area
There’s a small seating area in the lobby.

Parking

Surprisingly, parking is complimentary at this hotel. There are only a few spots out back, so it’s first come, first served, but you’re welcome to leave your vehicle overnight. Just stop by the front desk after you park to give them your vehicle’s license plate number so they can keep track.

Business Center

If you need to print anything, there’s a shared computer and printer available in the lobby.

Baranhof Lobby Computer
A small business center was located in the lobby.

Fitness Center

This hotel has a 24-hour fitness center, although it is extremely small. It is on the lobby level, directly across from the front desk. Inside are only a few cardio machines and weights, and the space is one of the smallest hotel gym rooms you’ll find. It’s certainly a no-frills operation.

Baranhof Treadmill
A few basic pieces of exercise equipment complete the fitness center room.

Concierge

The concierge office is only open May through September, so it was not open for my visit, but you could go inside this room for assistance with booking local attractions and reservations, which is especially helpful during the busy cruising season.

Baranhof Concierge Office
The concierge office is only open seasonally.

Laundry

Guests can use the on-site laundry room, which costs $3 to wash and $3 to dry clothes.

Food and Beverage

On one side of the lobby is the hotel’s restaurant, 127 Cafe, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Based on the time of year, I think this restaurant can choose its own operating hours since I didn’t see it open for lunch during my visit, though it was open for breakfast.

Baranhof Restaurant Tables Open
Check the hours of the restaurant before making plans to eat there.

While I didn’t eat here on this trip, I have eaten at this restaurant before. The nearby Four Points by Sheraton Juneau sends elite members to this restaurant to have their included elite breakfast. It’s not a tasty breakfast, and most of the items seem to come from a can or were frozen, though I guess that’s to be expected for a city where everything has to be either flown or barged in.

The hotel also has a bar called the Bubble Lounge, which is situated around the corner from the front desk. Supposedly, you can have dinner here, though, during my stay, I never found this bar open for any real great length of time. There was a server there in the afternoon cleaning, but I never saw any patrons.

Baranhof Bar Overview
The bar never seemed to be open anytime during my visit.

Service

Service at this hotel is limited, and really, the only person I interacted with was the front desk clerk, who was very friendly and gave me a free upgrade, which I was incredibly appreciative of. Outside of this, I really didn’t see a ton of other staff on-site, and this is likely due to this being on the tail end of the off-season since the cruise ships were not in port. Had my stay been 2 weeks later, I think the hotel would have been much more bustling.

Final Thoughts

Baranof Downtown, BW Signature Collection, is the oldest hotel in the capital city, and it shows. While the decor is old-school and the place isn’t air-conditioned, a certain charm makes it uniquely Alaskan. Returning to Juneau, I’d happily stay at this hotel again, though I think most travelers will need to temper their expectations of what they receive for $250 a night.

The information regarding the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the Hotel Baranof located?

Baranof Downtown, BW Signature Collection, is centrally located downtown, about a 5 to 10 minute walk from the cruise ship terminal and about a 5-minute walk from the state capital.

Does the Hotel Baranof have free parking?

There is a parking lot behind the hotel, and parking is complimentary for overnight guests.

Does the Hotel Baranof have free breakfast?

Breakfast is not included for all guests at the Baranof Downtown, BW Signature Collection, but some may have it included with their rate.

Does the Hotel Baranof have an airport shuttle?

Baranof Downtown, BW Signature Collection, is about 25 minutes away from Juneau International Airport (JNU). There is no free shuttle, so the best way to access the hotel is by taxi or ride-share.

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About James Larounis

James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in dozens of travel publications.

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