Holland America Line, which owns and operates the McKinley Chalet Resort at the entrance of Denali National Park in Alaska, cut the ribbon Monday on a new dining, entertainment, and mixed-use concept at the hotel named Denali Square. To celebrate the opening, Holland America Line presented the Denali Borough School District with a $20,000 donation which will be spent on modernizing interactive classroom technology.
The ceremony was attended by Holland America Line President Orlando Ashford, and included special guests U.S. Senator for Alaska Lisa Murkowski, Superintendent of Denali National Park and Preserve Don Striker, Denali Borough School District Superintendent Dan Polta, Ken Karstens, grandson of Harry Karstens, the first superintendent of the park, as well as representatives from Holland America Line and parent Carnival Corporation. Guests were entertained by a choir performance from the Tri-Valley High School, in Healy, Alaska, which is part of the Denali Borough School District. Guests were also able to interact with husky dogs from the National Park Service.
“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.”
Denali Square is a mixed-use development for guests to enjoy fire pits, outdoor seating, presentations and demonstrations from staff about the park and local area, and enjoy local shows and other entertainment. Part of the development is Karstens Public House, named for the Park’s first superintendent, which is a two story restaurant showcasing views of the surrounding mountains, as well as outdoor seating, retail shops offering local goods, and an artist-in-residence cabin for local artists to display and discuss their art. The McKinley Chalet Resort is owned and operated by Holland America Line for guests traveling on Land+Sea Journeys in conjunction with the company’s Alaska sailings, and is also bookable by independent travelers wanting to overnight near Denali National Park.
The Denali Borough School District administers schools in the communities closest to Denali National Park and has a $9 million annual budget. Roughly the size of the State of Maryland, the Denali Borough has a year-round population of just under 2,000 residents.
Holland America Line and fellow Carnival Corporation subsidiary Princess Cruises are the two largest operators of cruises and land tours in the State of Alaska.