Business/Economy

Alyeska Resort opens first phase of its $15M Nordic Spa after a long wait due to pandemic-related disruptions

Alyeska Resort, Nordic Spa

Alyeska Resort in Girdwood announced Thursday that it has partially opened its long-delayed $15 million Nordic Spa, following challenges getting building materials and workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

At this point, the 50,000-square-foot spa centers on a series of hot, warm and cold outdoor pools and heated walkways to a sauna and other amenities. The main cedar-sided building houses changing areas and massage rooms, and the new Two Trees Bistro.

Alyeska Resort is taking a phased approach in part because of the pandemic-related supply disruptions that have made it difficult to get everything shipped to Alaska on time, said Melissa LaRose, general manager for the spa.

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Other parts of the spa will open this summer, including a Finnish sauna and steam rooms.

The opening of the final phase later this year will include outdoor wooden tubs and saunas, such as several large barrel saunas in the forest, LaRose said.

The project’s uniqueness — Alyeska says it’s the only facility of its kind in Alaska — has added to the difficulty getting materials amid international shipping snarls, she said.

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The spa was originally proposed to be built in spring 2021, she said.

Getting enough contractors to do all the work on time was another challenge, she said. The spa employs about 55 workers, so it’s doing relatively well in the hiring arena, she said. They plan to hire more people as the plans are phased in.

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“Certainly it’s been a challenging hiring market, but because the spa is new and such a cool facility, we’ve had much less problems finding employees than many businesses have had in this difficult hiring climate,” LaRose said.

And while housing is limited in mountain-backed Girdwood, Alyeska has offered new incentives, such as a commuter stipend to support workers from Anchorage, LaRose said.

LaRose said there’s been strong interest in the spa during the soft opening, with Saturdays especially busy.

A pass currently costs $79 and includes free yoga and Pilates classes, said LaRose, and the price for the pass will increase when amenities are added. Guests must be 18 or older.

Alyeska Resort, Nordic Spa

Alex DeMarban

Alex DeMarban is a longtime Alaska journalist who covers business, the oil and gas industries and general assignments. Reach him at 907-257-4317 or alex@adn.com.

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