Member Spotlight: The Nauti Otter Inn and Yurt Village

Q&A With Heather and Clint Davis of The Nauti Otter Inn, Cabins and Hostel

It’s often said that people make the place, and we couldn’t agree more. Our new spotlight series introduces you to Seward Chamber of Commerce members who make our community an incredible place to live, work and play.

Recent construction of the Yurt Village has nearly doubled the size of the Nauti Otter Inn, located just outside of Seward at Mile Post 5.  The Nauti Otter Cabins and Hostel offers inexpensive lodging from dorm style bunks to vintage campers to rustic cabins.  One mile away lies the Yurt Village nestled in a forest reminiscent of childhood fairytales.
 
We recently sat down with Heather to learn more about the journey she has taken as a small business owner in Seward.
Co-owners Heather and Clint share their love of Seward with their guests. Photo Courtesy of Nauti Otter Inn.

What makes your business special or unique? In other words, what are you known for?

Guests love the quirky feel of the inn and the fairytale vibe of the yurt village. Both locations are set up to encourage mingling of travelers. Many have made life-time friends from their time at the Nauti Otter. We have nightly bonfires with s’mores, family-style group dinners, group hikes and various other activities planned to encourage guest interaction.

What would people be surprised to learn about your business or your journey as a business owner?

I first visited Alaska during the summer of 2008.  Being a school teacher, I took the whole summer to have an “Alaskan Adventure.”  I flew into Anchorage from Texas the day school was out, bought a car and drove to Seward.  I found the Seward Highway location where the owner allowed me and my cousin to work at the inn in return for housing.  When the summer was over, the owner asked me if I wanted to stay all winter as a caretaker. I said “Yes!”, resigned from my teaching position in Texas, flew home, packed bags, and started the journey back to Alaska.  After a few months, the owners offered to sell the inn and I gladly accepted! In 2016 I found my first mate and married Clint. We now own and manage the properties together and hope everyone falls in love with Alaska as much as we have!

Quirky Cabins make guests’ stay in Seward unforgettable. Photo Courtesy of Nauti Otter Inn.

Tell us about a product or service that you’re particularly proud of.

We are super excited about finishing the construction of the Yurt Village. It took a lot of hard work to create a fairytale atmosphere in the forest.


What is the best compliment your business has ever received?

“The stay at the Nauti Otter was our most memorable experience in Alaska”. “This is the coolest place we’ve ever stayed!”

Describe a risk that you’ve taken in your business that paid off.

When we purchased the yurt village property, we had to choose between being safe and starting with a few yurts or go all the way and purchase 12 yurts. We’re glad we decided to go big because we have been filled almost to capacity since the season started.

What advice would you give to a new business owner who is working to build a business like yours?

Take chances! When I first bought the inn, I went about it with an attitude of, “Worst case scenario: I can rent the rooms out to roommates to help with the mortgage”. Fortunately, she was able to rent it to nightly travelers and the business succeeded.
Heather and Clint hope to use Seward as a stunning backdrop for destination weddings in the future. Photo Courtesy of Nauti Otter Inn.


What do you like most about living and working in Seward?

Seward is a beautiful town with a close knit community. We also enjoy the laid back lifestyle.

Tell us about a community member in Seward who you admire.

I admire Rissie Casagranda. She’s a mom, a hard worker, owns her own business, serves as a council member and cares about the city. She went above and beyond to help us find a new property to purchase when we wanted to expand our business.  When we couldn’t find property in Seward, she even drove us to Homer to look there. She stomped through feet of snow, while FaceTiming us during the winter to show us various properties.

How do you spend your free time?

Clint and I travel as much as we can and enjoy seeing what this world as to offer. We love Mexico and the Carribean!Where’s your favorite spot in Seward to unwind?

Thorn’s Showcase Lounge! They created a drink for us called the “Nauti Otter” which is printed on the menu.If your life was a book, what would the title be?

Nauti by Nature – The Davis AdventuresThere are so many great wilderness areas to explore around Seward and Kenai Fjords. If you had a free weekend, where would you go?

We want to visit Katmai State Park and view the bears!

Is there anything exciting on the horizon that you’d like to share?

We are thinking about partnering up with Marathon Helicopters and offering wedding packages. We have our first wedding this summer. If all goes well, you will find us all over the US offering destination wedding packages.

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Feature Image: Sunlight plays on the roof of the fairytale Yurt Village. Photo Courtesy of Nauti Otter Inn.

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For more information about The Nauti Otter click here or call (907) 491-2255.

Want more information about Seward or our Chamber of Commerce? Call 907.224.8051.