Our welcome to Seattle was slightly less than welcoming. After a miserable, longer than anticipated bus ride from Vancouver, we arrived right during the evening rush hour. Hoping to snag an Uber to bring us to our hotel, the Roosevelt Hotel (now the Hotel Theodore), we found out it would be over an hour wait, leading us to find a Plan B. Luckily a kind, bearded fellow near the crosswalk was helpful and directed us toward a city bus stop. However, not anticipating this situation, we boarded without correct change causing the exasperated driver to tell us to “just sit down”. This curious local bus uses the underground subway tunnels to reach its destinations to avoid street level traffic—genius! Our annoyed driver alerted us of our stop and after thanking him profusely, we made our way to the hotel.
We were so wiped out after both of the day’s bus incidents and travel chaos and were really looking forward to settling into our 4 star hotel and maybe even enjoying a much needed cocktail in the lobby, but it was not meant to be. We located the hotel and were greeted by a plywood welcome sign. To our surprise the place was under renovation. After squeezing into the reception area, all lobby cocktail dreams were shattered as it was closed off and construction dust was everywhere.
We rode the elevator up to our room– fragile, worn out versions of our morning selves. When we walked into our room, I wanted to cry. Russell was simply irate. We entered what I’d consider the smallest hotel room of my life (and I’ve been in Manhattan!). To make matters worse, its window was facing a block wall and an AC unit from a neighboring building, that it turns out, would run all night long. It was claustrophobia at its worst. One person could barely fit in the bathroom.
After collecting myself, I called the front desk and shared our disappointment, but were notified that the hotel was completely full that night. The lovely desk clerk promised that tomorrow as soon as possible they would move us to a larger room. God bless.
Without unpacking a thing, we “escaped” from our cage in search of a well deserved happy hour, which we found at the fantastic Korean restaurant, Chan http://www.chanseattle.com/ . This place is incredible. We were blown away by our appetizer assortment of ahi tuna poke, beef and pork sliders, and chicken wings. After this wonderful battery-recharger, we strolled over to the park behind Pike Place Market and looked out onto Elliot Bay and a crystal clear view of Mount Rainer. This view would continue throughout our stay in Seattle, along with cloud-free skies, so things were improving already!
On the way home we passed this guy who actually took time to make this sign and share it with people. Wow. Thank you.
We settled back into our micro-room for the night feeling much better about Seattle than when we first arrived.
The following day the city would continue all efforts to make us love her, starting with brunch of Dungeness crab eggs Benedict and omelet at the very busy, very delicious Café Bacco https://www.baccocafe.com/ . Continuing to enjoy the magic of the city, we then strolled through Pike Place Market and drank in all of the great colors, smells, and sounds that can be found there. The next stop was the Aquarium where we made the best purchase ever—the City Pass https://www.citypass.com/seattle . The highlight of the Aquarium was watching the sea otters just hanging out and chilling. Adorable! With City Pass in hand and it being our last full day in Seattle, we tried to take in as many sights as possible. We arrived at the Argosy Harbor Cruise in time for its next departure and got on an excellent cruise of the bay with a ton of interesting narrated information, stellar views of the city and Mount Rainer, and some nice wine to pair with it all. A big ship came in and unloaded while we were in the bay, so that was a real highlight for Russell as well.
Next on my list was going up in the Space Needle, which acrophobic Russell passed on, so I caught the monorail myself over to the Seattle Center. I think he was just looking for an excuse to return to our newly upgraded Superior King room on the 16th floor. The views from the room were nice—no block walls in sight. But the views I was rewarded with from the top of the Space Needle were incredible! After that I used my City Pass again and checked out the super cool Frank Gehry-designed Museum of Pop Culture before meeting Russell at the Pacific Science Center for the IMAX film on the Terracotta Soldiers. Thanks, City Pass, for a fun and educational day!
Once the monorail returned us to downtown, the draw of happy hour was calling to us so we bee lined over to Pike Place Market and Athenian http://www.athenianseattle.com/ , of Sleepless in Seattle fame. It was SO busy, but after some patience we scored a great table at the window overlooking Elliot Bay. Sipping excellent porter beer and working our way through plates of appetizers, including our last chance at fresh Wild Coho salmon, we bid farewell to the magical Emerald City—a perfect end to our two week Pacific Coast Road Trip!