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Originally published December 20, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified December 21, 2008 at 6:01 AM

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Travelers stranded by winter storms will find room at the inns

Seattle-area hotels report lots of rooms available for those stranded by winter storms or for those who lose power at their homes this weekend due to high winds.

Seattle Times travel writer

In what might be a silver lining in a season of economic hard times, those stranded by storms or left without power should be able to find room at the inn this weekend and into next week.

"Those of us in the hotel industry pray for big storms in December because we're typically pretty slow," said Lisa Burley, director of sales at the Redmond Inn, which cut its rates through Jan. 3 from $169 to $89 a night.

With more than half its 137 rooms vacant this weekend, she said, "we're hoping to help a lot of folks who might lose power this weekend and need places to be."

Many hotels on the Eastside and in Snohomish County, where winter storms hit hard on Thursday, cater to business travelers, meaning rooms on weekends often go unfilled. With predictions of more bad weather and the holidays coming, even business travelers are expected to cancel reservations for next week, Burley said.

Silver Cloud Inns are advertising special storm rates of $149, down from $179.

The Best Western Alderwood in Lynnwood is offering a special $79 weather rate, said general manager Jennifer Alphonse. Rooms normally start at $99.

"We did this two years ago and filled the entire hotel," she said. "We were told other hotels were jacking their rates up, but I don't think we should rip people off, especially in this economy."

The 170-room Sheraton Bellevue Hotel was less than 50 percent occupied this weekend. Several customers checked out early yesterday to get home before another storm, said desk supervisor Julie Gobunquin.

Some of the bigger downtown Seattle hotels also reported a higher than usual number of vacancies, but rooms in less-expensive downtown inns could be hard to come by.

The downtown Days Inn was 80 percent full this weekend, but only 50 to 60 percent booked for next week, a manager said. Rates are $79.95 on weekends and $69.95 on weekdays.

Three Kimpton hotels in downtown Seattle have 'snow day rates' available starting from $99 at the Hotel Monaco and Hotel Vintage Park and from $109 at the Alexis Hotel. All the hotels allow pets at no extra charge.

Travelers who want to spend the night near Sea-Tac to catch an early-morning flight should not have a problem, but that could change if the weather deteriorates.

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About half the 200 rooms at the Courtyard by Marriott in Tukwila were available as of yesterday. Estimates are about 9 percent fewer people are traveling by air this holiday season compared to last.

"All the hotels are feeling it," a Courtyard manager said.

Carol Pucci: 206-464-3701; cpucci@seattletimes.com.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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