Washington hotels that are a world away
Gas prices are at record highs. Airfares are going up and up. The exchange rate for the U.S. dollar is at record lows, making vacations...
Seattle Times Travel staff
Gas prices are at record highs. Airfares are going up and up. The exchange rate for the U.S. dollar is at record lows, making vacations in Canada or Europe more expensive than ever.
So how can you avoid bankrupting yourself on vacation?
Take a close-to-home trip — much closer, as in a few hours' drive from Seattle — where new and renovated hotels are opening around Western Washington this spring and summer.
Here's a look at three new hotels and a renovated hotel that are destinations in their own right.
Great Wolf Lodge
Where: In Grand Mound, off Interstate 5 near Centralia, about 75 miles south of Seattle.
When: Opened March 18.
What: A $100 million-plus resort hotel with a sprawling, year-round indoor waterpark. The eight-story hotel has 398 rooms, with family-friendly suites that include in-room forts for children to sleep in. The waterpark covers 60,000 square feet and has six waterslides and three pools, including a large wave pool, and other waterplay areas. The resort is the first Western U.S. outpost of Great Wolf Resorts, which has hotel/indoor waterparks in the Midwest and East, and is a joint venture with the Confederated Tribes of Chehalis. It includes several restaurants and a Starbucks cafe plus a spa, games arcade and miniature golf.
Who: Families or adults who want a lot of waterpark fun.
Rates: Opening specials are up to $150 off standard rates on some suites through June 20; prices vary day by day. Among the lowest promotional rates is $179 (for some midweek nights in April) for a Queen Sofa suite that can sleep four. In July, that room, one of the resort's most economical, costs $329 a night. Some luxurious suites are more than $500 a night in summer.
Tip: Check-in is 4 p.m., but guests can arrive at 1 p.m. to start using the waterpark — so pack a daybag with swimsuits. Guests also can use the waterpark after the 11 a.m. checkout.
More info: www.greatwolf.com or 800-905-9653.
Tulalip Casino Resort
Where: About 30 miles north of Seattle, off Interstate 5 near Marysville.
When: Opening in late July or early August.
What: The 370-room luxury hotel, next to the very popular Tulalip casino, will include a deluxe spa, restaurants, meeting rooms, a ballroom and a special area for weddings around a landscaped pool. For high-rollers, there are supersized luxury suites, including the 2,000-square-foot Player's Suite with a pool table, arcade games and more.
The hotel's main attraction is the adjoining Tulalip Casino, a gambling mecca with 227,000 square feet of slot machines, table games, poker room and more.
Who: Gamblers who want to turn their casino visit into an overnight getaway. And shoppers, too; the Seattle Premium Outlets mall, with about 100 upscale and designers shops, is next door.
Rates: Reservations will be taken starting April 15. Rooms begin at $190 a night midweek and $210 weekends; there will be some introductory rates of $135 on weeknights, although availability is limited. If money's no object, the palatial Tulalip suite is $3,500 a night midweek, $5,000 on weekends.
Tip: If you're a casino regular, or a high roller, you might be able to get a discounted room or an upgrade; group and corporate rates also are available.
More information: www.tulalipcasino.com or 888-272-1111. A toll-free reservations number will be activated April 15: 866-716-7162.
Lodge at Suncadia
Where: 80 miles east of Seattle, off Interstate 90 near the small town of Roslyn. The lodge is part of the new, 6,400-acre Suncadia resort area.
When: Some rooms already are available; lodge rooms will be fully open April 1, and a grand opening celebration is May 2-3.
What: A luxury resort hotel amid Cascades scenery, with 254 rooms, from hotel rooms to apartment-like suites with two or three bedrooms. The six-story lodge is built in a gabled style reminiscent of historic national park lodges. Amenities include the upscale Portals restaurant, opening this spring, and the $7 million Glade Spring Spa that opens in early summer.
Who: Couples and families who want luxury with mountain views and outdoor recreation, from cross-country skiing in winter to hiking, horse-riding and fishing in summer plus high-quality golf, including the public Prospector course.
Rates: In April, rooms begin at $189 a night (AAA and senior discounts reduce that to $171) and ascend to $999 for a big, luxury suite. Whatever you pay, you'll still be charged an additional $20 resort fee per room.
Tip: Suncadia is a resort in the making; construction of luxury homes will continue for years, and some amenities are yet to come. The lodge's "little sister," the 18-room Inn at Suncadia, opened several years ago and is by the Prospector golf course.
More information: 866-904-6301 or www.suncadiaresort.com.
Where: On the south side of Mount Rainier within Mount Rainier National Park, about 100 miles from Seattle.
When: Reopens May 16. The historic wooden lodge has been closed since 2005 for structural renovations.
What: Paradise Inn, built in 1916, sits amid glorious alpine meadowland at 5,400 feet. The gabled wooden lodge has undergone $18 million in structural renovations, including major repairs to its foundations. The guest rooms have not been refurbished, although seven handicap-accessible rooms have been added on the ground level. The lodge's beloved vintage public rooms — its "forested" lobby and dining room of cedar-log construction with hand-hewn wood furniture and huge stone fireplaces — also have not been changed.
Who: Anyone who enjoys mountain scenery and wants to walk the meadow trails, from a half-hour stroll to an all-day hike.
Rates: A room without bath is $99; a room with bath is $149; suites cost up to $228.
Tip: Most rooms are small and plain; don't expect luxury. The mountain is the main attraction, and the park's Jackson Visitor Center is nearby (its new building opens in the fall).
More information: 360-569-2275 or http://rainier.guestservices.com.
Kristin Jackson: firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-464-2271
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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