Looking for downtown Seattle hotel advice
February 16, 2010 7:42 AM   Subscribe

If I book an unknown four-star hotel in downtown Seattle using Hotwire, Priceline, etc., will I be sorry?

My SO and I are planning a trip to Seattle in March, and although we will be staying with family part of the time we would also like some vacation time alone. We like to go to Pike Place Market, the International District, and REI so downtown is a good home base for us. A little luxury would be nice, but we are not very formal so don't want to feel out of place. (Yes, I know Goretex is considered appropriate attire anywhere in Seattle.) I would like to get a good deal -- but not if it means being in a hotel that is technically four stars but has a bad reputation, or if we are guaranteed a view of the dumpsters. I am also willing to splurge a bit if there's something that is really worth it.

Any insights or experiences would be most welcome.
posted by krista_p to Travel & Transportation around Seattle, WA (13 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I am out there occasionally for business and have had nice stays at the Homewood Suites on Western Ave. It's only a few blocks north of the sculpture garden and the Pike Place area, and a short walk (albeit uphill) to the Space Needle and all the stuff around there. The bus stops right behind it and you can get pretty much anywhere.
posted by jquinby at 7:47 AM on February 16, 2010

Best answer: Bidding for Travel users maintains a list of hotels that sell through Priceline. Here's the Seattle board. It's been accurate for me in NYC.
posted by mullacc at 7:48 AM on February 16, 2010 [4 favorites]

I don't know all the hotels on the Bidding for Travel hotel list, but the ones I do either have good reputations or don't stand out as having a bad one. In general, I have had very good experiences with Priceline 4* hotels. As far as a view, it is highly probably that opaque customers will get one of the worse views available. Who cares, though? There are so many great views all over the place in Seattle that you won't need one in your room. Just walk a few blocks to the waterfront, and bam, there's your view.

The only note of caution I have is that the Priceline Downtown Seattle - Pike Place area is fairly expansive for that name, including as it does First Hill, the waterfront side of Belltown, and even parts of the International District and SODO! You might be unhappy if you end up in one of those more remote places, but none of the hotels that people have been bidding for on Bidding for Travel seem to be outside downtown proper. I would go for it, personally. Use the money you saved to buy something nice at REI.
posted by grouse at 8:13 AM on February 16, 2010

Best answer: You might want to check out the BetterBidding message boards.

You can search through and hopefully figure out which hotel you are actually bidding on based on what other people got. I have never been to Seattle, but I was able to figure out the hotels I was getting the two times I used it for other cities.
posted by AtomicBee at 8:19 AM on February 16, 2010 [3 favorites]

There are so many great views all over the place in Seattle that you won't need one in your room.

And you can luck out. My mom stayed at the Executive Best Western on her last visit out here, and ended up with an amazing view of the space needle centered perfectly in her window.
posted by nomisxid at 8:23 AM on February 16, 2010

I've used Hotwire quite a few times for hotels. I would only choose a four or five star hotel as we stayed in a couple of three star hotels and they were pretty crappy.
posted by MsKim at 8:39 AM on February 16, 2010

Seconding MsKim. I've experienced the following situation twice with Hotwire, so I'm not sure if it's a fluke or something they pull on a regular basis. I booked a three-star hotel and they e-mailed me shortly before my stay to notify me that my chosen hotel was 're-classed' and that although it's now considered a two-star, they would give me a $10 off coupon. Better to aim high than stay in a no-tell motel.
posted by theraflu at 8:42 AM on February 16, 2010

If you can get a good price I would highly recommend the Edgwater. The views are great and you can fish from the windows of many of the rooms.

As for taking a chance and finding yourself in a stuffy place I wouldn't worry. I have traipsed through the lobbies of many a luxury hotel in jeans and a T shirt. I don't think they have any hotels in Seattle where this would be an issue.
posted by caddis at 9:58 AM on February 16, 2010

I just used Priceline for a stay tomorrow in Northern California and put in 4 star only. I got a room at a gorgeous Sofitel for CHEAP! Nthing putting in 4 and 5 star hotels only as 3 star will get you anything from a Holiday Inn to a Ramada to a run down Motor Lodge....
posted by Sophie1 at 10:13 AM on February 16, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks, folks! The tips about the bidding websites are excellent -- I had no idea these even existed.
posted by krista_p at 11:19 AM on February 16, 2010

I've used Hotwire twice to find four star hotels in downtown Seattle, and both times I got very nice rooms. I would definitely recommend it!
posted by jess at 1:24 PM on February 16, 2010

Experienced bidder here. Seattle is a VERY dodgy city to bid on. 4-star, however, should be safe. But nothing below 4 star or some of those ratings will get you absolute shite.

(Philadelphia is similar, if anyone cares).

nthing the websites suggested. Please please please RTFM before asking questions because the same questions get asked time and time again. It killed BFT, luckily Better Bidding seems to have fared better.
posted by micawber at 6:32 PM on February 16, 2010

I don't know much of anything about booking hotels online, but if you're coming to Seattle and want to stay downtown I can't recommend Pensione Nichols enough. I stayed there when I first visited Seattle (moved here three weeks afterward) and they made my initial impression of this city so much better than it might otherwise have been.

It's pretty classy, but more bed and breakfast style, and unless you're getting a suite it's shared bathrooms. Not quite what I'd consider four star, but I'd take the intimacy and location (they're on First and Stewart, a block from the market) over a fancier room at some swank hotel any day.

Prices seemed pretty reasonable when I stayed as well, though this was four years ago. And their sitting room has some pretty spectacular views of the sound. And the included breakfast is pretty nice too (if, unlike me, you are actually awake at the time it's served).

This is sorta reading as astroturf, but I assure that I'm not in any way affiliated. I just really enjoyed my stay there and always recommend them to anyone I know coming into town.
posted by Jawn at 3:42 AM on February 17, 2010

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