Inexpensive (and unscary) hotels: Seattle/Portland
September 28, 2006 10:14 AM   Subscribe

We're two recent grad-school graduates on a budget, travelling to Portland and Seattle in a couple of weeks. Any recommendations for relatively inexpensive hotels in both cities? (Previous Seattle questions have brought up the Moore Hotel, but in case they're booked, any alternative suggestions?) Thanks!
posted by hazelshade to Travel & Transportation around Seattle, WA (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The Ace Hotel in Seattle is an interesting, centrally-located, and not-very-pricey place to stay.
posted by Dr. Wu at 10:24 AM on September 28, 2006 [1 favorite]

We stayed in University Motel once. It was one of the cheapest places we could find and were surprised how big the room was (basically it was a 1 bedroom apartment) with a little kitchenette, dining room, living room.

There are no bells and whistles at this place. And the management is a bit flakey. For example I called to see if there was internet access available because I would need it. They said yes. I called again another day just to be sure and they said yes again. When we got there we were told there's "no high speed internet access, only dial-up", meaning there's a phone line in the room. This had me pretty pissed off. Luckily I was able to pickup a signal from a router nearby. Don't rely on the management for anything at this place, except to give you a room.

Not sure if it would be as cheap now since the university is in session. But maybe worth a look for a basic place to stay.
posted by jclovebrew at 10:32 AM on September 28, 2006

Portland has two youth hostels that are both in really nice neighborhoods. This one is $17 per night per person. It's in the Hawthorne District, which has very bohemian roots, though it's rpetty gentrified these days. You'll be able to find at least trhee or four stores selling "functional glass art for tobacco use only" within walking distance of this place, plus Indian food, pasta, crepes, Chinese food, a couple of bars, and a lot of cute boutiques selling gifts or clothes up and down this street.

If you're both over 21, you might check out the White Eagle. The lodging is upstairs from a bar/rock club, next to a trendy cocktail lounge (Mint), across the street from a brewery and a block from the MAX, Portland's light rail transportation. It's in a weird, funky semi-industrial neighborhood. You can get a room with bunk beds for $30, or a more normal room for $40.

The Mark Spencer officially starts at $89, but I know people have gotten better rates or package deals there, too. It's a funky old hotel. I think it used to be a low-rent tenement-style place for blue collar workers. Now it's got really small rooms, with full kitchens and dishes provided. There's a nice rooftop area with tables and a great view. The Mark Spencer is right in downtown Portland, an easy walk to lots of clubs, restaurants, trendy shops, night life, etc.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 11:09 AM on September 28, 2006

yowzer. sorry about the typos.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 11:10 AM on September 28, 2006

I stayed for a week at the Green Tortoise hostel. They were in the process of moving to a new, renovated location, so it was grungier than normal (which is also pretty grungy, I imagine). However, it was a great, unique experience. The smoking room is where the party's at. And the newly renovated digs are probably pretty nifty. There's also the Pike's Place HI hostel. The Moore is awesome, too, and probably the least hassle, but also not as much adventure. All of these places are pretty close to each other, so I'd highly recommend going to the Farestart restaurant for lunch someday: Great food. Great service. Great price. Great cause. It's two doors down from the Moore.

If you want to escape the city center for a while, I'd recommend the Lavender Duck on Vashon Island. It's managed by the HI Vashon hostel (which also has teepees and bunks for rent at their hostel location) It's a 30-40 minute passenger ferry ride to downtown Seattle. Staying in Vashon has the bonus (if you're coming up from Portland) of being able to take the Point Defiance ferry to Vashon and skip that nasty Tacoma-Seattle traffic. And you don't have to worry about parking. Of course, this is only recommended if you just want a taste of the city, since the ferries don't run very often or very late.

All of the Portland suggestions are pretty good, although I've always lived here so I haven't lodged here too often. The White Eagle is part of a McMenamin's pub (They're our default pub franchise) and the hotel part is rumored to be haunted by a sexually adventurous ghost. The Jupiter is Portland's hipster hotel that's connected to the Doug Fir. I attended a room party there once and it was nice but not up to the hype. In my mind, the Jupiter would be the antithesis of the Hawthorne experience (hippy versus hipster). More and more this is becoming the two faces of Portland, so it's worth a gander. There's also a HI hostel in Northwest Portland. Portland State University runs the University Place Hotel. I luckily got comped a room while attending a conference there during a time when I was otherwise couch surfing to avoid my roommates. It's nice, has all the amenities and I think it is priced pretty reasonably. You have to pay extra for the wifi, but it's good anywhere on the PSU campus. Also, maybe there's a student discount? There was a motel also near the PSU campus that I used to send people to when they'd ask for advice in my retail copy clerk days, but I honestly don't know if they're any good. PSU is in the city center, so either place will have good access to downtown and the bus mall.
posted by Skwirl at 2:07 PM on September 28, 2006

When traveling on our own dime we used the Camlin Hotel at 1619 9th Avenue, 206-682-0100. Not air-conditioned but likely unnecessary now. Clean, comfortable, close to the market and downtown.
posted by KneeDeep at 7:27 PM on September 28, 2006

Although they get shitty reviews on tripadvisor, I stayed at the Jupiter Hotel in PDX (which is realy just a converted TravelInn motel with Ikea furnishings and a ton of hipsters) and it was totally fine. Cheap as shit thru Priceline (I think, like, $49 a night?), clean, nice walk to downtown (about .75 miles over the Hawthorne Bridge), has a record store, music club and bar....I liked it a lot.
posted by tristeza at 7:59 PM on September 28, 2006

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