thereuare

Priceline Hotel: 4* Seattle (Downtown) Westin

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OK, i'm preparing for my August Seattle trip....

We have a catered affair to attend at the Bellevue Club on 8/14, so we'll be booking there directly for 8/13-8/15 (although if the Hyatt Bellevue or some other property is 'across the street' and has a very low Priceline/Hotwire rate i'd consider that as well). However, we're looking to make a long weekend/mini-vacation out of this so i'll need some place a day or two before and/or a day or two after (leaning towards staying longer after the weekend as it will make the affair more enjoyable knowing i'll still be on 'vacation').

I've been to Seattle once and the Pike's Place area seems like the area i like most... as i'm not intending to rent a car (but will if necessary) my primary concern is being able to walk to restaurants, mellow bars, coffee houses, sights, and other things to do.

Is this the best zone? How much will a cab cost between this area and the Bellevue Club (and how far time-wise)? Looking for any input regarding this area, 'best' hotels, hotels to avoid, and anything else you might think appropriate.

PS- another board member suggested using the Entertainment Book to reserve the Bellevue Club but any other suggestions are welcomed

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thereuare - judging by what hotels you've liked elsewhere and what you posted, I think you might find Hotwire your best bet here, or else bidding for a 4* on Priceline (which is more expensive than most places). If Hotwire, choose the Seattle Downtown - Pike Place zone (not Seattle Center).

The odds of getting the 3* Holiday Inn on Priceline are otherwise too great, and that's an area which would not appeal to me. You might also get a 2.5* hotel which wasn't in your preferred area, if you chose to bid at that level.

Oddly enough - I was trying to think of great coffeehouses in Seattle, and I can't think of any, although of course there are a zillion different places you can get coffee. I'm sure they exist - I just don't know where.

I am guessing that at a rate of about $2/mile and with light traffic, a cab to Bellevue Club would be at least $20 (and indeed traffic can be pretty bad).

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- I totally agree with the poster above. Stay in Bellevue and then "move" to the Downtown/Pike Place zone and go for a 4* property. Travel from Seattle to Bellevue and vice versa is terrible during rush hour and a cab woud cost you $30 plus one way. The Seattle Center zone should be avoided hotel-wise.

- For coffee places: there are indeed about a million plus a Starbucks and Tully`s at every corner. I personally like "Zeitgeist" for its atmosphere. The best espresso IMHO is served by Monorail Espresso which is actually not a coffee place, more like a stationary cart on I think Pike and 5th Avenue. (A mini search on Google just revealed that quite a few people agree with my opinion.) Mini-chain Ladro's has good coffee, 4-5 locations (Fremont, Queen Anne, Cap Hill) and very good berry pies!

- If you like baseball, the Yankees will be in town Aug 13-15th.

- If you stay downtown, the public buses will take you everywhere you need to go.

Anyways, enjoy! Nothing beats Seattle in August! :)

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I'm certain board member Phaelon will have something to say about coffee in the area, and on my first trip to Seattle i took his advice and had coffeee and doughnuts at Zeitgeist (Top Pot Zeitgeist to be precise if i recall correctly).

The host of the event has already purchased a box for the Yankee vs. Mariner game (this was done before the A-rod trade) so that is on the agenda and i already have a ticket :)

Just have to figure out the exact days before and/or after so we can begin to pin this down.

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The Bellevue Club is a great choice for the night of your event. Beautiful rooms, Molton Brown goodies and a perfect location -- I wouldn't even consider spending a night anywhere else in the area. It's great to do for an evening, but the surrounding restaurants are suburban-mediocrity -- your limited time is better spent in the City. You'd invest too much money in taxi fare and time in traffic if you spent the rest of your nights in Bellevue, but wanted to explore downtown Seattle.

The day after your event, I'd definitely move into Seattle, and yes, only bid on the Downtown Pike Place area. Four star properties on Priceline seem fine (I've stayed in all the 4* in the Priceline Hotel list), but would never consider the 4* level on Hotwire again for Seattle. If you have any chance at all of getting the Seattle Hilton, I would run!

Hotwire properties I favour are the 5* Hyatt and 4.5* Hotel Monaco. However, these have been really expensive recently so I tried the 4.5* Sheraton the last time I was in town. I got a rate of $97 on Hotwire which was a terrific value. My detailed review is in the Hotel section if you want to check it out. For the price, it couldn't be beat.

Coffee. It's hard to get a bad cup. My favourite spot for coffee, isn't a cafe at all -- it's a French bakery near Pike Place. A couple blocks down from the market (and across the street) is the very fabulous Le Panier. Here's the link to the CitySearch profile on it, with the address and more info. http://seattle.citysearch.com/profile/10767147/ This place has fabulous pastries, Torrefazione coffee and is a great place to people-watch, read the paper and have breakfast or an afternoon break before (or after) hitting the market and the waterfront area. This is my regular breakfast haunt -- it's also much cheaper than having breakfast at a full-service restaurant.

Another Seattle institution for Breakfast (probably at some of the best prices in the area) is Lowell's. It's a simple, cafeteria style line up to order at the grill, then you seat yourself and they'll deliver your meal to your table. It's location can't be beat -- this three level restaurant has some of the most prime waterfront views around. Enjoy the sights while you linger over your hearty American breakfast. For more atmosphere (and $'s) head across the street (and tuck into 1600 Post Alley) to the very French Cafe Campagne. Post Alley is a picturesque back-lane that runs parallel to the market, the Cafe Campagne looks really special and is well regarded. It all depends what you're looking for I guess. I haven't done any of the bars or clubs, so I can't comment there. Restaurants though... I'd be happy to help if I can.

Actually, Seattle Citysearch is a great site to do trip research on. Their restaurant reviews are fantastic and very current. I always check the site to see what restaurants are new and recommended before making my reservations for an upcoming trip.

If you were thinking of having another romantic evening elsewhere in the area, I'd spend at least one night at the Willows Lodge in Woodinville (not far away). Their Sunday arrival rate is a steal and it is a fabulous, amazing place. I posted a review for that a month or so ago if you wish to consider it.

Have a wonderful trip!

Cheers.

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Oh, one more thing. The best rate I got was through the calling the Bellevue Club directly. Keep calling back, especially closer to the date to see if they're running any specials and have your rate adjusted accordingly. Usually the weekend rates are the cheapest, as they cater to business travelers during the week. August is definitely high season, but maybe the suburban hotels will have empty rooms that they want to discount. Wierder things have happened. The Bellevue Club isn't listed in my Entertainment Book, but you can always confirm on the Entertainment.com website.

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I'm scared to bid below 4* in downtown seattle but I never have a problem out at the airport 3*. It isn't that far and a rental car is cheaper than the differene between $80 4* downtown + $20+ if you need to park the car vs $32 3* airport pays for a lot of rental car and parking. yes there will be parking costs if you stay at airport or outlying and go downtown but weekend it isn't to bad if you are willing to walk a little / look for a good lot. I think Lake Union, Bellevue, Renton all just about same commute o r easier than airport but airport to get the cheap rental car. i go there a few times over the summers from Olympia to Tacoma to Seattle and usually we just stay at Seatac area because it is cheap and easy. Yes we go to Mariners games and Park n Ride from Bellevue is easy and the drive from SEA airport is easy too. if you rent a car and pay attention to game time, both start and finish, the traffic shoundn;'t be too bad otherwise at all on the weekend. usually only bad traffic right around Safeco I-5 near I-90 can be slow but it isn't NY or anything.

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IMO it is not worthwhile to stay at SeaTac and then drive because of all the hassle with traffic and parking. I would rather stay downtown and not have a car at all, since you can walk to most places including Safeco Field, which actually is a fun walk on a summer evening with everybody walking that way and lots of opportunities to stop for beer, coffee or food before you pay through your nose for it at Safeco Field. If you want to go to any of the other neighborhoods (I would recommend at least Capitol Hill, Fremont and Ballard) taking the bus is convenient and cheap.

On the other hand if you want to save some money and don't mind being a short bus ride or long walk away from downtown, the South Lake Union zone on Priceline is a good alternative. You will stay either at the Courtyard or the Residence Inn because there is no other hotel in that zone. Except maybe the Silvercloud Inn, but I think they are just outside the zone and don't participate in Priceline. There is quite a few restaurants in the area and you will usually end up with a nice lake view.

There is also one more relatively new coffee place I would like to recommend: Fremont Coffee Company right across the street from Ladro's in Fremont. It is located inside a 1904 residential house that still has most of the original floors and decors. So you can choose to sit in different living rooms or outside on the sunny patio to have their excellent coffee (Vivace) or use their free WiFi access.

And for pastries I will have to add Cafe Besalu on 24th Ave NW in Ballard. It is a little bit out of the way but their pastries are from heaven. You can easily forget Le Panier's (which are actually very good) compared to these. I doubt you will find better pastries even in Paris (no kidding!). Ouch, I know i shouldn't have given away this still relatively well kept secret. :)

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Thanks for all the help and suggestions!

Started biddig at $75 and increased $5 per re-bid until accepted for $110 at the Westin. I was expecting the Sheraton but this seems great and i'm not really sure which would have ultimately worked out better.

Best rate at the Westin was $209, best rate at Sheraton was $229.

So i'll definately be taking notes for 'things to do' which have already been mentioned in this thread but am open to more suggestions... especially dinner. Last time we were taken to Salty's and it i felt as if the only people there were those that learned about it from a tourist information booth! I want to go where the locals go. On the otherhand our family member (who took us to Salty's) also took us to some Thai place and it was excellent! (he was a fantastic host... minus the Salty's visit) I'm all about value... doesn't matter if ultra cheap with no atmosphere or high(er) end for a meal i won't soon forget... as long as i'm getting a great meal for the price (ie- not Salty's)

We've already done the Space Needle and the EMP, and we've walked thru Pike's market (which we want see and spend more time at), but i'm open to other things locals like to do which are relatively unknowm to the average tourist.

For example Top Hat Zeitgeist was great because we were able to blend in with the Seattle community... Le Panier and Lowells seem perfect for us and i'm sure we'll hit both of them (anyone care to meet us for breakfast?)

Back to hotels... i've read that the North Tower is the one to request at the Westin, does anyone know for certain? This tower is currently being renovated but will be completed the beginning of June, so not sure if a request for a high floor in this tower will be honored... may just have to try the BTurner $20 trick! :)

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I've heard the Westin is superb, and it's central, so I think that's a great win.

I like being on water, so I enjoy the Argosy harbor cruises. They also have one that goes through the locks.

One of my daughter's favorite things to do is go to the laser light shows at the planetarium in Seattle Center (at the IMAX Science Center). They feature laser shows set to various new and old rock artists (actually, my daughter would probably tell me that "rock" is not the appropriate term, but you know what I mean!) There are lots of different options, like Laser Zeppelin, Laser Nirvana, etc. It's not my thing, but I have to admit I see people of all ages at these shows. There are also the IMAX theatres at both the Aquarium and IMAX Science Center - the movies of the Mount Saint Helens eruption and of finding the Titanic underwater were quite interesting.

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Actually saw the Titanic Imax last time too (as i said, we had a great host who showed us a lot in a little time).

One thing i also heard about was to take the ferry for a trip to (name goes here) Island but i don't know anything about that either... good thing i have some time to research.

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O.k. here we go, a few more suggestions:

food:

- Le Pichet, 1933 First Ave., 206-256-1499, close to Pike Place Market. Small, original French Bistro with very good food. We go there for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Reasonable prices. Try to make reservations.

- Ray's Boat House, Ballard. Seafood, moderate-expensive. Although kind of a touristy place, the food is still good and the view can't be beat. Try to get seats on the patio for sunset over the Olympics, but bring a sweater!

- Thai Tom, 4543 University Way NE, in the University district. Dirt cheap, always packed. Sit at the bar and watch them prepare your food. I would not go for 5 stars. 4 star is already about as hot as it gets. No cards or checks.

- Pick up copies of The Stranger and Seattle Weekly for more restaurant reviews. Also online.

activities:

- Take the ferry to Bainbridge Island as a pedestrian (leaves from downtown, about 25 minutes), spend about an hour or two there walking through the main street and window shopping. Board the return ferry shortly before sunset for a gorgeous view of the city. The ferry to Bremerton is also a pretty ride along Vashon Island (about 45 min.) and you can sit on the sundeck and down a good microbrew in the sun, but Bremerton is a dump unless you crave naval shipyards.

- The locks in Ballard are always worth a trip (Bus 17 from downtown), especially on the weekend when there is a load of boat traffic. There won't be too many salmon running in August though. Good to combine with Ballard Avenue on a Sunday with a nice Farmers Market and some unique clothing and specialty shops.

- Especially if you bring kids, but also for adults the aquarium on the downtown waterfront is a nice thing to see.

- If you like flying, Kenmore Air departs with seaplanes from South Lake Union to the San Juan Islands. Regular roundtrips are about $150, but if they have open seats they will let you fly standby for $75 return. Do that on a clear day and you will get a more than two hour scenic flight with great views of the islands, the mountains, downtown and maybe some whales or submarines. www.kenmoreair.com

- The Museum of flight at Boeing Field is also very much worth a visit, especially now that they have one of the BA concordes.

- For a view of the city: Kerry Park in Queen Anne. Beats the view you have from the Space Needle and is free.

- There is a book called Seattle city walks. It details sightseeing walks through the different neighborhoods. If you like walking, this is for you.

This is all that pops to mind right now. Which Yankees game are you going to? I will be there Friday the 13th, hopefully a good omen. :)

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We'll be at the afternoon game on Saturday.

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Well enjoy, bring your sunglasses!

I just discovered another nice espresso place this morning in the Eastlake neighborhood. It is called "Hines Public Market Coffee" and is on Eastlake Avenue. It is a smallish place where you sit among the big coffee sacks that they roast in a roaster right in the cafe's only room. Tasty, reasonable coffee and nice people.

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Let me know if you still like it in July after you've been going there awhile :)

Wife says she really wants to spend some time in the area around the market so i don't know just how much 'venturing off' we'll do (for instance, i don't know how far Easlake is from where we're staying). I'm also leaning towards Brainbridge Island as i read somewhere it's a 'must do' for any visitor, but i'm open to hearing anyone confirm/negate this.

Both of us could pass half our vacation sitting with some coffee (Iced Coffee for me since it'll be August) and people watching.

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Thank you, mucsea2003 for the tip on Cafe Besalu. If it is better than Le Panier, I am there! Too bad it is in Ballard though -- definitely not walking distance from the downtown hotels!

I have to second the recommendation for Le Pichet (1933 1st Avenue). There is nothing better than sitting on their sidewalk patio for lunch on a sunny day, with wine, baguette and their fabulous house pate. I can't seem to stop ordering all the little plates once I get started.

For something completely different, I always enjoy meals at Fandango and am sure to have at least one dinner there when I go for weekend trips http://www.fandangoseattle.com (lousy website, great food).

If you really are planning to do a lot of the touristy stops, I highly recommend checking into the citypass www.citypass.net. You can save a lot of money (if those destinations interest you), but would need a car if you wanted to see the Museum of Flight or Woodland Park Zoo.

If it's your pleasure to spend an afternoon in a world-class Museum the SAM (Seattle Art Museum) is beautiful and has wonderful collections. I'd do this IF and only IF the weather was not cooperating and I needed an indoor activity.

Have fun!

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@epicureangirl:

Yeah, check out Ballard the next time you are there. It might be quite a bit out of the way, but has some good attractions! (Locks, Besalu,...).

And the Museum of flight can easily be reached by bus (No.174, I believe).

@thereuare:

I don't expect my taste for coffee to change anytime soon! :) In fact Eastlake is a little bit out of the way (on the east side of Lake Union) and doesn't merit going there just for coffee. It just happens to be close to my workplace.

I would definitely recommend Bainbridge Island (we take all our visitors there), but don't expect too much from the island. It is the ferry trip you are going for, especially the inbound leg. Time it for the half hour before sunset and you won't be disappointed. Schedules can be found here: ferry schedules. By the way in one of my former posts I suggested to have a beer on the sundeck of the Bremerton ferry. I just learned that there is no food service on the ferries anymore. I have no idea whether they allow bringing your own food or drinks now.

And if you want to mostly stay downtown try the original Torrefazione coffee place (320 Occidental Avenue S.

, near Pioneer Square and Safeco field) . Also quite nice.

I also find SAM very nice for a rainy day, but don't expect that in August. Today would be a great day for that. :)

I still would recommend you to check out at least one other neighborhood (maybe Fremont) to get a feel for the "real" Seattle.

Another "fun" restaurant would be "Pink Door" on Post Alley (close to the market). They have an outdoor patio with water view so reserve in advance or prepare to wait! If you desire an upscale place, the only ones I could recommend are the Campagne and Earth and Ocean, the latter in the W hotel.

For quick snacks during the day: on the small road alongside the market you can find a good Turkish place and a good hot Dog place (Taxi dogs). Also there is a small bavarian groocery store called "Bavarian Meats" who have some great "Wurst" and "Bavarian style sandwich".

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We'll be at all 3 Yankee games. I hope you go look at flyertalk and find the thread on Restaurant.com. I picked up 6 restaurant coupons for Seattle for my two summer trips at an incredible savings. It is under S.P.A.M. "Not a coupon, but if you go to resaurant.com and enter code 48831, they'll give you 70% off any order over a buck." Thanks to Holland on FT, it worked for me but I think it does expire soon. I got Two Dagos from Texas and Vons, both of which should be relatively convenient to your hotel as well. (We are looking forward to baby back ribs at both places). You can view the menus of these and many others on Restaurant.com before you decide to purchase. One visit per month.

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Mucsea2003 said "I just hope you are not on the Yankees side and help us boo A-Rod!!!"

Don't worry so much mucsea, some of us Yankee fans love Jeter so much we can't wait to hear you boo A-Rod! And some will probably join in! However, Mr. Deleted, having grown up near the Bronx, keeps asking for an A-Rod shirt since he apparently must own every name/number tshirt of every Yankee ever printed, and there is no way I will be the one to buy that particular shirt for him! Since I won't buy it, I highly doubt he will have one by August.

We're in Sec 106 Friday, 108 Saturday, 333 Sunday.

(now printing monopoly money to throw at A-Rod)...

Sincerely,

A West coast Yankee fan.

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Thanks for all the links/info above, i will definately check it all out!

Deleted i'll try to touch base with you as we get closer to the date and maybe we could meet up just to say 'hello' and put a face with the words..

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