When selecting hotels, I am definitely swayed by reviews and affordability. If I am going to splurge on a hotel, it needs to have amenities that are budget-relieving in some manner. So when doing research for our visit to Seattle this August, I was lucky to find good reviews, good price and great amenities at the Maxwell Hotel in Queen Anne near the Seattle Center. It is a Pineapple Hospitality hotel.
Honestly, I did a little too much research on hotels and vacation rentals for this trip, because I was trying to keep our budget down. Seeking hotel deals, even vacation rental options, is tough to do during the peak season of travel to Seattle. There are deals… at other times, but not really in August. Availability was also challenging as we needed four nights. So if you are headed to Seattle for the peak travel time, reserve early.
However, I am thrilled to say that we made the right decision with the Maxwell Hotel. Located only a few blocks from the Space Needle, the Maxwell Hotel is centrally located and has easy access to public transportation, in particular the Monorail is a block or two away, which connects right to the Link Light Rail at Westlake Center. This was extremely convenient from the get-go as we used both rails to save us a considerable taxi fare from the airport to the hotel. The location has a neighborhood feel, but it is really a quick jaunt to the center of town where the main attractions are. It was nice and quiet outside, as well as within walking distance to a store and good bars and restaurants.
We opted for a King View room which meant that we had a nice view of the Space Needle. It was lovely, but the view was not awesome — so saving money on a room without a view would definitely not hurt your experience. Right away, I noticed two things. First, it had a fun and clean style. Second, it was economical (by Seattle standards) but still nice.
The walls had chandelier decor that were a playful luxury look in the contemporary space. The room came with a nice flat screen TV, a necessary addition in case Dave needed to watch any sports (technically it is his job). Water bottles did not have any price tags on them- free water! And the room included a Keurig coffee maker (with makings) and a microwave (with popcorn). They also provide a free umbrella for use, a very cute addition. Fantastic perks in addition to the small fridge.
These were really nice touches, and yet at the same time it was still rather no-frills — but in a good way. There were no drinks for purchase in the fridge. I prefer this to the bar of price tags that come at some hotels (ahem W Hotels). And though there were nice toiletry items in the bathroom, it was in an economy dispenser rather than wasteful bottles. Don’t get me wrong, I love to take home some shampoo and conditioner, but the truth is that most of the bath products in hotels are wasted. This cost-saving measure allows for the hotel to provide quality Tommy Bahama bath products while also preventing waste. The bathrooms have showers, but no bathtubs if that makes a difference to any potential customer. We have a tub at home that we never use, so it bothered us none.
The other aspect that I really appreciated was the free internet. I am an information junkie and work addict, so having access to email and online access allowed for me to amend dinner reservations, research bike routes, and stay in touch with my job back home.
The beds were very comfortable and we had some great sleeps, though we did have a heavy stepper above us on the first night. The individual seemed to have insomnia and we heard them pacing all night. If that had not changed, then I would have asked for a room change. In hindsight this may have something to do with the hardwood floors. The floors are really nice looking and are probably easier to keep clean, but there is a lack of padding to absorb footsteps too. I guess our upstairs neighbor was restless due to impending departure for it stopped after that first night. We also heard the cleaning ladies and playful kids in the hallways. So, it was not the quietest hotel in that regard and I did see mentions of this same issue in Yelp reviews as well.
But we were able to get over that downside fast, because the real hook for us was the complimentary use of bicycles. This was actually a HUGE factor in our decision. We knew we wanted to bike the city and, while bike rentals would not break the bank, this was a budget relieving amenity that was tough to pass on. So we didn’t. In fact, we rode bikes three days. They are first-come, first-served but we never had a problem getting a bike from the front desk. I would usually call down before leaving the room just to be double-check. The bikes include helmets and a lock. They are cruiser style seats but have three speeds. This is important as there are steep hills in the city. I can not say enough about this perk. We will likely be back just for this alone.
If you are not up for riding bikes, then it is good to know that they offer free parking. This is rare in Seattle, so it is definitely something to keep in mind. For those of us who prefer to not to drive, another factor that we considered was a free shuttle to key attractions within a three mile radius. It sounded really nice, but this one did not work out so well for us. To reserve the shuttle, call down the front desk to set your time and location. There is availability for one location every thirty minutes and the shuttle is shared with the other hotels in the Pineapple Hospitality chain. The driver was friendly but he was late to our pick-up. Then we had to take other patrons to their stop. And then, though it was within the three mile area, we were dropped off about a mile from our desired location. All of this made us late for our dinner reservation and we just wished we had gotten a taxi instead. In fact, use of the Monorail and the Link Light combined might have even gotten us to our destination on time if we had left for that at the reserved time instead. It is still a great perk, but I think it is important to keep all these factors in mind. This free perk comes with strings attached.
On the other hand, we were surprised to find out that they offered coffee and cupcakes for free from 3-7PM. The cupcakes are pineapple flavored, an adorable tie-in to the owning company. I am ashamed to admit that we did not do a good job of exploring the quality coffee institutions in the city and much of that might have to do with this free offer, as well as the in-hotel coffee shop Pineapple Espresso. How can you pass on free Starbucks coffee and a cute cupcake? We didn’t.
In addition to the above, there was a pool and a workout room on-site. We saw many families enjoying the pool and we just glanced at the workout room (it might be a little dated), but our days were mainly spent on our bikes. Another awesome thing about the hotel is that it is dog-friendly. While Coach and Madden could not make the trek from Texas with us, we absolutely adore hotels that allow for our furry family to join us.
There is also a restaurant in the hotel called The Rock. We had a drink one night and partook of the late night happy hour another night. You can’t go wrong with drinks, and the food was not bad at all. I think it offers convenience more than high quality cuisine, but it is really nice to have a bar option in any hotel. They even have their own beers. At the time we went, drinks were not allowed into the rooms from the bar but the hotel was working on their liquor license to change that. So for drinking in our room, we walked to the local pharmacy and got a bottle of Washington white.
The best aspect of the hotel was the customer service though. Over the course of four nights, we interacted with several agents and they were all very kind and efficient. On more than one occasion I also thought how very patient that they were. Being near the Opera and the Ballet, they do attract a somewhat older hotel customer during performances. Detailed old-school communication is needed for this un-smart phone crowd. Detailed and repeated and with visuals. Now this also isn’t the Four Seasons, so have some realistic expectations with requests (no toothpaste or toothbrushes) but in general this is a hard-working and friendly team.
All in all, we found this to be a really good hotel for the price and thought that the amenities were top notch for our tastes. Because we enjoyed the bicycle use so very much, I doubt we will look anywhere else for future visits. Thank you Maxwell Hotel for a lovely homebase during our visit.