Seattle, like Hawaii, is an expensive place to visit. Fortunately, the time I needed to be in Seattle was a non-peak time. And better yet, I found a great rate at the SpringHill Suites Seattle Downtown/South Lake Union.
As previously mentioned, I needed to be in Seattle this past December. The price of our flight was reasonable, as was our fantastic rental car. What frightened me most, though, were the hotel rates. Seattle, after all, can be a supremely expensive place to visit. Much like Hawaii, it isn’t uncommon to see hotel rates averaging in the $250 to $350 range. Thankfully, though, I found a great, pre-paid Marriott Rewards member rate at the SpringHill Suites Seattle Downtown/Lake Union. It was, on average, $100 per night including tax, though the valet-only parking was an additional $25 per night. And, as a bonus, the hotel is close to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance House and the SCCA’s Pete Gross House.
Upon picking up our Silvercar, Mrs. Island Miler and I sat in traffic for over an hour driving into downtown Seattle. The SpringHill Suites Seattle Downtown is located more in downtown Seattle than it is in South Lake Union. It’s surrounded by offices of Amazon.com, as well as corporate headquarters for companies like Tommy Bahama and REI. And, the property is also a short walk away from popular dining establishments like the Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Taylor Shellfish, and more.
The immediate area around the hotel, however, isn’t all that nice, and don’t expect a view from your room either. Immediately east of the SpringHill Suites Seattle Downtown is the I-5, while the street fronting the hotel, Yale Avenue, leads directly to an I-5 southbound on-ramp. This made getting onto the Interstate very convenient but also meant the area was often congested.
Oh, and if you do ever stay here, the property does have a free shuttle that’ll take you to anywhere within a one-mile radius. The shuttle leaves on the top of every hour, though I’m assuming you’re on your own for a ride back. We never did use this service, but it’s a nice touch, especially given the proximity of many of the city’s major attractions.
Given our early flight, I checked-in the day before via the Marriott mobile app and informed the property of our estimated 8:00 am arrival time. Thanks to the traffic, though, we didn’t arrive at the property until closer to 9:00 am. So upon arrival, and after a confusing exchange with the valets, we headed to the front desk to check-in. The people working the front desk were, throughout our stay, neither outwardly friendly nor were they rude. I guess robotic would be a good description, especially since they began explaining to me that I was early, only to backtrack and say a room was ready. Other employees, we ran into around the property, however, always greeted us warmly, and would often give up elevators for guests.
The one complaint I do have, though, is the valet. It’s not that they were rude or anything, it’s the fact that on the one night we had my friend’s manual Miata, they couldn’t park the car. Instead, we had to self-park the car in an accessible stall near the hotel’s porte-cochere. And, of course, we still had pay full-price for parking that night.
Facilities & Room
I’ll admit, the lobby of the SpringHill Suites Seattle Downtown is nice and looks somewhat recently renovated. The elevators, too, are decently quick, and we never waited long for one. But, the rooms left much to be desired. Now, I’m not saying the rooms were the worst I’ve been in, but there were little things here and there that just bugged the hell out of me.
For our stay, we were assigned a room on the 6th floor facing the I-5. The windows have decent insulation, so the room was not overbearingly noisy. However, you could clearly hear people walking and talking in the corridors. To call the room a suite, though, is a stretch, in my opinion. More like a glorified, large hotel room. Upon entering the room, you find yourself in the living area with a kitchenette to the left, and a large pull-out sofabed in front of you. There’s also a work desk and chair across from the kitchenette.
In front of, but slightly off to the right of the sofa is the dresser, on top of which is the sole TV of the room. Just beyond the dresser is the “bedroom,” which contained a single king bed.
And in the back, left corner of the bedroom was the bathroom and closet. The bathroom is one of those that have a door for the shower and toilet, but no door for the vanity.
Toiletries were the standard, Paul Mitchelle Lemon Sage variety, which are nice enough.
The room also came furnished with an iron, ironing board, hair drier, bedding for the sofa bed, a coffee maker, cups, ice bucket, mini-fridge, microwave, and some disposable plates and utensils.
What you won’t find, though, no matter how hard you look is a safe, which is a pet peeve of mine. I like having in-room safe as, while not all that secure, at least provides you with a slightly more secure place to stash your valuables. You may also notice that the microwave is very, uh, dated. I can’t remember the last time I saw a microwave with an analog dial on it. And, guess what? The HVAC controls were no different.
To make matters worse, though, is the fact that our room would get quite warm at night no matter what temperature we set the thermostat to. This, of course, meant that on a number of occasions I’d wake up in the middle of the night.
Other issues with the room included a slight, musky odor in the bathroom and the fact that our shower/tub would continuously backup. It drained, but very slowly, so about a minute or two into a shower, about an inch of water would form in the tub.
Furniture placement was also an issue, especially when we tried to pull the bed out of the sofa. Only, the dresser was about an inch too far to the left and blocked the sofa bed. So, we had to push the heavy dresser over to deploy the bed. And once the bed deployed, however, we noticed a huge, red stain on it.
It’s worth noting that the radio/alarm clock cam equipped with a 30-pin iPhone/iPod connector.
SpringHill Suites Seattle Downtown/South Lake Union, Final Thoughts
Our stay at the SpringHill Suites Seattle Downtown/South Lake Union was a decent one. The location worked really well for us, and there are some nice aspect of the property. However, there are quite a few deficiencies, largely caused by the age of the property and lack of reinvestment. So I’m hoping, that one day, this property will get the attention it needs.
It is worth noting, though, that this SpringHill Suites does have a fitness center, a business center, and free breakfast. However, Mrs. Island Miler and I never took advantage of any of these things. We were simply too busy and were never really at the hotel during the stay. And, of course, if we did have breakfast, it was usually somewhere better.
Snowy Seattle Trip Report
SpringHill Suites Seattle Downtown/South Lake Union