Many Alaska bound travelers find themselves looking for a hotel near the SeaTac airport as part of their vacation plans. Some are beginning or ending an Alaskan cruise in Seattle or Vancouver, others opt for a stopover in route to or from Alaska. With this in mind I am happy to share with you a hidden gem of a hotel my family and I recently discovered near the Seattle Tacoma airport.
Our family is heading south from Alaska this week for a vacation with friends down in Georgia and Florida. We decided break up our flight down from Anchorage to Atlanta with a stopover in Seattle, and what a great idea that turned out to be. We had a pleasant flight down with Alaska Airlines arriving mid afternoon. We made our way to the hotel courtesy transportation area, now located across the sky bridge in the parking garage. After a quick call to our hotel and short wait, a gray Ford Flex car arrived and took us on the five minute ride to the Cedarbrook Lodge. The lodge has a real green commitment and using smaller vehicles when possible is just one of their efforts to keep it green.
On the half mile transfer we drove past what I have come to accept as the standard for SeaTac hotels… lines of hotels along busy streets, large parking lots and an endless parade of airporter vans. To our pleasant surprise we turned off the main drag, drove a few blocks through a residential neighborhood and into what I really can only describe as an oasis of green trees, plants, flowers and even a small duck pond. In the middle of this oasis sat the Cedarbrook Lodge.
The Lodge had been operating as a private meeting and retreat facility for a large banking concern, but last year opened to the public. Cedarbrook features 110 guestrooms and suites. Rooms are well appointed, in great shape with large windows overlooking the lush surroundings. The multi level lobby is expansive and quite beautiful. Wonderful views, lots of wood, and a fireplace perfected the ambiance, along with little touches like the billiard table in the lounge and a baby grand piano. Guest rooms are located in several separate buildings nearby. Guest room buildings feature a “living room” common area with comfortable couches, books, a tv and snack area. By snack area I mean 24 hour, complimentary snacks like bottled water, small bags of cascade potato chips, string cheese sticks, fruit, yogurt and even treats like malted milk balls and individual containers of Haagen Dazs ice cream. No really, I am not making this up, there was a whole freezer drawer of free Haagen Dazs ice cream containers. This fact alone warranted a quick post by my teenage son to his facebook account, and usually only really important stuff goes on there.
We decided to hold off on the Haagen Dazs (although my wife did put a bit of a dent in the malted milk balls) so we settled into our room and took a nice walk around the grounds. One of the things we came across was an employee planting vegetables to be used in their Copperleaf restaurant which features “farm to fork” fresh lunches and dinner. Next we were back in the Ford Flex, which I have to say, had a bit of a limo feel to it. Cedarbrook also offers complimentary transportation to the nearby Seattle Light Rail depot, and we had thought about making the half hour trip to downtown Seattle and checking out Pike Place Market. It was pushing 5pm on a Sunday so instead we opted to be dropped off at nearby Westfield Southcenter Mall. This mall is certainly not Mall of America huge, but coming from Alaska our family was impressed with the size, number and selection of stores. In addition to stores, a food court and movie theatre, there is an area with a number of nice restaurants. We hit a few stores including Aeropostale which was a favorite of my wife and sons. They did their best to clean out the place while I assumed my usual role of human clothes rack.
For dinner we picked out a chain restaurant slash brewpub called BJs Brewhouse. The food and service was excellent, the deep dish pizza was top of the line, the beer was great, and I really need to send along a big thank you to Kim, the Manager on duty. My younger son has a number of food allergies including things like eggs, nuts and dairy. The restaurant has a separate flyer that outlines each of their food items and lists the major allergens, very impressive. Much more so was the Manager, Kim, who answered all of our questions, personal supervised the preparation of my son’s meal, and even found a pair of loaner reading glasses for my wife.
Back at the hotel my other son spent some time on the baby grand in the lobby. He plays the piano and had brought along some sheet music. My wife and I enjoyed a beverage from the lobby bar as James Blunt rolled off the piano and filled the air, quite enjoyable. But alas, the Haagen Dazs was calling so we picked out a complimentary DVD at the front desk, grabbed some ice cream and snacks and retired to our room for a movie. We had brought along a portable DVD player which we plugged into the TV in the room, but you could watch a DVD out in the living rooms as well.
We awoke the next morning and enjoyed a complimentary continental breakfast in the lobby then caught the shuttle back to airport for our flight to Atlanta. It is a five hour flight to Atlanta from Seattle which at least partly explains the length of this post. Alaska Airlines is rolling out wifi on their planes, and this flight not only offers wifi but it is free, for a limited time I am sure. If you have read this far then I must not only thank you, but I will reward you with an essential travel tip. You will find the spoons for the individual Haagen Dazs containers inside the container, on the underside of the lid. Clever.