My Nephew graduated from High School recently and I decided to book them a Hotel in Seattle and go to all the tourists type areas. I figured it would be good to give the Journal a first person perspective what it was like as a Seattle tourist for a weekend. Since my Nephew or his friends don’t live in Seattle and new to the scene, I decided to show him and two of his friends the ropes. From the Hotel, EMP, Space Needle, Pike Place Market – it was quite the adventure.
Last week I started the hotel search. My goal was to stay close to Pike Place as we had a few other things planned in the area that we could simply walked to them (instead of paying for a taxi). That unfortunately did not happen. Many of the hotels in Seattle were booked. Seattle had a Rock N Roll Marathon and the Pride Festival scheduled for the weekend. I ended up booking a room at the Courtyard Marriott on Lake Union. The package was $239 and include two Queens, two passes to the EMP, and two free breakfasts. They also had a pool and a view which was a nice add on. So I called them up to order and obviously a sales lady who doesn’t work there arranged the reservation. I told them 3 were staying and we would need one roll-away bed. She added it to the reservation and it was included in my confirmation email sent to me after the call. I call them up a day before check-in (now you call the hotel directly – guest services) and confirm the reservation (Yes) and verify the roll-away would be added. The guest services lady mentions that they don’t have roll-away beds at this location. Well… I must say that was a big disappointment and honestly felt tricked. It’s a day before now and we’re locked in and they know it. The Nephew and friends are 17 and 18 year olds. Typically they are up all night playing video games, cards, or watching movies anyway. I know I got screwed already but figured it wouldn’t be the first time these guys made it work. I figured we would just grab a bunch of pillows and blankets and they’ll make it work – which we did. That doesn’t make it right, however, the Courtyard Marriott on Lake Union still screwed it up.
We get to the Courtyard Marriott Hotel on Lake Union and check-in at 3pm (their earliest check-in time by the way). If you’ve never been here it’s kind of out of the way and there is some construction in the area. You have Jillian’s across the street which seems dead every time I look in and Trago which replaced the dying Outback Restaurant on the corner. Courtyard Marriott Hotel on Lake Union is very nice. The Hotel is nice, the rooms are nice, great pool, hot tub etc. The area doesn’t really have any good parking thus you can expect to drop $20 per day on that alone.
I purchased 4 tickets to the School Of Rock concert (Show Box) which starts at 7pm so with about 3 hrs to spare we headed down to the Pike Place Market. Being on a Saturday, Pike Place Market was packed with people. We made our way through it and downstairs they found their favorite store. It was a comic and collectible store and the guys ended up buying several things. As we head out of the Market, we all were getting hungry and wanted to eat before the big rock concert which would probably last until 11pm I guessed. My Nephew is big into guitars and music so I figured they would love the Hard Rock Cafe – and they did. Again, the place was backed and this was probably the highlight of the trip. The food, music, and atmosphere was great. The waiter was just average but overall a great experience for the young guys.
It’s 6:25pm now and about time to walk over to the big rock concert at the Show Box. If you’ve never heard of School Of Rock it’s a movie featuring Jake Black and features lots of great songs. I knew Jack Black wasn’t in this concert but figured a great show by some professional musicians ROCKING OUT!! The show starts at 7pm and we’re there by 6:35 to grab out seats. As we reach the door, we are informed the doors don’t open until 7pm. OK… that is weird so they have this roped area going down the sidewalk and that is where the line starts. We jump in line and few minutes later it’s wrapped around the block with people. While I am standing in line I can’t help but think if the show starts at 7pm (per the ticket) and they open the doors at 7pm… they are losing so much money. You can’t help but think of all these people wrapped around the block and all the revenue they are missing out on if they were inside waiting (buying drinks and merchandise etc). I guess it was just poor management or something. They open the doors about 7:10 and we walk into a venue which is standing room only. Oh great we’re going to have to stand for 2 hours. As we are standing and waiting for the show to start, the amount of really young kids is starting to increase. We’re talking about about 10 year olds to 14 year olds running around doing their normal thing with their friends. Unfortunately, this Rock Concert at the Show Box, a major venue, is looking more like a kids talent show. As the show started, we learned more that it was actually a real music school with kids learning how to play music. SERIOUSLY! As I watch each act sorta like a 6th grade camp feel where each cabin team had a “performance” to put on. I can’t help but think who is making all the money from the ticket sales and why are they playing at the Show Box (on a Friday night) which featured big groups like Nirvana used to play. We didn’t even last the full ” Rock concert” unfortunately. After two hours of standing watching kids, we all agreed to leave a little early. The hotel pool closed at 11pm and that would be more entertaining than this elementary school talent show. It was just the wrong place for this type of show and since it tricked me (who investigates things pretty thoroughly before buying) it must have let down a lot of others also who were there.
After an uncomfortable night sleeping for many, we started a new day. Breakfast was free for two of us and that means we’ll be needing to order another two. There is a breakfast cashier who gets us started. I told her we have two free breakfasts from the hotel and we’ll need to order two more. I ask her how much the buffet is and she says $11.99 – that sounds OK with me I guess. Having stayed in several hotels in Seattle, I know the hotel breakfast buffets are nothing special and I have pretty low expectations. This was pretty much the same experience. They have scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, bread, self serve waffle maker if you want one. I saw some boxed yogurt and some self serve orange juice if wanted also. The entire buffet was about a half a wall in size. As I was grabbing my breakfast, there was a gentleman at the table maybe 3 feet to my right and his exact words were “I am not paying 12 bucks for eggs and bacon”. I couldn’t help but laugh on the inside a little because he was actually right on with it. He was just trying to get the best bang for his 12 bucks and honestly the buffet was below average when it came to the selection. All filled up, our waiter brings the bill and it’s $30 bucks and some change. I look at it and tell him the lady said it was 11.99? He said “No it’s 13.99″. I said “well you screwed up because the lady at the front told me 11.99.” I said, “I going to pay it because it’s only a few bucks but you’re completely wrong.” I think I just felt another stab in the back. You really have to watch these hotels. This is actually the second time (last time Bellevue Red Lion) except the Red Lion had a big sign while walking in that read $9.95, however, the bill was $25 each! Big Rip Off.
Time to checkout and see the final damage – the bill. As we are checking out I was hoping they’d ask how my experience was…. but she didn’t even ask. Just took the room keys and said you’re good. I requested a final bill which came to $310. Ouch! Approx. $40 dollars in just taxes…. makes you wonder where these taxes go doesn’t it?
The final stop was the Experience Music Project (EMP). We had two free tickets from the hotel so we purchase another two when we got there. They are about $15 bucks each. The EMP was very much worth it in my opinion. They have some great items like the original Star Trek chair to the original Super Man outfit Christopher Reeve wore. It’s not just about items, however, you can learn and listen about music. For $15 bucks, you can easily spend 3 hours in this place – just go on a Sunday when nothing is happening downtown so you can park free on the streets.
There you have it folks. The day in the life as a Seattle tourist.