Having been open a little over a year (they officially opened in August of 2011) the HotelHotel is a very nice adaptation of an old storefront that had apartments above the store into a traveler's hostel. There are a few rules, and so long as you play by those rules then the place is a very good and economical place to stay. This is particularly good for groups that are traveling together as the cheapest rooms are available as dormitory rooms with several bunk beds (this does mean someone gets to sleep on the top bunk).
There are also a limited number of individual rooms available. These rooms have a king size bed, a sink, and a few other simple appointments.
The bathrooms are shared, including a fairly simple shower, toilet, and sink arrangement that is entirely tile so that it is easy to clean. Each entrance door is lockable, so it is somewhat like your home arrangement: no real sharing of the bathroom. This seems to work well, and the number of bathrooms seems to be sufficient to prevent waiting for entry to any of them. Bedding is included in the price of the bed / room, but towels are $2 extra per towel, and these are rented at the front desk. Soap is not included, nor all the other wasteful small containers of stuff that hotels usually provide to those staying overnight.
WiFi is included with the bed, but some rooms are out of range of the wireless router. The reception area has two sofas in it, and there is also a television room nearby, and both of those may be used for wireless access if you are in one of the locations that doesn't receive the reception. Keep in mind this is a brick building at the core, so wireless signals don't travel like they do in a structure of lighter construction.
These rooms are also where those staying in the hostel tend to interact with each other.
The common rooms have lockers available for those who are concerned about their possessions, and it is also possible to have some items stored at the front desk.
Access to each room and to the front door is through a key-card system, and non-registered guests are not allowed inside the hostel at all.
The people here come from all over, as with any other hostel. This is also true of the staff. The swing shift desk worker that was there when I arrived normally works at Microsoft, but works at the hostel to interact with other travelers and to meet people from all over the world. I'm guessing that many of the people that you will find here are of a similar mind.
Due to the fact that I tend to snore, and since I was going to be arriving fairly late at night, I decided to get an individual room.
I thoroughly enjoyed talking to the desk worker, a young woman visiting us from Australia, and a few other people who were around at night.
About the only complaint that I had was that my room faced an alley on the south side of the hostel, and this alley is visited very early in the morning by a garbage truck that makes a horrific amount of racket. There is no air conditioning, and even in October it was warm enough for me to want the window open. However, it plus the music wafting in from nearby bars and restaurants is part of what living in simple accommodations is all about. This is how those who lived in these economy apartments lived for many decades before this area became a hostel, and this is the type of thing they had to tolerate.
One Word of Warning:
Your credit card is processed through Switzerland, and therefore some of your financial institutions may raise security concerns over this.
Another Word of Warning:
There is very limited street or lot parking in the area, and what is available is very hard to find. In the evenings you may find some available but generally during the days it is enforced two hour limits and pay meters. There are a few pay lots nearby, but they are almost always fully occupied during the day. I highly suggest using public transit in this area. The hotel staff may be able to give you some suggestions as far as being able to locate parking lots and spaces in the area but it is a very compact urban area with a lot going on in a limited space. It may not be downtown Seattle but it is still quite busy and densely packed activity.
By far the most important unique quality is the location: it is in Fremont, which as is commonly known is the Center of the Universe, but isn't so big on places to stay.
The fact that it is a hostel, and therefore more economically priced than most other overnight accommodations in the Seattle area, is another unique feature of the place. There are very cheap motels to the north of Fremont, but these are in an area that I don't highly recommend for the majority of people. An individual room is in the $80 range including tax, and a dormitory room with shared accommodations is in the $35 range including taxes. Due to this huge difference in prices the price range falls outside the price categories here on VurtualTourist.
The decorations is very modern, and yet attractive and what I would expect at a place that primarily aims itself at a young traveler market.
There is a free but very simple breakfast offered every morning from 8 to 10, but if you want something earlier or later than this there are nearby restaurants that start serving breakfast at 6:30.
They have bicycles stored in various places in the hostel, and these may be rented.
One of the most significant missing links in making Fremont a European style destination is the lack of any sort of hotel or hostel. Sadly, your visit to Fremont will have to be based in another part of town unless you are lucky enough to have a personal contact. We'll keep visualizing a nice, inexpensive hotel with bike parking near the canal but I'm not aware of anything in the works.
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