Unique Quality: I haven't stayed at the College Inn because I live in Seattle. But this is where I would stay if I were visiting -- old world charm, dormitory bathrooms, big continental breakfast, traveller clientele and a location one block from the UW campus. All the excitement of downtown is a short bus ride away but you're also walking distance from many interesting Seattle neighborhoods. The building that houses the College Inn is on the National Register of Historic Places and also contains a small grocery and a coffee house on the ground floor and a pub in the basement. Who could ask for anything more?
Upon reading reviews and checking out their website, little did I know how great this place would be. Not only were the inkeepers so welcoming, the guests were just as friendly. The place was clean well maintained for how old it was! Because of flight came in so late, the inkeeper met us on our floor, gave us keys to our rooms, and let us check in the next morning. Now, I ask you, when was the last time someone met you at your room to open your door and trusted you to check in the next day? :)
Unique Quality: European Style hotel = bathrooms were down the hall. Great lounge area on the fourth floor. Also had internet access for guests!
Directions: U District
The University District ihas a European tradition that is very much alive in the College Inn. The Inn was originally constructed to serve the Alaska Yukon Expo of 1909 a unique "worlds fair" that put Seattle on the map long before grunge music and Microstuffed. After the Expo the Inn became a weekend getaway where Seattleites would click out by cable car for a weekend in the , countryside. It's the real thing, the half-timbered gables are actually half-timbered, its odd garrets are actual garrets, and it's a european style hotel that is actually, charmingly, and sometimes even a little annoyingly European.
You know your not in the Hyatt anymore when you check in and find that the lobby is on the top floor. Then you see unHoliday Inn stuff like nice old furniture set for...you guessed it...continental breakfast. It's the sort of lobby one hangs out in, chatting with other guests in accents. There is always coffee and tea on hand and, as you expected, the coffee is really great.
The rooms have that offshore look right off the bat. They are small, oddly proportioned and antiquely furnished, but not in the instant-posh "botique hotel" way: they just have nice old furniture quirky sinks and lights, and little oddities like wide window seats and funny little pillows. It's no surprise that the Inn is generally full of bookbag types: europeans who prefer it to the more comfy/sterile (and much more expensive) AmeriHotels in the district, visiting profs from across the pond unfurling umbrellas for the one-block walk to campus, and the unmistakably seasoned travelers who have heard this is the place to go.
On the downside for some would be the down-the-hall bathrooms, but they are well-appointed and functional. But hey...it's cheap. Once again, by Seattle standards, but the $45 USD for a single room to $80 for a big room with two quilt-draped double beds beats the hell out of anything else in the area (there is no hostel in the University area: the one downtown runs $17 for a bunk). And don't forget you get breakfast.
The College Inn has some nice features right in the same building
The ground floor features a student-infested coffee house and a mini-market. The basement is the College Inn Pub, another place that just doesn't look like Kansas. Wood panelled and boothed, with glassed-in "cozy room" for study groups and meetings, with all sorts of imported and local micro beers with funny names and an active darts scene, the Pub doesn't actually try to be British, but does a better job of Rathskellery than all those fake-ass Irish pubs. Oh yeah, and this is significant in Seattle's bog of despond, a fireplace. You could go a long way and not find a nicer place for a nightcap and it's right downstairs.
Directions: Right on corner of 40th and the "Ave"...a block off campus.
This is a true Seattle gem, a lovely historic building.
The first reason I actually chose this hotel was because it was cheap, AND I could easily access the city via bus route. It is within very short walking distance of many bus routes to downtown or anywhere I needed to go, but I spent much less than I would have if I were to stay in downtown Seattle.
I was pleasantly surprised with my choice. If you are looking for a friendly, clean, modest home away from home, this is the place for you. I've stayed in many places, from hostels to bed and breakfasts to 5 star hotels. This place is sweet and minimalist. Service was excellent and very gracious, but be aware of the limited office hours. The manager was helpful with any questions or directions I needed help with as well. I wouldn't recommend it to those looking to be pampered and spoiled on their vacation, but for the down to earh traveller, its perfect. It is a European-style hotel with (very clean) shared bathrooms on each floor, so maybe bring a bath robe. There is a generous continental breakfast offered as well. Just downstairs is a fantastic cafe with delicious breakfast and lunch, and there is an array of ethnic restaurants and pubs within walking distance. I would highly recommend the College Inn!
Unique Quality: It is easy to rely on public transportation while staying at the College Inn. There is a bus stop just a block away that can take you downtown, or to Fremont, or to wherever. It is in a very safe, well-lit neighborhood as well. We could actually see our hotel from the Space Needle, so maybe you can see the Space Needle from some rooms!
I loved it! We could walk to many ethnic restaurants, pubs, and shops, and also the Burke Museum on the University of Washington campus (which I would highly recommend!).
Directions: University District
The College Inn is a strange hotel/hostel hybrid. It was found online as a hostel, and prices like a hostel (my single bed room was $60 a night, not including taxes), yet it doesn't feel, sound, or look like your typical hostel stay. I had my own room, with a sink and mirror (toilet and shower were still communal). It was also remarkably quiet. One of the disadvantages of hostels is they are often quite noisy with youth running about at all hours; as I was on a work visit I wanted a minimum of that. But the College Inn was quiet as a mouse.
Other benefits were the extreme friendliness of the staff; they were helpful beyond belief with handling accommodations, advice about places to go and eat, and just making me feel welcome. The daily free breakfast was complete, with cereal, fruit, and bagels/pastries. And the look of the hostel; it wasn't a recent building, but built into the history of the neighborhood.
My son spent a week at the College Inn while he did some research at the University of Washington library, which is a short walk away. My wife and I joined him and also spent two nights there before we traveled on to Vancouver.
The rooms were quite reasonably priced, and pleasantly furnished. The continental breakfast was not spectacular but it was adequate. The bathrooms down the hall, European style, were never a problem to any of us, especially since there are sinks in every room.
I would definitely recommend this hotel, and if I return to Seattle I will stay there again.
Unique Quality: Each room is furnished in a different way, all very nice, some truly charming. The common area is pleasant and a good place to meet other guests if that is something you want to do.
The University and the University District shopping/entertainment street are right there.
Bus service is nearby and frequent.
See their website for pictures.
Directions: University District, near the south end of University Way
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Address: 4000 University Way NE, Seattle, Washington, 98105, United States