Both of these terrific finds came from Frommer's travel guide for Washington State.
I started using Frommer's in 1980 when my kids left the nest and I began traveling on my own. For the next five years, my annual vacation involved getting a 15-day Eurail pass and bouncing around Europe with no advance reservations. For hotels and restaurants, I relied on Frommer's Europe on $25 a Day (!!!)
I've used Frommer's ever since on my extensive travels, although I've found Lonely Planet better for my many trips to SE Asia. I especially like LP's Thorntree website, where travelers share information and recommendations. See http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/index.jspa.
But for advice on accommodations and restaurants, no one beats Frommer's, IMHO.
Seattle's Deca Hotel
When traveling to major cities in the U.S., I prefer hotels away from the center city, not just because they usually are cheaper, although that's certainly a plus, but mainly because a hotel in a neighborhood gives you a better feel for the city, and it's more fun to stroll around in the evening. Last spring, for example, when I did a San Francisco-San Diego trip, I booked into the Castro Inn in SF and the La Jolla Shores in SD.
So, thanks to Frommer's, I'm thoroughly enjoying the Deca Hotel in Seattle's Washington University neighborhood. Frommer's describes it well:
The 16-story Hotel Deca is one of Seattle's hippest hotels and it offers excellent value. Consequently it's one of my favorite hotels in the city. You'll be surrounded by modern Art Deco style as soon as you arrive and the retro elegant look is elegant, playful and reminiscent of the 1930's. You'll enjoy views of downtown Seattle, distant mountains, and various lakes and waterways. Every room is a corner unit, which means plenty of space to spread out.Since the view from our window was unobstructed, we left the drapes open. When I woke up at 3am for my usual bathroom visit and meditation, this is what greeted me:
This is the first time in all of my many hotel stays that I've taken a photo of the framed print in my room. But Hotel Deca, in keeping with its Art Deco theme, has one of my favorite Hopper prints hung on the wall by my bed:
The icing on the Hotel Deca cake was the free shuttle service it provided guests for trips to and from the downtown and other sites.
Our Cabin in the Woods
Here's the cabin we had to ourselves in the woods just outside the entrance to Mt. Rainier National Park:
The cabin is part of the Wellspring Spa, a small retreat that Frommer's describes as "the most unique of the area's accommodations."