Friday, April 15, 2011
Green Getaway: Seattle
Seattle is wonderful for this sort of thing. Green options abound, the geography is gorgeous, and the food is fantastic. My favorite thing to do when I visit the city is walk around, meet up with friends, and eat. If you're traveling with a child, it's a good idea to have a couple of kid specific activities planned as well and Seattle has plenty to choose from.
Amtrak Cascades train into Seattle for a green mini vacation during Spring break and we stayed at the perfect hotel.
Hotel Monaco is an eco friendly four star hotel brimming with individuality and charm. It's Green Seal certified and complies with a list of green initiatives to make your stay healthier for the planet and for you. I was grateful to walk into a room that didn't smell of cleaning supplies (they use eco friendly products) or fragrance. Recycling, water and energy conservation, and organic food and beverage options are all part of their EarthCare Program.
Entering the lobby, the first thing I noticed was all the color. We were lucky enough to visit during April, while they are celebrating Earth Day with some beautiful lamps created by artist Russ Morgan, using colorful upcycled glass. They're funky, fun, and bohemain, and added to the ambiance. On the ceiling there is a lovely sea creature mural lending an air of enchantment. The style is eclectic and the vibe is playful and relaxed. I immediately felt transported. The folks at the front desk were welcoming and efficient and had us checked in an on our way very quickly.
The Monaco is incredibly kid friendly, catering big time to the little ones. The staff were especially attentive and jovial with my six year old, looking him in the eye and speaking directly to him. They made him feel comfortable and excited to be there. There's even a zebra patterned secret toy box with complimentary toys.
Monorail and head for the Pacific Science Center, Experience Music Project, and the Space Needle. My son is obsessed with Star Wars and dinosaurs, so we opted for the Science Center. There he got to touch a replica of a T-Rex foot, understand fossils, and spy a Tara dactyl overhead. But the real thrill for him was the Star Wars exhibit.
You get to see Darth Vader's costume, C-3PO, Wookies, and Stormtroopers. Whatever your favorite Star War's character may be, it's apt to be there. It's a very stimulating atmosphere with interactive displays and lots of variety. I'd love to go back for the Butterfly and insect exhibit and look forward to see what else they have in store for future attractions. The Science Center is a wonderful place to get kids excited about science and the world we live in, and there is something for everyone.
Sazerac, the Monaco's restaurant which is next door and connected to the hotel. They utilize local, seasonal and organic foods. If you are visiting with children, I highly recommend sitting at the Chef's counter where you can get in on the action. The chefs were super friendly and eager to please, engaging my son and treating him like a little king. We were there on a Thursday evening and it was packed, so be sure to make reservations. Everything we tasted was delicious, but the house Artisan Greens Salad knocked my socks off, and since returning, my Cuisinart has been ablaze as I try (and try) to recreate the dressing. They are happy to accommodate any sort of dietary needs and will make whatever you'd like.
I've stayed in some very nice hotels, but not many have this much personality. So often a hotel is just a place to sleep, and normally I can't wait to get out the door and on to the adventure. But the Monaco is a destination in and of itself. If you like some character along with your luxury, check them out. They even offer discounts for those who take the train, as well as special packages. I highly recommend Hotel Monaco as part of a green getaway in Seattle, you won't want to leave.