Archive for the ‘ Washington ’ Category


Cameo Heights Mansion: A B&B as sweet as the apple

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Perched atop basalt bluffs with sweeping views of the Walla Walla Valley rests a resplendent domicile known as the Cameo Heights Mansion Bed and Breakfast. Cameo Heights is opulent through-and-through…no expense was spared in creating an atmosphere to put guests in a state of euphoria during their stay. I have visited well over a hundred B&B’s…few have thought through the guest experience as well as owner/innkeepers Alan and Deanne. Out of the entire nation, Cameo Heights Mansion was recently named a top-10 B&B by Bed and  After my visit, I can say unequivocally that this bestowment was well deserved.

Cameo Heights is an 11,000 square foot mansion with seven stately rooms to choose from.  Each of the suites are named for different countries, taking decorative cues to create an inspired theme. I stayed in the Schöner Obstgarten (aka German) suite, which had a contemporary cosmopolitan feel. The room was spacious at over 400 square feet and came equipped with:

  • Gas fireplace.
  • Very comfortable king-size bed with luxurious linens.
  • A large Oceania air-jet tub.
  • Floor to ceiling marble rain shower with additional shower head wand.
  • French doors that open onto a veranda overlooking an apple orchard.
  • iPod docking station.
  • Netbook in case you forgot your computer.
  • Large LCD T.V. with bracket so that you can position to any area of the room.
  • There was even a loft with a small couch to do some reading or napping.

All of the accommodations have comparable amenities and views, with each varying in layout and design…giving returning guests a whole new experience if they choose. If I had to select my two favorite rooms, I would have to pick the Spanish on the first floor, and the German on the 3rd floor–both have bold colors with a contemporary flair…which I tend to gravitate toward.  The outside and common areas of Cameo Heights is reminiscent of a French countryside  villa. The entire property is just magnificent.

Cameo Heights is located in a rural setting in southeastern Washington state, in between Walla Walla and the Tri-Cities.  The location may be a slight deterrent for some,  primarily for those with a goal to visit the area for wine tasting or culinary options offered in Walla Walla.  However, for others, the setting will be a welcome sight–a true escape from daily life.

Even though Cameo Heights Mansion is a bit off the beaten path, it’s grandeur does not go unnoticed by passersby traveling down the highway in the distance. During my stay a number of folks diverted themselves up the meandering hillside to find out what the assuming structure was. Recognizing that Cameo Heights may be a bit out of the way for some, Alan and Deanne integrated many on-site activities (including “The Vine” restaurant), so that folks don’t have to (nor will they want to) leave.  Some of the on-site activities include:

  • State-of-the-art home theater with 100s of movies to choose from.
  • Popcorn machine to give you a theater-like experience.
  • Splendid pool recreation area with fire-pit and heated spa.
  • Horseshoe pit.
  • Game room with ping-pong, board games and chess table.
  • Extensive DVD and book library.
  • The mansion is nestled among a 400 acre orchard and vineyard.
  • Open five nights a week, the highly rated “Vine” restaurant.
  • Emphasis on romance, with options for in-room dining; flowers, chocolate and/or wine can be delivered to the room.  And, a romance scavenger hunt with a list of activities to participate in together.

Area Attractions:

There are many things to do within a short drive from Cameo Heights…here are just a few ideas:

  • Walla Walla wine tours and tastings.
  • Hot air balloon rides.
  • Golf courses.
  • Foodies will rejoice in the culinary options in Walla Walla.
  • Skiing.
  • Many historical sites.

Cameo Heights Mansion rates run from $199 to $249 per night, which may sound a bit high to some, but given my experience, I can tell you that this is an incredible value for such a high quality bed and breakfast.  There are so many fun activities, along with super luxurious accommodations to make you feel pampered…and, you also receive a gourmet breakfast for two in the morning.

Speaking of breakfast, during my stay I enjoyed the following:

  • At 8am each morning you can select to receive a fresh pastry and your choice of coffee, tea, coco or juice delivered right to your room.  At 9am you can head to the second floor for a formal breakfast with the other guests.
  • Each morning I had a beautifully displayed fruit cup.
  • Peach and apricot stuffed french toast with lemon and lime glaze…and, a slice of grilled ham.
  • Poached eggs with apple-wood bacon and hollandaise sauce.
  • The final day of my stay I had a vegetable and sausage omelet.  Everything was beautifully presented and delectable.

If you’re looking for a romantic get-a-way…or, just to get away…do yourself a favor and book a few days at the Cameo Heights. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.  Cameo Heights is also a Select Registry member, which if you’re not familiar, has a stringent selection policy in order to become a member.  Every Select Registry property I’ve stayed at has always been the best-of-the-best.

Cameo Heights Mansion Story:

The construction of Cameo Heights Mansion was a very long labor of love for Alan and Deanne.  As a matter of fact, it took so long to build Cameo Heights that rumors began to swirl throughout the community as to the reasons behind the lack of progress. My understanding is that ultimately the issues boiled down to a lack of finances…in order to finish the mansion to the high quality standards that the couple envisioned.  After more than a decade of hurdles, blood, sweat and tears, Cameo Heights finally came to fruition.  The completion is really a testament to the will and character of Alan and Deanne to see their dream come true.  Today the couple welcomes folks to share in the luxury that they worked so tirelessly to complete. Their mission is to create an experience for their guests that they will not soon forget.  The work ethic to complete the mansion continues today as they work to make sure every guest feels welcome and enjoys their time away. If you do further research on the various review websites, you’ll see that Cameo Heights scores nearly a perfect score on the hundreds of reviews listed.

If you’ve ever stayed at Cameo Heights Mansion, please post a comment below and share some of your favorite aspects with me and my readers.  Click the following link to see more pictures of Cameo Heights Mansion. If you enjoyed this post and video, please share it with your friends and family…it really helps.

Cameo Heights Mansion Contact Information:

Address: 1072 Oasis Road – Touchet, WA, 99360, USA
Phone: 509-394-0211 (office); 509-302-0390 (cell)
Map: Click for Google Map

Run of the River, a Nature Infused Inn & Refuge

Monday, September 24th, 2012

I’ve always felt an inherent connection with nature.  For me, getting outdoors (for a hike, bike ride and/or camping/backpacking excursion) and experiencing what Mother Earth has to offer is extremely exciting and fulfilling.  I just love the adventure of seeing what’s around the next bend. To see rivers flow, unique plants grow and wild animals on the go can be euphoric.  Being in and around nature seems to unite oneself to life.

I recently had the pleasure of visiting a B&B that I’ve had my eye on for a couple of years now…the Run of the River Inn and Refuge.  Located in the Bavarian-themed community of Leavenworth, Washington, Run of the River connects guests with nature in the most hospitable and epicurean way.  For starters, the setting encompasses nature in all its glory.  The property is nestled among surrounding mountains with seasonal river views, an abundance of wildlife, and, plenty of nooks to find serenity.

When you first approach, you’ll notice from the outside that the Inn looks rustic, eclectic, and even a bit whimsical.  However, once you step inside, you’ll instantly feel life’s tension escape as you settle into the warmth, comfort and luxury of your accommodations.  An analogous depiction might be…Eddie Bauer meets the Pottery Barn.

One of the many things that make Run of the River so special is the attention to detail in bringing the outdoors…in. I stayed in the Ravenwood Lodge, a private cabin adjacent to the main building—I noticed many architectural and design details integrated into the space which nature inspired. For example, the NanaWall and French doors open to a large deck providing sensational views. Inside, you’ll find a river rock fireplace and whirlpool tub.  The river rock is extended into some of the pillars and on the surface of the shower…even as an accent into the slate floors.  The gorgeous canopy bed is built from logs. The towel and clothing racks are made from tree branches.  You’ll notice twigs intertwined into the cabinetry, parlor doors and even the chandelier.  The wastebasket is veneered with the bark of a tree. It’s extraordinary how well the outdoors has been coalesced into the living space.  Most of the credit belongs to a talented local designer, Patti Bosket of Au Naturel.

The feeling of being immersed in nature is really an underlying theme and what makes Run of the River Inn a haven for so many returning guests.  I would say that more than half the guests I met had visited the Inn in the past.  As a matter of fact, I was introduced to the Inn by family friends who’ve stayed at Run of the River nearly a dozen times over the years.  The quantity of returning guests is a testament to owner/innkeepers Steve and Jan for maintaining such a desirable escape for refuge seekers.

Something that will not go unnoticed by frequent guests is the effort put forth to transform the Inn from season-to-season.  During my visit I just missed a 4000lb delivery of pumpkins and gourds, which will be one of the decorative elements used to celebrate the fall season.

Each morning at 9am, guests gather for a five-course breakfast that will tantalize the taste buds and satisfy the appetite.  Breakfast starts with a fruit-flavored yogurt, fresh fruit platter, accompanied by a fruit juice/smoothie of the day.  Those courses are followed by freshly baked goods and a main entree…here are some of the delicious dishes that were served during my visit:

  • Swiss Gruyere and Cremini Mushroom Quiche, Roasted Baby New Potatoes with Herbs de Provence and Apple Croissant Bread Pudding with Homemade Caramel Sauce.
  • Santa Barbara Frittata, Oatmeal Raisin & Pecan Scones and Blueberry Clafouti.
  • Sticky Bun French Toast, Butcher’s Scramble and Triple Berry Crisp.

Run of the River typifies R&R by providing a sanctuary that surrounds the soul with the essence of life…. taking visitors on a brief journey away from the hectic paces of modern life.  Even if the escape is short, your mind, body and spirit will be forever grateful.

Additional features at the Inn include:

  • Private decks with lots of space for relaxing.
  • River rock whirlpool tubs.
  • Fireplaces with leather chairs at the hearth.
  • King beds with high-quality linens.
  • Spacious bathrooms with rain showers.
  • Plush Egyptian cotton towels.
  • DVD player with library collection in the common area.
  • Bikes, hiking gear and other seasonal items available at no charge.
  • There are many, many smaller features that will impress and surprise you during your visit.

Click the following link to see more of my pictures from Run of the River.  If you’ve stayed at this Inn, or enjoyed reading my post and watching the video, leave a comment below for my readers and me.  Please share with your friends and family by clicking the “like” button…it really helps.

Contact info for Run of the River Inn & Refuge:

Owners/innkeepers: Steve and Jan Bollinger
Address: 9308 E Leavenworth Rd. – Leavenworth, WA 98826
Phone: 800-288-6491
Map/Directions:  Google Map Click Here
Local Weather: Click Here

Note: Run of the River is an adult-only and smoke-free inn.

Saratoga Inn personifies ‘island hospitality’

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Located in the small seaside community of Langley, Washington on the illustrious Whidbey Island, rests an inn that embodies what home-away-from-home should feel like.  Owned by Jim and Jenny Pensiero, the Saratoga Inn was build with comfort in mind.  As you explore the property, you’ll see evidence, and even a few symbols underlying the comfort theme around every corner.  For example, are you familiar with the feeling of breaking in a good pair of leather shoes?  After a while those shoes become so comfortable that they develop into an extension of the owner.  Well, at the entrance of Saratoga, you’ll notice an old shoe planter that symbolizes this metaphor. You’ll also quickly observe that the inn does not feel pretentious in any way, nor is the décor over the top, but rather just…comfortable.

The name “Saratoga Inn” is derived from the stupendous views of Saratoga Passage in which the inn is situated to take advantage. Saratoga Inn has 16-rooms to choose from, 15 of which are fairly similar, but with some configuration differences.  For example, there are rooms on both the first and second floor, facing west and east. Several of the rooms on the second floor have seating decks, while others have ocean views. Sleeping options include: king, queen or twin with queen. The sixteenth room is actually a suite called the “Carriage House.” This space is 650sf providing private and romantic accommodations. The Carriage House is detached from the Inn and offers a great-room, kitchen and large bathroom with soaking tub providing mountain and water views.

I really felt a sense of home while staying at the Inn.  The staff was eager to be of assistance, and, the guests felt like family members.  I had such a lovely time visiting with fellow guests during the wine and hors d’ oeuvres hour—at breakfast we’d continue the conversation where it left off the evening before.  I also had a couple of interesting conversations with the owner, Jim.  As well as his wife Jenny and daughter Kaycee.  The Inn is a family affair and their passion and interest in making each guest feel special certainly shows.

While I was in Langley the weather could not have been better. I really enjoyed waking to see the sun rise above the snow capped Cascade Mountains as it shimmered off the foreground water…often with barely a ripple.  I also took advantage of a complimentary bike to get a lay of the land.  Langley is a charming community with many restaurants, shops, galleries and sights to see.   It’s a very relaxing area, and I soon understood what “Island Hospitality” was all about.

Each morning between 8:30 and 10am you’ll enjoy a delightful gourmet breakfast.  From fresh fruit, freshly baked goods to the entrée, you’ll get your day started on the right foot.

Some of the amenities at the Inn include:

  • Fireplace in every room.
  • Bottomless cookies jar with coffee/tea.
  • HD Flatscreen TVs and complimentary DVDs.
  • Free use of bicycles.
  • Private conference room for up to 12.
  • Inviting library/common area with cozy fireplaces.
  • Wrap-around porch with rocking chairs and views.
  • Two electric car charging stations…get a charge out of staying at the Inn!
  • Daily housekeeping and turn-down service.

Click the following link to see more pictures of the Saratoga Inn.  If you’ve ever stayed at the Saratoga, please leave a comment and let my readers and me know what you like most. If you think your friends and family would be interested in the Saratoga Inn, please share this post and video by clicking the “like” button below.

Saratoga Inn Contact Info:

Saratoga Inn
201 Cascade Avenue
PO Box 428
Langley, WA 98260
Toll-Free: 866.749.5565
Phone: 360.221.5801
Map: Google Map

Posh, Palatial…Presidential: The George Washington Inn

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

Located just east of Port Angeles, Washington, on a bluff high above the Strait of Juan de Fuca, sits a remarkably familiar sight, a  B&B offering spectacular views and accommodations alike.  This Bed and Breakfast is modeled after a legendary home built over 200 years ago on the opposite end of the country in Mount Vernon, Virginia, by the first President of the United States…the George Washington Inn.

The George Washington Inn has become an iconic area landmark and quickly catches your attention as you approach.  The long driveway draws the eye, creating an instant sense of familiarity.  Everything about the Inn is grand…from its stature, grounds, entry to the sweeping views.

This palatial estate has only five guest rooms (due in part to local zoning restrictions), so each suite, as well as the common areas, is quite spacious.  There are all kinds of places to relax and enjoy the property…one of my favorite spots was the deck facing north toward the water that stretches the entire width of the house—watching the sunsets there was spectacular.   The Inn is four stories, however only the 2nd and 3rd are used for guests.  The basement is where the owners, Dan and Janet, call home.  The top floor is still unfinished, but there are tentative plans to turn it into a conference room to attract corporate events and retreats.

I was lucky enough to share my visit to the George Washington with someone special, which allowed us to take full advantage of the experience…from a soak in the Aquatic Whirlpool air tub, to playing chess on the deck while enjoying a sunset over the water.

Three of the rooms at the George Washington Inn are considered “Deluxe Suites” and feature the following amenities:

  • Private front & veranda entrances
  • Parlor, coffeemaker, microwave, refrigerator
  • Mountain and ocean views, flat screen HDTV, Wi-Fi
  • King bed, electric fireplace, Aquatic Whirlpool air bath, shower

The other two suites don’t have private entrances or parlors, but nearly everything else listed above.

The day before our arrival to the Inn was spent hiking and camping and we were a bit tired, and we ended up retiring early so that we could start the day off with a much-anticipated home-cooked breakfast.  The fresh strawberry infused yogurt and spinach salmon quiche did not disappoint.  We also met a lovely couple and ended up spending nearly two hours conversing during the meal.  Meeting interesting people is just one of the many advantages of staying at a B&B over a hotel.

After a fun day spent touring the town of Sequim, we ended up having dinner at a wonderfully quaint restaurant called “Alder Wood Bistro,” which is an intimate place in an older home converted into a lovely dining experience.  As we made our way back to the George Washington Inn and entered the foyer, the smell of freshly baked cookies filled the air.  Both lovers of a “tasty morsel,” Rhonda and I made a dash for the platter of warm chocolate chip cookies, which we took back to our room to enjoy…actually devour!

Each B&B/Inn has its own structure to its breakfast service; at the George Washington it’s served at 8:30 with guests sharing tables on the cozy, enclosed patio.  I always find it fun and interesting meeting new people, especially those who have a common interest in travel and B&B lodging.  Rhonda and I met some fascinating folks during our stay.  Each morning we had breakfast with a different couple.   Below are some of the menu items we enjoyed…

  • Fresh strawberries in a custard yogurt with whipped cream with Spinach and salmon quiche for the entrée.
  • Baked Pear along baked egg and ham on toasted bread
  • Fresh local raspberries drizzled with chocolate, blueberry scone and poached eggs.

The Olympic Peninsula is a very popular place to grow lavender, during the summer months you’ll see the bright purple blooms everywhere…including the property at the George Washington Inn.  Dan and Janet produce a number of lavender infused products…from soaps, honey, tea to bath salts and lotions.  All the products are produced on-site and sold in the gift shop, which is located in the lower part of a separate structure on the property (the Carriage House)—the upper portion of the carriage house is available as a vacation rental.

Speaking of vacationing…The George Washington Inn, and the Port Angeles /Sequim area is a fantastic place to use as a hub for exploring the Olympic Peninsula.  Here are just a few suggestions, all of which I’ve done:

  • Take a ferry across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Victoria, Canada for a day trip.
  • Trek across the Dungeness Spit to a beautiful lighthouse.
  • On a clear day, drive to the top of Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park for some spectacular views.
  • Tons of hiking in and around the Olympic National Park.
  • Drive to the most northwesterly point of the lower 48 to Cape Flattery.

Dan and Janet are extremely gracious hosts and will do everything they can to make your stay with them and the area, an experience you won’t soon forget.

If you’ve been to the George Washington Inn Bed and Breakfast before, please leave a comment for my readers and me.  Click the following link to view more of my pictures of the George Washington Inn.  If you’ve found this post and video enjoyable, please click the “Like” button below.

Contact Info:

George Washington Inn
939 Finn Hall Road
Port Angeles, WA 98362
E-mail: Janet Abbott – Innkeeper

If the George Washington Inn is books, here are some links for other area B&B’s: Washington, Bed and Breakfasts,

The Fat Duck Inn is Walla Wonderful

Saturday, July 30th, 2011

The Fat Duck Inn located in Walla Walla, Washington is a charming and stately bed and breakfast.  As you approach the craftsman style B&B for the first time, you might be deceived by its seemingly diminutive stature, but once you enter the “Duck,” as it’s often affectionately referred to by its owner, you soon discover how copiously spacious it actually is.  There are five guest rooms, each with its own private bathroom, a large dining area, a cozy common area for guests to enjoy a complimentary glass of wine, a patio, and, as most homes of the era have… a lovely front porch.

The Fat Duck Inn is situated on a beautiful tree-lined street in a quiet neighborhood just a few minutes’ walk from downtown, which offers an abundance of quality restaurants and shopping.  One of the evenings during my visit I enjoyed some live outdoor music while devouring a delicious flatbread pizza and washing it down with a cold local beer.

While Walla Walla may have become famous for its sweet onions and as a college town, it’s fast becoming known for its quality soil to grow world class grapes. Ten years ago Walla Walla had some twenty wineries…today there are over two hundred.  The Fat Duck Inn has capitalized on this trend by offering gourmet, wine-paired dinners on the weekends for both guests as well as locals.  Unfortunately for me, my stay was during the week and I did not get the opportunity to enjoy this dining experience.  I did however have a chance to meet the chef, who is not only a fascinating individual, but who also grows a lot of his own ingredients.

One afternoon I headed to the outskirts of town to meet the chef (Greg Schnorr) on his modest farm (Schorgonoff Farms) where not only does he grow a variety of produce, but he also raises hogs, geese and poultry.  Chef Greg  is a well-versed and interesting person who seems eager to learn about all facets of the culinary chain.  He teaches his craft at Walla Walla Community College and continues his own education in farming, wine-making and the harvesting of quality ingredients.  I’m either going to have to return to Walla Walla soon, or just continue to imagine the pleasure of enjoying a meal prepared by Chef Greg.

My stay at the Fat Duck Inn was a very comfortable and enjoyable one…my room was quite spacious and included a large bathroom equipped with a Jacuzzi tub and separate shower.  And, because I’m often working on my computer, I especially appreciated the butler/secretary-style desk.  Each of the five guest rooms is distinctly decorated and each has its own “duck” name, i.e.  The Pintail (the suite I stayed in), the Widgeon, the Gadwall, etc.

Alexa, the owner of the “Duck,” is quite vivacious and hospitable, while at the same time giving guests space to enjoy their stay—she lives off-site, but just a block away, so guests can call with any needs they might have.  In addition to running the Fat Duck Inn, Alexa also manages a number of vacation rental properties in the area for guests needing more spacious or private accommodations.

During my stay, Alexa graciously invited me out for drinks and appetizers at one of her favorite places, JimGermanBar, in the neighboring town of Waitsburg.    It’s always nice to have a local show ya around—and, it’s fun getting to know the proprietor of the place you’re staying to find out how they got started, what sets them apart, etc.  My first question of Alexa was an obvious one… “where does your fascination with ‘ducks’ come from?”  As she chuckled, she said, “I really don’t have one…it was just an idea I had to create a memorable image for the Inn.”  Clearly Alexa has some experience in marketing!  While the Inn has an abundance of duck-themed décor, it’s all very tastefully done.

Breakfast at the Inn is served buffet style and consists of fresh fruit, granola, baked goods and a warm entrée such as a breakfast burrito.  The menu does not seem to vary from day-to-day.  An afternoon glass of wine is offered and is quite enjoyable on the front porch of the Inn.

Click the following link to see more of my pictures of the Fat Duck Inn.  If you’ve stayed at this B&B before, please leave a comment for my readers and me.  If you’ve enjoyed reading this post and watching the video, please click the “Like” button below.

For more information:

Fat Duck Inn
527 Catherine Street
Walla Walla, Washington 99362
Local Phone: (509) 526-DUCK (3825)
Toll Free: 1.888.526.8718

Note: After creating, then building-up and running the Fat Duck Inn into a profitable business, Alexa has decided to sell the Bed and Breakfast.  So, if you’re looking for a charming B&B in a wonderful area, you can contact Alexa below with any questions.

Many folks will travel to Walla Walla from Seattle, and a stop for a comfortable night stay at the Fat Duck Inn might just be the thing. There are so many different things to do in Seattle, but an escape to Walla Walla can be quite relaxing.

A Review of the Historic Davenport Hotel in Spokane, WA

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

The Davenport Hotel in downtown Spokane conjures up emotions of years gone by. This wonderfully restored hotel will make you feel like you’re in another era, but with modern refinements. Originally built in 1914, The Davenport lived a long and lustrous life until 1985 when the downtown area began to see its age and the doors were finally closed.

Over the next decade, downtown Spokane continued to fade into the past and the fate of the ol’ Davenport was held in the balance. On more than one occasion the Hotel was set for demolition, but she staved off destruction for fifteen years.

The Hotel was purchased in the year 2000 by local entrepreneurs who marveled at the history and saw what could be…once again.  After pouring countless dollars into restoration to bring The Davenport back to life…back to its glory days of years gone by, the hotel re-opened in 2002 to much fanfare.

The Davenport Hotel is unique in many ways…first, it’s not owned by some huge hotel conglomerate.  Two, I think few hotels have successfully embraced and retained its history, while modernizing but staying true to its core.

The Davenport feels like an old hotel, and not in the way you might imagine—I mean to say that from the obvious architecture, decor, accents and embellishments…to the impeccable staff and service, The Davenport gives you a sense of how hotels were once run.  Do you remember what it was like to fly on an airplane 30+ years ago?  That’s how the Davenport feels to me, like how a hotel used to be run, but is still doing it today. Clearly the current owners took their cue from Mr. Davenport himself, as he once said…”We hope to so well please our guests that they will be glad they came, sorry to leave and eager to return.“  I would go so far as to say that I’d go out of my way to visit Spokane just to stay in The Davenport Hotel.

My accommodations were luxurious…I stayed in one of the Davenport Parlor suites, which was nearly 700sf.  The king size bed was one of the most comfortable I’ve ever slept in.  The parlor was spacious and the wet-bar convenient for keeping our refreshments cool.  The bathroom was Romanesque, with granite his/her sinks, large travertine shower and a comfortable soaking tub.

I was lucky enough to visit the Davenport during the holiday season.  There was fresh snow on the ground, and the scent of pine in the lobby really got this Scrooge in the holiday spirit.  The hotel’s historic walking tour was particularly enjoyable with all the Christmas lights accentuating the various focal points…I really loved the many nooks and crannies to explore throughout the hotel.

If you’re planning a wedding, conference or corporate event, it will no doubt be memorable if you stay at The Davenport, their ballrooms are opulent, richly decorated and simply exquisite.

The Davenport Hotel also features several dining options, two of which we tried and enjoyed thoroughly…The Palm Court Grill and the Safari Room.  I distinctly remember the fresh berry salad, the tenderloin with King Crab legs, a spicy shrimp flat-bread pizza and hot apple crisp with rich vanilla ice cream…oh my.

Some of the on-site amenities include:

  • Indoor heated pool and spa
  • Workout facility
  • Florist
  • Starbucks Kiosk
  • Fine Dining Restaurants
  • Gift Shop
  • Spa
  • Free Town Car service (within 2 miles of the hotel)

Some interesting facts about the hotel:

  • The doorman featured on the hotel’s literature has been working there for 60+ years
  • The Davenport was the first hotel to feature air conditioning
  • The “Crab Louis” was named after the hotel owner, “Louis Davenport”
  • Fourth largest hotel in the state of Washington with 611 rooms
  • Click here for more history on The Davenport

After reading my article, watching the video and looking at the various pictures, you might assume that The Davenport is out of your lodging budget.  There is no question that this establishment is grand, but I think you might just be pleasantly surprised at how affordable The Davenport is if comparing it to comparable properties in larger cities.

If you’d like to see more pictures of The Davenport Hotel in Spokane, WA, click here.  If you’ve stayed at The Davenport, please leave a comment and tell my readers and me about your experience.

A Refined Rustic Romantic Ranch Review

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

Pine River Ranch Bed and Breakfast is situated on 22 alpine acres with towering pine trees and snow-capped mountains—the location is within a trifecta of things to do…just 15 miles west of Leavenworth, WA; 15 miles east of the Stevens Pass Ski Resort, and just a mile to the south of Lake Wenatchee.

The accommodations at Pine River Ranch B&B are comfortable and private, each equipped with their own unique hand-crafted log bed, fireplace and Jacuzzi tub.  There are six suites at the Ranch, four of which have their own private entrances in two different cabin structures—the other two suites share the main house entrance.  During my stay I was able to see four of the six rooms; of those four the Nason and the Natapoc suites seem to be the more recently remodeled…and, bear the names of the surrounding mountains.

Each suite has a small kitchenette, so you can store some snacks in case you don’t feel like leaving the comfort of your room.  If you didn’t bring any snacks, not to worry…you can order up a bottle of local wine, chocolate-covered strawberries, a platter of assorted cheeses, even fresh flowers—all to facilitate a romantic stay.  You can even schedule an on-site, in-room massage if you like.

Breakfast at the Ranch is hearty and delicious…and, served a bit differently than most B&B’s—because the focus is on “romance” they deliver breakfast straight to your room, so you can stay cozied up by the fireplace in your room-supplied plush bathrobe.  Each suite comes with its own coffee pot and espresso machine with three different fresh ground coffees to choose from.

To add to the rustic romance of the Ranch, you can even get married in or around their local landmark circa 1940s dairy barn.  The barn is a wonderful structure with all kinds of character.  The surrounding mountains make a wonderful backdrop for pictures.  The best part is…after the wedding festivities, you can stay put in one of the six suites.

No matter when you visit the Ranch, there is plenty to see and do in/around the area.  The Ranch has trails throughout the property that go right by a pond and to the shores of Pine River. Leavenworth is just 15 miles away and is a fun and eventful area.  Bavarian themed to its core, Leavenworth will make you feel like you’ve been transported thousands of miles away to a small German/Swiss town.  The Wenatchee River runs along highway 2 right through Leavenworth and makes for some great fishing, hiking and exploration  Lake Wenatchee, just a mile away from the Ranch, is a wonderful place for picnicking, hiking, kayaking, boating, fishing, camping or just exploring.

Karen and Tim, two of the proprietors of Pine River Ranch, are the friendliest and most hospitable hosts you’ll come across.   Their love for one another and that of what they do, clearly shine through.

If you’re looking for a secluded, refined-rustic, private, romantic get-away…you simply must check out the Pine River Ranch.

Click the following link to see more of my pictures of the Pine River Ranch Bed and Breakfast in Leavenworth, Washington.  If the Pine River Ranch is booked, click the following links for other B&B’s in the area: Leavenworth WA B&B’s, Leavenworth B&B’s, B&B’s in Leavenworth WA,

Colette’s Bed and Breakfast, an Outstanding Choice

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

I’ve stayed in a great deal of bed and breakfasts (most of which have been extremely nice), however from time to time one stands above the rest.  Colette’s Bed and Breakfast located in Port Angeles, WA is one of those places that excel in every category…location, accommodations, grounds, service and of course, breakfast.  Food and hospitality veterans, Richard and his wife Karen, are the consummate innkeeper hosts.

Colette’s is conveniently located in between Sequim and Port Angeles, which makes for a wonderfully central location for day-trips to Victoria, B.C.,  Lake Crescent, Olympic National Park and the surrounding areas. There are a number of great restaurants, shops, amenities and activities in the area to enjoy.

When you first arrive at Colette’s you can’t help being struck by the lush cornucopia gardens throughout the property…a botanists haven if you will.  As you work your way to the back of the property your senses will be overtaken once again by the majestic Strait of Juan de Fuca ocean views.  On a clear day you can easily see Victoria and Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

Shortly after your arrival, you’re welcomed with a happy-hour of wine, appetizers and the greeting of other guests.  The common area is finely appointed with plenty of comfortable seating, all nestled around a large fireplace and sweeping ocean views.

All the suites offer a good deal of privacy and are luxuriously appointed—each with an ocean view located high above the water’s edge.  The five suites also include a fireplace, large Jacuzzi tub-for-two and are adorned with freshly cut flowers from the garden.

After a long day of activities, you might just want to select a book or a DVD from the vast library and curl up next to the fire for a relaxing evening.  As morning approaches, you’ll find your mouth watering as Richard whips up a gourmet meal that will take your palate on an adventure and will send your taste buds into a whirlwind of delight. Some of the breakfast, appetizer and snack dishes during my stay included:

  • Northwest eggs Benedict – Polenta topped with Alaskan smoked salmon, Dungeness crab-meat and poached eggs with hollandaise and lardoons.
  • Sausage and apple strudel with cheddar eggs and raspberry chipotle sauce.
  • Brandied mushroom and caramelized onion tart
  • Fresh blueberry blintz
  • Pumpkin and green chile strata with fruit salsa
  • Open faced crepes with prosciutto, apples, and brie
  • Bartlett tart with honey balsamic glaze
  • Roasted vegetable crudités’
  • Chipoltle chocolate chip cookies

Can you say, “D’Lish?!”  If you enjoy unique and gourmet cooking, you’ll really appreciate Richard’s culinary talents, which is certainly a highlight while staying at Colette’s.

While in the area, here are a few good eateries to consider:  Alder Wood Bistro, Michael’s, Smugglers Landing for good fish & chips and Toga’s for lunch.

Click the following link for additional pictures of Colette’s Bed and Breakfast. To make reservations for Colette’s, click here.