If you’re visiting Washington State, it’s easy to feel like you’ve stepped back in time. At least, it is if you avoid Seattle.
If you’re spending the majority of your vacation outdoors you could feasibly convince yourself that you’ve left behind the technology and stressful trappings of your everyday life.
Returning to the hecticness of city vacationing can be a bit jarring so we’ve found a way to help you ease back into it. Staying at some of Washington’s best historic hotels can be a great way to keep up your vacation while avoiding your current life.
Even if your purpose of visiting is not to convince yourself that you’re living two hundred years ago, a historic hotel stay can still be a great vacation destination.
There’s nothing quite like the charm of a historic hotel to create a special ambiance, especially for a romantic giveaway. Since my wife tells me that I’m an expert in romance, I’ve decided to put together a list of the best historic hotel stays in Washington State and the Pacific Northwest.
While each of these is unique in its own way, they all share some impressive architecture, access to great food, and a sense of history that separate them from the other options in the area.
I’ve done my best to include a variety of hotels that my family has enjoyed staying in on our trips, from coastal getaways to mountain retreats, etc. So whether you’re just with your spouse or your entire family, any of these make great getaways!
5 Historic Hotels In Washington State (Ranked)
1. Paradise Inn
If you’re visiting Mount Rainier you should afford yourself the privilege of staying at Paradise Inn, a lodge that provides rustic (but beautiful and comfortable) accommodations.
The lodge was built over 100 years ago and, if you’ve ever seen pictures of it, it’s obvious why it was built where it is. Sitting in what may be one of the most beautiful locations in all of the Pacific Northwest, Paradise Inn has been open since 1916.
The lodge itself actually sits within Mount Rainier National Park so, if you’re after more than just views, this can be a luxurious version of a basecamp.
You’ll want to book early as the Paradise Inn only has 121 guest rooms and is only open for part of the year, typically mid-May to Mid October.
Once you’ll get there, however, you won’t want to leave. And you really won’t have to for much. There is a gift shop, cafe, and full restaurant on the premises.
While any time of year is great, I would recommend the spring/early summer months so you can enjoy the colorful wildflower meadows and the greenest foliage of the year. If you’re waiting out the hot months and want to visit in September you may find yourself treated to additional color in the form of awe-inspiring autumn leaves.
Whenever you visit (and for whatever occasion) be sure to visit the Longmire Museum, the Park’s Visitor’s Centers, and the many miles of trails that will be at your disposal.
2. The Starrett House
You’ll know you’re in a historic and limited capacity building when your choice of rooms have names like Nanny’s Room, The Master, The Drawing Room, and Anne’s Suite.
Such is the case at The Starret House, an 11-room Victorian hotel located on the Olympic Peninsula near Port Townsend.
that dates back to 1889.
The Ann Starrett Mansion, as many know it, exhibits the type of architecture that you would expect to find at a PNW Seaport building dating to 1889. The three-tiered spiral staircase, murals, solar calendar dome, and 70-foot tower all speak to the affluence of the original builder.
Unlike most hotels and buildings in the area, The Starrett House enjoys panoramic views of the Puget Sound as it was built on a bluff, elevating it above the surrounding area.
The home/hotel has been updated over the years and each well-appointed room has its own private bathroom as well as period antiques so that you never forget the historic value of the place you’re staying.
Because of its central location, it’s easy to walk from your lodgings at the mansion to many of the town’s attractions. There are galleries, museums, restaurants, and bars all within easy walking distance.
The Starrett House currently rents its rooms on Airbnb where its rooms range from around $200 to nearly $400, depending on the view and side.
3. Davenport Hotel
If you’re willing to go to the very edges of the PNW (and pass through the desert of Central Washington) then be sure to make it all the way to Spokane and at least pay a visit to the Davenport hotel. Better yet, book a night or two.
The Davenport is an extremely significant historical landmark (it’s on the National Register of Historic Places) and might very well be the most luxurious place to stay on this list.
The location of the hotel has nearly as much draw as the hotel itself. Built in 1914 on the edge of the river, the Davenport is a distinctively designed building that sets it apart from everything else in the area.
Large events that come through Spokane are often hosted at the Davenport with guests arriving in the Spanish Renaissance lobby and proceeding into what is considered the city’s oldest and most magnificent ballroom.
This is one of the places you should put on your bucket list if you really want to step out of time and impress your significant other. The impressive design touches including marble, hand-painted frescoes, and gold leaf detailing could very well let you deceive yourself that you have left the country and are touring a European mansion.
If you’re looking to book, the Davenport has an expansion of rooms/suites that range from several hundred to several thousand dollars per night. All of them will provide you with a luxurious historical experience.
Beyond the hotel, you’ll be able to find rich experiences to fill the remaining time on your trip. The Davenport is ideally located for taking advantage of Spokane’s downtown shops and restaurants. Once you’ve eaten your fill, don’t forget to stretch your legs at the close by Riverside Park.
4. Marcus Whitman Hotel & Conference Center
Not only is Walla Walla one of the most popular wine regions in Washington state, but it is also the home to one of the most luxurious hotels in the area: The Marcus Whitman Hotel & Conference Center.
The hotel is a local landmark and provides 133 guest rooms where you and your other can stay in luxury. If your room isn’t quite to your liking upon arrival, don’t worry, the hotel has 6 wine tasting rooms (as well as an award-winning restaurant) that will make every part of your trip seem better.
For many years after it was built (in the 1920s) the hotel was considered the most luxurious place to stay within hundreds of miles. Their guest list included several presidents, celebrities, and even foreign dignitaries.
The hotel wasn’t kept up and fell into disrepair over the year, eventually losing its status as a place of luxury. However, in 1999 the hotel was completely restored to its original levels of opulence.
It again stands as a landmark and is the place that you should absolutely stay if you are in the area to visit the many wonderful wineries available.
5. Roche Harbor Resort
If you sail or spend much time on the water, you’ll want to add the Roche Harbor Resort on the San Juan Islands to your list of places to stay this summer.
If you’ve never visited the San Juans, go. They are beautiful at any time and one of the most interesting destinations in Washington State. If you don’t own a boat or plan to rent one, you can get to the island easily via the Washington State Ferries. Just hop off the ferry at Friday Harbor (San Juan Island) and you’ll find the Roche Harbor Resort a short drive from town.
However, if you sail, the resort has its own private marina where you can dock.
Everyone who visits the Roche Harbor Resort is entranced by its historical charm and range of amenities. In addition to the marine, the resort is full-service and offers shops, accommodations, eateries, and even a spa.
The Hotel de Haro (at Roche Harbor Resort) is the oldest hotel that is currently operating in the state of Washington. As of this year, it has been open for business for 136 years (since 1886). Their current range of accommodations includes run-of-the-mill hotel rooms in addition to historic cottages and waterfront condos.
I would recommend getting one of the Harborview Rooms if possible to remind yourself you’re on the islands with a view of the ocean.
Before you sail away, be sure that you make time to enjoy the colorful and beautiful grounds that complement the historic nature of the resort and hotel.
If you live in or travel to Washington State you’re lucky to have an incredible number of historic hotels at your disposal.
–> Be sure to check out Seattle’s Michelin-Star-worthy restaurants as well!
If you’re on vacation, a hotel can be much more than a place to sleep. If you stay in a historic building, your vacation won’t end every night when you get back to a blah and sterile room. The room itself will be an experience and vacation.
So choose the hotel whose history speaks to you and go book a stay for you and your loved ones!