It's not every day you get to sleep in a building that was brought to its present location via logs and horses! The Majestic Inn & Spa is one of those buildings - a beautiful, historic, Pacific Northwest inn moved from its original location blocks away around the turn of the 20th century. Back then the Majestic was called the McNaught building - an office building that was later turned into a mercantile store. It was eventually transformed into a hotel. More recently, it was remodeled into the inn we have today. The addition of a completely new building in 2013 has expanded the vision and feel of the Majestic - complementing the main building and bringing the total room count to 51. With so much to do in downtown Anacortes, the nearby San Juan Islands - all with easy access to the Cap Sante Marina - it's easy to talk yourself into staying for a night or the entire week!
Inn & Grounds
The historic building of the Majestic is gorgeous. Consecutive remodels have brought out the best of the original with added touches. You get a sense that there's history here but at the same time it seems almost brand new. There's a stunning main hall and staircase as you enter, beautiful crown molding everywhere you look, high ceilings, a mesmerizing atrium-like area with a cool, geometric staircase, good lighting, and lots of space. The new building fits in to this style as well. Decor and design were purposely made to match the look and feel of the original.
While the outdoor grounds surrounding the inn may be small - they sit right in historic downtown, with access to lots of great stuff. Besides the restaurants and shopping next door and across the street, a 10 minute walk in any direction takes you to beaches, waterfront, more shopping and food, marinas, grocery stores, and parks.
A nice green-space/courtyard exists between the main building and the new one - it's a nice place to take a quick stroll. Look for optional outdoor restaurant seating here in the spring and summer months. It's also a great place to host a private party, ceremony, or wedding.
The Majestic has 51 guest rooms spread across two buildings (the historic and new one). Don't let the term 'historic' scare you away - the recent-ish remodels have made the place look and feel as new as ever. We stayed in a quaint little single queen studio room for our stay. It was more than enough space (we're used to living on a sailboat!) and our only minor complaint was that the walls between us and our neighbors were a touch thin for our tastes. Luckily our neighbors were completely normal and considerate so it wasn't a big deal, but if you happened to room next to loud guests (or you're loud yourself) you may notice. Our room also faced the main street of downtown - Commercial Avenue - so some city sounds drifted up to our windows, but nothing crazy. We like the small but bustling sounds and the downtown vibe in general!
We loved our room's high ceilings, clean and well-lit bathroom, nice water pressure in the shower with endless hot water, a perfect size HD TV with DVD player, hot water kettle and french press for coffee (recently ground coffee too - score!), a comfy bed, and reliable in-room wifi. As we all know, hotel wifi can be slow and inconsistent but the Majestic's is spot on (bloggers and business-folk rejoice!).
There are several other room options available. There's something for everyone with various bed combinations and sizes, balconies large and small, fireplaces, separate rooms, full kitchenettes, views of the surrounding waterways, and more. Looking for a room for guests who are sensitive to allergies? Got it! Want to bring your pet? It can be arranged! Need a jacuzzi tub? No problem! Check here for more pictures and their complete list of rooms.
Make sure to walk around and explore the Inn and see the view from the top floor of the historic building. Also available - access in the spring and summer months to the adjacent building's sweet rooftop deck.
Be sure to check out the on-site 5th Street Bistro restaurant and award winning Apothecary Spa. Although we didn't get a chance to try the spa this time around, we heard from more than one guest that it was a relaxing experience and so convenient to have it in-house. Check out the virtual tour of the spa by following the link above. We did get to enjoy dinner at the Bistro - expect moderately priced local food and excellent service. We had a choose your own 3-course dinner - great selection at great price.
Food & Coffee nearby
Staying at the Majestic means you're right in the historic downtown - surrounded by local restaurants and shopping. We tried a few on this trip:
Adrift Restaurant - Yum, yum, yum. Inventive and tasty seafood, burgers, fish tacos, and such. One more - yum.
A'Town Bistro - Good fancy/not-too-fancy happy hour!
Le Crema Cakes - good coffee nearby the Inn! A great place to order a wedding cake too…hmmm…I love wedding cake…I wonder if I could order just a slice?!?
Alley Cat Antiques - Lots of treasure.
Exploring the Area
You don't have to walk too far from downtown to find evidence of the rich boat, shipping, and maritime history and industry here in Anacortes. As you're exploring, make sure to check out the lookout at Cap Sante Park. A forested road leads you out of the neighborhood and right up to a parking lot on top. Hop out to explore the rocky point and view the surrounding waterways and mountains, islands, Cap Sante Marina, and downtown Anacortes.
Access to the Water
This is Inns to Paddle and Sail to after all! A nice night spent off the sailboat is always welcome around here. The Majestic Inn & Spa is only .4 of a mile, an 8 minute walk, from the Port of Anacortes (Cap Sante Marina). Perfect to pull up in your boat, pay for moorage, grab a overnight bag, and head to the Inn (this makes Captain Wifey happy;). We're waiting to hear back from the marina about overnight storage for kayaks - it would be nice to paddle in, stow your boat and gear, spend a night at the Inn, and paddle away the next day! We'll update this post when we figure it out.
The Majestic Inn & Spa is a fabulous and reasonably priced historic Northwest inn. It's combination of history and an epic remodel has transformed this onetime 19th century office building into an elegant 21st century inn, spa, restaurant, and event space. It's right in the middle of Anacortes' small but bustling historic downtown, with fun shopping and tasty restaurants right out the front door. Whether you're making a trip to Anacortes for the weekend or the entire week, the Majestic is a great place to connect you to what the region has to offer. Eat, shop, grab a ferry to the San Juans, head to nearby farms in the Skagit Valley, or our favorite - sail in, relax, and enjoy.
Majestic Inn & Spa
Reviewed by Everyone's Travel Club 3/31/14
~Paul & Amber ETC
I know a lot of people in Western Washington who see the town of Anacortes as just a jumping off point to the nearby San Juan Islands. They drive right through, take a left at the stoplight before the quaint downtown, and continue over the hill to the ferry dock. Off they go.
However, when you talk to your friends about Anacortes as the destination, not just a jumping off point, they're at first surprised…and then very interested to hear more. I tell them that I've got just the place in town for them to stay - whether they're here to get a jump on the early morning ferry or to have a great time in this cool Northwest city. For this edition of Inns to Paddle & Sail to we head to the lovely Gateway Bed & Breakfast.
House & Grounds
The house is a Victorian home & looks classic inside and out, although it was built more recently in 1996. It's located in the Cap Sante neighborhood of Anacortes, just minutes from the water (more about that later), the marina, and town. The front patio and rooms look out into the neighborhood, some with views of the Guemes channel. It's a very quiet neighborhood and easy to walk around and explore. The house is spacious, modern, and super clean.
The Gateway currently has four rooms available. We stayed in the Fidalgo Suite - it's the largest and comes with the works. The highlight for us was the gorgeous sitting room looking out towards the grounds & water. There's also a claw foot tub with separate shower, kingsize bed, and the whole room is big-time spacious and comfortable. We were lucky enough to tour the three other rooms as well - all are unique and super cozy. One can even accommodate up to 3 guests.
Don't get me started about how amazing the towels smelled! I mean, as if the hypoallergenic bedding wasn't enough, the sooo-good towel smell and general cleanliness of this place is off the hook. Gateway has wifi that worked really well (do you hear that other inns across the Northwest!?!), and coffee/coffee makers are in all rooms. Coffee + reliable wifi = happy bloggers:)
Access to the Water
This is Inns to paddle & sail to after all! For paddlers, there's 2-3 launch site options that are really close to the inn. The closest is a public boat ramp next to Randy's Pier 61 restaurant (middle picture below). This one could be a little tricky - commercial boat traffic has the right of way - so it wouldn't hurt to have a backup plan. The great thing about this launch is it's so close to the inn.
Next up there's the Cap Sante marina. This one obviously works great for sailors too, Cap Sante has hundreds of slips for guest moorage. For paddlers, there's a nice, low dock on the north side of the marina, just 1/2 a mile away from Gateway (map below). The dock is open and we didn't see any info on launch fees so I wouldn't worry about it (there's another put-in at the south side of the marina too, but it's a little far from the inn).
The third launch site isn't really a option just yet. There's plans in the neighborhood for a park on the water/launch site right around the corner from the inn, only about 300 ft away! If & when this park becomes a reality, kayakers & SUPs will be swarming the Gateway (and I will be moving into the Fidalgo Suite permanently…kidding!).
Stuff to Do in Town
If you're lucky enough to stay at Gateway Bed & Breakfast in the summer you'll be able to enjoy thefarmers market on Wednesdays & Saturdays, just minutes from the inn. Also close is the Anacortes Museum & Maritime Heritage Center & several restaurants and shops on the main drag. We caught some happy hour at the A'Town Bistro and window shopped around town before heading back to the market for some live music. You're also really close to the popular Cap Sante Park which has a great lookout of the marina, the city of Anacortes, the San Juans, and Volcano Baker (that's what we call it:).
After writing about Gateway Bed & Breakfast and the city of Anacortes I'm ready to go back. I want to celebrate Anacortes as the destination before people start finding out! Mike & Nancy, Gateway's owners, are warm, inviting, & have done a great job with the place. It's clean, cozy, you're close to town and the water. They have reliable wifi & an easy to use website, they make a great breakfast, and the best part is - you're 90 minutes from Seattle & you don't have to wait in the crazy ferry traffic lines!
~Paul & Amber ETC
For this edition of Inns to Paddle & Sail to, we head to the quaint little town of La Conner, WA. The town sits in the gorgeous Skagit Valley (tulip festival anyone?), near the Skagit River, and on the Swinomish Channel - a skinny saltwater waterway that connects Anacortes & the San Juans with the busy marinas farther south. Boats of all types use the Swinomish - it's one of the most popular Puget Sound shortcuts for long trips north and south.
If you're on one of those boats you may be looking for a place on land to relax before you reach your final destination. Maybe you need a place to stay because La Conner is your final destination!
Try the clean, cozy, and beautifully landscaped Heron Inn & Day Spa. There's numerous opportunities here to recuperate and relax outside on their lush grounds - from the shared balconies and porches to the comfy adirondack chairs in the garden. Book a little spa treatment, then, head upstairs to your room and soak in a huge jetted tub…see you in the morning for homemade breakfast? Sounds nice, doesn't it?
La Conner is what a lot of Northwest small towns aspire to be. It has several bars, restaurants, shops, museums, an antique shop, grocery, brewery, and more. It's all really close together (walkable) & many businesses are along the waterfront. There's a marina close and several opportunities to moor a boat overnight along the waterfront at public docks. Don't get us wrong, it's still a small town, but a bustling one.
The Heron Inn & Spa sits just about 0.3 of a mile from the waterfront. There's not a lot of traffic (if you're walking from the water with gear) if you follow Washington Street from the Washington Street public boat dock (small public docks line the waterfront) right to the Inn. Want to take your time and shop along the way? The majority of shops are along the water on 1st and just off on Morris Street.
The multiple public boat docks that we investigated didn't have electricity (i.e. plug your boat in) but prices were reasonable and it didn't look that crowded. There are some restrictions on length of stay (most were for 24 hours max) and size of vessel, although, it seems that if you call ahead you might have some wiggle room. Just be careful docking - the Swinomish current is swift! A few of the docks in town were low and perfect for launching kayaks. Look for a nice kayak dock at the south end of town with parking close by (we've used it before).
The Heron Inn & Spa
At first, the Heron Inn & Spa seems close to its neighbors and far from the waterfront, I mean, this is Inns to paddle and sail to after all...But don't, worry, it's not! The grounds are quiet, secluded, and in a great location - close enough to the action but far enough away to make it peaceful. The lush landscaping makes you realize you're secluded after all. Behind the property is gorgeous family farmland. Also, a quick look at the map shows you're only 0.3 of a mile from the waterfront (and your boat if you choose to tie up at one of the public docks).
Make sure to check out the spa offerings! Amber enjoyed a massage & scalp treatment at the full service in-house spa. They offer massages, facials, & body scrubs made by appointment. Views from the spa also look out towards the beautifully landscaped gardens and adjacent farmland.
The Inn has 10 rooms. There's lots to choose from. Most rooms have king or queen size beds, some have giant jetted bathtubs & gas fireplaces, all have HD TVs with cable and DVD players. Why would you need a DVD player? Because they have an awesome selection of DVDs down in the lobby!!! The Inn has reliable & consistent free wifi and a convenient shared microwave & fridge in the lobby area. The building is 3 stories tall with hallways leading towards shared balconies. Mesmorizing stained glass windows highlight indoor stairwells. Decor is a nice mix of modern and lodge-feel - it fits in perfectly here in the Northwest.
We think you'll love the Heron as much as we did. Planning aquatic adventures from here is easy. Stop by La Conner, tie up your boat to the public dock and head over to the Heron for some R & R! Better yet, sweet talk some friends to drop you, maybe a few other paddlers, and some kayaks and gear off and paddle back to them in town!
The perfect trip we're planning has us with a morning drop-off at Edgewater Park in nearby Mt. Vernon. We'll paddle down the north fork of the Skagit River from there, sneak through thehole in the wall, and land in La Conner (we'll make sure to check the tides & currents on this one…or this might happen). Meet back up at the Heron Inn, relax, and soak in one of their giant jetted tubs...especially if we have to paddle against the Swinomish current!
~Paul & Amber
The Heron Inn & Day Spa, reviewed by Everyone's Travel Club, 7/10/13
Imagine: a seaside cabin overlooking a calm bay. Island mountains in the distance. You wake up to the sounds of songbirds in the surrounding forest and head down for a morning soak in a hot tub next to a rushing waterfall. You spend the day beach-combing, relaxing, swimming, and maybe take a kayak tour of the surrounding area. Eat dinner at a great farm-to-table (the farm is on the property) restaurant. Go to sleep. Wake up, repeat. Tell yourself that this is normal. Well, at least it's the new normal for you here at the Doe Bay Resort & Retreat on Orcas Island.
Cabin, tent, hostel, & yurt choices
Spread across a large, forested, waterfront property, the resort has tent sites, yurts, cabins and a hostel. The cabins come in all shapes, sizes, and configurations. Every imaginable combination exists - oven, no oven, electricity, no electricity, deck, no deck, and on and on. Need a cabin that sleeps 18? They've got it.
Tent and yurt sites vary mostly by location. Some are tucked away in the woods like hidden hobbit houses. Others are right on cliffs overlooking the bay. All have cute little signs with their name that we couldn't help but take pictures of! Be prepared and know what site you booked - yurts & tent sites don't have electricity or water and fires are not allowed. Some cabins have it all, others keep it simple. There's bathrooms, showers, water, and a guest kitchen nearby. Also, rumor has it there'll be a few 'glamping' sites available soon.
The cafe, general store, & guest kitchen
We were off adventuring and didn't make it in time to try the Doe Bay Cafe. We missed out. Word on the island is the food is creative, fresh, and local. Many of the ingredients are grown on the property. Make sure to stroll the farm grounds to see where dinner is coming from. The cafe also hosts regular live music and open mic nights.
The general store is right next door with all kinds of dinner choices for back at your cabin or tent site. There is beer, wine, & cheese with lots of organic and local items on the shelves. They've got gifts, sun-block, toothpaste, basically everything you forgot.
As we mentioned before, campfires and/or cooking stoves are not allowed at your site so the community guest kitchen, fire pit, and BBQ grill is where the magic happens. At first I thought it would be a hassle to cook at the guest kitchen. Would I have to wait in line? After using the kitchen I decided that every campground (and hotel) should have one. It really gives you options with meal preparation you wouldn't have otherwise. Grill out, use a regular stove or oven, wash dishes, store ice cream in the freezer (with your name on it) for later. It works.
Sauna and soaking tubs
One of the best reasons to stay at Doe Bay is the sauna & 3 soaking tubs. All guests have access to this secluded spa. Day passes are also available if you're not staying the night at the resort. Be aware that clothing is optional, however, don't let it be a deterrent. The sauna & tubs are secluded, beautiful & well maintained. They're located right next to a rushing waterfall that empties into a shallow cove below. Gorgeous.
The million dollar view
The heading says it all. Views from the property look out towards a San Juan Island-Northwest paradise. Add a palm tree in the foreground and you'd swear you were in Hawaii. Mountains, sea, islands, green, blue, gorgeous. Don't tell Disney or they might attempt a hostile takeover. Trails circle the property and take you through meadows, forest, over bridges, and along side streams, beaches, and coastline.
Things to do
Relax. Catch a cab into town. Explore nearby Moran State Park. Kayak on your own. Kayak with a guide. Soak. Swim. Bike. Take a yoga class. Get a massage. Play guitar on the porch. Grill out. Play volleyball. Explore tide pools at low tide. Get married. Rock out at the annual Doe Bay Festival. SUP. Read a book. Get a massage. Take pictures. Enjoy.
We had a great time staying at the Doe Bay Resort. Since we sail & kayak we are always on the lookout for places on the water. Doe Bay has anchoring potential on a calm day and is an excellent launch site for kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding. Planning a multi-day paddling trip in the San Juans? Book a Doe Bay Resort yurt, arrive by kayak after a long day on the water, soak in the tubs, grill out dinner, head out the next day…or stay for a week…maybe check the rates on staying forever?
~Paul & Amber
The Doe Bay Resort & Retreat, reviewed by Everyone's Travel Club on 5/12/13.
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