For my recent escape to San Francisco, I was looking for a hotel that was not TOO pricey, centrally-located and yet still a luxurious treat. Through various Seattle foodie events, I’ve had the great good luck to get to know the wonderful Sheri Doyle of Pacific Northwest Journeys, who specialises in travel-planning throughout the Pacific Northwest. What she doesn’t know about travel throughout the region and booking hotels in San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver and Victoria really isn’t worth knowing.
So I followed her advice and booked the Hotel Monaco (a sister hotel to the Hotel Triton, where we’d enjoyed staying before). Sheri made the arrangements, got me a great rate, asked if I wanted a goldfish in my room (!), and passed on a secret password which would get me a ‘nice treat’.
The treat proved to be an upgrade to a Junior Suite, the goldfish was delivered to the door of my room with a note telling me his name was Speedy, and I spend the next 24 hours just WALLOWING in the hotel. The staff were all delightful – friendliness and helpfulness personified – which is great if you’re travelling on your own.
I have to admit upfront that the décor – like the lovechild of a louche gentlemen’s club on acid and a fantasy French chateau – wasn’t really my thing and seemed a little dated, but it was bright and supremely comfortable and had that touch of crazy fantasy that characterizes all the best hotels. You may not want to try this at home, but goodness it’s fun to visit.
My room was very, very, very stripy. No other adjective seems appropriate somehow.
As for Speedy the goldfish? Well, he’s about the weirdest gimmick I’ve ever encountered at a hotel and I only said I wanted one so I could blog about it, but there was actually something strangely companionable about having a fish in the room. And he did have the most excellent manners – no snoring, no farting, very quiet. I was sad to leave him behind.
If ever you’re thinking of travelling around the Pacific Northwest, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Sheri. You’ll end up with a detailed itinerary, the best recommendations out there for accommodation, eating out and things to see and do, and the savings that she’ll get you on room rates will probably more than pay for her services. Oh and she is incredibly organised, friendly and helpful and a pleasure to do business with.