I’m grumpy. Maybe it’s because I’ve been ill the last four days and was bummed to have had to miss a great event at Macy’s tonight. But more likely it’s because I’ve just spent 6 hours on the internet trying to find a place to staycation near Seattle. A feat which is apparently not one I’m going to accomplish tonight.

Near Seattle Staycation Dreams

Our needs are simple. A romantic location that doesn’t require travelling over a mountain pass and a clean room with a fireplace. A hot tub or Jacuzzi would be an amazing bonus as well as a private room or cabin. Our budget is up to $300 a night. You’d think this would be easy as I think we’re being very reasonable; however, I’m not finding that to be the case.

$165 a night (plus tax) for the tiny and outdated room at Otters Pond

$165 a night (plus tax) for the tiny and outdated room at Otters Pond

First B&B’s are out. While I loved the first one I stayed at in Victoria, our experience last year at Otters Pond on Orcas Island was terrible. The room was not as clean as it should have been and we never felt safe leaving our room since it didn’t have a lock. Evidently the only room in the house that doesn’t. Our room was off the main living area so people in the kitchen, on the deck, etc., might as well have been in the room with us. But what was worse, was the rude and condescending manner of the owners. They didn’t have anything remotely warm or welcoming about them.

Since it was my husband’s one and only time at a B&B and he hated everything about it including the owners, a B& B is not an option.  So that leaves larger establishments and private cabins.

I thought I’d found the perfect place and even better, I found it through a Living Social deals so the price was discounted.  The place looked perfect. I was thrilled and showed it to my husband who approved. We were all set. Private cabins, kitchy themes, private hot tubs overlooking the water.  Heaven, huh!

At least it was until I read the online reviews about the mouse droppings.  Yes, I realize it’s a wildlife area, but mouse droppings can be deadly.  But that wasn’t all. I was so disappointed to read about mildewed towels, musty smelling rooms, stained bed linens, and dirty hot tubs. At almost $300 a night they can’t provide a clean room and fresh towels? But what’s worse, the owner replied to several of the bad reviews in a very nasty manner.  Ironically it was the owner’s replies that finally turned me off and made me cancel the deal. We’d already planned to bring cleaners, towels, pillows, etc., but you can’t bring good management.

Are My Standards Too High or the Owner’s Too Low?

My dilemma is so first world, I know. Perhaps I’m old and I just don’t want to rough it like I did when I was younger.  But when I was younger we paid less than $50 a night so we put up with dirty rooms, no view, and spotty service. It was the tradeoff for cheap. But when you’re paying top dollar for the area, shouldn’t cleanliness be a given? I was shocked, truly shocked, by the reviews of every hotel I checked tonight.

Stained shower curtain and disgusting gunk washed up on the molding from mopping the floor

Stained shower curtain and disgusting gunk washed up on the molding from mopping the floor at Otters Pond

It’s possible it’s the internet, there’s just too much information on the web and maybe people complain more. But even with so much information available, I find there’s so much important information missing. Vital things like is the bathroom shared or is there a bathroom in or near the room at all?  Don’t laugh – I found several that it’s not.

Or is there a view? So many reviews claim the rooms advertised on the website don’t exist when you get to the hotel. Ironically every customer who reported it was offered a discount for the substandard room. Nice you say? Not really. The better room never existed so if the customers didn’t complain, they paid for a view they didn’t get.

Where Oh Where To Go?

So I’m back to zero. If we could, we’d go to my absolute favorite place in Washington – Leavenworth. But because there’s a mountain pass (or two depending on the route) between us and it, we’re not going to chance it. We’ll be driving a loaner car which doesn’t have 4-wheel drive, snow tires, or chains and we refuse to be THOSE people who travel in mid-December unprepared across the mountains.

I’m almost to the point of just staycationing in my home. But we need a few days away so I’ll start the search over tomorrow.

So I’m curious. Have I become so spoiled by my love of Disney hotels? Or have standards become so lackadaisical? Is there a romantic spot for two in Western Washington that’s clean?