pherank

Where to stay when attending PNB performances

77 posts in this topic

I was always happy at the Mediterranean Inn, just a few blocks from Seattle Center, but you definitely don't want to be on the Queen Anne side, especially close to the front entrance above the taxi stand, where all morning long chirpy cab drivers bray starting at 5am. There isn't really a courtyard, but there is an inner quad, and I always found the rooms there very quiet.

I'm a very heavy sleeper, but I can't fall asleep where there is noise.

I also stayed at the MarQueen just a couple of blocks farther away in a quiet cavernous suite, but it was a special deal in the off-season.

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Where can I get a quiet room? Price matters, of course, but view doesn't. A window on an inner court, as long as that court doesn't harbor noisy machinery, often ensures that this light sleeper gets his rest in The City That Never Sleeps, on the other coast. Good heavy windows can help a lot too, though I wonder whether this is as popular an idea in the Pacific Northwest, with its temperate temperatures, as it is in New York. I've found that if you can see it - a congested street, or overnight truck traffic, or motorcycles - you can probably hear it loud and clear. "Thick" walls between the rooms don't hurt, either, of course.

Always bring earplugs. Always. ;)

I didn't have noise issues with either The MarQueen or the Mediterranean Inn. But the MarQueen is probably more likely to have some noise since it is an old building, and the old wooden floors creak. But I didn't notice much noise from the sides or from above. The rooms are quite large, and they have their own kitchens. And given that a great 24 hour market is on the other side of the block (a 3 minute walk), you can save some money by buying yourself some groceries. The Mediterranean is a modern boutique hotel - small rooms, but I recall that they have microwaves and small refrigerators (the MarQueen has full-sized refrigerators, at least in most rooms). Both of these places can be considered within walking distance of the ballet.

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Oh, I always have earplugs handy - and if I forget them, there's usually a drugstore handy.

But sometimes two lines of defense are helpful. Thanks to you both - I wish creaky floors were the worst hotel noise I've had to put up with! Neighbor's TV is the more usual problem, or furniture being nudged over bare floors sometimes.

I have friends who can sleep anywhere. *sigh*

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You might also look at the Maxwell Hotel, which is a block from the theater and around three blocks from the grocery above (and indeed close to another decent grocery around three blocks in the other direction) Since I live in Seattle, I don't spend much time in the hotels, but I used it for a conference a few years ago, and got no complaints from the conferees who stayed there. No kitchen facilities in the bedrooms, though.

There's a Sheraton Four Points just beyond the other grocery, and a Holiday Inn Express nearby as well. (walking distance, but you have to get over/under Highway 99)

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The rooms in the Mediterranean Inn are carpeted. For some reason I'm remembering wooden floors at the MarQueen, but I could be imagining things. pherank, do you remember?

If you end up in a central downtown hotel, you can take the monorail back and forth to Seattle Center, unless you want a late night, and then it's a short cab ride or a bus. Based on what the Metro website says, despite 151,000 hours of service being dropped on 27 September, none of the impacted bus routes go from downtown to Seattle Center, and I don't see any cuts for LINK, the light rail that goes from the airport to downtown Seattle.

Just know, if you haven't used light rail, it's at least a 1k walk through the north end airport parking garage to the machines where you buy a ticket, and then up the escalators to the platform. If your plane lands on the south side of the airport -- international or A gates -- it's another almost 1k walk through the airport to get to the north end to start the trek to through the parking garage. They decided everyone should have to do this, and killed the buses that ran from the south end of the airport to downtown, one of which was an express bus up I-5. From downtown to Seattle Center, if you're staying at the Mediterranean Inn, the MarQueen, or the Maxwell you can take the D Rapid Transit bus to Republican stop (for the Mediterranean Inn) or the Mercer stop for the other two, and you'll be within a block of all but the Maxwell, which is another four or five blocks from either the Seattle Center West buses (D Rapid Transit, 1, 2) or the Seattle Center East buses (3, 4, ask the driver for the stop). For the Sheraton Four Points, you'll want the Seattle Center East buses, or you'll be rolling your suitcase for a while (but at least mostly downhill).

Whether you take a bus to Seattle Center or the monorail, you have to come up from the bus tunnel at Westlake (end stop) and come to the surface. The buses are on 3rd Avenue (walk to mountains and water, away from Nordstroms). The monorail is at Westlake Center. You can take the escalators through the Center or the elevators from the southwest corner of Westlake Center.

The monorail will leave you a equidistant from all three hotels, but it will be a uphill incline to get to any of them.

You can't use a bus transfer on LINK light rail. I'm not sure if this is true the other way around.

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The rooms in the Mediterranean Inn are carpeted. For some reason I'm remembering wooden floors at the MarQueen, but I could be imagining things. pherank, do you remember?

Yes, wooden floors, and I think a rug beneath the bed. But the room I had was very spacious (and I didn't pay extra for that). Every room may be somewhat different from the others. It is an old-fashioned/funky/quaint building. Here are some images of MarQueen rooms -

http://i0.bookcdn.com/data/Photos/OriginalPhoto/513/51336/51336052/Marqueen-photos-Room.JPEG

http://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g60878-d100540-i22534609-MarQueen_Hotel-Seattle_Washington.html#19804808

http://cdn1.buuteeq.com/upload/1753/img-15751-5.jpg.1360x678_default.jpg

The Mediterranean Inn room style -

https://cdn2.gbot.me/photos/O9/tc/1289235910/Guest_Room-Mediterranean_Inn-20000000001222617-500x375.jpg

The Mediterranean was clean and cozy, or 'very cozy' meaning a tight squeeze between each piece of furniture. There is a computer room in the lobby that makes printing boarding passes and such easy. And the one real standout: the rooftop observation deck that has a great view of the city and Space Needle.

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Now if you want food, you can't spit in Seattle Center without bumping into a Thai restaurant and almost as many coffee shops. There is reasonably priced food to be had for blocks and blocks, or a fancy meal at Ten Mercer, which is open late and where each PNB ticket envelope has a 20% off entree voucher. (I think if you did print at home and ask the box office for an envelope, they'll give you one, especially if you tell them you came all the way from [your city]). (Ten Mercer is between Seattle Center and the MarQueen. Staying there was an experience: the suite I had was as big as any apartment I've ever lived in, but I found the front desk people a little eager, like they were trying to be a NY hotel from watching movies with NY hotels, at least the guys I dealt with. I'm not sure if there's an elevator, though. I remember going up and down the big staircase, where people go to have their wedding pictures taken.)

There are a few restaurants in between, like Toulouse Petit. The food was great when I was there for dinner. Back in the day they took online reservations for weekend brunch, and I remember trying a bunch of times only to get the "Your funeral will come sooner" message. They now say that they only take walk-ins, which explains the mass of people outside every weekend morning for hours blocking the sidewalk in little clusters. So be aware, although they open at 8am for breakfast, if you like breakfast food. Their happy hour is also a great deal, and they are open until 1am. They have plenty of happy hour competition in the area, and there's a pub, McMenamin's, that's a block away from McCaw Hall and open late at night, too. There's also TS McHugh's across from Ten Mercer, within a 1.5 blocks of the Mediterranean Inn and MarQueen.

One that's out of the way, and thanks to sandik I learned about, called Citizen, which is close the Sheraton Four Points, 10 minutes from McCaw Hall, which serves wonderful sweet and savory crepes.

Did I mention there's lots of food in the area?

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If you're looking for a diner-style breakfast (or similar vibe for the rest of the day) -- the Mecca Cafe.

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For breakfast, I really like the occupational therapy I get from fixing my own, even before I'm dressed etc. So I'm paying particular attention to the places to stay described here with at least light cooking and small fridges in the room/suite. (Plus a snack to sustain me when I find myself running for a curtain.)

On the other hand, back in the day, Sid's diner, at 58th and Sixth Avenue in Manhattan, was a stimulating place to start the day, especially compared to the Park Lane dining room, where breakfast was so sedate, I tended to fall back asleep until the check came with a jolt.

But another consideration has come up besides where to sleep and where to eat, and I'm going to start another thread for that: Where to sit when attending PNB performances. (Not as much to be said? I'd bet, but we'll see.)

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But another consideration has come up besides where to sleep and where to eat, and I'm going to start another thread for that: Where to sit when attending PNB performances. (Not as much to be said? I'd bet, but we'll see.)

Helen is the person to speak to that -- she's sat all over the house. I just sit where they put me.

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For breakfast, I really like the occupational therapy I get from fixing my own, even before I'm dressed etc. So I'm paying particular attention to the places to stay described here with at least light cooking and small fridges in the room/suite. (Plus a snack to sustain me when I find myself running for a curtain.)

On the other hand, back in the day, Sid's diner, at 58th and Sixth Avenue in Manhattan, was a stimulating place to start the day, especially compared to the Park Lane dining room, where breakfast was so sedate, I tended to fall back asleep until the check came with a jolt.

But another consideration has come up besides where to sleep and where to eat, and I'm going to start another thread for that: Where to sit when attending PNB performances. (Not as much to be said? I'd bet, but we'll see.)

Like you, I prefer to have my own breakfast foods on hand. Both the Mediterranean and MarQueen are quite close to the 24 hour market (and drug store upstairs), so you can pop in at any time to get fresh fruit, natural foods, as well as cooked foods. I've also heard good things about the Sheraton Four Points and Maxwell Hotel, but I've not stayed at either and back when I was researching these things, I couldn't figure out if there were any markets/drugstores nearbye to those places. Others will have chime in here.

I was able to get a front row, center seat a year ago, and it really didn't cost any exorbitant amount (certainly better than San Francisco prices). And the seating is more comfortable than what I'm used to at the old War Memorial in SF.

Here's a map of the area if that helps:

Queen_Anne.png

And the interactive version on Google.

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If you walk out the main entrance of McCaw Hall, there is a parking garage. The Maxwell is behind the parking garage, three blocks from Metropolitan Market, which is the same distance from the Mediterranean Inn. Another block in the other direction is the QFC, which is on the way to the Sheraton. There's also a chain hotel across the street fromthe QFC, but I don't remember the name. Sandi? Sandy?

The Maxwell is also within a couple of blocks from two Thai, Vietnamese, and a vegetarian Chinese restaurant (where the "meat" is made from soy products). All are worth eating at. There's also a Mediterranean restaurant that I haven't tried.

How many performances are you seeing? If two or more, I'd see one from up above (Second Tier). On the Main Floor, I prefer the side sections, so you can see between fat heads. I'd rather sit in the aisel seat of the side section (inner aisle) from row P or so, because they flare out, rather than up close. Same with the First Tier (one level up, middle level of three). The only bad seats I've ever had were where a really tall person sat in front of me in the middle section of the Main Floor. My seat for the season-ending Encores program was in the First Tier far side section far aisle under the boxes. Had it been for "Giselle" I would have missed the scene where the wagon parked, upstate left. It was a great seat that might cut off some of the Diamonds finale. For "Jewels" you'll find much better.

If you're there first weekend, you'll have a better choice at the Saturday matinee. I don't know how old you are, but

Senior (65+ with ID) rush is 90 minutes before the performance.

Casting is usually posted by the union deadline, two Tuesdays before the Friday opening.

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Almost forgot -- I think it's a Hampton Inn. On the north side of the QFC, which is at the corner of Mercer and 5th, and just to the west of Citizen, which does lovely crepes and sandwiches.

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While wrestling with the McCaw Hall seating charts in connection with that flourishing thread, I thought of a different type of accommodations arrangement that's sometimes been fun and restful and less expensive in the past, and that's a B & B in a quiet neighborhood. Heard of any? Good B & Bs, or quiet neighborhoods? Simple connections from there to Seattle Center would be an advantage - the idea of driving, especially in a strange town, lacks appeal.

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While wrestling with the McCaw Hall seating charts in connection with that flourishing thread, I thought of a different type of accommodations arrangement that's sometimes been fun and restful and less expensive in the past, and that's a B & B in a quiet neighborhood. Heard of any? Good B & Bs, or quiet neighborhoods? Simple connections from there to Seattle Center would be an advantage - the idea of driving, especially in a strange town, lacks appeal.

I don't think there's anything in the Queen Anne neighborhood proper (but Helene and Sandik would probably know for sure). I think you would have to be willing to stay in a different part of town and take the taxi (not necessaribly a bad thing, just something to keep in mind). There seem to be many B&Bs in and about Seattle.

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Try Airbnb. There are B&Bs in the neighborhood of PNB.

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I would have thanked you all for the superb discussion of hotels, restaurants, and transportation here sooner if I hadn't been so busy applying what I've been learning from it, but in the end I've booked one of those three hotels near the intersection of Queen Anne and Mercer.

But traveling with my 24" rolling suiter and a carry-on piggy-backed on it doesn't seem right for a local or Rapid Transit bus, and so, having studied Helene's post above in connection with the maps on the SEA-TAC web site, I favor the Link Light Rail, but maybe not the uphill trek to the hotel from the Seattle Center Monorail terminal. Would this or the Westlake Terminal be the better bet for finding a taxi mid-day? (Both arriving and leaving, on weekdays.) No taxi ranks? Hail one on the street, or call?

Getting around by bus when unencumbered by luggage appeals, though, except that King County Metro Transit offers limited route-map coverage. (A - paper! - map titled "Downtown Seattle Plus," in its 12th edition, seems pretty good, though, except for the inevitable mistakes, like showing a bus route on Mercer passing McCaw Hall.)

Otherwise, my logistics look good. I expect another one of us BA!-ers to show up, plus, an architect friend from Vancouver will see the Sunday matinee.

Looks like so many good choices for restaurants I may miss a meal trying to decide! Have any of you tried Boat Street Cafe?

Oh: Where would be a good shop for a cotton raincoat? I could do with a replacement, if I have the time. Seems like the place for it.

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The uphill from the Monorail isn't that steep if you have a rolling suitcase. I've never taken a taxi from downtown; I've always called for one from home or gotten one from the rank at the airport.

The downtown Monorail terminal is half a block from Westlake Center, which is the end stop of light rail. You have to get out there anyway, and you can suss out the surroundings.

I don't know how anyone from out-of-town can figure out the bus system in Seattle. I lived there for more than 15 years and visit regularly, and half the time, the "Trip Planner" suggestions from the Metro site sometimes confuse me.

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Walking from the Monorail stop to the corner of Mercer and QA Ave isn't a problem unless you're in a hurry -- most of the walk is through the Seattle Center, which is quite lovely.

Boat Street Cafe is great - Renee Erickson is a wonderful chef. She's really well known for her pickles (I know, laugh, but they're terrific).

Raincoat -- I know it's a conventional suggestion, but I've always had good luck at Nordstrom, especially if you're looking for something on the more formal side. REI, if you're looking for something more casual (they do a great job with hiking and other outdoor supplies, but also carry more weekday clothing.

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[From SEA-TAC I recommend just taking an airporter shared van to the hotel. And make a reservation ahead of time (round-trip reservations save some money). I used GO! Airport Shuttle as I recall. SEA-TAC is a massive airport involving long walks from place to place (even with the monorail between terminals). I seem to recall that the airport ride services are all clustered together - the trick is in finding the area:

"Our booth (GO! Airport Shuttle) is located on the 3rd floor of the parking garage at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Once you get your luggage in Baggage Claim, cross a sky bridge and go to the 3rd floor of the parking garage. Follow the Ground Transportation signs—our booth is in the center of the 3rd floor, between the orange and purple elevator banks (next to the airport’s ground transportation office). Our coordinators, wearing red or green jackets or vests. will help you or you may use our 24-hour check-in by phone hotline.]

I did recquire a taxi on one evening to get to McGaw Hall as I was running behind schedule - it was a week night and there was commuter traffic around the hotel slowing things down. It didn't turn out to be a problem, given the short distance to the Hall, but don't assume that you can just flag down a taxi as needed. It won't be like Union Square in San Francisco.

I definitely recommend getting the hotel to call ahead for the taxi (or call yourself ahead of time). It may take a little while at that time of the evening. But the hotels are definitely used to calling for cabs, and the cabs are used to hovering about those locations.

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It would take longer to get into a cab and drive the few blocks to the theater than it would to walk, especially now that they've shifted the formerly one-way streets to two-way.

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It would take longer to get into a cab and drive the few blocks to the theater than it would to walk, especially now that they've shifted the formerly one-way streets to two-way.

Walking down Mercer from Queen Anne Ave. is definitely not very far. And less expensive. ;)

And speaking of expense, I do recall now that the airport shuttles in Seattle are not inexpensive - something like $10 more than the San Francisco airport shuttles. If money is an object, the monorail system is really your only option. But there's definitely less worry and decision making involved in taking an airporter shuttle from the airport, or back to SEA-TAC. But in any case, you've got to allow plenty of time for the return to the airport - be willing to spend some time sitting at the airport in a lounge if you have to. I probably shouldn't mention it (!), but going through the security line at SEA-TAC last year happened to be my worst experience ever trying to get through to my gate. There was some kind of TSA snafu going on, and not nearly enough security gates open. There was a line of hundreds of people slowly snaking through security. I was lucky in that I was dropped off at my terminal about 1.5 hours before my flight. But all that extra time was used up just going through security and then hurriedly crossing the airport to what seemed to be the last gate (United) at the airport. ;)

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Clearing the security gates at SeaTac is really erratic -- some days there are lines everywhere you see, all moving at a less-than-glacial pace, and some days it's like someone put you on a luge track and gave you a really big push. I can guarantee only one thing -- if we're taking our kid to the airport, and if we leave early, there will be no lines at all, which gives him maximum time to say "you thought we needed to leave early..."

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As it happened, I was quite comfortable at the Mediterranean Inn the first weekend in October. The front desk said it was pretty full, but I found my second-floor inside court room, away from the elevators, very quiet. The second floor had a couple of advantages - near a stairwell, I could dispense with the elevator, except when I had luggage to manage, and it's the bottom of the court, which has got planters in it as well as a skylight over the lobby, so there was a modest view. There's some on-line discussion about hearing other guests on the court when everyone has their window open in warm weather, but it was mild when I was there and though I opened up in the morning, and I could see other windows open too, I heard no one. (The free Starbucks Wi-Fi in the business center, just over the restaurant, worked fine for my needs.) I can imagine coming back to see PNB and staying here again.

Among the restaurants in the area, at Boat Street Cafe one evening I had some heavenly pate, and black cod like chiffon - chiffon which flaked a little, actually being fish - and at brunch the tomato soup was unassertive and composed. Another evening the sushi at Shiro's was even finer than that at Shiki; everything had clear and delicate flavors, including their miso soup and the chawanmushi, a warm egg custard, both with pieces of seafood mixed in.

At Taylor Shellfish, the oyster stew was worth going back for, but the baked Oysters Marco was too complicated. (I didn't get on with raw oysters years ago, so I didn't venture this time.) Likewise my meal at 10 Mercer seemed to me like someone was trying too hard to be contemporary or something, sorry. Collections Cafe, next to the Chihuly garden and museum, was more enjoyably innovative.

And as for the Space Needle, the round top of it kept reminding me ominously of those flying saucers the evil aliens used to show up in in the cheap science-fiction movies I saw as a kid (only to get blasted to smithereens by the US Air Force), and it gave me the creeps low there in the sky over my neighborhood.

So, seeing how clear the weather was, I decided it was time to go and make friends with the saucer people. It's a touristy spot, and the prices are about 600 feet high too, but everything was done well, starting with the accurate wait time I was given when I just walked in; the food was pretty good - better than some I had on the ground - the server was even better, and the scenery! Mountains with snow, mountains without, the Sound on one side, the Lakes on the other. (Disclosure: I'm from Flatland, aka the Midwest, and I may be more easily impressed by this than some...) And gradually changing, as the restaurant revolves once every 47 minutes.

Getting around on the buses was easier than Helene's remark led me to think: Although my map - "Downtown Seattle Plus" - had some mistakes, it gave me the gist of how the routes shift as you go from Belltown to Queen Anne, and the bus stops themselves have basic information like the route number, the main streets followed, the direction, and some idea of the frequency of service, so I got to and especially from my favorite restaurants - back up the hill - without a problem. And as for getting between the Monorail and the hotel, I'd say the path along the north side of the Key Arena is a lot easier than along the south side of it.

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It sounds like a successful trip all round -- I'm glad if that's so.

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