Located three quarters of the way between Seattle and the US-Canadian Border, Bellingham in known for its access to the San Juan Islands and the North Cascades, as well as for its burgeoning food and beverage scene. Home to nine breweries, last year Bellingham was top of the list of Beer Snob Cities. You can find luxury in this city of 50,000, whether you’re passing through en route to Seattle or Vancouver, or are making it your weekend getaway destination.
The Chrysalis Inn & Spa is situated on Bellingham Bay near Fairhaven and incorporates Pacific Northwest beauty into its decor and amenities. The common areas have warm wood and natural colors evoking a modern, yet Pacific Northwest casual, mood. The hotel has a full service spa and restaurant also on property, the latter with a view of the bay.
The casual Pacific Northwest mood continues in the guest room, each offering at least a partial water view. One of my favorite features was the padded window seat that was perfect for sprawling and looking out the window. A blanket, a glass of wine, and my favorite book – it was heaven for a couple of hours of much needed relaxation.
Room selection is fairly simple – two types of guestrooms (partial side view and full water view) and two types of suites (king suite and a corner suite) – and self-explanatory. All rooms have a gas fireplace, two person soaking tub with separate shower, down comforter, robes, aromatherapy amenities, and free wifi. If you plan to spend a lot of time in your room, spring for the full water view; if your timing is right you can watch the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry pull into or out of the terminal. While drinking and dining is plentiful in Fairhaven, you may be so comfy at Chrysalis that you don’t want to leave.
When you are ready to get outdoors, head for a walk on Taylor Dock, one of the most popular trails in Whatcom County, which connects the hotel to Boulevard Park. The dock is an elevated boardwalk over the water, giving you a chance to get a look back at the hotel, as well as views of the city and nearby mountains. On a clear day, you can see the Canadian Border Peaks behind the city skyline. There are benches strategically placed on the dock, perfect for conversation and enjoying the view, or for a bit of a rest before continuing the walk.
The spa has men and women’s locker rooms, each with a eucalyptus steam room, and a full menu of spa services including massages, facials, manicures, pedicures, waxing, and more. You can mix and match your own services to create a value packed spa package. Arrive early and enjoy a steam or some locally blended teas in the relaxation lounge. The staff is polite and helpful, without being annoying, and even if you aren’t getting a treatment, you can enjoy the steam and locker room. The spa is currently undergoing a remodel and open for limited hours. A full opening is expected before Thanksgiving. Reservation are advised.
The beautiful hotel and view does come with a few cautionary warnings, however. One you can probably work around, the other you can’t, so take both into consideration in deciding if this hotel is for you.
Train tracks are nearby and it is inevitable that one (or more) will go by when you’re in the room. Some people don’t ever hear them, others are so bothered by the sound that they can’t sleep. I heard them in the room, but they didn’t wake me up at night, but consider your noise tolerance before booking.
Another situation that can great a less than favorable guest experience is when a special event is booked on the property. The location and view make the hotel an ideal spot for weddings, receptions, and private parties. This is obviously great news for the hotel, but it can dramatically impact the public areas that are available to other staying guests. Want to sit outside, have a drink, and enjoy the view? If there’s an outdoor wedding, you might find this area off limits. Want to relax over brunch? You might find yourself getting rushed as preparations are going on for a private party, or even ignored while staff is busying themselves elsewhere. While all hotels can have this issue to some degree, the Chrysalis doesn’t seem to have the balance quite right yet. And the front desk doesn’t quite handle it with the savvy finesse the situation requires. If you want a resort experience, rather than just passing through for the night, I’d recommend that you inquire if any special events are scheduled and how that will impact the availability of the public areas.
Chrysalis Inn & Spa is located at 804 10th Street, Bellingham, Washington. Rates start around $170/night based on double occupancy. Covered parking is free. The hotel is dog friendly, although a fee is charged. You can also make your reservation through Expedia or Travelocity.
Pin this to your favorite hotel and travel Pinterest Boards.