Located on Bellingham Bay, about three-quarters of the way between Seattle and the US-Canadian Border, the Hotel Bellwether is consistently rated one of the top luxury hotels in the Pacific Northwest.
Arriving at the Bellwether may cause you to wonder if you’re headed to the right place – the location is a small business park, Tom Glenn Plaza – and although there are restaurants and salons, it feels a bit like a glorified strip mall. Don’t worry, you’re right where you’re supposed to be – head to the back of the business park and you’ll find the Hotel Bellwether.
I visited during Christmas time and the property was all decked out for the holidays providing a welcoming glow from the minute I walked in the door. The lobby felt like I was walking into someone’s living room, with comfortable chairs and couches placed around the fireplace, garlands wrapped on a staircase leading to the second floor, and beautifully decorated trees lining the hallways. It was both festive and welcoming, and despite the rainy dreariness outside, I felt warm and cozy.
I stayed in an Executive Plaza room, which is the entry-level choice at this hotel. The room has a king-sized bed with lots of oversized pillows, the expect flat-screen television and channel selection, a DVD player, refrigerator, and imported Italian furniture. Two standouts for me are the natural gas fireplace which I loved both for warmth and ambiance, and the small balcony which let me get some fresh air but stay out of the rain. My view was of the business park, but rooms facing west get a view water and spectacular sunsets.
The bathrooms are equally impressive, with a jetted bathtub and separate glass and marble shower. If you didn’t bring bubble bath or bath salts, you’ll find a small container by the tub with additional available for purchase in the mini-bar or at the front desk.
Wi-fi is complimentary, but workspace fairly limited. I moved the easy chair and ottoman in front of the fireplace and spent several hours there working with my laptop on my lap, followed by some time with a good book.
The best views are on the water side of the hotel, of course, and if you don’t have that view from your room, you can get it from the Lighthouse Bar and Grill on the first floor. Open for all three meals, the restaurant has both indoor and outdoor dining. In the cooler weather, the dining room is warmed – actually and metaphorically – with two large fireplaces. The outdoor patio has heat lamps for use during the cooler weather, but in the Pacific Northwest that doesn’t go much past fall. Still, you can step outside to enjoy the view all year round. My breakfast recommendation, try the signature benedict, a twist on the classic served on a buttery croissant.
To really splurge, I’d recommend a stay in the lighthouse. The three-story lighthouse is free-standing, yet part of the hotel, and is fully self-contained with kitchen and living space. A wrought iron circular staircase connects the floors, the top one with 360-degree windows and wrap-around terrace that provides views of Mt. Baker, the San Juan Islands, Bellingham Bay, Squalicum Harbor, and the city of Bellingham. Lovely!
My stay was relatively short, so I didn’t have much time to explore beyond the hotel itself. The front desk advised me, however, that a salon and two spa/wellness facilities were located within the park, along with a couple of restaurants. Something to consider for a future stay.
The Hotel Bellwether is located at 1 Bellwether Way in Bellingham, Washington. Rates start around $180 per night for an Executive Plaza room and around $450 per night for the lighthouse suite. Parking is free. The hotel’s dock accommodates boats up to 150 feet (common during the summer months) and is also floatplane accessible. Contact the hotel for onsite moorage details.