Over the last few years we have taken a wife birthday trip and this year we decided to return to one of our favorite places, Seattle, Washington, for an early birthday jaunt. You say Seattle (SEA) in March, are you crazy......YEP completely crazy!!!
Searching airfares for a few days as well as rates at our go to place in Seattle, the Seattle Waterfront Hotel | Seattle Marriott Waterfront we picked our weekend. We have always enjoyed a wonderful time at this property with many stays over the past 15 or so years. The location cannot be beat, always a friendly group of associates, incredible views of Elliott Bay and Olympic Mountain range and the former Concierge Lounge (now M Club) never disappoints.
Living on the far north side of Houston, George Bush (Bush 41) Houston Intercontinental Airport (IAH) has been our travel starting point for almost too long to remember and United Airlines (UA) has by far greatest number of flights so we fly them. As luck would have it Alaska Airlines (AS) added their seasonal second daily flight from IAH-SEA near the end of February, and we discovered an excellent First Class fare which was some $400 less than the cheapest UA fare. The only catch was the outbound flight departed at 0600, that's oh dark thirty get up....but what the heck it would give us almost another full day in SEA and we've wanted to fly AS (congrats bejacob for getting them in Columbus) after hearing from other Insiders of their excellent service and more.
Quick drive to IAH and found that a huge number of folks are leaving on flights in the 5-6 AM time frame, but Pre-Check in Terminal A took less than five minutes and we were off to get in line for the 5:20 AM boarding time. Boarding started promptly at 5:20 AM and once on board we settled in to 1A/B on the less than three year old fresh looking B737-900ER that would be our home for the next five plus hours when I instantly discovered something about AS that I love. They reserved the overhead bins above Row 1 for that very row since there is no seat in front of you to store things beneath it, that was huge for me. The seats were very comfy with what seemed like slightly more legroom than what we have on UA at the bulkhead, but that may just be me happy to be on AS.
The cheerful Flight Attendants (at that early time) were having a great time greeting passengers and then Adam who would be the First Class Attendant walked down the aisle with a tray of drinks that included water, orange juice and mimosas....hmmm nice. He started in the back of First Class making his way to our row and when he arrived only had one mimosa left which birthday month girl wanted. He said "I'll go the the back and get more OJ for you"....nah I told him I'm good with that champagne you have there. Oh that was great as he filled the cup full!!! Off the gate at 5:50 AM into the dark dreary foggy Houston sky for the 4+59 flight time to SEA. Another nice thing about AS is the ability to pre-order your food which we had done. My wife chose the omelette while I picked a cheese and fruit plate of which both were excellent in both serving size and quality. The mimosas soon turned into screw drivers and Adam kept the glasses full. We enjoyed some long conversations with him and Susan, both who had been flying for AS for more than 20 years.
Before we knew it we were starting down into SEA expecting to be some 15 minutes early as the Pilot's ran the gorgeous 900ER a bit faster than what their flight plan called for which I found out is due to this being their last leg of a four day trip and they wanted to get home (gotta love that kind of desire). We were getting close as soon we got a wonderful view of Mt. Rainier with Mt. St. Helens in the background as we descended. Such a wonderful start to the weekend and outstanding customer service on the flight. Well done AS.
We were determined to do nothing in SEA that we have done before and started it off by going away from the normally rented a car and this time decided to avoid the $50 plus nightly parking fee opting for the 40 minute trip on the Link Light Rail from SEA into downtown, then walked the 11 minutes to the hotel. Since we had arrived very early in the day we gave our roll-a-boards (of course ssindc) to the Bell Stand folks and made our way up toward Pike Place Market for an early day walk through on our way to The Columbia Tower's 75th floor where we had planned to have lunch. The Columbia Tower dwarfs the Space Needle and offers fabulous view of Puget Sound and all around.
We strolled back to the hotel with a stop at Cost Plus to grab some Vino then down the hill to find our room ready for us, 1 King Bed, corner balcony and view of the Bay. More on the hotel later and will link the hotel review here as an update. We unpacked and poured a glass of wine each to enjoy a lovely view of Elliott Bay from the balcony.
Yes folks, that was the weather we had for the entire weekend. Temps mid day the low 40's, evening 30 with some wind yet all in all just perfect for what we could have received.
For dinner we took the suggestion of the Bartendress we had at lunch and went to Umi Sake House for some sushi. The place was jammed when we arrived around 7 PM, but the wait for the sushi bar was a mere 10 minutes. WOW an incredible couple of rolls (Hotter than Hell...mine and hers Crunch Seattle) and a couple pieces of Fresh Saki (Salmon) sashimi. Highly recommend this joint.
After a great long nights sleep I ran downstairs to the M Club for some juice, fresh fruit and coffee while birthday weekend gal got caught up on emails on the laptop. We had decided since her mother grew up in Bremerton that we'd take the Washington State Ferry for the hour ride and have lunch as there was at the Anthony's Pier 66 | Anthony's Home Port which was a very short walk from the Ferry Terminal. We didn't want a meal each so split a Grilled Crab open face sandwich which was so fresh, full of Dungeness Crab along with a small house salad, perfect. Back on the Ferry heading back to SEA mid afternoon and again the weather was awesome, view of the Olympic Mountains unmatched.
Arriving back in SEA we started the walk back to the hotel when we saw a few open windows that looked like a bar near the market, so what the heck lets investigate. We had stumbled upon a restaurant I had seen in the hotel dining spots called Red Cedar & Sage – Great food • cocktails • great fun • wine. From the moment we walked in and were greeted by an outgoing fun Bartendress we knew this would be a fun spot. A few couples were seated around the bar area as well as along the windows facing west. No view of the Bay, but with a quaint spot as this just enjoy talking with folks. A couple of glasses of wine, visiting with the staff and learning of their brunch on Sunday we told them we'd be back and off we went to the hotel with a stop in the Market for a few bunches of Pacific Northwest lavender to take home. Oh, our first day we had seen a brand new Italian spot on the way from the hotel and stopped in to see what is was about. Cute spot with very friendly Chef in the small kitchen getting ready to open for the day. So we decided to stop in and have a glass of wine while watching him cook. Amazing how few burners he had to work with to prepare the meals that customers were ordering. We must have sat there for an hour before telling him we'd be back the next night....seeing a trend here with "we'll be back"?
Just love the views from this hotel.
For dinner we wanted to try some of the local Vietnamese food that we'd been told of in the Belltown and Market area. My wife has a minor allergy to MSG so we wanted to avoid that in the food. First two places we ventured into used MSG so out the door we went. We settled on Etta's | Home near the Market a Tom Douglas restaurant which has nothing to do with Asian food, but it was getting late and we were hungry. The Oysters excellent, Avocado and Grapefruit Salad so very clean and fresh and the Seaweed Spaghetti was stupid good. I wanted to lick the entire plate then remembered we were out in public. Such a good spot we picked.
Another great night of sleep in the comfortable bed, down to the M Club for some fruit and coffee then true to our word back the the Brunch spot. Greg was our Bartender and was again wonderful...they have some very very strong employees and they are all very happy. Greg made a couple of Mimosas for us to start and then took our order for the Red Cedar and Sage Omelette without the Ham subbing in Mushrooms, Fresh Jalapenos and Scallions. The perfect amount to split as the portion was covering the huge plate. Once again the place was fairly full just before noon and we enjoyed talking with all around as everyone was so friendly and all tourists. Time to tell all bye after more relaxing fun and back to the Market to buy a Leather Bracelet for a friend back home. Along the way back to the hotel we grabbed some chilled chopped Dungeness Crab and Cocktail Sauce to enjoy the next morning before heading back to the airport.
A few minutes in the hotel and we were off to the Downtown Seattle Hotel | Luxury Waterfront Hotel Rooms just down the street from the Marriott which was a spot we had been to previously for dinner and drinks (had to sit in front of the fireplace overlooking the Bay, just had to). We both enjoyed a glass of wine while chatting about our fun time back in Seattle. Great memories again and views that are just beautiful.
Just before sunset we enjoyed a glass of wine on the balcony to take in the gorgeous PAC NW weather.
For dinner we had to go to the Italian spot Mercato Stellina. We sat down at the bar and Chef Enrique greeted us with a huge smile and loud hello.....so happy we'd returned for his dinner. We settled in for a couple of hours of laughing, great food and drinks with the fun staff. Insalata Mista was really fresh and just the perfect amount of dressing. The day before the birthday weekend girl had seen a Bolongnese Sauce on the menu so being part Italian she asked for a taste of it. Well in true Italian the Chef freshly prepared a tiny portion of it so you know what she's having for dinner....yep the Pappardelle. I on the other hand found the Pumpkin Ravioli to my liking. Both were stunningly great. Not too large of portions and cooked exactly how we'd have expected from the Chef. Tough to beat homemade meals such as this. We had our good night glass of wine and back down the hill to the hotel with a quick stop at the M Club to grad some coffee and piece of fruit for the room.
A sad day, but time to go home. Up pretty early so wife could catch up on some work stuff with the two hour time change heading east she had things to work on. Got into our Crab from the Market we'd kept overnight in the fridge and packed up. Lyft took us back to SEA where we quickly wandered through Pre-Check and off the the AS Lounge. Once again everyone we encountered who worked for AS to be incredibly friendly and happy. Setting up shop in the Lounge someone had more work to do before the flight as I wandered about and grabbed some pancakes from the crazy pancake machine. Yes, they were great.
The bar service was impeccable as was the WiFi connection she needed. Before long it was time to head over to C9 for our 11:20 AM boarding of another 900ER which was a few weeks newer than the plane we flew out to SEA on, AND had one of the AS special livery paint schemes.
Also found another of their special paint jobs and one this was done for pluto77 no doubt!
Boarding was delayed some 15 minutes while the slow deplaning folks inbound from Orlando wandered off the plane. We again were greeted warmly by the Flight Attendants and we took our seats in 1 DF. Pre-departure beverage and the door closed at 12:15 PM for the 3:30 flight time back to IAH. Once again we had pre-ordered out meal and for lunch it was a Korean Noodle bowl which was restaurant quality plus a nice Salad along side. Even a tiny plastic bottle of your own Olive and Oil dressing!
After lunch we were offered fresh Chocolate Chip Cookies which we decided to share one and then Mrs. IAHFLYR was on the WiFi closed up a job via emails. We had more great chats with the Flight Attendant who was born in Houston and now lived in San Antonio....that's a commute for work I'd say. We landed early thanks to that tailwind and parked at IAH Terminal A, Gate 11. We said bye to the crew, thanking them for keeping us safe and their excellent service and it was off to the parking garage and the drive home.
It is always great to travel, but even better to come back home. A wonderful trip on AS (we will be back ) and very enjoyable time. All the places we ventured into will be places we'll return to on a future visit.
Thanks for reading, hope you found it useful for travels to SEA and yes the hotel review will follow along next week with a link to the review posted.