Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fantastic Fish&Chips

Anthony D here, guest blogging for the Downtown Hotel. I recently had the pleasant experience of dining at the Downrigger restaurant here in Port Angeles. It's possibly the only restaurant in the downtown area with cool outdoor seating and a water view.

When we went it was a little bit chilly with the wind whipping off of the water, even though elsewhere it was a balmy 70-something degree day, so I recommend bringing a jacket if you decide to take that route.

While the water view was nice, the true charm of the place came from it's absolutely delicious Fish and Chips and delicious and local microbrew selection. The waitress was very friendly and more than willing to put up with me ordering multiple samples for what I would think would be best paired with fish and chips and I eventually found a pairing that I would go back again and again for.

I was there during lunch time and had a very pleasant, casual experience; however, I'm sure that a dinner visit would be elegant and nice if it were needed

Saturday, August 27, 2011

So, what is a "Euro-Style" room, anyway?

Most of our rooms are what we call "Euro-Style."  What the heck is that, anyway?  Quite simply, it is a room that doesn't have its own bathroom ensuite, but rather, uses the shared bathrooms in the hall.  Whoa there, don't panic.  It's not like your junior-high locker room or anything like that.  It's an individual, locking bathroom and you're the only one inside while you're using it.   (Although I suppose you could invite a friend or two in, if you really wanted to.  There's only seating for one, however.)

We clean them every day, so chances are pretty good they're cleaner than your bathroom back home.  (Be honest now.)

People who are actually from Europe laugh at us when we tell them what our term "Euro-Style" means, but we picked out that name as a shorthand mostly for Americans who never see a room-without-a-bathroom-ensuite unless they travel to Europe and stay at ancient hotels where shared baths are quite common.  More than a few of these historic hotels in Europe still have only one bathroom per floor, often with a dozen or more rooms all sharing the same bathroom.

Our ratio is more like 3:1, since we have four centrally located bathrooms with shower stalls, all on the 3rd floor where our twelve Euro rooms are.   Consequently, it's pretty rare to see all four in use simultaneously, so there's almost always one open when you need it.

If you can think of a relatively succinct term that you like better than "Euro-style," please offer it up in comments, below.  Until then, we'll keep listening to the Dutch and French folk snickering.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tidepools at Tongue Point

About ten miles west of The Downtown Hotel, off of Hwy 112 is Camp Hayden State Park, which has a very pleasant tent and RV campground, as well as a couple of spooky old military big-gun bunkers that are fun to explore, all in a nice woodsy location right next to the shore.

But the real attraction in the neighborhood is Tongue Point, at Crescent Bay with its amazing tidepools, teeming with colorful sea life.

This a is great place to go on a sunny day.  But checking a  tide table is critical to your visit.  You want to be there at a low (minus) tide, when a lot of what is normally underwater peeks out into the sunshine for awhile.  You can get close to some of it barefoot or in flip-flops via the sandy beach adjacent to the point (a good place to picnic for the day), but to get out into the thick of it, you need sturdy footwear.   There's a lot of slippery sea plants and sharp barnacles and mussels to clamber over, so be careful.

These things are so unnecessary

The city water we get from our taps here in Port Angeles is of excellent quality.  This is also true of most municipalities in the USA.  

Our tap water is fine.  Really.

Eh, what the heck, a bottle of water is only what, fifty cents?  A buck, for one with a really pretty label - one that complements your Patagonia Polar Fleece?  But when you add up the cost of manufacturing the plastic, the burning of fossil fuels to deliver those heavy water bottles to market, the cost of us driving the empties out to the recycling bins out at the county landfill, you can easily see what an environmental disaster this stuff is.  And completely redundant.

Our tap water is fine.  Really.

When doing our housekeeping rounds here at the Downtown Hotel, we used to just chuck these empty water bottles in the trash; I mean what's an empty bottle or two?   This was before every person who checked in here decided they needed to import their own water supply.  Over time, as the bottles began to multiply, someone said, "You know, we really should be recycling these things." So, in a bit of recycling synergy, we started saving the plastic wrappers from the big bricks of toilet tissue rolls we buy and re-purposed them into plastic-bottle-recycling bags. And boy, they filled up fast. It's amazing how many plastic bottles get left behind, even in a tiny little hotel like ours.

Our tap water is fine.  Really.

If you're a real pure-water fanatic, you can buy a filtration bottle which is a whole heck of lot more portable than a case of (unknown quality) bottled water and doesn't cost much more.  Considering it will functionally replace 20 or so cases of bottled water, it's a bargain.

But if you're not especially picky, we stock our rooms with plain, lightweight plastic cups (which take up about 1/20 as much space in the recycle bin).  And we also provide perfectly good tap water.  

Friday, August 19, 2011

Thanks for filling in, Anthony!

Anthony D. is our temporary night manager, at least through late September, when he plans to head back to school at the University of Washington.

Anthony stepped in on short notice when both of our night managers quit (in the middle of Summer Peak Season!) when they decided their day jobs were becoming too demanding to keep up with the summer pace here.

Understandable enough.  Even at a sleepy little place like The Downtown Hotel, a night manager sometimes has to wait up for a late check in, or get up in middle of the night to let in someone who forgot to take their keys with them for a night on the town. (Our front is locked at night, so remember to take your keys with you if you plan on coming back late.)

Anthony is a musician and actor, currently cast as a prince in the Stephen Sondheim comedy/drama/musical classic Into the Woods, playing through August at The Kitsap Forest Theater near Bremerton, WA.

Who wants some breakfast? Part I

No, we don't offer a continental breakfast at The Downtown Hotel.  We figure that's one of the extras that would jack up the price of our rooms too much, and our live-in night managers have always been unified in agreement that they don't want to get up at 5am to put out a couple plates of donuts and breakfast cereals.  (Generally, they're still snoozing at that time, but you can call them from the front desk, if you really need them). We don't a have a good space to serve breakfast, anyway.    

HOWEVER, there are a lot of good choices for breakfast in the neighborhood of The Downtown Hotel, and by far the most popular is the Cornerhouse Restaurant.
A local landmark of some 30 years standing, they are the classic "Mom 'n' Pop" diner in town.   These guys are so authentic they don't even have a website.  Seriously, what's the point?  They've got all the business they can handle on word-of-mouth; mostly locals. On the other hand, in my many visits there, the longest I've had to wait to get served is in the neighborhood of 20 minutes, so you know they run like well oiled machine.   I did find a copy of their menu online, so you can get the idea of the fare (thanks to our friends at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)  The menu changes a little from time to time, and they have a rotation of daily specials, as you'd expect, but you get the idea. 

Best bit of Cornerhouse trivia:  it was the favorite local joint of Raymond Carver, poet, essayist and icon of the American Short Story. We sometimes get Carver pilgrims come through, to sit at the same lunch counter their favorite author frequented.

The Cornerhouse is not affiliated with The Downtown Hotel, but as it happens, they are located on the first floor of our building.  Open every day at 6:00 am.

The Cornerhouse is breakfast destination Numero Uno in Port Angeles; also quite popular for lunch and dinner, every night 'til 9pm.

(And don't get me started on their fish & chips...)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Distinctive Door Numbers

We've gotten a lot of comments on our distinctive cast-aluminum door numbers.

We bought these from Necessities & Temptations an eclectic and fun little shop just a half block down the street from us, next to the Coho Ferry dock. That place is just jam-packed with cool stuff like this, so bring your wallet when you visit, you're bound to find something you just can't live without. 

Coho ferry to Victoria, B.C.

The MV Coho has been plying the waters between Port Angeles, WA and Victoria, B.C. for 50 years.  Except for a few weeks annual shutdown for maintenance (usually late February), it has multiple daily sailings of about 90 minutes each way. Take a look at their Schedule & Rates page to see if you can work in a trip to Victoria while you're in Port Angeles.  There are more sailings in summer than winter, as one might guess.

Try to schedule a whole day there, there's plenty to do and see, even if you skip the world-famous Butchart Gardens, which is good for a whole day itself, if the weather's nice.
 A trip to Victoria is an international border crossing, so have your passport or your Enhanced Driver's License with you.

First post

Hopefully we'll add fun and informative information, soon.

Informative information, that's the best kind, right?