After coming back from a month in Africa I desired two things: To settle in at home and then to get away from home and decompress. At the end of the trip and suddenly being by myself after spending 29 days solid with my daughter and a great friend, I wanted to unpack and settle in at home. But, thanks to a generous invite from Kevin at the Clam Cannery Hotel in Port Townsend, I then had planned to spend the next weekend away from home with time just for myself. And I am very glad to have planned ahead!
My stay on the Peninsula was split into two locations due to a slight miscommunication. Being the “go with the flow” kind of guy I am, I took the opportunity to stay at both the Clam Cannery and then the Resort At Port Ludlow the next night (more on that stay in another post). The weather the weekend I visited was blustery and rainy with some sun breaks. Goofy Washington weather when it can’t decide whether it’s Winter or Spring. The Cannery is located out over the water and right next to the old ferry dock along Quincy Street, close in to wonderful Water Street and the Historic District. Whether coming by ferry from Whidbey Island as I did or driving up from the Kitsap Peninsula as Seattlites do, the Cannery is easy to find and has a decent amount of parking, although most of the spots in the area have a two hour limit during business hours.
Currently the Cannery has four idyllic suites available on the second floor with a fifth currently being renovated on the ground floor. What impressed me most about the Cannery when first taking a tour was the detail and effort put into its renovation. As you can see on their website, the building lay vacant for decades before Kevin and his wife decided to turn it into a Port Townsend landmark hotel. Starting with essentially a clean slate, they chose to try to preserve as much character of the old building as they could, while creating an upscale atmosphere pleasing to the eye and eco-consciousness with which many travelers view the world. The exterior retains its unassuming, weathered look while the bulk of the effort and financing was instead used to hire local craftsmen and purchase local supplies to complete the interior. Their efforts are visible in the custom made countertops built with local cement and buckets of discarded clam shells mined from beneath the Cannery. Old timbers from the building were recycled and now take the place of bar height countertops. Sea glass was used for the drawer pulls on the custom kitchen and bathroom cabinets and local artisans created etched mirrors and light globes. Most of the iron work inside the building was also individually commissioned. Hand pounded door coverings, seashell outlet covers, the list goes on and on.
Kevin was kind enough to give me a tour of the suites, two of which are over 900sq’ (about as large as the first house I had built). Some sported individual bedrooms and sleeping capacity for five guests while I loved that my suite featured a hideaway Murphy bed built into a stylish wall cabinet, freeing up the floor space while I was not sleeping. All rooms have views out to the water, obviously, and come complete with fully equipped, high-end kitchens. Indeed, the Cannery would be wonderful for a week long stay giving you both the option to eat in if you were inclined to cook (Port Townsend features a couple grocery stores, including a natural/organic option) or to head out for a night on the town. Large, flat screen TVs with Netflix available movies, free wifi and a writing desk in every room make the Cannery an ideal combination work/vacation spot for those who need to stay connected, while ironing boards and stacked, high-end washer and dryers add to the ‘at home’ comfort.
The list of amenities would clog this post so I’ll skip forward to what it felt like to spend a night in the Seashell Suite. First, Kevin’s demeanor upon checking in was calm and inviting, making me feel very welcome. I was given a key to my room as well as the front door (the building has no formal lobby which helps erase the ‘in a hotel’ feeling I get when traveling) and shown how to work all the gadgets. Yeah, it’s obvious I like gadgets. I got online and sent some Tweets and then, because I was feeling lazy (and had toured Port Townsend many times in my life), I checked out a movie on Netflix. It’s one of my guilty pleasures as I don’t have cable or dish service at my house. Couches, comfy. Bar stool for using my laptop, perfect height. Murphy bed ease of setup (pillows in the closet), check. I also had ample storage for all my clothes with enough hangers to suit the cast of Cats if they ever came to town.
What I liked most about my stay at the Clam Cannery was how comfortable it was. I felt at home instantly and I didn’t have that feeling like things were too fancy, or delicate. Fresh flowers and ample opening windows gave the suite an uplifting feel and I never once heard noise from the other rooms. My only distraction was the noise from the crowd outside from a bar up the street. But that faded as the sun set and the hour got late (although, if you’re an extremely light sleeper, I’d ask for a room on the South side of the building just to be sure). I felt safe and pampered while still feeling like I was at home, relaxing.
Would I stay there again? Heck yeah, but the suites aren’t in my normal camping price range. Suites start at $295 and up but you do get what you pay for. I have stayed in some nice hotels in this price range and above, and dollar for dollar, I’d prefer to stay at the Clam Cannery than any comparably priced hotel in New York or San Francisco, for example. Or even downtown Seattle. And if you’re looking to save a buck, check out the Seattle Tour Saver coupon book where The Clam Cannery has a two for one coupon through the end of the year to help entice a visit. With this coupon in hand, I just might find myself paying another visit to the Cannery for a romantic weekend before the year is over.
It’s a delightful boutique hotel in an awesome location.