Day 29: Seattle recap

Friday afternoon John and I took off on a plane to spend a couple days in Seattle, to celebrate our 23rd wedding anniversary. Though it was definitely more of a splurge than the rest of our month, I was still reasonably successful pinching our pennies. Our plane tickets came from frequent flyer miles (mostly adoption travel). Our hotel and rental car came from is an interesting service. You plug in three parameters for your hotel: max price you want to pay, the number of stars you want the hotel to have, and the general vicinity where you’d like to stay. (For example, we wanted to stay within a mile of the Space Needle.) Then—and here’s the part that feels a bit like a slot machine — you plug in your credit card information, and they randomly assign you to a hotel that meets all those requirements. Payment is up front, with no refunds. So you truly are stuck with whatever they give you. But if you make your parameters specific enough, theoretically, you should get what you want.

I asked for a 4-star hotel in downtown Seattle, for no more than $82 a night. From the looking I’d done online, I knew that nice hotels downtown charged $150-$200/night. I figured that worst case scenario, priceline would tell me it wasn’t possible. Best case, we’d get what we asked for. It was a little nervewracking putting in our credit card number and wondering what we’d get. What if it was a dump? But we ended up with a room at the Westin Hotel, a really nice hotel (that usually costs $199/night!) less than a mile from Pikes Market and the Space Needle. Priceline also produced a rental car – an adorable Ford Focus — for $20 a day.

To complete our plan for the weekend, I visited, and scoped out the restaurants close to the hotel. I was able to buy $25 gift certificates to four different ones. Usually the price is $10 for a $25 gift certificate. But there was a sale a couple weeks ago, and I was able to buy $25 certificates for $1 each. Most of them have a $35 minimum purchase, plus an 18% tip. But still, it makes for a fairly reasonable dinner. We ended up using 2 of the gift certificates, and paid about $20 out of pocket per meal. Not bad considering one meal was on the 5th floor terrace at the Red Lion, and the other was wonderful Italian food — and live opera! — at an adorable little restaurant called Cafe Amore. Other meals were even more affordable: McDonald’s breakfasts, clam chowder on the waterfront, plus wonderful stumbled-upon Korean restaurant called Cafe Bee, tucked almost under the foot of the Space Needle.

When we weren’t eating, we filled the weekend with miles of walked, visiting Pikes Market, the Space Needle, and two malls — I can’t believe all the window shopping we did! We visited two cooking stores– I have now been acquainted with the beauty that Crate and Barrel– I could have stayed another hour, but my husband was ready to escape in 20 minutes. I signed books at three bookstores, and on the last afternoon, we had a perfect blue-sky ride on a ferry boat on Puget Sound. Lovely weekend!

Breakfast: Pancakes, peach jam, orange juice
Lunch: Grilled cheese sandwiches on homemade bread, with tomato soup and apples
Dinner: Beef stew with potatoes, homemade corn muffins, apples, and pumpkin pie for dessert


  1. Love the pictures! Sounds like a great trip!

  2. What a lovely trip. Happy anniversary!

  3. yes! happy anniversary! (and I requested your cooking book from the library, can’t wait to glean good ideas)

  4. Looks like you had a fun time in our neck of the woods 🙂 Glad the weather was beautiful for you!

  5. Man…were you in Seattle for a book signing as well as a getaway…I live north of Seattle…look what happens when you aren’t online for a few days…I am glad you got to go through Pike Place Market…that is one of the MUST see places in Seattle…we are also proud to boast (imo) the world’s most ugly building…Experience Music Project…I have never been there, but I have heard it is incredible….
    I am glad that you had wonderful weather too…not exactly what we are known for…unusually enough, we had both a very snowy winter and a hot summer…both are not normal in NW WAshington…it has been an amazing year!

  6. How fun. I love priceline. I just used them for a trip to Arizona and got a room that was showing 189.00 per night for $62.00. We got a minny suite and it was fabulous. Definitely cant beat it.

    So glad you were able to get away alone together.

  7. That sounds wonderful!!! Glad you were able to get away and enjoy it…

  8. Happy Anniversary! I love Priceline. I have used it in Memphis and Atlanta and always been very pleased. Glad ya’ll had a nice trip.

  9. Happy Anniversary! nice getaway trip to celebrate — the pictures are lovely.

  10. Yay, Mary! I’ll have to be brave with Priceline in the future. Maybe a trip to the Bahamas…

  11. Congrats! Your trip looks like so much fun. My parents were married in Seattle. Maybe I should send them back for a 50th celebration?

  12. check out next time you’re looking to book a trip. It has forums where people can post the bids they’ve gotten in different cities, so you can get a good idea of what might be accepted. If you have the time to read a bit, they have some helpful bidding strategies that will help you get the exact hotel you are looking for at a certain price. Very helpful!