Did you know that only 7 per cent of Americans travel abroad? This may come as a surprise given the affluence of the country, but America is so diverse geographically that there is enough to see within its borders. Seattle is just one unique city that is close enough to Whistler and Vancouver, (within approximately 500 kilometres) that one can get to it in half a days drive.
For a "girls weekend get away" it is perfect, but guys pay attention too! Because we had an early start on Saturday morning, we had to stop for a coffee and cinnamon bun south of the border. The Old Fairhaven district of Bellingham is an easy exit off the I-5, and five minutes down the road toward Bellingham Bay you find yourself in the historic district of Bellingham, where the atmosphere is of Whistler circa the early 70s, with many funky coffee shops to choose from in brick buildings with old plank floors. This blending of old brick buildings with lattes is just a warm-up for what to expect in Seattle.
Once in Seattle, you must really pamper yourself. Forget about the exchange rate, (although it is looking better these days) and just spend how you desire. The service and friendliness of Americans more than makes up for the inconvenience of the exchange rate.
First check into your hotel. The Monaco boutique hotel in Seattle is my recommendation. You want a hotel room to be equal to or greater than your own bedroom. Request the divided room with king-size bed. Some of them are canopy beds and some rooms are partitioned with richly textured curtains. The bed linens are tapestries rich in design and colour. And, to make you feel very much like you are a guest of the Queen Mother, a gold fish in a big glass bowl is brought to your room to keep you company. It comes with a name. Our lovely pet was named "Bliss". He even wagged his tail.
And furthermore, nothing can be more fun than wearing the leopard print terry bathrobe! This weekend get away is all about you.
The Monaco also offers a complimentary wine reception from 5 to 6 p.m. every night of the week, in the beautiful and intimate lobby. However, I am getting ahead of myself here, because it is really only 1 in the afternoon and we havent explored the neighbourhood yet.
Step outside the Monaco and to your right is the makings of the new Seattle Library. The architect is the famous Rem Koolhaas of the Netherlands, and the steel framing will later be filled in with glass, which will create a very uplifting building and will make an exciting place to visit when its done. The criss-cross of steel girders creates a diamond pattern over the whole building which, interestingly enough, matches the pattern of the bar in the hotel restaurant.