McMenamins Anderson School is more than a hotel stay; it’s an experience of history, art and modern-day allure. Guests can stay in former Bothell Junior High classrooms, dine in the Tiki-inspired North Shore Lagoon Pub, or hang out in the outdoor courtyard and cozy up next to a fire with their favorite libation. In signature McMenamins style they have transformed their only Seattle-area hotel into a destination.
The hotel, a three-story brick art-deco building, pays homage to Bothell’s history and community. There are 72 guest rooms and each is named after people important to Bothell’s history, like Chris Walla, the co-founder of Death Cab for Cutie (and indie rock band), Andrew Beckstrom, one of Bothell’s first settlers, and Patty Johns Murray, Washington’s first woman U.S. Senator. Inside each room is a large painted portrait of the individual, their story and a hand-painted headboard.
My room, 304, featured Ken & Marie Lynch, who started the landmark Yakima Fruit Market, and the headboard featured bright red apples. Room price ranges from $135 to $245, have a double queen or king bed, a private bathroom, a safe, television, free Wi-Fi and a mason jar to fill up with brew or cider to enjoy in your room.
The hallways are adorned with more portraits, stories and photographs attributed to Bothell’s history. To get the full experience, I suggest purchasing a pint from the Principal’s Office on the third floor and then work your way downstairs.
Restaurants and Pubs
There is no lack of choices for onsite dining, drinks and entertainment. Located in the former cafeteria is Tavern on the Square. The English style restaurant has a large wooden bar, stained glass windows, booth, table and cozy fireside seating. The menu focuses on Northwest-style food and I wasn’t disappointed with the mushroom hunter pizza.
The Woodshed is a family-oriented pub with pool tables, pinball machines, large booths, and a small adult-only bar. It serves traditional pub fare like fish n’ chips and burgers. I recommend the Communication Breakdown burger and the salted caramel-hazelnut tart.
North Shore Lagoon, located off the main campus above the salter water pool, offers 80 rum varieties. The décor is a mixture of Balinese statues and masks, hand-blown fish floats, Polynesian lanterns, bamboo and recycled wood. For Happy Hour, good choices include their veggie egg rolls with Seoul City sauce, Thai sweet potato fries with Sriraca mayo and their signature Pina Colada.
The Shed, the only new structure on the property, serves whiskey and classic cocktails. It’s a small space with intimate seating and a two-sided fireplace.
McMenamins has nine locations in Washington and 45 in Oregon. They are known throughout the Pacific Northwest for their eclectic and inventive style and amenities. McMenamins Anderson School is a perfect example. Dozens of light fixtures, from the early 1900s to the 20th century, never form a straight line. Contemporary sculpture art brings a modern flare to the outdoor courtyard. The saltwater pool is kept at a balmy 90 degrees and open skylights let the rain cascade inside. The movie theater delivers beer and pizza to your seat. And, inside the Woodshop, you can watch McMenamins signature beers being made in their brewery. The Market, the gift shop, sell McMenamins bottled wines, beers, spirits, gift items, and coffee or pints and growlers of beer. All these combine to create a unique and hip vibe that encourages curiosity and relaxation.
McMenamins Anderson School is a 30 minute drive from Seattle and a six minute drive from Woodinville. They opened October 15, 2015, and when I was there a month later, it was busy from lunch until well after the dinner hour, even at the pool, which is open to the public. If the parking lot is full and alternative parking is available at Pop Keeney Stadium west of the parking lot. The bustling activity means it may take a little longer for food to arrive or a table to become available, but there is so much to explore and experience that waiting is a pleasure. –Story and photos by Lara Dunning, RFT Contributor
McMenamins Anderson School www.mcmenamins.com/2002-mcmenamins-anderson-school