“Spokane? What’s a Spokane?” That’s what I imagine a lot of people who aren’t familiar with the Pacific Northwest say. And that’s just ridiculous. Everyone knows about Seattle, but who knows about Spokane? Well, we do. That’s who.
This city of 200,000 is on the opposite side of the state of Washington from that other city, which allows for a unique personality that’s absolutely nothing like it’s larger neighbor to the west. And we wanted to visit it for multiple reasons. Which is how we ended up at the Red Lion Hotel at the Park in downtown Spokane.
The lovely people at Red Lion Hotels are a supporter of our “Fabric of America” tour. They covered our stay, and we’re writing about it in return. This journey would not be possible without them (and you). Read about their support right here.
In case you haven’t read about our tour: You can read about it here, read about sponsorships here, and support our project yourself right here.
So yeah, why Spokane? I was actually born here. Why else? Because the headquarters of Red Lion Hotels is actually situated in the city, right next to the hotel in which we rested our heads. We wanted to visit a place I haven’t been in many years. We also wanted to meet the lovely folks at Red Lion, who have been so kind and supportive to us throughout our journey.
And as this journey goes, Why not? First we had to get there, though.
We left from the small town of Thompson Falls, Montana, and made our way up the back roads through the mountains. As we don’t take the interstate, this also brought us in an arc through Idaho (again) and back down to Spokane.
This day’s drive was actually quite short, which allowed us to stop at the Ross Creek Giant Cedars Natural Area in northwest Montana and explore some massive trees before heading toward Washington.
Arriving in Spokane, it was interesting to see my birthplace after not having visited in over two decades. The Red Lion Hotel at the Park is actually the flagship property of the company, and we were in for a whirlwind since it was a long July 4th weekend.
This place is huge, and was completely packed for the long holiday weekend. So packed that we are surprised we even got a room there. In fact, we were warned to not even move our car, due to the crowds that descend upon this place for the 4th of July. After getting checked in and chatting with some wonderful staff, we made it to our room.
Kapow! Say hello to our balcony. You have no idea how much this pleases us. Balconies are a rarity at hotels these days, and we were immediately smitten with our little outdoor space and view right along the river.
After ogling that for a while, we checked out the other goodies our room had to offer. The always-plush king beds are one of the reasons we love Red Lion, and this property stays in line with that. Not to mention the plethora of pillows, which allows for an extra-comfortable night’s sleep. It also allows for pillow fights and bed surfing, neither of which we actually ever do. (Unless you count me waking Ang up in the morning by occasionally assaulting her with headrests.)
As you know, being on the road all the time means we need good work spaces. While it’s rare to find two desks or a table big enough for two people, we were happy to see that there was a nice, big desk there for Ang to get her work on, and a lounge chair for me to sit in with my laptop.
There was no ottoman, though, which was a bit odd given that this room is huge. Huge!
Part of most Red Lion setups is a nice chest that holds a TV, microwave, refrigerator, and coffee maker. These are standard here as well, giving us access to the laziest of activities as well as a place to keep our drinks cold and brew our addictions every morning.
Bonus: The wooden tray on which that coffee maker sits actually slides out for easy access. Genius!
We also scored a kitchenette at this property, which includes a full counter, kitchen sink, and an additional fridge. Sweet!
The bathroom is one we’ve come to know after staying at quite a few Red Lion properties, complete with plenty of counter space, eco-friendly toiletries, and a comfortable shower.
With a nice, big shower head prepped for proper, half-asleep, morning meditation.
Being a full-service hotel, this flagship property actually has what I’d call two-and-a-half restaurants in it. I say that because it has its main Windows Restaurant, with killer views that extend over the river, along with its ParkPlace Lounge sibling, which has a massive patio perfect for lounging in the sun and checking out the scenery.
Alongside those is the Atrium Café, which has its own coffee bar that we were more than happy to frequent.
Due to the weird schedules we keep, we only ordered room service. It’s not cheap – as is always the case with room service – but the food is as good as any restaurant of a similar style that you’ll find around town. Basically, it was delicious and we highly recommend it if you’re not into going out one night.
David and Kris, who are a couple of the bellhops and concierges at this sprawling property, were happy to direct us to local restaurants where we could also dig in, including the former power plant-turned-brewpub, Steam Plant Grill.
Back at the hotel, we were treated with two pools. Two! One is an indoor pool that’s nice and quiet during the summer, perfect for laps and lounging. The other is the largest outdoor pool in Spokane, with a slide, waterfall, and one-hundred-bajillion kids enjoying themselves during a hot spell in July. If I were a kid, this would have made my month. Insanity.
Being that the hotel is “at the Park,” we were treated to a perfect view of the July 4th fireworks celebration that brought thousands of people to the front of the Red Lion at Riverfront Park. We were treated to a real show, most of which we could see from our balcony and all of which we could see from the garden outside our room.
Our prime location also allowed us to walk around the entire park, visit the sights, and head into downtown for exploration of the countless historic buildings that line its streets.
While our stay afforded us a great time of exploring downtown, it also gave us the perfect base from which to explore some of Spokane’s other sights, including Mt. Spokane. Hello, world!
The altitude must have gotten to us, as we got ourselves into other non-traditional types of mischief courtesy of the aforementioned David and Kris at Red Lion. Like go-karting. And we all know who won. Not me!
When you’re staying at such a comfortable property, it’s easy to get out and do things without feeling pressed or stressed. And that was probably the best baseline for our adventure in Spokane. Alas, it wasn’t over yet!
Pam, who runs PR for Red Lion and works just a stone’s throw from our room, was kind enough to give us a bit of her time while we were there. We love meeting people – especially those with whom we work – and were delighted to be able to spend some time with her. She’s so passionate about her work and her hometown, it’s a real treat to be around another happy and enthusiastic person.
We got together and went out to breakfast with her at the wonderfully greasy Satellite Diner & Lounge. Afterward, Pam’s passion got the best of her and she showed us where to find the best views in all of Spokane, among other things.
It’s pretty obvious that we had a blast staying at the Red Lion Hotel at the Park, adventuring out into the city and beyond to see many of the things Spokane has to offer. We’re so very grateful to the company for supporting our “Fabric of America” tour, and for being willing to make a personal connection instead of being all corporate-like as so many other hotels are. The staff at the hotel and at the company are clearly happy and proud of what they do, and it shows at their flagship property.
- Location: Smack-dab in the middle of downtown, at Riverfront Park.
- Clientele: Great for families and business travelers alike.
- Technology: Fast wi-fi, free for an unlimited number of devices.
- Beds: Excellent and plush. Lots of pillows. Easy to sleep long and late.
- Rooms: Bigger than some apartments. Score big-time for the balcony and view of nature just outside the hotel. (Not all rooms have balconies.)
- Amenities: Cable TV, wi-fi, telephone, desk with a proper office chair, lounge chair, end tables, refrigerator(s), microwave, three restaurants, two outdoor pools.
- Bathroom: Plenty of soaps and lotions, good shower with plenty of hot water and fancy shower heads.
- Dining: Breakfast is unfortunately not included. It is available in à la carte and buffet form, as well as room service. Two-and-a-half restaurants on-site, as well as a coffee bar. Within walking distance of dozens of restaurants.
- Staff: Wonderful. Very helpful with recommendations and putting up with us.
- Cleanliness: Rooms are very clean. Property kept clean 24/7, inside and out.
- Distractions: Indoor pool, outdoor pool with slide and waterfall, fitness center, Riverfront Park outside the door.
- Attractions: Downtown Spokane, Mt. Spokane, forests, fishing, tattoos (!!!), go-karts, museums. Basically, endless.
- Snacks & Such: Coffee bar, but no convenience store at this property. Plenty of vending as well as delivery and room-service options.
- Value: Unbeatable for a mid-scale hotel. Easily the best bang for the buck and most comprehensive you’ll get in the area. The location is priceless.
The Red Lion Hotel at the Park in Spokane, Washington, is located here:
303 W. North River Dr.
Spokane, WA 99201
Tel: +1 (509) 326-8000
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Have you ever been to Spokane, or stayed at this Red Lion? Any thoughts about Red Lion overall? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!