Friday, April 26, 2013

Cedarbrook Lodge: It definitely beats any Seattle airport hotel

Big Cedar, or main lodge.
Text and photos by: Albert Rodriguez
Hotel spotlight: Cedarbrook Lodge, Seattle

Last fall, my flight to Tokyo was canceled due to mechanical issues.  Since I had left my apartment spotless, including my bed made and dishes washed, I took advantage of the airline's offer to put me up for the night at a nearby hotel.  It was decent, but not much else.

There's a much better option for overnight stays around Sea-Tac Airport (SEA), and it's called Cedarbrook Lodge.  A 5 to 7-minute drive from "Baggage Claim", or by free shuttle, this charming property is tucked into a tranquil neighborhood surrounded by trees, landscaped gardens and man-made creeks.  It provides all the modern amenities and an on-site restaurant headed by James Beard national semi-finalist Mark Bodinet. 

Allow me to tell you more about this terrific hotel/lodge, which is perfect for those outbound travelers needing to make a very early flight from Sea-Tac, or those wanting seclusion and something other than corporate blandness, or those simply needing to get away for the night or weekend.  Room rates are reasonable, and beats any airport hotel.  For details, go to

Cedarbrook Lodge grounds.

Cedarbrook Lodge is minutes away from SEA's main terminal.  The property can send a shuttle to meet you at the "Courtesy Vehicle" area, found at street level of the airport's parking garage.  Simply call the lodge upon arrival and they'll pick you up at "Island 1" or "Island 3" in a short matter of time (I waited only 10 minutes).  By car from the airport, take International Boulevard going South, turn left at the next stoplight (188th Street), then go 1/4 mile to 36th Avenue South and turn left again and follow that street to the entrance of the hotel/lodge. 

Interior of Dreamy Dogwood suite. 
The property is comprised of three buildings - Big Cedar, Spruce and Dogwood.  Guest rooms are found in the latter two, and come equipped with either king or queen-sized beds, large windows, granite-top workdesks, Keurig brewing systems, Starbucks coffee/Tazo teas, flatscreen TVs with cable programming, ironing boards, and all-natural bath products.  WiFi access is complimentary, as are the 24-hour self serve snacks (Tim's Cascade potato chips, Haagen Dazs ice cream, milk chocolate malt balls, yogurt, string cheese, chilled bottled water) located in either of the sleeping lodges' "living room", which are nicely furnished with comfy sofas, armchairs, large flatscreen TVs, and mini libraries.  A spacious fitness room and business center with multiple hard-wire computer stations are also free of charge for overnight guests.  And, I almost forgot, continental breakfast is also complimentary with your stay and usually includes toast, bagels, preserves, house-made granola, pastries, deli meats, cheese, coffee, juice and tea.  For a splurge, the Dreamy Dogwood suite is slightly bigger than a studio apartment and has unique features/amenities such as an electric fireplace with overhead mounted flatscreen TV, leather couch and armchair, windowside banquette, and in-room slippers.   

Cinnamon doughnut + Theo dipping chocolate

On the lower level of the Big Cedar is Copperleaf Restaurant & Bar, helmed by Executive Chef Mark Bodinet, a 2013 James Beard national semi-finalist.  He's well studied in French cuisine, but you wouldn't know it by his dishes, which steer away from heavy sauces and fried starches.  Instead, his farm-to-table style of using regional produce, meats and seafoods, combined with herbs grown on the premises, greatly accents the freshness of his creations.  Because the entire menu changes seasonally, nothing I ate two weeks ago is guaranteed to be served anymore, but from my lips to yours: this place is fabulous.  Aside from the good food, Copperleaf offers an open ambiance, sophisticated-but-not-too-fancy intimate setting, and high ceilings, plus a staff that seems genuinely friendly and conversational.  I also loved the stellar list of Northwest red and white wines.  Lighter fare is offered in the adjacent bar.


I mentioned the pristine exterior of the lodge - gardens, cherry blossom trees, creeks, terraces, and a manicured lawn that sees its share of weddings and special events during the warm months, aside from a summer concert series called "Jazz on the Lawn".  Local acts are booked on four separate Friday evenings from mid-July through late August.  They are: The Kora Band (West African jazz) on July 12, Sweeter Than The Day (modern jazz) on July 26, Gail Pettis (jazz vocalist) on August 9, and Susan Pascal's Brazil Project (jazz vibraphonist) on August 23.  Tickets are $20 advance and $25 day of show.  A selection of small plates, local beers and wine will be available at the restaurant's cash bar during each performance, which is scheduled to run - weather permitting - from 6:30 to 9:30pm.



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