Quinault Beach Resort and Casino

Flights to Vegas were prohibitively expensive this year, and travelling to the East Coast is so exhausting on Thanksgiving weekend, it’s a non-starter. So, we decided to try something different and head to Quinalt Beach Resort and Casino (QBRC) in Ocean Shores, WA.

DSCF2191QBRC is all about location, location, location. The views are stunning, even, or maybe especially, during a stormy November. Unlike, say, the Tulalip Resort and Casino, which has almost nothing going for it location-wise, QBRC is a destination because it’s right on the beach. You could find yourself staring out at the ocean all day, which we did because we were lucky enough to be upgraded to an Ocean view room upon our arrival. This made the entire trip worth it.

If you take away the location, however, QBRC is really a mid-level hotel along the lines of a Holiday Inn or a Courtyard by Marriott. In other words, if you are a stickler for luxury, this is not the place for you. For example, the room décor: yes, we had a fireplace in-room (great!), but the wallpaper was faux Venetian plaster, the carpet was low-end, and the bed and pillows fairly uncomfortable (uncomfortable hotel pillows happen everywhere). Also, and this, I suspect, is a big deal to some, is that although we had a non-smoking room I could smell smoke coming from other rooms. I don’t mind this for a 3-day stay, but I know other people that get bent out of shape about such things.

The staff at QBRC is quite accommodating. Due to pre-Thanksgiving traffic, we were unable to reach the hotel in time for our 5 PM spa appointments, and so they quite easily adjusted to 6, which was perfect (normal travel time from Seattle is about 2.5 hours, we took 3.5). Dinner reservations were easily made, and questions were happily answered. Service at the restaurant was timely and gracious, and the bartenders were knowledgeable and funny.

The spa itself is small, but as we were the only patrons it was fine. My only complaint about the spa is that they use background music that includes Bach, Beethoven, and Vivaldi. As someone who sings classical music, I always find this the opposite of relaxing, and much prefer ambient noises or non-recognizable music. Otherwise, it was a pleasant experience, and a great way to start our trip. Heads up: spa services do not include any salon services like pedicures.

DSCF2195The food at QBRC is fine, nothing to write home about, but nothing awful. For two of the nights we were there we were able to go to their buffet dinners. The holiday dinner (on Thanksgiving) had a number of different main courses available (turkey, prime rib, salmon), and the sides were ample. On Friday, they had a “Land and Sea Buffet,” which subtracted the turkey and added Dungeness crab. Both nights had very good shrimp cocktail, which I always enjoy. The only thing I really missed from the holiday buffet was live music. As the buffet was served in the banquet room, a la an “occasion,” it seemed to be missing.

When not buffet-ing, you can choose to dine in Emily’s Restaurant, which is a table service room with great views of the ocean, or you can grab something quick in the Ocean Lounge. You can also order room service (which we did for breakfast one morning). There is also a small deli on the casino floor which we didn’t get a chance to visit.

The gambling at QBRC is standard. You’ll find the most familiar table games (blackjack, craps, pai gow, Mexican 21), and a good selection of slots, including a few progressive machines. There’s also a poker room which was bustling. I even hit a Jackpot on a quarter game (yay!).

Other goodies:

  • Lots of coupons for people over 50. Join the Q-Club for details.
  • Lots of special chances/games to win just by playing and/or entering drawings (again see club for details).
  • Build points through the Q-Club and you can make enough money to take some off of your stay.
  • Enjoy QBRC’s own boardwalk out to the beach!
  • Take a drive through downtown Ocean Shores – quite a few small shops with interesting wares.
  • Live music in the Ocean Lounge on Fridays and Saturdays.
  • We had a small refrigerator and coffee machine in our room.
  • There is an indoor pool, hot tub (both of which have great ocean views), and workout room.
  • Toiletries include makeup removal wipes.

Other things of which to be aware:

  • There is only ONE elevator near the lobby (I think there are others at the ends of the hallways). This means that if you are on an upper floor, you might have quite the wait to go up and down.
  • Smoke pervades most spaces in the hotel.
  • The primary clientele during the week are locals who appear to be hard-working blue collar folks. In other words if you want to play dress-up, you’ll feel overdone. Good news: it’s a comfortable place, not hoity-toity.
  • The craps dealers may or may not be learning while on the job, and so you may find yourself waiting for pay-outs.
  • A single friend of ours thought about joining us. He’s glad he didn’t. I didn’t see anything resembling a singles scene here. Guests tended to be families or older couples.
  • Our TV was a small, older, tube-type.
  • There are no robes in the guest rooms.
  • Hotel room soaps and lotions are made by a company in NY. With so many great Washington based natural soap companies, this was surprising.

Bottom line: for us, this was a fun trip and we will do it again. Thanks QBRC for your hospitality.


6 Nights under the Big Sky (sort of)

On Monday, we drove from our home, approximately 30 miles NE of Seattle, to Whitefish, Montana. We have been staying here since Monday night because Trish, Hans & Phil are playing at a variety of venues here in the area. Tonight is their last gig. 

The reception to THP has been quite good. Not only are THP great musicians and a lot of fun to listen to, but there is a serious dearth of local live music in the area. That’s why John Simpson, of Simpson Motors, has decided to sponsor a series of acts for the area. He just recently moved here from Seattle, and was missing being able to listen to great music.

We are staying in a beautiful one bedroom condo at Kintla Lodge on Big Mountain, and it’s just been breathtakingly beautiful. Well, if you discount the fact that I had to stay inside all day every day working. That’s the advantage/disadvantage of being able to work from anywhere.

Last evening, after my final call of the day, we took the gondola all the way up to the top of the Mountain, and could see the Canadian Rockies, as well as the mountains in Glacier National park. 

Today we had hoped to drive out to Glacier National Park, but we slept in, and then when we did wake up, it was raining.

Anyway, I’m glad I finally made it to Montana. It’s just gorgeous here, and the people have been very friendly. I’ve been told it’s because it’s a resort community and everyone’s relaxed. For whatever reason, it’s a real privilege to have had this experience, and I’ll be dreaming about these mountains and lakes for a long time to come.

UK Trip Part 1

As some of you know, Phil and I were lucky enough to get to go to the UK this past few weeks. Background on the trip is in this entry.

8/26-8/27 Edinburgh, Scotland (part 1, below)
8/28-8/29 Various spots around Scotland, including Brechin and Inverness (part 2)
8/30-8/31 York, England (part 3)
9/1-9/4 London, England (part 4)

We’ll start on Thursday, as we departed.