Seattle >Lodging > Pensione Nichols
1923 First Ave, Seattle, WA | Directions 9810147.610659 -122.342214
Neighborhoods: Downtown, Pike Place Market
Beware the Lysol! – They want you out early, the smell of someone dumping a bottle of lysol around the bathroom at 8:30am on Saturday and Sunday was like being gassed by ammonia. The closet was dusty, and had some exposed air ducting with dirt like someone had forgotten to replace the wall. No provision for hanging our damp towels, so we had to lay them on the filthy chair, cleaner furnishings are available at the Goodwill. The bedspread was threadbare (yes the threads on the design were raveling and frayed all across the entire item, like a homeless person had found it in a dumpster and was using it under the freeway before the hotel proprietor obtained it). While some pieces of furniture were relics of a wonderful age of beautiful era, they were chipped and scratched and the drawers were losing their sliding function. A few old kitschy things remain in the building, but are now mixed with the cheapest crap items one can purchase at second hand shops. No water in the room, and we couldn't get the provided empty decanter under the faucet in the bathroom. In fact no amenities at all except paper towels and some small soap samples in the bathroom. That is okay if we were paying $60, but $135?
The breakfast was continental, and similar to Days Inn or Hotel 6, so don't expect what hotels that charge $135 and 145 would provide. In fact, Days Inn provided more variety.
The only thing possibly interesting about this place is the view from the 3rd floor dining area. But unless you get there early, you will wait up to an hour for a cup of coffee and some toast. They only provide 3 tables, so they obviously don't expect to serve everyone, and maybe its a plan to send people out somewhere else.
As said somewhere else here, the proprietor is not on site on the weekend, and 2 young people (the "chef" who wears a backwards ball cap and dirty jeans) and the server who is a very nice young lady (she told us this is her second job, she is a clerk at a local clothing store weekdays), they are expected to deal with the check outs, but don't know much about anything including the parking arrangement.
We were told that a special arrangement was available at nearby parking garage, to go in and out but pay only the day rate. However, that arrangement is "by talking to an attendant". At the garage, the sign states that an attendant is on duty from 3:30-6pm only. At 3:45, no attendant had shown up, so we had to pay the full price. In two days, we spent $48 on parking, and thankfully that was to the Nichols $12 parking coupon, the only benefit provided by the hotel. We parked, left for our event on Friday night, parked again overnight, left on Saturday to explore, parked again overnight: 4 x the $12! When we asked the server, and she called the proprietor, who said she couldn't help us.
We will never stay in this filthy overpriced wreck. The only soft spot in my heart, is because the owner/proprietor, Nancy, seems to be a sweet really old woman, who has seen her hotel drift from fun european styled pension in to rundown flophouse quality. But that won't get me back here. BEWARE of disappointment.
GETS A BIG 10 – Location, breakfast, staff, parking and view were GREAT.
Stayed 3 days and only used transportation once and that was to bring the el back from the Space Needle at night. Right above Pikes Market, walked to the aquarium, Post Alley below.
My kind of place – Maybe not for everyone, but I?m hooked? Another reviewer is doing more than kidding you! I have been staying at Pensione Nichols for years and the carpet has NEVER EVER been dirty or smelly. Honestly, just yesterday morning I walked barefoot from the shower down the hall back to my room, before putting on a suit and tie to walk to a convention at a fancy uptown hotel. I could have stayed in that fancy hotel. But when I come to Seattle for business or pleasure, I prefer Pensione Nichols. I like the simple comfort and home feel of old furnishings in a well worn building. I like a room without a phone and TV. Who needs them when there?s free wireless internet access and a Great Room overlooking Elliott Bay and the incomparable Pike Place Market? I have never heard or seen this wonderful inn misrepresent itself. It is what it is. Read ALL the reviews and make up your own mind. Check out the web site. I and many others keep coming back because we love it!
not what it's cracked up to be... – I was a bit hesitant when booking this hotel but after reading all of the reviews, I decided to give it a try. Are you kidding me?I have traveled extensively throughout Europe and have never came upon such a worn out, dirty place like this. I understand and can appreciate old antiques but what I can?t understand and appreciate is old dirty carpets that smell or broken refrigerator that is being held up by duck tape. The walls in my suite looked like they have not been painted for over 100 years and the carpet truly smelled. The furniture was old and in bad shape. Honestly, I didn?t want to take my shoes off because I didn?t want my feet to get dirty. We had booked for 2 nights but checked out after 1 night. On the bright side, the front desk guy was extremely kind and professional as was the host that served breakfast.
Nothing More Seattle Than "The Pensione" – Wow, I stayed in the suite and didn't want to go home. I have stayed in many hotels in seattle and there is not one that has the real seattle feel like this one. All of the other hotels I have stayed felt so corporate I could have been anywhere, to look out of my window and look down at the Pike Place Market and over Elliott Bay made me want to stay on the balcony all day and drink coffee. When I did leave the room I was a half a block from the place where thy throw the fish and a half a block from the orignal Starbucks (speaking of corporate)
Amazing location, cool old building and great customer service! – We stayed here in the summer, had a room above 1st St., slept with the windows open and were never bothered by noise of any sort. It IS a city venue. It's not completely quiet. The street was busy during the day but drops off by 75% when the downtown employees go home. The neighboring businesses were not noisy or intrusive. The room had three big arched windows and the light was plentiful. The building has beautiful old architectural detail and the room furnishings are in the style of an older period. The bed had white sheets and thick white cotton bedspeads that were clean and washed, unlike the bedspreads from the big hotels (even the nice ones) where the bedspread is washed only occasionally. We actually reclined on the beds without turning them down. The bathrooms were also very clean, huge and there was no wait. The best room is the sittingroom where you eat breakfast . The view of Elliott Bay is unsurpassed. The Cascades in the distance and the variety of boats (including tankers) on the water was lovely. My best pictures of the trip came from the backstairs. At night you can see the shipyards, the ballparks, the Market (that famous sign is clearly visible) and the communities that surround Elliott Bay. It's a beautiful view day or night. The breakfast was good, fruit, bread, jam, butter, peanut butter, pressed coffee, tea and half and half. If you want a big American breakfast you can walk less then a block and get one, but we loved what was offered. All within walking distance: Restuarants of all sorts, the Underground, Pikes Market, shopping (the first Nordstrom and the first Starbucks are both nearby), the SAM. We walked to Capitol Hill and ate dinner and took a taxi back . It was a nice walk, even though it was all uphill.
I LOVED the pillow on my bed so much that I called Lindsey when I got home to find out where I could get one and she said she would send it to me if I couldn't get one for myself! How great is that??? Don't pass up this gem.
They are very customer service oriented and what a wonderful atmosphere – We have traveled all over the world and have stayed at many styles of B & Bs and the Pensione is one of the most charming we have encountered. It is very European in style and has one of the best views of Elliott Bay in Seattle. If you are used to being pampered and babysat then this is not the place for you. If you are independent of your housekeepers then you will enjoy yourself.
Best there is! – I have stayed at Pensione Nichols several times and always look forward to coming back. The couple of the grumpy reviews I have read about it on this site must be from people who have some other problems in their lives - or are used to being coddled by the staff at a Ritz hotel - because it surely does not sound like the Pensione I know! Maybe they have never stayed at a great European B&B before and had totally different expectations. (For all I know, those reviews were written by some jealous competitor.) This is a gem. The location is fantastic; the views are as good as it gets in the Sound region, much less in most anywhere else in Seatlle; the rooms and appointments are just fine - better than what you'd expect for the very reasonable rates; the small staff is extremely helpful and pleasant; the morning breakfast is just what I would want and is in a fine livingroom overlooking Elliott Bay and all the way across the Sound to the snow-capped Olympics (year-round snow), with the ferries always somewhere on their routes - and you're right at the Pike Place Market. You're at Starbuck's very first store, even. If you are looking for a place to stay in downtown Seattle and want some flavor in your experience (not just another typical highway motel-type place), then I have no hesitation in recommending you give Pensione Nichols a try. You'll not regret it!
A remarkable travel bargain, this small inn offers a prime location and comfy lodging. – In Short
This truly is akin to the European pensions that budget travelers have been using for more than a century. With a staircase entrance on First Avenue, the inn occupies most of the second and third floors of a circa-1904 building in the Smith Block. The decor is eclectic and serviceable (iron-rail bedsteads, steamer trunks), and the third-floor breakfast and reading room offers an Elliott Bay view that matches those at much, much pricier properties.
Should be named the Prison Nichols – Though the facade of the Pensione Nichols seems quaint and inviting, the actuality is that you are about to get a room that you do NOT want to stay in for more than five minutes. The room that we got had no windows, no air condition or temperature control, no t.v., no place to get water, a squeaky fan - which provided problems for sleeping, no phone, and most importantly no privacy, because the front desk was directly outside of our room and the walls were paper thin. I paid the same price for a hotel down the street, which had all of these ammenities and more. The only good thing about this place is perhaps, the kindness of the two ladies who work there, but even the sit down breakfast failed to satisfy my hunger pangs and I had to wait until 8:30 to get it on a monday, good thing I was't there on a business trip. DO NOT stay here without knowing all of this information.
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