Retro Vibe Meets Pacific Northwest Mood
Bellingham’s hotel accommodations have long lacked a middle ground; a space that neither has the price tag of The Chrysalis Inn nor the disconcerting nature of the motels on North and South Samish Way. In May, however, The Heliotrope Hotel filled that void. Located in the same space that was once the Lion’s Inn Motel on Elm Street, the once run-down motel has been brought to life again. It is a bright space that aims to give guests “a hip, modern, Pacific Northwest oasis,” according to the website. The hotel welcomes pets, humans and all their gear, from skis to bikes.
The renovations, while not structurally extensive, completely changed the aesthetic of the hotel, project manager Dylan Green said. David Johnston and Peter and Aimee Frazier bought the property at the end of September 2016 and were working on the remodel until the May opening. The partners were drawn to the hotel because of its ideal proximity to downtown, the Bellingham International Airport, and the Columbia neighborhood. “We are very proud of our community. We want to show it off,” Green said.
The hotel has 17 rooms and a choice of seven different layout styles. Each room features clean lines, white, grey, and orange accents, and a hand-carved tree coat rack. The decor of the rooms is inspired by the Pacific Northwest environment, Green said. The grey represents the granite that is found at Mount Baker and the orange pops of color symbolize the infrequent, yet lively sunlight of the region. In addition to the modern Pacific Northwest vibe, Green said the decor is true to the 1950s style of the original building. Beyond the guest rooms, the hotel includes a community space named The Hub, complete with comfortable seating, a fireplace, and coffee bar.
While the decor of the hotel is enchanting, the partners’ and staffs’ commitment to showcasing Bellingham is what sets the hotel apart. “We welcome guests to Bellingham and give them keys to the county,” Green said. All the partners live in and know the area, Green said, and they strive to connect guests to whatever adventure they are seeking. Whether it is advice about the best hiking trails, ski runs, or brews, staffers are eager to answer questions and inform visitors. The small scale of The Heliotrope Hotel enables the partners to pay attention to detail and form intimate relationships with each guest, Green said. “We want to show off what Bellingham has to offer.