Back to Archives

I hope I have seen our future

If we build the Winthrop Hotel, they will come

Email Article Print Article Share on Facebook Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon

Hey Tacoma, I have seen the light, and this bright beacon of hope illuminated it’s way into my heart when I least expected it. This past weekend I was fortunate enough to accompany the husband to his company Christmas party, and in all places, Spokane. Yes, you heard me, Spokane. There has been a rivalry in the past with Tacoma and Spokane, for which one is the No. 2 and No. 3 city in the state. Let’s just say, it is time for Tacoma to step up to the plate.

I haven’t been to Spokane since about 1980, and honestly couldn’t think of a good reason to go back until now. The company my husband works for has many properties and a satellite office in Spokane, so about 20 employees and their spouses loaded into a vintage 1980s bus this past Saturday morning for the long haul over the pass.

The company party was at The Davenport Hotel. Not only was the party there, the company paid for our rooms at this not-so-ordinary hotel. It was magnificent. Built in 1914, The Davenport was touted as one of the finest hotels of its time. It eventually fell from grace and was closed in 1985. It was scheduled for demolition until a wealthy local couple bought the building and invested $38 million into the property. It re-opened in 2002 to again become the crown jewel of Spokane.

We stayed in the newer tower section of the hotel across the street from the original hotel. While lovely, it was a little over the top with its safari theme. Fake leopard skin and animal heads can go a long way. The Starbucks in the lobby made me feel quite at home. However, it is a good thing I don’t test a city’s greatness by the first dirty martini I order. Sadly, the young bartender at The Davenport Safari Room failed. You can’t have it all.

The lobby in the main hotel was spacious, tastefully decorated and very gilded. The ballrooms and public spaces were restored to their once glorious splendor. Photos from the original hotel lined the walls accompanied by stories and historical trivia. The Spokane Symphony was having their winter fund-raiser along the mezzanine with Christmas trees galore. It was magical.

Within two blocks of the hotel is the River Park Square Mall that opened in 1999. This is a real downtown mall with a Nordstrom, a Macy’s, a Gap, a Pottery Barn, etc., oh my. The hotel and tower boasts three restaurants and bars, a candy shop, spa and a Starbucks. We went out after the office party to one of the hotel bars, and it was jumping off the hook with locals and guests.

Does this ring any bells with you? Let me spell it out for you. According to the Prium Companies, The Davenport is the model and vision for Tacoma’s own Winthrop Hotel, and if it can come even close to its original beauty and grand presence, we will truly become the city I always knew we could be: a city with vibrancy. If we build it, they will come.

Individual citizens (including myself) and private companies have invested their time and money into downtown Tacoma while many other downtowns have folded or barely hang on. I had a vision five years ago of an amazing city on the verge of greatest. I am still waiting. Tacoma city government can’t even seem to wrap its head around our parking situation downtown.

Honestly, this whole experience boggled my mind. Isn’t Spokane supposed to be this dusty little industrial town in the middle of nothing and nowhere? Turns out it is more, so much more. It is a city that has found what it wants to be. It has an identity, something Tacoma still struggles for. Let’s not hide under a bushel basket. Let it shine, let it shine.

Eat out Tacoma. We need your love.

Sandee Glib has worked in the restaurant and hospitality industry for more than 12 years as a server, bartender, cook and owner. Her opinions are expressly her own and she is always right.

comments powered by Disqus