It is hard to find the words to express just how atrocious was our stay at the Glacier Guest Suites. Having reviewed over 110 hotels for this site, I think I speak with some authority on what is outstanding, excellent, merely good, fair, poor and truly awful. This place deserves a new category of its own, squarely at the bottom.
Following a dark and rainy drive from Seattle, we came up the Mt. Baker Highway in possession of the “clear directions” to find the entrance to the property. Back and forth we drove only to discover the clear sign was deeply overgrown with weeds, without a light in sight, and no “hotel” anywhere to be seen. We should have turned around then, but we didn't.
Instead, tired travelers we were, we turned into the deeply potholed mud driveway and headed up, slowly. The potholes were so large and deep we had to navigate the car around them as if on some off-road expedition. After winding through the deep grasses and dank forest, past dreary sheds, abandoned rail cars and other industrial detritus, we eventually found first the main building and then, after several passes and flashlight searches, we discovered another overgrown sign pointing toward the “Retreat Unit.” Appropriately named, retreat is exactly what thinking person would have done at this point. Of course, we didn't.
Let’s be clear, the “Retreat Unit” is not a “room” or a “unit”, it is a shipping container. Yes, you read that correctly. And in case you are thinking, “Cool, I’ve seen those things beautifully repurposed in Dwell,” think again. In fact, think of a rusting, stained and banged-up hunk half- sheathed in moldy particle board that one might see languishing on the docks of Port Au Prince, cut in a few windows and a door with a torch, surround it with mud and weeds, and you have the “Retreat Unit.” I was finally ready to pack it in then and there but the GF, being the positive thinking, give-it-the-benefit-of-the-doubt doll that she is, insisted we head inside.
Would that it have been possible to have left my nose outside. Upon entering, the first thing we noticed was not the 2x4s propping up the sagging counter in the kitchen, nor the creepy faux-wood 70’s paneling. It wasn’t the magazine collection 10 years out of date left behind by a decade of victims, nor the red shag carpet and pleather couch adding to the overall horror-movie atmosphere. It wasn't the exposed wiring or even the temperature which was perhaps 2 degrees warmer than outside. No, the first thing that we noticed upon entering was the smell.
Smells are notoriously difficult to capture in words but try to conjure a combination of diesel fuel, ammonia, industrial cleaning solvents, toxic mold and exhaust and you’ll be getting close. It may have been the scary, open flame garage heater that warmed the place causing it, or possibly whatever they used to clean up the crime scene that perhaps preceded our stay? It may have simply been whatever carcinogenic chemical was transported in the container before the owners discovered it in some third-world cesspool and decided to turn it into a hotel. We’ll never know but we do know it never disapaited and by the morning, every article of fabric we made the mistake of bringing inside with us reeked of it; for days later.
I could tell you the bed was terrible. I could mention the dripping condensation covering every surface the following morning. I could show you a picture of the hairs sticking out of the scones left for us for breakfast. I could mention the GF’s “hot shower” which lasted all of 10 seconds before the water turned to glacier runoff. I could even ask myself for the 1000th time why did I pay $100 to spend this night of horror – a sum which is not only embarrassing, outrageous and unethical, but borderline criminal for this disaster. But why? I will never return to this nightmare and you should never even consider staying there. It was, without a doubt, the worst place I have ever paid spent the night.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- It's near Mount Baker, WA ... more less