Washington’s Coolest New Hotel is in an Old Junior High School
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Washington’s Coolest New Hotel is in an Old Junior High School

Anderson School Hotel
McMenamins Artist Rendering

It’s got pinball machines and a tiki bar, too.

At one abandoned Seattle area junior high school, there’s a brewery in the woodshop, a concert venue in the gymnasium, a tiki bar by the swimming pool, another small bar in the principal’s office — and a boutique hotel right on premises. Late last week, McMenamins Anderson School opened its doors, becoming the largest of the Portland-based McMenamins chain’s hipster-magnet hotel and entertainment complexes.

Sprawled out across 5.41 acres in Bothell, about 13 miles north of Seattle, the McMenamins Anderson School offers an insane array of amenities well beyond your typical hotel. Artwork spans the hallways, while a movie theater screens The Martian. You can also grab drinks, popcorn, burgers, and more at a bar in the movie theater lobby that can be delivered while you watch the film.

According to the Seattle Times, Mike and Brian McMenamin created this hotel complex within an already existing school building from 1931. As with their other properties that tend to crop up in historic buildings, the brothers researched the history of the building and fit their hotel plans to match. The only new building on the Anderson School site is The Shed, a cozy little classic cocktail-focused bar inside what might look like an equipment shed were it not for the wood-burning fireplace and chandelier lighting.

In the great Portland tradition of eating and drinking well, the McMenamins Anderson School is no slouch when it comes to its bars and restaurants. The Tavern on the Square restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the school’s former cafeteria, offering dishes from pizza to steak au poivre. The Woodshop serves burgers, tater tots, and a list of the company’s own microbrews in a room filled with pool tables and pinball machines. And, beyond the tiki drinks, the North Shore Lagoon has a tropical-themed menu with noodle dishes and a Thai-Dyed Dragon sandwich.

Though this hotel is clearly designed to bring in Seattleites looking for a quirky night out, hotel guests benefit even more from these amenities, which also include a pet-friendly policy and designated swimming hours just for guests. When booking, be sure to check out the lodging packages with options like the Beer 101, which includes your room, two trays of six McMenamins beer tastings each, and a growler fill of your choice of beer. It’s a much more fun way to go to school.

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