The Paradise Inn is located in
Mt. Rainier National Park.
If your clients’ idea of paradise involves majestic snow-capped
peaks and acres of wilderness ripe for exploration, tell them about
Washington’s very own Paradise, a destination on the south slope of
Mount Rainier. There, at the 5,400-foot elevation, a historic
accommodation is getting a major makeover while a new visitor
center goes up next door.
Located in Mt. Rainier National Park, Paradise Inn is one of the
Northwest’s oldest mountain resorts, and for decades it has served
as a starting point for climbers planning to ascend 14,410-foot Mt.
Rainier. Built in 1916 and open since July 1917, the National
Historic Landmark features massive timbers and glacial boulders
that blend with the natural surroundings. Its distinctive
appearance and setting have drawn the likes of President Harry
Truman, who played a few tunes on the inn’s rustic piano during a
surprise visit in 1945.
Paradise Inn can only operate from May through September,
closing during the winter months when an average of 630 inches of
snow falls in the Paradise area, earning it the nickname of the
snowiest place on earth.
Aware of the toll that such harsh elements take on the building
itself, the National Park Service decided to shutter the property
during the 2006 and 2007 seasons for a multi-million-dollar
rehabilitation. Much of the emphasis has been on upgrading the
structural components and modifying fire protection systems.
Repairs are under way in the dining room and lobby, and
handicap-accessible rooms have been planned for the main floor
adjacent to the lobby.
When it reopens this May, the lodge will offer 121 guestrooms,
said Mt. Rainier guest services spokesperson Pam Newlun.
“The sizes of the inn’s accommodations vary due to the historic
nature of the overall property,” said Newlun. “Some rooms still
share baths just as they did when the first guests arrived in 1917.
In their rooms, clients will find old hickory-style furniture, and
our exclusion of in-room televisions or telephones ensures a
peaceful and relaxing stay.”
The inn is surrounded by stunning
scenery and miles of hiking trails.
The inn lays claim to a 50- by 112-foot great hall with massive
stone fireplaces at each end and distinctive furniture handcrafted
out of Alaska cedar. In the equally impressive dining room, up to
200 people can savor such celebrated dishes as Bourbon Buffalo
Meatloaf while enjoying the ambience and warmth of a massive stone
fireplace. Clients might want to time their visit so they can try
the inn’s popular weekly brunch, offered from the last Sunday in
May until the last Sunday in September. Additional amenities
include a small post office, gift shop known for its Native
American crafts and cafe serving soups, sandwiches, beverages and
Along with the rewarding experience of staying in one of the
great lodges of the West, Paradise Inn provides clients with a
central location for exploring Mt. Rainier National Park and the
miles of hiking trails just outside the front door. Guests are
greeted with majestic panoramas of Mount Rainier and nearby
Nisqually Glacier, while flowering meadows surround the lodge.
During the summer, clients can go horseback riding, hiking, biking
and fishing, while winter attracts downhill and cross-country
skiers, snowboarders, snowshoers, sledders and snowmobilers.
While construction continues on the inn, crews are building a
new Paradise Visitor Center adjacent to it. Slated for completion
in August, with exhibits installed in October, the
22,000-square-foot center will embrace displays, a book and gift
store, food service and an informative film.
According to National Park Service spokesperson Lee Taylor, the
visitor center aims to provide guests with background about the
geology and plant and animal life of Mt. Rainier.
“The new visitor center has been designed to fit in harmoniously
with the National Historic Landmark District that encompasses the
inn as well as many other roads and buildings in the park,” said
Taylor. “Like other buildings in Paradise, it has a steep-pitched
roof necessary for shedding heavy snowfall. It matches the feel of
the area in terms of its use of wood and stone, and it has large
windows to showcase the spectacular views.”
As Paradise Inn celebrates its 90th year, clients should set
aside a date to pay a visit to this lofty landmark once it has
reopened. It may just turn out to be their Paradise Found.
The inn is already taking reservations for its May 2008
reopening. Estimated nightly rates are $150 for a room with a
private bath and $109 for shared bath.
Commission: 5 percent