Orcas Island: Family Friendly at the Resort At Deer Harbor

 In Hotels, USA

The resort is nestled between hills and other islands around Deer Harbor

I had finally done it. I bought a weekend hotel deal from LivingSocial Escapes. We had been aching to go to Orcas Island just north of Seattle for years. This was our push to actually do it. I couldn’t wait to book our stay.

The one problem with a deal on LivingSocial and Groupon is that a whole lot of other people are excited and buy it along with you. They all want to get a great weekend out of their trip too. This makes getting the days you want pretty tough, so be flexible. I had 2 weekends in mind this summer, but the earliest they could squeeze us in was October. No worries, who doesn’t like to see Fall colors?

Giant starfish crept along the harbor floor near our suite

Booking the Deal

The hotel deal I bought was for the Resort at Deer Harbor. I knew nothing about the place but the photos looked great. Thinking back, this was probably not the best way to pick a hotel, but that’s a story for another post. I remember panicking a few days before we left that the place would be a dump. Happily it was not.

My communication with the resort was wonderful from start to finish. My emails were answered the same day by the on site management. The reservation agent was not on sight, but she tried her best to accommodate us. Friendly reservation agents really can set the tone for a trip, so I was very grateful for her help.

Unfortunately in order to get a weekend before next year we did have to down grade our room. We had bought the deal for a Deluxe Cottage (600 sq ft, 3 sided fireplace, King-sized bed, bathroom with jetted tub/shower and hot tub on deck.) We ended up with a Junior Waterfront Suite (large suite over another suite, queen-sized bed, fireplace, sitting room, shower, hot tub on deck.) We went from what the resort considers a $$$ room to a $ room, but I did not know that at the time.

Relaxing on the big bed while playing with mama’s phone. Cell service was not so great on this part of the island.

The Need for a Web Site Upgrade

The one bad thing about the booking experience is the web site. It shows the amenities the resort offers (pool, grills, etc.) but no detailed descriptions about the cottages and suites. There are also no prices. I found this very irritating as I tried to work with the reservation agent to figure out a comparable room for our stay. I cannot blame her; she can only work with what the Wyndham corporation, who now owns the resort, gives her. She did the best she could with what she had.

Our Suite

Web site and downgrades aside, the resort really was lovely and perfect for traveling families. The views of Deer Harbor from our room and the marina docks was for lack of a better term, peace inspiring. It just made my mind go blank as I looked at the natural beauty around me.

Our suite opened up into a very large bedroom with a television, which we never did end up using. The small sitting area was the perfect place to set up Dek’s pack n’ play so he could be mostly in the dark and we could stay up reading without disturbing him.

Dek’s alcove was separate from our bed, the kitchen and bathroom, making it much easier to enjoy a quiet night of reading and munching on sorbet

The kitchen was on the other end of the suite and featured a small fridge, coffee maker and a microwave. The bathroom only had a shower, but it was large and had a heater in it, which I loved. Nothing is worse than stepping out of a shower into a cold room. Brrrrr!

The heat in the room worked very well, sometimes too well. We kept it at a steady 65 degrees, which was like kicking the heat up to 75 at our house. There is definitely something to be said for heating smaller spaces. I hate to be cold, so I was happy as a clam after a long, chilly day wandering around the island.

There was no daily maid service, but if you needed new towels or anything at all you just had to call the front desk or swing by the lobby. They didn’t bat an eye when we asked for another towel for our room. They even gave me a warm chocolate chip cookie when I picked it up. No hassle and chocolate? It’s like these people knew me personally.

Our cottage was on the second floor of a larger suite, just off of the water. The lobby, pool, grills and other cottages were just a short walk down the road from our suite and the marina.

Resort Amenities

The layout of the resort was pretty spread out. Cottages dotted a hill near the lobby, while a few more cottages and suites (ours included) were just a short walk down the road by the marina. The heated outdoor swimming pool (only open in summer) was right outside the lobby. Grills were sprinkled around the patio for guests to enjoy. Plastic ware and plates were available on the back deck so you didn’t even have to worry about bringing your own. If you were up for a movie you could rent a disc for $1. Not bad considering the nearest video rental store we saw was in Eastsound and I would assume you had to be a member to take out DVDs.

Cribs were also available for traveling families. We opted to bring our own, but if you were flying in or just didn’t want to pack one, it would be very convenient. Since Dek was the only kid we saw during our stay, I’d say your odds were pretty good of getting one if you reserved it.

The Staff

The staff continued to make our stay a very pleasant one. We rent houses or condos so much when we travel these days that I forget what it is like to have someone to help you. When we were arriving after the lobby closed, the manager assured me they could put an envelope on the door with a map pointing us to our room. We were able to sneak quietly into our suite after midnight and crash as soon as we got there without making phone calls or disturbing anyone.

A filling spread at the complimentary breakfast helped save us a little money and get us the door and exploring the island much quicker than a formal restaurant.

At the resort’s complimentary breakfast (8am-10am), the front desk woman entertained Dek with her bubble screen saver. She also stopped him from running out the door a few times while I tried to gulp down my bowl of cereal and glass of juice. When the staff looks at your child as a blessing and an adorable addition to the place and not as a nuisance, I am a very happy guest.

Not a bad morning on the marina dock near the lobby (yes, this is a color image, not black and white. No manipulation was done to make it look this way)

Lessons Learned

In hindsight, I should have called the hotel a week or two before we headed up to see if there were any cancellations so we could get back into a Deluxe Cottage. Our second night in the suite, Dek had trouble going down. He was jumping in his pack n’ play making a lot of noise. It was only 8pm, but we still got a phone call from the guests staying below us. They politely told me they could hear us. I could tell they felt very awkward while I apologized profusely. They said they understood since their kids had once been young too. I could understand that they just wanted us to know that if it happened late at night, they could still hear us (my understanding was not so great in the moment as I grumbled in my head, but reason did dawn on me in the end.)

With a cottage, we would have not had to worry as much about noise we made. If Dek woke up crying with sore teeth, from a nightmare or just scared in a new place, our stress levels would have been a little lower. Thankfully we did not have to deal with any of this on our trip, but it is always a possibility.

I have to say I also wish I’d had that Jacuzzi tub. Dek is fine with showers, but a nice relaxing soak with a book at the end of a long day sounds like heaven. Next time we will push for a cottage, not a suite.

Definitely not the worst hotel view you could have

Know Before You Go

  • Rooms start at $125-$165 (at the $ level) depending on the size and type of room.
  • Suites and Cottages can be anywhere from $ up to $$$$$
  • Rates change depending on the time of year, holidays and day of the week even. When you call reservations, let them know what you are looking for and see if they can find something that can fit your budget
  • Check out the Resort at Deer Harbor Facebook page for specials and deals
  • Lobby is open from 8am-8pm. If you have a late arrival, you must call or email ahead to make sure you get into your suite or cottage
  • The resort is pet-free and smoke-free
  • No free internet or wi-fi, but you could access it through a secondary provider
  • Cell service was not the best in Deer Harbor, but got better in Eastsound
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Showing 2 comments
  • Lisa

    Sounds like a great resort for families!

  • D Murphy

    Hi Keryn, that resort sounds really family friendly which is great but do you struggle to find hotel accommodation with 3 kids?

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