Manresa Castle is a hotel crossed with a bed and breakfast. The castle itself is elegant but not extravegant. The squarish building is punctauated by a tower on the front corner. This old estate and former Jesuit monastery has a historic charm that is perfect for a romantic getaway.
The biggest plus is the friendly and knowledgeable staff. They were very helpful in providing tips for what to do and where to go to eat. They did a wonderful job explaining the history of the place. From the moment I called to the time I left, they were dependable and courteous.
The rooms and common areas are all decorated in a lovely Victorian style, reminiscent of Downton Abbey. Much of the architecture is original. Historical photos and blueprints decorate the hallways. The lounge features a bar that was built in the 1920's.
Another plus, is that it offers a great view of the bay (on a clear day you can see Vancouver) and the town. The hotel is a little bit away from the main town, which can be nice. But if you want something that is within walking distance of restaurants and shops, it's not that close.
Which brings me to some of the other drawbacks of Manresa Castle.
Most of the cons are just because Manresa Castle is an older building. They may not be cons if you are looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the modern world.
As of Februrary 2013, internet wasn't available in guest rooms. The staff indicated that it was going to be available in the near future.
There are no refirgerators in the rooms, so bring a cooler if you want to keep your own food. You'll have to get ice from the store across the street or borrow some from the kitchen downstairs. There are no ice machines in the hallways.
Also, the TV reception was poor and the climate control systems are not the most technilogically advanced.
Speaking of technology, using the elevator requires a host, so stairs are the main way to get up to the second and third floor.
Finally, you will be able to hear the other guests that are staying on your floor. The walls aren't that thick.
Manresa Castle fall in the middle to low end of the lodging spectrum for the surrounding hotel and B&B alternatives. Rooms prices depend on size and season. The most expensice rooms range from under $100 in the winter months to over $220 in the summer.
In the off-season there are ample rooms to stay in. And their "super-saver" rates are some of the best on the entire Peninsula. In February, we had the hotel almost entirely to ourselves. Plus, we were able to stay in the "Honeymoon" suite for a great price. The Honeymoon sweet offers views of the coean, and a colossal jacuzzi tub.
They also offer promotional rates from time to time.
There is a restaraunt, lounge, and banquet room. The restaraunt was formerly the library. The lounge was the smoking room. The banquet room was where the Jesuits held choir practice. They do host weddings and other celebrations. They can accommodate small to medium-sized parties.
Continental breakfast is served and features these scrumptions cookie-scone-cake delights that are perfect when paried with an Earl Grey tea.
Manresa Castle is not the most kid freindly place, and I don't think they allow pets.
You will likely take a Washington State Ferry to get there. Be sure to plan your trip with the ferry schedule in mind. Missing a ferry can mean up to an hour wait for the next one.
Charles and Kate Eisenbeis built the core of the building in 1892. Charles was the first mayor of Port Townesnd and a succesful businessman.
In 1925, after passing through the Eisenbeis lineage, it became a vacation place for nuns.
In 1927, the Jesuits took it over for a training college for their priests. They added a large wing for residences which is what became the primary rooms for the hotel.
It has been a hotel since 1968.
MYTHS AND LEGENDS
For those who love the creepy side of things, there are two prominent legends, neither have been confirmed. Both are attributed to a bartender from the hotel's earyl days.
One involves a woman who loved fancy things who jumped out the window after hearing that her husband was not returning from sea. Guests have reported jewelry disappearing, seeing a figure of a woman waiting in the window, and hearing a woman's voice.
The other story is that one of the priests hung himself in the attic. Guests who stay in the room below it claim to hear creaky noises and footsteps coming from above.
Port Townsend isn't far from Seattle.
It's not a bad base to explore the surrounding region. There are many great towns to visit including Port Angeles, Port Townsend, Sequim and Forks.
- Olympic National Park - including the turqoise Lake Crescent and popular hiking destination, Hurricane Pass. The hike to Marymere Falls is right off the road. It isn't very long, but there is a bit of an incline at the end. Just be sure to check weather reports.
- Local Wineries - The Olympic Peninsula Wineries offer several seasonal tasting events spotlighting various things to pair their wines with, like chocolate, cheese, and lavender. Thre are eight wineries that are within driving range.
- Fragrent Lavender fields are lovely when in bloom. The lavendar festival is held in July in nearby Sequim. Book reservations early because summertime is busy!
- Forks and La Push are a bit of a drive. But it might be worht a visit to see quiet towns that served as the inspiration of Stephanie Meyer's Twilight Series.
- Ferries. A ferry departs from Port Townsend to Coupeville.
- Port Townsend Brewery offers tours and a beer garden.
Manresa Castle overlooks the town of Port Townsend.