an abundance of western light
An Abundance of Western Light

The Garden Room consists of a 10′ x 12′ bedroom and the original bath to the mansion, with an antique clawfoot soaking tub and Victorian rainshower. For those who plan to be out and about most of the time or spending their relaxation time on the wraparound porch or in front of the fire in the downstairs parlor, the Garden Room is a great way to experience Victorian opulence while leaving much in the wallet for an evening’s meal and a glass of wine.

Two large western-facing windows in the bedroom, another large window in the bath and 9 1/2′ high ceilings throughout give a feeling of airiness and space – lots of light. On the 2nd floor of the mansion, the Garden Room overlooks the side garden, with a large Japanese maple tree just outside. The queen bed, dresser and armoire are a 1920’s vintage mother-of-pearl bedroom set brought over from England, the bedding is vintage-inspired velvets and fringe in warm brown tones, designed by a local artist. The bookshelves are filled with vintage reads and fun regional texts, such as a book identifying bird eggs and another on woodland fairies. Originally the children’s room, plate rail which once held children’s books and toys now houses a collection of local vintage theatre photos and art.

The Perfect Mix of Rich Colors and Quietude
The Perfect Mix of Rich Colors and Quietude

The editor at Travel & Leisure said when touring Chinaberry Hill that you can tell much about an establishment by looking at its smallest, simplest accommodation–apparently the less expensive rooms are often over-looked and corners are cut when it comes to decor and ambiance of the more economic rooms. She said it was clear that we took the same care in creating wonderful spaces in the Garden Room and Hayloft Suite that we did in our larger multi-room grand suites.

She also pointed out that we had clearly put as much into our rooms, both dollar and emotional impact-wise that we had invested into our “lobby” and common guest areas – another sign of hospitality excellence we are told. Of course, we didn’t even consider doing it any other way, but it was fun to learn about travel writers’ tips and secrets when separating out clear winners from the wannabes.

Mother-of-pearl vintage bedroom set
Mother-of-Pearl Vintage Bedroom Set

Truth be told, we’ve spent far greater time selecting pieces for our smaller rooms to offset the built-in challenges of designing for a smaller space. Still, we are the first to tell anyone who asks – please do not look at photos of the expansive Pantages or Wild Rose Suite and believe that the smaller rooms will have the same emotional impact (after all, there is a reason why the rates for our “grand suites” are significantly higher).

Also we’ve found that it’s important to be aware of the size of your own bedroom – many contemporary homes have “master suites”. If your bedroom is 15×20′, it’s important to realize that you will notice the difference when you are standing in the Garden Room. But, when lounging on the thick velvet bedding, munching on one of our decadent chocolate chip cookies and watching one of your favorite movies, we think you’ll discover that bigger isn’t always better.

Luxurious Bedding by a Local Artist
Luxurious Bedding by a Local Artist

Yes, the Garden Room has a small view of the bay. No, it is not anything like the view from the Pantages Suite or wraparound porch – or even the Wild Rose. It’s more of one of those “Look honey, it’s blue! I think it’s the water” kind of things and only viewable standing next to the window. Still, if you’re like us, it’s fun to look out at a distant stretch of blue and know you are that close to the water and nature and all that the Pacific Northwest has to offer.

And then you think about Starbucks because the words “Pacific Northwest” conjures the image of Seattle and Seattle of course is inextricably linked to the mermaid sanctioned brew that had its modest start near Seattle’s working port. Well, mermaids and fishermen go hand in hand and you suddenly remember there’s a pretty good brew pub down on the waterfront with one of the best porters you’ve tasted in years, with definite chocolate and expresso overtones — and before you know it, you’ve got your jacket on and you’re heading down the stairs two at a time, feeling a lot younger than you did just moments ago (and the brain really does work that way).

Many return guests have made the Garden Room their Pacific Northwest abode year after year (some from as far away as England) – the room journal leaves a rich trail of such sojourners. So don’t be afraid to save a little travel money and luxuriate in the lightness of spirit that smallness has to offer.

Rates: $149/night, $139/night three+ nite stays. Single person, Tacoma hotel government rates, corporate rates, and extended stay discounts available as well.