. The University Motel - comfort, compassion at University of Washington : Budget Travel Adventures

The University Motel – comfort and compassion at the University of Washington

Fall leaves Seattle University of Washington

Fall leaves on the University of Washington campus

Taking the train from the airport to downtown, the Fall leaves decorated the Seattle skyline like ornaments on a Christmas tree.  It was early November and I was excited.  Even though I love Fall, I wasn’t here for the colorful panorama of Seattle’s Fall foliage.

This weekend kicked off the first stop in the inaugural College Football Travel Tour.

The Washington Huskies and Oregon Ducks were playing in the last game at Husky Stadium before stadium renovations would close it down for the next season.  So I wanted to spend the weekend checking out the tailgating, the football game, the campus, and the Ave.

The University of Washington seemed miles away from downtown Seattle but this college community made a great first impression.  While I was in town for the big game between Washington and Oregon, my hotel made quite an impression as well.

A place of comfort and compassion at the University of Washington

University Motel Suites University of Washington SeattleBuilt in 1960 for the World’s Fair, the University Motel has served the University of Washington community for decades.

Located on 12th Ave NE, the motel is just a few blocks from campus and UW’s medical center.  Originally opened as an apartment, the university hotel now offers suites for the price of a hotel room.  However, this just isn’t just a hotel.  For many people, this is a place they call home.


When checking into the University Motel, this place felt different.  Located in a quiet neighborhood behind the university, I loved the vibe.  The University Motel wasn’t fancy and showed its age.  However, this place had soul and character.

Walking down the hallway to check in, I felt like I was entering someone’s home.

I was.

Chad and Emily run the University Motel.  When checking in, they welcome you from the comforts of their home.  The sound of kids and family life echo from behind the counter where their apartment is located.

The same family has owned this hotel from the beginning.  Chad and Emily have lived here for a number of years.  For them, this isn’t just a place they work – it’s their home.  They are personable and friendly and do their best to make it feel like home to guests as well.

Checking into my one bedroom apartment, I checked out the kitchen, living room, and bedroom.  The decor was a little old but most of the furnishings were updated.  I didn’t mind the pink, yellow, and turquoise colors from the 70s and 80s since the beds and most of the kitchen appliances were new.

The living room was quite spacious and the bedroom was comfortable.  Free WiFi and a comfortable kitchen table re-created my home work environment.  Expanded cable with HBO provide plenty of TV entertainment options.

Ninety percent of business for the motel comes from the University of Washington Medical Center and Children’s hospital or the University of Washington.  While many football fans and campus visitors are excited to be in town, this can be a tough situation for those staying here to visit kids or people at the medical centers.

Since this is his home, Chad listens to the stories of the people.  Wild parties and loud guests aren’t tolerated.  However, compassion and sensitivity to guests are a welcome feature.

For those that are visiting the Medical Center or Children’s Hospital, the University Motel provides a quiet, comfortable place that helps families relax.  They also offer a medical rate to make their stays even more affordable.

I spent a couple of hours listening to Chad talk about his family, life, the community, and why he enjoys working here.

One guest has called this place home for five years.  This place has been a temporary home to writers and students working on their thesis.  Staff and Buddhist retreats have been held here.  The deans of Chinese colleges come here to stay.  Chad has watched kids grow up as many of the same families return and bring gifts.

Eighty percent of guests are return visitors.  First time visitors like me love the size of the apartments and the affordability of the place.  However, a few days here made me realize this is more than just a hotel.

The University Motel – rates and features

University Motel living room

living room in a one bedroom suite

The University Motel is located on 4731 12th Avenue Northeast in Seattle, just a few blocks from campus and the UW Medical Center.

The University Motel has 21 rooms – 1 Studio (510 sq feet), a 2 bedroom (850 sq feet), and 11 1 bedroom – six with queens while the rest have 1 to 3 beds with a queen or king.

Rates – Range from $82 to $122 (up to 6 people) in late Fall, Winter, and Spring, $96 to $128 in Summer/Fall.

Medical rate of $76 for those visiting the UW Medical Center and Children’s Hospital.

Extended stay rates – $485 a week (including tax), $1500 a month in late Fall/Winter/Spring; $625 a week (including tax), $2000 monthly in Summer/Fall.  Each additional person is $20 per month.

Features – Free Wifi, free parking, expanded cable and HBO, fully equipped kitchen, 1 to 3 Queen beds in each suite, Full bath with shower, children under 12 stay free.

With only 21 rooms, rooms go quickly and are often sold out.  Get more information and make your reservation at University Motel Suites.

 A place to call home at the University of Washington

For Chad, Emily, and their kids, this is home.  For a few days at the University of Washington, this felt like home for me.

If you are visiting the University of Washington for a football game, a campus tour, or just to check out college life and the community, the University Motel is an affordable, comfortable accommodation.  If you want a place in a quiet neighborhood, the University Motel is one of the best options in the city.

While I enjoyed the University Motel, this may not be the right option for everyone.  The style and décor aren’t very modern.  This isn’t a luxury hotel which offers a lot of services and high end amenities.  However, it’s much more than just a hotel.

As a budget traveler, I tend to recommend places that are affordable and save people money.  However, this place also offers comfort, compassion, kindness, and helpful people like Chad and Emily.  Those are priceless features that I highly recommend.

Check out more stories from the University of Washington included my interview with University of Washington campus tour guides and a look a Greek life.

University Motel kitchen University of Washington


University Motel bedroom University of Washington


University Motel living room University of Washington

living room and TV

University Motel bathroom University of Washington

a clean, functional bathroom from the 70s


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Filed Under: College Football Travel TourDestinationsUniversity of WashingtonUSA


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  1. That’s awesome that the owners were so friendly! Great rate and free wifi sold me!!

    • Some of the nicest people I’ve met at a hotel. They really care about the people that stay there. While the decor was a little old, it was more apartment than hotel and very affordable!

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