Friends, Food & Fun: Hotel Hotel Seattle

Friends, Food & Fun in Fremont:  A Weekend Getaway at  HOTEL HOTEL Seattle

Community-Based Travel Feature

Rekindle [ree-kin-dle]:   verb – to excite, ignite, stir up, or arouse anew.

“Our travelers want to experience the essence of a place they are visiting – through food, culture and its people. Over and over, our guests are looking for connection…  We don’t see that quest for connection and community changing at all.”  


On Valentine’s weekend, we decided it was time for some rekindling – a weekend away in a different place staying in a different space with different energy and different people.  Sometimes there is nothing better than a couple days’ out of your day-to-day life to rekindle your excitement and passion for all that is most important to you.

It didn’t take us long to decide where to go.  One of our favourite getaways is a trip down the I-5 to Seattle for a visit with an amazing PowHERhouse, Nancy Gambin, and her fun-loving and brilliant entrepreneurially-minded husband, Lee.  Nancy is a fellow Canadian from the East Coast who now calls the Emerald City home where she and Lee own and operate two accommodations – City Hostel Seattle in Belltown and Hotel Hotel in Fremont – and have recently re-opened a pub.  Both accommodations are unique upscale hostels and totally redefine the hostel experience as we know it.  The former is an art hostel, each room featuring a different local artist.  The latter is fun & funky space located in Fremont heritage about a 10-minute bus ride from downtown.


When I think about Nancy and Lee, a quote comes to mind, “Beside every great woman is a great man.

Now, whether than man is your father, brother, friend, mentor or mate, the strength and support a woman garners from such a relationship is very powHERful.  Intertwined into this travel tale, we’ll introduce you to this amazing couple and their mission.



PH:  As a couple, can you describe your Mission?  What would you most like women to know about the impact you are looking to make?

Our mission is to share inspiration through travel. We see this happen through the guests who inspire each other with travel experiences and stories, and the bonds that travel can forge. The hostel was created as a vehicle for this to happen.

The impact of what we have created is global – the effect and feelings that our guests experience, are taken home or to the next stop on their global adventure, and shared with others. I am not sure what women should know from this, other than if they crave the adventure, they should jump with both feet! It is very fulfilling to experience that connection, and adventure.

PH:  When you meet new people and experience new things, you learn more about yourself!


One of the things we love most about Hotel Hotel, our Fremont hideaway (besides its great location), is its simplicity.  

Simplicity… to help clear your mind, purge the non-stop busy-brain chatter and provide space to exhale, ground and remember life’s true priorities and pleasures…

Like great food!  Our Top #3 foodie adventures in Seattle:

  • Enjoying coffee and treats at The Flying Apron – a top-notch gluten-free, vegan bakery and cafe – just across the street from Hotel Hotel.
  • A walk along Lake Union through Gas Works Park all the way to the University District and our favourite vegan Thai lunch buffet, Araya’s Place.  It’s quite a walk, the buffet is earned!
  • Sunday Brunch at Local 360, a sustainable restaurant in the heart of Belltown whose emphasis is on local sourcing, with the majority of their ingredients falling within a 360-mile radius of Seattle.  It consistently pleases!


PH:  What is one of your favourite stories, memories or best advice received?

Nancy:  The best advice I ever received indirectly was to learn to let go.  You cannot control everything, you have to learn to roll with the punches.

Lee:  My best memory would be our very first guest, who arrived early, and helped us put his bed together!  A few years later, he came back to work with us, bringing his girlfriend along for the ride!

Nancy & Lee:  Our ultimate dream is expansion, branding the business, and making them all the best hostels we possibly can.


There’s something about ‘getting away’ that helps to rekindle not only romance but also creativity, energy and passion.  It’s so important to take mini-breathers from our busy lives to unwind, ground and take time for what and who is most important to us.  Both Ben and I enjoyed cozy writing time, drinking coffee, laughing, remembering and dreaming… It was perfect.  Highly recommended!


PH:  Describe what success looks like.  What is your success strategy in one sentence?

Success is a guest leaving, saying they had the most wonderful experience with us, and in Seattle.  Success strategy?  Follow your gut/heart, and work your ass off!

PH:  Biggest couple highlight in your career so far?

Having both our hostels recognized as top rated globally.


Community-Based Travel is hugely important to both Ben and I.  When we travel, we are looking to connect with the local community, have an authenticate experience of what it is like to live there, ask questions, learn something new, and if possible, contribute in some way.  Are we alone in this?  Do you feel the same?  PowHERhouse will be producing an upcoming travel series on Community-Based Travel* – featuring ‘local locations’, unique accommodations and venues, grassroots experiences, unique people and their stories, communities making a difference, and more… and we thought no better a place to start than with two people who have met a whole lot of travelers!


PH:  What are your thoughts on Community-Based Travel?  How has it shown up for you as hoteliers?  What is it that travelers want to experience?  And is that experience changing?

Community based travel is what our travelers are all about – they are coming into an unknown area to discover its culture and vibe.  Our travelers want to experience the essence of a place they are visiting – through food, culture and its people.  Over and over, our guests are looking for connection, to visit ‘local haunts’.  We don’t see that quest for connection and community changing at all.

Our weekend was the perfect blend of friends, food and fun – good conversation, an abundance of flavours, and taking time – without guilt – to enjoy activities that rekindle our passion… for each other and life!  Being happy, fulfilled and content is not something we can take for granted.  It doesn’t just magically happen – it takes cultivation and care.  Weekend getaways like the one we enjoyed at Hotel Hotel Seattle in Fremont are a must ~ and not just for Valentine’s ~ this is an value-conscious opportunity that any budget can afford.  

For the life experience we want to as a couple, we can’t afford not to.


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