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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Hotel Elliott more than a comfy bed

The Spokesman-Review

America’s bedrooms must be outfitted with concrete slabs or piles of rocks. There’s no other way to account for the hotel industry’s sudden application of the humble bed as a marketing cudgel.

Here’s a description of Westin Hotels’ “Heavenly Bed”: “An oasis of plush comfort” promising “blissful comfort” and a “meringue-topped look.”

The Hotel Elliott in Astoria, Ore., has jumped in with “Wonderful Beds,” complete with 440-count Egyptian cotton sheets, goose down pillows and custom duvet covers.

A bed’s no longer a place to sleep, a natural expectation when a person takes a room for the night. No, sir. It’s an expression of your inherent value as a human being. It’s a spa, a sanctuary and a carnival ride all rolled into one.

If the Wonderful Bed is anything like the rest of the recent $4 million renovation at Hotel Elliott, I’m sure it’s very nice. It’s just that I have a perfectly nice bed at home.

What I don’t have at home, however, is a tour of Hollywood movie locations. Not a single major motion picture features any part of my house.

For an extra $30, Hotel Elliott sends guests off with a local movie expert to visit the Astoria Column, waterfront shops and the Astoria-Megler bridge, all seen in “The Ring 2.”

Walk in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s footsteps near the school where “Kindergarten Cop” was filmed, and reminisce about some of the great moments from “The Goonies,” “Short Circuit” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III.”

You can also stop by the harbor, Keiko’s set during the making of “Free Willy” and its sequel.

The tour takes you to the restored Liberty Theater, a 1920s vaudeville-motion picture venue and one of 12 targets of the national “Save America’s Treasures” program. Clark Gable made his stage debut there.

Frankly, that means more to me than the house from “The Goonies.”

After your tour, enjoy all the splendor $4 million can buy back at the hotel.

Built as a 68-room lodging in 1924 – sometimes referred to as a flophouse – Hotel Elliott has taken the boutique route, decreasing the number of rooms to 32 and increasing the swank factor throughout. The five-room presidential suite, for instance, comes with marble foyer, music room, fireplace and rooftop garden.

Downstairs, continue your tribute to Schwarzenegger in the hotel’s cigar lounge. There’s an underground wine bar, too, with decor inspired by “Casablanca.”

Rates start at $149 for high season and end at $650 for the presidential suite. To make reservations, call (877) 378-1924 or visit

Cave B or not Cave B?

This is my dilemma:

Do I have a responsibility to tell you about another inviting new hotel, or do I have a nobler duty to protect the world from people who make up irritating alternate spellings for words that are perfectly serviceable as they are?

Oh, what difference does it make?

The recently opened Cave B Inn at SageCliffe, a winery resort in Quincy, Wash., overlooks the Columbia River on 550-acre grounds that include the vineyards and orchards of Cave B Estate Winery.

Three of the hotel’s rooms are in the main lodge and 12 cavern rooms are built directly into the basalt cliffs. The remaining 15 are standalone “Cliffehouses.”

Or, if you prefer – and I do – cliff houses.

Cave B’s restaurant, Tendrils, pairs regional cuisine with wines grown and bottled right there on site and other local wines as well. The inn also offers wine tasting, wine education opportunities and culinary demonstrations.

The SageCliffe part of the name refers to a place “where the environment and the greatness of man’s creative achievements in the arts and sciences are inspired and celebrated.”

I don’t know what that means either.

But I do know they envision a 500-acre retreat with a hilltop village, an additional lodge, artists’ studios, indoor and outdoor theaters, an equestrian center, galleries and more, “all built to complement the natural environment.” The whole development will take several years to complete.

Summer rates at the inn run from $195 to $275, although on concert weekends at The Gorge Amphitheatre they bump that up to $295 to $425.

Red riders

Not one to take a lousy winter lying down, Red Resort in Rossland, B.C., is ramping up for summer fun in its new bikepark.

DevineRIDE mountain-bike camps package skills instruction, technical seminars and rides on trails accessed by ski lift. A co-ed camp for riders over 12 is scheduled for July 15-17, and a women’s-only camp (also for those over 12) runs Aug. 5-7.

Friday night’s welcome soiree combines drinks and appetizers with bike fitting and maintenance workshops. Saturday and Sunday mornings, you’ll work on skills and you’ll practice what you’ve learned in the afternoon. Sunday night, toast your success at the wind-up party in the base lodge.

The course costs $209 Canadian without lift tickets and $245 with. Prices don’t include sales tax.

Make reservations at (877) 969-7669 or get more information at

Regional events

•Arlington Northwest EAA Fly-In, July 6-10, Arlington, Wash. The Northwest Experimental Aircraft Association hosts its 37th annual air show of warbirds, ultralights, balloons, antiques and more. (, 360-435-5857)

•Artists and Craftsmen of the Flathead Summer Outdoor Show, July 8-10, Kalispell, Mont. As many as 100 booths with pottery, wood crafts, needlework, paintings, jewelry and other crafts. (, 406-881-4288)

•Lavender Hills Farm Festival, July 9, Marysville, Wash. This family-run farm grows 20 varieties of lavender and a total of more than 1,500 plants. Pick up a supply of lavender soap, lavender-flavored tea, lavender honey, lavender bath salts and on and lavender on. (, 360-651-2086)

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