Back to Travel

Staycation at a historic bed and breakfast

Explore Old Tacoma neighborhoods like a local

Its tile roof and cool white facade lend Mediterranean flair to the Villa Bed and Breakfast, originally the 1925 estate of early Tacoma merchant James McCormack. Photo courtesy the Villa Bed and Breakfast

Recommend Article
Total Recommendations (0)
Clip Article Email Article Print Article Share Article

Ever wonder what's behind the facades of all the Victorian and craftsman homes and mansions throughout North Tacoma, Old Town and the Stadium District? At a few of them, you can book a room and stay in a piece of Tacoma history for a day or two, allowing you to check out the area like a local. After all, you don't always need to leave town to get away from it all, or at least get a new perspective on your area. 

The Villa

When you choose the 1925 Italian Renaissance-style bed and breakfast known as the Villa (705 N. Fifth St.), you are stepping into a unique slice of Tacoma history. You may even end up laying your head down in the bedroom of the first owner, James McCormack. The Irish immigrant and pioneer merchant in early Tacoma was owner of McCormack Brothers Department Store.

When McCormack hired prominent architect Ambrose J. Russell to design the home, he incorporated Italian details they admired into the illustrious abode. The architect incorporated many Mediterranean elements into an expansive villa layout, which features large rooms and en suite bathrooms upstairs, and large living spaces and multiple verandas and patios on the main level.

Accommodations, all with Italian country décor, include the 800-square-foot Sorrento Suite, with Commencement Bay and mountain views from its many upper-floor windows and private deck. Or choose from a three-room suite, or several individual rooms, all with gas fireplaces, soaking or spa tubs, private patios and plush, antique four-poster beds.

The stately white stucco home and its lush green grounds are also used for weddings, parties and other events, according to the innkeepers, Toni and Martin Savol. Toni explained that many couples who get married at the Villa and stay for their honeymoons choose to return annually for their anniversary.

The Villa's proximity to restaurants, parks and theaters puts everything from Wright Park to the amenities and shopping in Stadium District all within an easy, shaded walk. Old Town and Ruston Way are a short jaunt away., 253.572.1157

Geiger Victorian Bed and Breakfast 

At Geiger Victorian Bed and Breakfast (912 N. I St.), the Victorian era is induced with floral prints and white lace curtains, among other period details retained or recreated in the home. Amenities include a European-style breakfast, which is accompanied by fresh-ground coffee, optionally served al fresco in the green garden courtyard.

Ohio-born Henry O. Geiger came to live in Tacoma in 1881. A prominent and profitable businessman, by 1889 Geiger built his lavish home, designed by architect R.L Robinson in a combination of Stick-Style and Queen Anne Victorian motifs. The result is the alluringly asymmetrical structure, featuring steeply pitched, uneven roof lines with protruding gables, all ornamented whimsically with sunburst placards and gingerbread shingles. 

Located in the North Slope Historic District, the residence is just a mile from the Tacoma Chinese Garden and Reconciliation Park on Ruston Way, below Old Town. That puts the home near the waterfront restaurant row on Ruston, or quaint bar, dining and coffee options along N. 30th St., 253.383.3504

Chinaberry Hill Inn

Respected travel guide Frommer's lists the Chinaberry Hill Inn (302 N. Tacoma Ave.) among its selection of Best Inns and Bed & Breakfasts in Washington state. Situated squarely in the Stadium Historic District, the grand 1889 Victorian mansion and carriage house property makes for a comfy and charming home base from which to explore the area.

The original owner of the estate, businessman Lucius R. Manning, had the grounds and gardens of his estate designed by Edward O. Schwagerl, who designed nearby Wright Park. The inn retains a small portion of the original parcel, still filled with evergreens, maples, cherry trees, ferns and roses.

Throughout the elegant inn, unique antiques add plenty of period charm. Extremely comfortable beds and welcoming hospitality complete the package, while the grounds of the home offer a garden retreat amidst the area's vibrant activity. Downtown shops, theaters, museums and restaurants are all within easy reach by foot, light rail and bike combinations, and Tacoma's Antique Row is mere blocks from this welcoming oasis., 253.272.1282

Read next close


Shakespeare in the Park

comments powered by Disqus

Site Search