The Chrysalis Inn & Spa is so quintessentially Bellingham that Whatcom County residents frequently vacation here. Locals celebrating anniversaries, birthdays, and staycations of every kind enjoy the sparkling bay and close proximity to wine bars, restaurants, trails and stunning sunsets.
The hotel is still under the local ownership of Mike Keenan, but recently changed one small thing. “To patrons, the only thing they’ll notice is that now they can enjoy membership rewards from Hilton properties,” says Chris Caldwell, director of sales and marketing at the Chrysalis Inn.
Guests now have the opportunity to take advantage of all that Hilton has to offer. The Hilton Honors program gives discounts and benefits to loyal members at beautiful locations around the world—and even here Bellingham.
Now, when you want to take a staycation or book your visiting parents into a room with a view, you can also collect Hilton Honors points. Enjoy the benefits of visiting a large-name hotel, while keeping the quaint, boutique atmosphere that locals have come to know and love.
“The reservation system has switched over to the Hilton’s, says Caldwell. Everything else stays the same, including the spa and Keenan’s at the Pier.”
“The Hilton Curio is a brand that focuses on unique properties like ours, not the typical cookie-cutter hotels,” says Caldwell. “Curio is a boutique brand for the traveler that wants a unique experience.”
Owner Mike Keenan was already familiar with the Hilton properties before he joined the Curio group; he and his brothers own Hilton properties in Nebraska. When he was approached about making this one a Curio property, he knew what to expect and welcomed the idea.
After joining the Hilton Curio group, the Chrysalis saw a significant increase in their number of weekday visitors.
“Our goal was to increase the business travelers, and that’s what it has done,” says Caldwell. “We’ve always been known for the romantic weekend getaway and leisure travel. Now we’re a business destination, too.”
Weekday travelers often weren’t aware of the Chrysalis, because of its small size and independent ownership.
The Hilton name and marketing opened up a new avenue to increase the number of weekday bookings. After only one month bearing the Hilton name, the Chrysalis has already seen a major uptick in business—so significant that they plan to hire more staff.
“We’re much more exposed to so many people now,” says Caldwell. “It’s just amazing.”
The Chrysalis also recently underwent a facelift. “We had all the remodeling already in the works,” Caldwell says of the updates to the hotel’s 45 rooms.
“We used our same designer that we used when we first opened in 2001. She refreshed everything with that modern, rustic Pacific Northwest feel,” says Caldwell. “The hard pieces are still there—the slate in the bathrooms, the granite, the hard wood floors—but she updated the furnishings.”
As a Curio brand for Hilton, the Chrysalis is still allowed freedoms to remain the charming, locally owned boutique hotel they are, without losing character. “It’s all very subtle,” says Caldwell. “We still get to be independent—and we want to be, because we’re so well known in the local community.”
“We think it’s a great advantage to our guests,” she continues. “A lot of them are already members of the Hilton Honors program, so it’s just another benefit that they get from staying here.”
So far, the feedback has been fantastic. People love the new look of the rooms, the water views, and the proximity to the trails and town.
The train can be a challenge for light sleepers, and the hotel makes new guests aware on its website about the nightly train noise, so they can decide if it’s a good choice for them. Some travelers love it; the sound of the train can be nostalgic and comforting.
“The view, the restaurant and the spa all on one property make us totally unique to Bellingham,” says Caldwell. “Nobody else has all of those elements.”
The Chrysalis Inn & Spa
804 10th Street in Bellingham