by Joanna Nesbit
Paradise Inn offers families an up-close experience of Mt. Rainier. Located next door to the Jackson Visitor Center, the 100-year-old inn features 121 rooms, an elegant dining room, and a beautiful lobby with large sofas, fireplaces, and a piano. The important thing to keep in mind if staying here is many rooms are small, with either a private bath or shared bath facilities down the hall. Families will want to book rooms in the “Annex,” where two-room configurations with an adjoining bathroom offer more space. Cribs are available. No available television or Wi-Fi, but you’re here for the yesteryear ambiance, anyway.
The lodge’s dining room serves a daily breakfast buffet, lunch, and dinner and includes a kids’ menu for 10 and under. The Tatoosh CafÃ© also serves up take-out sandwiches and salads. Guests mingle in the spacious historic lobby, which provides live piano performances and an afternoon tea service. Probably the biggest perk, besides the historic ambiance here, is the evening and morning access to the trails right outside the door before the day’s visitors arrive. But budget-conscious families may find the limited dining options a challenge.
Open from mid-May to early October only.
Our Editor Loves
- Historic inn
- Views of Mt. Rainier
- Next door to Jackson Visitor Center
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Onsite Dining
We arrived relatively late. The 3 hour drive from Seattle was simply stunning. We drove through miles and miles of pine forest without seeing a soul. We then emerged into the alpine scenery and our jaws dropped when we saw mirror lake. We didn’t get to the inn until about 7pm and found a parking spot right in front of the inn. I’d booked all my accommodation months ago and so was a bit alarmed when they couldn’t find my reservation. I didn’t fancy that wonderful 3 hour drive down a mountain in the dark! No problem, the receptionist said, we hold a room back just in case of such emergencies. They had no internet for me to check my email but she helpfully said I could get it at the visitor centre. I checked and there was no confirmation. I have no idea what went wrong. Before each stay I’d double checked the reservation, I was so comfortable with the rest of our trip working so smoothly that I didn’t bother for our last night. In a way I’m glad I didn’t as we wouldn’t have driven all that way and stayed at such a wonderful place.
The room we were allocated was right behind reception, so very easy to get to. I didn’t think we were in any position to be fussy, but we didn’t need to be. The room was perfect. I thought it might be noisy but it was one of the quietest of our stay. I think we lucked out as I thought I’d reserved an annex room and those sound like they are much smaller.
We ate dinner and breakfast in the dining room. This was probably the low point. Encouraged by the excellent cooking in the PNW I was expecting something good from my salmon, but it was virtually cremated, as was the dried out tinned sweet corn that accompanied it. No idea how a kitchen can produce something quite so dreadful. Our server was wonderful though. Breakfast was tolerable. The coffee shop was very good with nice table to sit outside and enjoy the sunshine and views.
We took a wonderful walk the next day. The sun was shining and the scenery simply gorgeous.
I absolutely loved mount rainier and the paradise inn. I think it helped that we arri
Warning: Users who book reservations for lodging within the National Parks system should be aware of the “fine print” on the non-government "National Parks Reservations" website – noting that they charge a 10% nonrefundable “service fee” for all reservations. This is a private travel service – it is NOT affiliated with the National Park Service. Other than a tiny notice in light gray italic font on their home page denoting the 10% fee, there is no other notification either in their reservation request form nor in their confirmation email. You won’t even know that you were charged the 10% fee until you get your next credit card statement. For most lodging at National Parks, there are other websites that provide DIRECT RESERVATIONS through the government-contracted vendors for the lodging – that do not charge this 10% fee.