Why You Need to Visit McMenamins Anderson School

Have you ever stayed at a hotel that was so welcoming and nice you wished could move in and live there forever? That was my experience at McMenamins Anderson School. 

Located in Bothell, WA

This beautiful hotel is located in Bothell, Washington, a cute town just Northeast of Seattle. The hotel was actually once a school, which dates back to the 1930s. The McMenamins team have transformed this former school into a fun place to stay, while still retaining the historic beauty of the school buildings, and honoring their memories. 

The campus has so much to offer! There are a few pubs, restaurants and bars, as well as a pool and even a theater.

Dining and Drinks

Brussels and Cauliflower appetizer at Tavern on the Square

The old cafeteria has been transformed into a casual, yet classy restaurant which goes by the name Tavern on the Square. The menu offers delicious snacks, as well as breakfast, lunch and dinner options. Be sure to try the Brussels & Cauliflower appetizer, it’s fantastic.

The Woodshop (which, you guessed it, was once the school’s woodshop) is a sports-bar style pub, with an expansive liquor and beer selection. There are also games! Keep yourself entertained all afternoon with shuffle board, pool tables, and pinball.

The Principal’s Office has been transformed into a cozy nook to enjoy a cocktail or beer, away from the hustle and bustle.

Painkiller: My favorite cocktail at The North Shore Lagoon

The North Shore Lagoon is my favorite spot on campus. The former swimming pool building has been transformed into a Polynesian-inspired tiki lounge. This dimly-lit moody bar will put you in an island state of mind, the décor is made of bamboo and reclaimed boats from all across the seas. The bar is home to a selection of more than 80 different rums, some of which are in their craft cocktails menu; my recommendation is to order the Painkiller, it’s tropical, but not over-the-top sweet. The food menu options are very different than what you’ll find on the rest of the campus, inspired by the Caribbean, Hawaiian and Southeast Asian cuisines. 

More Activities

The pool is open everyday for use! Feel free to take a relaxing swim in the luxuriously warm waters. This part of the building is open air, so if it’s raining you’ll get rained on, which (in my opinion) is part of the fun! The fresh air and chance-of-rain adds to the “tropics” vibe in this corner of the campus.  

There is even a movie theater on the grounds; which is a great way to spend a rainy afternoon. Before the show you can order drinks or snacks, which will conveniently be delivered to your table while you enjoy the the film.


Throughout the entire campus the light fixtures are captivating. The place is warmly lit with hundreds of gorgeous, antique, quirky and artistically crafted lamps and chandeliers. This lighting really sets the mood for a getaway from reality, it almost makes you feel like you are in another realm.

The buildings are all connected by a beautiful courtyard with lush gardens to wander through, and cozy fire pits to relax by. 

A tiny whiskey library is located in the courtyard, fittingly called “The Shed.” Relax by the cozy fire place and enjoy one of the many whiskeys this little place has to offer.

Finally I’ll touch on the rooms, which are so welcoming and cozy! Lit by warm antique light fixtures, stocked with old books to read, antique armchairs to relax in and blackout curtains so you can sleep in as late as you like. Also, each room is dedicated to a memorable person in education which I feel is a really nice way to honor the school and those who served the community through it. I could have stayed in that room forever! 

Have you stayed at one of the McMenamins properties? What was your experience? I would love to hear from you! hi@beccathehungrynomad.com