Gateway: Business

No room at local inns during US Open

The Maritime Inn’s 15 rooms were booked solid for the U.S. Open two years ago, but the calls kept coming in.

It goes without saying the demand for rooms near Chambers Bay golf course is high.

“I wish we had 100 more rooms,” said Kathy Franklin, general manager.

The Maritime Inn is not alone. The Inn at Gig Harbor and the Best Western Wesley Inn are also booked to capacity, but with a few sporadic rooms that have popped up at the last moment.

Most of Gig Harbor’s hotels are housing people who are involved in operations at the tournament. Employees of the USGA merchandising tent are occupying the 15-room Maritime Inn.

“They’re all amazing, wonderful people and we’ve enjoyed interacting with them,” Franklin said.

Some guests are making an extended stay in Pierce County and using Gig Harbor as their home base, said Jordan Van Cleave, Inn at Gig Harbor manager. Some guests at the hotel will be staying from late May to early July.

The guests are there for business, so there isn’t much going on at the hotel, Van Cleave said. What’s noticeable is the fleet of Lexuses, (the exclusive automotive partner of the USGA and the official car of the U.S. Open) in the parking lot.

“(The guests) leave super early and they get back here super late,” he said. “Ninety-nine percent of the time, they’re at the Open.”

At the Best Western Wesley Inn, guests are leaving on shuttles at 6:30 a.m. and not coming back until the evening, said guest services manager Crystal Jackson.

The Inn at Gig Harbor is also home to delegations from future U.S. Open sites such as Pebble Beach in California and Erin Hills in Erin, Wisconsin. Delegations from Pierce County traveled to other courses to observe the championship in similar fashion.

The Best Western Wesley Inn is the home base for USGA VIPs during the tournament as well as three or four corporate accounts, Jackson said. There’s also a few spectators. Not all guests are staying the entirety of the tournament; they’re popping in for a few days.

“Every client that comes in here is completely different,” Jackson said.

Over the past two years, Franklin has received calls from potential lodgers who are coming into town for graduations and visits to relatives. The tournament is throwing a wrench in the works.

“My heart goes out to them because we have so few lodging choices in the area,” she said. She’s suggesting hotels in Port Orchard and Thurston County.

For all the hotels, the U.S. Open is uncharted territory. There’s no rulebook for how to manage during a tournament as this is Chambers Bay’s maiden voyage. It’s an exciting time for the area.

Jackson and some of her team were able to tour the course when Phil Mickelson was testing things out earlier in June. It was an experience unlike any other.

“Being down there and actually seeing it ... it’s just amazing,” she said.