An Idea for Empty Hotel Rooms: Private Room-Service Cafes


What to do with all those empty hotel rooms, particularly in downtown Seattle, where occupancy rates have goon from 80 percent to 20 percent over the past 11 months. These hotels are now bereft of cruise ships, conventions, business travel, and game-day sports fans. One answer is to create an agency that purchases many such rooms for housing the homeless at discounted rates.

Here’s another suggestion, courtesy of the Riggs Hotel in D.C., a hotel converted from a former bank. The idea is to set aside 10 rooms on one floor for room-service fine dining. The bed is removed to make more space, and the fine meal arrives from the hotel kitchen. The rooms are carefully disinfected before guests arrive. You can contact your server by cell phone or text, to speed up service. Choose your own background music. Private bathroom very handy. Social distancing easily arranged. The cost: $125 minimum per person (which helps pay for the careful cleaning before each dining group). Of course, these rooms can easily revert to hotel use, once demand returns.

David Brewster
David Brewster
David Brewster, a founding member of Post Alley, has a long career in publishing, having founded Seattle Weekly, Sasquatch Books, and His civic ventures have been Town Hall Seattle and FolioSeattle.


  1. Will the concierge desk, in the converted Sheridan have a in-house drug delivery service ? Will there be Mental Alert support on site.

    No hotel can cater to housing the homeless and still manage their normal business.

    • Since hotels have floors, it’s not so hard to have mixed clientele. One floor of the fancy Inn at the Market features affordable rooms. I would also advise that the agency renting these rooms be responsible for supervision and cleaning.

  2. In all fairness, there is much work than needs to go behind such an idea, just as with housing.
    These folks, in most cases haven’t owned much so the aspect of taking proper cafe of a room or house is needed. No derogatory thoughts. Simply a matter if education.


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