A Local Shares Favorite Seattle Hotels
In Seattle, an always green, mostly misty city, our favorite places to stay combine style and beautiful views. They run the gamut from the understated cool of the affordable Ace brand to the extravagance of the Fairmont Olympic Hotel, a grande dame that’s been hosting galas since 1924.
But they all speak to a particularly Pacific Northwest ethos—that luxury should deepen our connections to each other and to the place we are, whether through locally sourced menu items, homegrown art on the walls, or a location within a short walk (or UberX ride) of popular attractions. These hotels bring together the best of the Emerald City. Read on to find out which one’s right for your Seattle visit.
Inn at the Market
A stroll through Pike Place Market is on every visitor’s list, so why not wake up in the heart of it? Tucked under an ivy-covered courtyard entrance, the Inn at the Market offers a respite from the lively fray of flying fish and organic vegetables that fill this touristy yet resolutely-necessary-to-locals market. The 70 rooms have either water or city views; thankfully, all guests can access the lovely rooftop deck to sip a glass of Washington wine while the boats on the Sound chug by.
The Italian in Sorrento Hotel comes out in the architecture, the marble baths, and the piazza—complete with a burbling fountain and a canopy of sunset-orange umbrellas—that calls out for a Bellini or two. Among the 76 rooms and suites, no two are alike, though you can expect carved moldings and plush furnishings. The boutique hotel has been a fixture of the First Hill neighborhood, within walking distance of downtown, since 1909 and draws locals as well as guests to its Fireside Room for a Haute Toddy, an antidote to Seattle’s damp weather. It’s also a cultural destination, hosting Silent Reading parties (yes, everyone silently reads together), live music, and food and drink tastings.
The Ace model of the hip, affordable hotel (now with seven across the U.S.) started here in nightlife-centric Belltown. A former maritime hotel, the original Ace epitomizes simple Pacific Northwest–style luxury, with expanses of white walls, plenty of vintage and locally made wood furniture, and stay-warm army blankets at the foot of the modern, low-slung beds. Most of the 28 rooms come with a shared bathroom, so book a deluxe room if communal living is not your vacation style.
For nearly 80 years, the red neon atop this Beaux-Arts building proclaimed, VANCE HOTEL, a fixture of the downtown Seattle skyline. In 2005, it was updated to a hot pink HOTEL MAX. With the work of local artists—including grunge chronicler Charles Peterson—scattered throughout, Hotel Max caters to the rock star set (or those who want to live like them) with curated iPods, a daily complimentary craft beer happy hour, and an entire floor dedicated to iconic Seattle record label Sub Pop. It also happens to be pet friendly. Rooms are on the small size, but piled high with pillows and fluffy bedding; book 1007 for Space Needle views.
The Four Seasons rises majestically above the downtown waterfront. At the entry, picture-perfect views mix with bracing air from Elliott Bay and Puget Sound and heat lamps—just one example of the hotel’s thoughtfulness. The warm welcome continues in the contemporary guest rooms with pillow-top mattresses, at the luxurious spa, and the locavore ART Restaurant and Lounge (swing by for the happy hour cheese and charcuterie bar). Get your culture fix at the Seattle Art Museum across the street.
When you check in, you’re offered a glass of sparkling wine. It’s just one indication of the great value that this luxury hotel provides. You’ll find all kinds of amenities like free Wi-Fi, personally programmed room sensors, extensive conference space, and virtual golf. The luster isn’t lost with the 120 rooms, which are warm with saturated jewel tones and rich wood and offer spa-like novelty with their “fill from the ceiling” pedestal bathtubs. And with a just-off central downtown location, the Hotel 1000 is within walking distance of historic Pioneer Square.
The Fairmont Olympic Hotel
Formerly the Four Seasons, this downtown Fairmont is charmingly old school. A dramatic lobby staircase leads to intimate, antique-filled rooms that were refreshed in 2010. This grande dame doesn’t just have dining options, it has landmarks: eavesdrop on business lunches at throwback oyster bar Shuckers, and rediscover your posture at afternoon tea at the stately Georgian. A favorite for weddings and gala events, it’s a place to feel riche with nothing nouveau about it.