The 5 Best Hotels in Seattle

In the Emerald City, T+L readers leaned toward hotels with artsy details in prime locations.

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Seattle is one of those places that seems to strike the right balance, no matter what kind of experience a traveler is seeking. On the surface, its laid-back Pacific Northwest attitude may seem in stark contrast with its creative innovation, from its music and tech scenes to its culinary and cultural offerings. But the Washington metropolis seamlessly melds these contrasting qualities — so it's no surprise that this year's picks represent that perfect mix of cutting-edge and comfortable.

Every year for our World's Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels (including safari lodges) were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Properties were classified as city hotel, resort, or safari lodge based on their locations and amenities.

George Bar at Fairmont Olympic in Seattle
Courtesy of Fairmont Olympic

In myriad ways, the top properties aren't afraid to show their personalities, creating unexpected delights within each stay. The Edgewater (No. 3) takes its luxurious overwater location — built originally for the 1962 World's Fair, which also brought the Space Needle — and meshes it with a rock-and-roll attitude (after all, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pearl Jam, and Neil Young have all stayed there) in what one reader called "a super fun hotel." But what's most memorable are the little touches, like the record players for in-room use and jellyfish videos in the elevator. Add to that a view of the Olympic Mountains from the windows, and it's a winning combination all around.

Meanwhile, the W Seattle (No. 4) brings both downtown allure and endless entertainment. "We didn't have to leave the hotel all weekend," one guest said, because of the packed schedule, which includes the W Live Music Series and DJs on Fridays and Saturdays. There's even an in-house recording studio, the first on the continent for the hotel brand, which doubles as a mini venue.The Thompson Seattle (No. 2), on the other hand, lets guests see the city's traditional Pike Place Market neighborhood through a modern lens, thanks to local design firm Olson Kundig. And the Four Seasons Hotel Seattle (No. 5) adds to the appeal of its prime location near the Seattle Art Museum with culinary delights at its upscale Ethan Stowell restaurant, Goldfinch Tavern, which channels inspiration from the city's pioneer days.

1. Fairmont Olympic Hotel, Seattle

Exterior of Fairmont Olympic Seattle
Courtesy of Fairmont Olympic

Located in a historic 1924 building on the former site of the University of Washington, the Fairmont Olympic Hotel, Seattle carries the class of a bygone era, but is decked out with the style of today — a dichotomy that T+L readers appreciate. Though it's beloved for its "old world charm" and "grand staircases," its recent updates have been welcomed, especially the "outstanding redo" of the Olympic Bar, which debuted last spring and was called "absolutely glorious." The 450-room hotel's convenient location in the central business district was also lauded, as well as its "wonderful views from the upper floors" and dedication to cleanliness and service — the overall experience was best summed up as "classic splendor."

Score: 91.51

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2. Thompson Seattle

Suite at Thompson Seattle
Courtesy of Thompson Seattle

Score: 88.42

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3. The Edgewater

Beatles Suite at The Edgewater in Seattle
Courtesy of The Edgewater

Score: 86.31

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4. W Seattle

Living Room at W Seattle
Courtesy of W Seattle

Score: 85.65

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5. Four Seasons Hotel Seattle

Deluxe Bay View Guest Room at Four Seasons Hotel Seattle
Courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Seattle

Score: 85.62

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