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Perched on the shores of Puget Sound between the Cascade and Olympic mountains, visitors to Seattle can't help but be reminded of the raw natural beauty that surrounds the Emerald City. The largest city in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle has a long and varied history having evolved from a rough and rugged town reliant on primary materials to a world-leading tech hub, an aeronautics powerhouse and a leading cultural influence with contributions from Starbucks to Nirvana exporting its image to a global audience. A progressive and forward-looking city, Seattle has long fostered multiculturism, the arts and a polite, welcoming culture. This influence has resulted in innumerable restaurants offering diverse international cuisines, boutique art galleries, fashionably grungy underground concert venues and world-class museums and exhibitions. For many visitors, staying in a boutique hotel is the only way to immerse oneself into the local culture and explore this historic metropolis at street level. Here, our favorite stays in Seattle.
Best Overall: Hotel Ballard
Located in the heart of the historic and gentrified Ballard neighborhood, Hotel Ballard exudes elegance and style. Guestrooms are impeccably designed with wood panel walls, modern furniture and a stylish grey color scheme. Bathrooms feature tiled floors, deep bathtubs and polished marble vanities. Guests receive complimentary access to the Olympic Athletic Club where modern fitness equipment is housed in a retro warehouse studio with exposed brickwork and arched windows. A relaxing spa offers whirlpool tubs and sauna rooms, and regular fitness classes such as yoga and Pilates are on offer. The ground-floor Stoneburner restaurant serves contemporary Mediterranean cuisine — cooked using traditional stone hearth techniques — and is done up with polished wood ceilings, cast-iron fixtures and a marble bar. The rooftop pavilion is a great place to take in sweeping views and a crackling firepit wards off evening chills.
Best Budget: MarQueen Hotel
Located in the lively and historic Queen Anne neighborhood, the MarQueen Hotel provides timeless grace and beauty in a well-preserved historic building. Wooden banisters lining an antique staircase rise from the marble lobby to create a charming entrance. Spacious rooms are traditionally attired with carved wooden beds, hardwood floors and plush couches which lend European flare. All rooms come with clean, modern kitchenettes and small bathrooms with tiled floors and gilt mirrors. The Tin Lizzie Lounge is a relaxed and comfortable restaurant which serves breakfast, light menu options and freshly-mixed cocktails both indoors and out on an al fresco patio. Being situated outside of the popular and crowded downtown area, this hotel offers excellent service and style at a fraction of the cost of more centrally-located properties while still providing excellent access to the Space Needle and Olympic Sculpture Park.
Best View: Inn at the Market
Whether watching the hustle and bustle of the historic Pike Marketplace from above or gazing at the islands and mountains scattered around the waters of Puget Sound, the Inn at the Market provides plenty of opportunities for visitors to sit back and enjoy the view. The rooftop patio is a premium location, with deck chairs, a covered wooden pagoda and hanging baskets filled with bright flowers. Rooms offer a variety of scenes through generous floor-to-ceiling windows and are outfitted with sleek furnishings which combine modern functionality with retro charm. In-room services include breakfast and dinner and professional therapeutic massages. Being located within the Pike Marketplace, boutique shopping, fresh local produce and a variety of restaurants, cafes and bars are all easily found just steps from the hotel doors.
Best for Families: Kimpton Palladian Hotel
With oil paintings and embroidered pillows of famous local sons attired in full Napoleonic military regalia, the Kimpton Palladian Hotel faultlessly melds modern culture with traditional taste and style. Guestrooms and suites can accommodate families and are attired in traditional furnishings, but with all the modern amenities required to keep guests comfortable. All members of the family — including four-legged fur babies — are welcome on the premises thanks to a pet-friendly policy. Social events hosted in the lobby showcase local wines and microbrews. A range of in-room spa services includes massages, spirulina wraps and aromatherapy facials, and there is a fully-equipped gym on premises for guests looking to keep active. Hotel bicycles are available free of charge for guests wanting to explore the streets and parks of Seattle, and the famous Pike Marketplace is a short stroll from the hotel entrance.
Best for Romance: Willows Lodge
Located among orchards, vineyards and lavender farms, the secluded Willows Lodge is located less than a 30-minute drive from downtown Seattle. Set amidst five acres of beautiful gardens and woodland, this lodge provides a natural oasis of privacy and tranquillity while still allowing easy access to the sites and attractions of the city. The modern-yet-traditional wood-and-stone lodge is filled with all fashions of rural charm. Guest suites come with cozy stone fireplaces and deep two-person soaking tubs as well as modern creature comforts like flat-screen TVs and coffee machines. The on-site spa offers traditional and therapeutic massages, saunas and a soothing plunge pool set in a private courtyard. The award-winning Barking Frog restaurants showcases local produce (including the best offerings from local wineries) while the intimate Fireside Lounge serves an impressive selection of wines, spirits and cocktails and regularly hosts live music.
Best for Luxury: Hotel Sorrento
When it opened its doors in 1909, Hotel Sorrento established itself as one of Seattle's very first lodgings. Since then, the hotel has developed with the city and grown into a well-loved local landmark offering premier boutique accommodation. The magnificent structure is suffused with classical architectural elements, such as wrought-iron gates, a fountained entrance driveway and ornate windows, giving the hotel a distinctly European air. The elegant lobby exudes traditional character with polished wood panels, elaborate chandeliers, richly-woven rugs and a roaring fireplace. Spacious guestrooms blend luxury and comfort with goose down pillows, fine cotton sheets and antique furnishings. In the lobby, salon, barber and shiatsu massage services are offered by on-site businesses. The open courtyard area is filled with couches, tables and sun umbrellas and lined with colorful flowers. The Dundar Room restaurant is a casual but stylish establishment serving excellent French-influenced dishes amid exposed brickwork and polished ceiling beams.
Best for Singles: Ace Hotel
Rooted in the historic, lively and trendy Belltown neighborhood, the Ace Hotel caters to visitors looking for a taste of Seattle's grungy rock 'n' roll undercurrent. The hotel retains much of its original character with lofty ceilings and hardwood floors lending a venerable feel and an eclectic collection of vintage furniture and artworks creating a pleasantly chaotic atmosphere. Guest rooms are minimally but comfortably furnished and feature whitewashed brick walls, generous windows and mural artworks. The well-lit lobby is a good place to relax with a book and watch the passing parade of humanity through the large street-front windows. The Panther Room bar is an ideal spot to meet fellow guests and enjoy a few cold beers and refreshing cocktails before heading out to the restaurants, bars and live music venues scattered throughout nearby streets.
Best for Business: Woodmark Hotel & Still Spa
With ten separate meeting spaces hosting events from intimate boardroom meetings to receptions of up to 250 people, the Woodmark Hotel is well suited to cater to a variety of business, team development and conferencing requirements. Located on the shores of Lake Washington in a picturesque and tranquil neighborhood, all the comfortable boardrooms, spacious ballrooms and banquet halls boast stunning views of the lake and marina. High-tech audiovisual equipment is available to facilitate meetings and conferences and catered events can be managed by the helpful and efficient hotel staff. Rooms come fully equipped with Wi-Fi, work desks and other amenities while bathrooms feature deep tubs, rainfall showers and limestone décor. The casual Beach Café and relaxed wine bar Bin on the Lake provide quality food and beverages and offer panoramic views of the lake. For guests with business in town, the financial district is less than 15 minutes away by car.
Best Hostel: Hotel Hotel Fremont
Located on a leafy, historic street and surrounded by independent galleries, live music venues and hip eateries, the Hotel Hotel Fremont is a great place from which to experience the neighborhood's artsy ambiance. With welcoming staff, impeccably clean accommodations and a relaxed, social vibe, this hostel excels at making guests feel at home. Dorm rooms, private rooms and a family room are available to suit all types of travelers and fresh linens are provided. Room rates include breakfast and free Wi-Fi throughout the building as well as access to a well-equipped kitchen. Towels and lockers are available to rent. The ground floor pizza bar serves tasty bites and drinks and is a good spot for people-watching with other guests. Downtown Seattle, the Burk-Gilman Trail and many other local attractions are all easily accessible from the hostel.
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