Establishment neighborhood
Ace Hotel
2423 First Ave., Downtown
This is the original: the founders of the Ace Hotel fell in love with a former maritime workers’ hotel in Downtown Seattle—built in 1909, so they kept the loft ceilings and hardwood floors intact—and re-purposed it to start their own, first-ever hotel in 1999. Like all their locations, this is a place to rest and a place to see and be seen. (Bonus: Their accommodations are dog-friendly.) Take a pied-à-terre with a shared (“private upon entry”) bathroom option for a free-spirited, low-key stay right in the heart of Seattle—on the cusp of Downtown and Belltown, you’re within walking distance of the waterfront, Pike Place Market, and the Space Needle—or for a more luxurious (yet still relatively low-key) experience, take one of their deluxe rooms, which may boast iconic street-artwork by the likes of Shepard Fairey and KAWS, as well as better-than-bare-bones amenities (including an ensuite bathroom).
Thompson Seattle
110 Stewart St., Downtown
The first PNW Thompson location opened in Seattle in June 2016. The dozen-story, 150-plus-room hotel was designed by Seattle's Olson Kundig Architects and is a marvel of floor-to-ceiling glass windows, with views that overlook Pike Place (the hotel is essentially on top of the market), Puget Sound, and Mt. Rainer beyond the water. Not surprisingly, they've taken advantage of the location with a rooftop bar called The Nest. Inside, the rooms are contemporary, leaning toward sleek. While you can't beat the view (or location), the food isn't that great—avoid room service.
Four Seasons Hotel Seattle
99 Union St., Downtown
The Four Seasons is one of those hotels you can always count on—here, you'll find all the amenities they're known for, including marble bathrooms, comfortable rooms, and a state-of-the-art spa with a eucalyptus steam room. What makes the Seattle location special its location right in the center of Downtown; The hotel is steps from Pike Place Market, right along the water, so many of the rooms look out over gorgeous Elliot Bay. Even if you're traveling for business, set aside some time to spend at the fourth-floor infinity pool—there are plenty of lounge chairs for sunning in the warmer months, and a collection of fire pits for enjoying the view when it's cold.
The Sorrento
900 Madison St., Downtown
The Sorrento is an OG Seattle hotel: They opened in 1909 in time for the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition world’s fair. The hotel had been commissioned by a clothing merchant and built by an architect (named Harlan Thomas) who went on to become the first dean at UW's School of Architecture. After changing hands a couple times, The Sorrento went on to become owned by the same family since the 1980's. In 2014, the building underwent a much-needed historic renovation, which updated both the lobby and the guest rooms. The finest details remain, like carved wood moldings and Italian Renaissance period pieces, but the overall effect is now more polished and inviting.
The Fairmont Olympic Hotel
411 University St., Downtown
Originally built in 1924, the Fairmont is Seattle's most historic hotel (it's now been in business for more than 92 years). This summer, the hotel unveiled a new renovation, elevating the rooms and other amenities to pretty high standards. We love the Fairmont for in-and-out business trips because of the two great on-site restaurants—the Georgian, a white-tablecloth-style French place, and Shuckers, a charmingly old-school oyster bar. Since this is Seattle, the renovation also brought some interesting environmental initiatives, like a steam-powered energy program and a rooftop pollinator garden including five full-on hives, which provide honey you'll taste in the beer at Shuckers and on the salmon dish at the Georgian.
The London Plane
300 Occidental Ave. S, Downtown
The London Plane serves food all day in their café-style restaurant, offering an array of baked goods and sourdough toasts (e.g., curried avocado with radish, cabbage, and cilantro), as well as granolas, egg dishes, and veggie plates (like baby beets served with pomegranate and pistachio). Their dinner menu, which is available Wednesday through Saturday, includes mains like roasted chicken with wild mushrooms, strawberries, and hazelnuts. What makes The London Plane a bit different is that it's also part grocery and flower shop (overseen by Katherine Anderson of Marigold and Mint), so you can pick up specialty food items, gifts, floral arrangements, croissants to-go, all while brunching.
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