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).
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.
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.
2000 Second Ave., Downtown
Like Vintage Park Hotel, The Palladian has all the signature Kipton amenities (i.e. complementary yoga mats and bikes for cruising around downtown Seattle). The building that houses The Palladian dates back to the early 1900's, but Kimpton debuted their 97-room hotel not too long ago in 2015. What makes the hotel stand out is its playful decor (pillow covers wear the faces of pop cultural icons), which feels both retro and classy.
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.
Matt’s in the Market
94 Pike St., Downtown
Matt's in the Market (it overlooks the landmark Public Market clock and neon sign) has been open since 1996, and is now owned by a previous Pike Place fishmonger, Dan Bugge. Not surprisingly, you'll find a lot of fresh fish on the menu (seafood stew; seared scallops with grits and bacon; wild king salmon in a smoked heirloom tomato vinaigrette), plus chicken and steak dishes and crowd-pleasing desserts.
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.
2020 Western Ave., Downtown
Etta's is one of many restaurants by famed Seattle restauranteur, Tom Douglas. It's situated alongside Pike Place Market, and it has all the seafood staples you'd expect: oysters, Dungeness crab cakes, ahi tuna, and so on—but it's also known in part for its market brunch menu and accompanying house Bloody Mary.
Umi Sake House
2230 1st Ave., Downtown
We like this Belltown sake bar for super-fresh fish with a decidedly neighborhood vibe. Expect a miles-long sushi and sashimi menu, plus plenty of off-the-beaten-path sake options for connoisseurs. Ask to be seated on the covered back porch, where there are casual couches and low tables (these are also the best seats in the house during happy hour).