W Seattle: Sound and Scenery

Seattle is a city that excels in several divergent mediums. It’s a world capital for jet airliner production and coffee roasting, and is well known for nurturing the grunge rock movement of the 1990s.

The 1990s, in fact, were the “Seattle Decade” by many measures. After grunge rock subsided from national prominence, the growth of local commercial interests Starbucks, Amazon and Microsoft propelled the city into the new millennium.

The waning years of the 90s also saw the introduction of a new hotel brand. W Hotels, an outgrowth of the Westin marque, was launched in New York City in 1998. Seattle was the very next destination for the brand, and the W Seattle first opened its doors the following year, in a new-build tower with a pyramid-shaped crown—a nod to the surrounding mountain ranges.

Over the past two decades, the youthful W concept, with its Bliss Spa products, Whenever/Wherever concierge service and Living Room lobbies and public spaces, has expanded to markets around the globe. But the Seattle property is an interesting capsule of what the brand was in its early days. The public spaces in the boutique-y hotel are intimate, and they thrum with live music into the wee hours on weekend evenings to where it’s almost necessary to communicate with the front desk via sign language at check-in during performances.

Of course, it’s been refreshed throughout the years, most recently in 2016. Guest rooms have lovely timber accents in homage to one of the region’s seminal industries. They’re also afforded views of Mount Rainier and the modern architecture of the Rem Koolhaas-designed Seattle Public Library to the south, and to the famous Space Needle to the north.

In the center of the downtown retail core, the hotel is also convenient to 3rd Avenue’s public transportation as well as the Washington State Ferries Terminal for those guests who wish to venture across Puget Sound to the Olympic Peninsula.

In addition to the recently refreshed guest rooms and public spaces, there’s also a chance guests might run into a Seattle music legend in the elevators. The hotel has a sound studio with commanding views on an upper floor, driving Macklemore and other Seattle sound notables to drop by for jam sessions. Guests in nearby rooms can quite literally rest assured—the sound studio is so soundproofed the floors in the sound suite are even raised to accommodate it.

Guests feeling puckish and not wanting to venture out to dine will find what they need at TRACE, the hotel’s hip eatery, which offers both small and large plates with tastes that will be familiar to both the urban foodie and the business traveling comfort food seeker. If there’s anywhere in town not to skip dessert, TRACE is it, for the molten chocolate cake was sublime.

The Takeaway

A hotel that’s frequently reinventing itself in a city that’s frequently reinventing itself, the W Seattle maintains the fresh, youthful energy it brought to Seattle over two decades ago.

The Math

Rates start at $113 per night in the extreme off-peak and vary significantly based on season and occupancy.

Instagrammable Moment

Omni directionally attractive views are the star of the show here—capture Mount Rainer or the Space Needle for maximum follower FOMO.

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Marriott Bonvoy

Good To Know

Only valet parking is available for guests bringing their own wheels.

The hotel is convenient to the Link Light Rail’s 3rd & University station.

Checking in via the Marriott Bonvoy app will save some time (and check-ins shouted over live music performances) on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Want to know the hippest live music venue or newest coffee shop? E-mail the W Insider any time before or during your stay for the latest scoop.

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