Inn at the Market
Vibe: Charming, cozy, romantic, hidden but right in the thick of things.
At a Glance: Built around a quiet courtyard, Inn at the Market is a small, charming hotel that is as close to Pike Place Market as you can get.
Review: Connoisseurs of Seattle hotels have been enjoying Inn at the Market since it opened in 1986. This charming hotel overlooking the Pike Place Market is the only independently owned luxury boutique hotel in Seattle, and it’s one of the most romantic small hotels in the city. An enviable location on a steeply sloping street between First Avenue and the market puts it close all to the buzz and bustle of Seattle’s number one tourist destination, the waterfront, and the busy downtown core. But step into the hotel’s quiet inner courtyard and you’re in another world.
The small lobby with its cheery fireplace and quietly contemporary décor is what Seattle comfort is all about. There are several different room categories, but basically there are two room types: those with a city view (facing First Avenue) and those with a water view (facing Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains). Whatever the view, the rooms are large and uncluttered with a nod to contemporary comfort rather than fussy formality. Colors are muted and calm, furnishings sturdily modern, bathrooms roomy, and the amenities include Gilchrist & Soames toiletries, free WiFi, bathrobes, and in-room safes. If your room doesn’t have a water view, you can still enjoy one from the roof deck overlooking Elliott Bay and the market, a perfect spot for enjoying a morning coffee or a Seattle sunset.
In the rooms, you can open the windows for a breath of fresh air. Be advised, however, that this can be a noisy area, with street life and, in the water-facing rooms, the incessant hum of traffic on the elevated Alaskan Way highway that runs along the waterfront. When they’re closed, the hotel’s double-paned windows and doors block out the noise. And by 2016 the Alaskan Way will be dismantled and the traffic along the waterfront will be underground.
All the rooms in this personable, five-story hotel are in the process of being refurbished, and by 2014 they will have a fresher, brighter look. The bathrooms are being gutted and redone with new walk-in showers instead of the current tub/shower combination. The wonderfully comfortable beds are the only furnishings that will remain the same.
The corner suites give you a separate bedroom area and windows on two sides for an even more expansive view. If you want something really special, book Beecher’s Loft, a second-floor open-plan apartment in the building next door. A former architect’s studio, it’s been completely redone in a Seattle-chic way with a wraparound balcony that’s right above the Pike Place Market.
Inn at the Market’s charming courtyard gives you access to two good restaurants. At Marché Bistro & Wine Bar, the cooking is traditionally French but utilizes locally sourced ingredients; fresh oysters are always available here. Modern and traditional Korean food is served at Chan, which also uses fresh ingredients from Pike Place Market. In addition to the two restaurants, there’s French-inspired Café Campagne at street level, serving French classics like cassoulet and steak with frites, and Bacco, which serves an all-day breakfast. All in all, it’s no surprise that Inn at the Market consistently tops Conde Nast’s yearly list of the best small hotels in the U.S.
Who Should Stay: Couples who want a romantic hideaway in the heart of Seattle’s busiest area; anyone who wants to explore Pike Place Market, the waterfront, and downtown Seattle.Indagare Loves:
- The location almost atop Pike Place Market
- The water-view rooms and corner suites looking out on Elliott Bay
- Beecher’s Loft, a separate loft-living space next door
- The charming courtyard with its fine shops and restaurants
- The warm, welcoming staff
Vibe: Casual, quirky, right-on-the-water maritime ambience.
At a Glance: Seattle’s only hotel on a pier, The Edgewater is not in the center of downtown, but it has a history and waterside location that make it unique.
Review: There is no other hotel in Seattle that sits, as this one does, on a pier facing Elliott Bay and Puget Sound. Open the windows of one of the waterfront rooms and you’ll hear the waves lapping, the gulls crying, and the sounds of harbor craft plying the waters. In a way, it doesn’t make sense to stay here unless you do book a water-facing room or suite.
The Edgewater’s history is part of its somewhat quirky charm. It’s basically a relic from the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, when it was built to house workers at the fair. When the fair ended, the building was slated to be demolished, but instead it was saved and turned into a hotel with the novel tag line “Fish from every window”. Guests could buy bait and tackle at what is now the gift shop and literally drop a line from their rooms—which is what the Beatles were photographed doing when they stayed at The Edgewater during their 1964 world tour.
The hotel became a Seattle fixture in the 1960s and 1970s and has been steadily upgrading itself over the decades. It’s now a four-star, triple-diamond property with rooms that were completely refurbished in 2013. Its utilitarian, motel-like façade has been disguised, but something of its fun, freewheeling Seattle spirit still survives.
You’ll encounter this first in the lobby, which has a kind of Pacific Northwest faux seaside lodge-chalet look to it. Columns are disguised as tree trunks, the furnishings are a mixture of rustic and comfy, there’s a big fireplace, and windows everywhere to show off the shimmering water view. In the adjacent Rock ’n Roll Hall of Fame Room, photographs of all the rock legends who have stayed at The Edgewater—everyone from the Beatles to Blondie—adorn the walls.
There are basically two room types, City View and Water View. The outlook from the City View rooms is not particularly inspiring, but the Water View rooms are literally right on the water—you can’t get any closer without getting wet. All these rooms are about 350 square feet in size. The Water View Premium rooms have gas fireplaces, walk-in showers and modern clawfoot tubs; you can slide open the bathroom wall to enjoy the view and the fireplace while you soak. (The standard rooms have a walk-in shower only.) The eclectic room décor is a mixture of styles that leans towards the sturdily traditional but includes some funky elements such as ottomans that look like hairy dogs.
If you’re a fan of the Fab Four, you might want to book the Beatles’ Suite (Room 272), where the pop stars stayed in 1964. The hotel also offers a few Waterfront Junior Suites on the top (fourth) floor, and a Penthouse Suite.
Chef John Roberts has turned the hotel’s restaurant, Six-Seven, into a fine-dining experience. If the weather is fine, try to get a patio table and enjoy first-rate Northwest cuisine with an incomparable view over Elliott Bay to West Seattle and the Olympic Mountains.
The Seattle Waterfront begins right outside The Edgewater’s door and is a lively place to explore. The Victoria Clipper, a high-speed catamaran that travels daily to Victoria, British Columbia, departs from the adjacent pier, and other cruise-ship and excursion boat tours are all within walking distance. The Olympic Sculpture Park is a five-minute walk north.
Who Should Stay: Couples seeking romance on the water; families who want to be close to attractions on the Seattle waterfront; visitors overnighting in Seattle before sailing to Victoria, BC, or on an Alaskan cruise.Indagare Loves:
The Sorrento Hotel
A romantic jewel box of a hotel—all dark woods, elegant rooms and old-world style—the Sorrento is situated in a 1908 building just east of downtown. This is a fabulous place to spend the night with your significant other, assuming you don’t mind being a cab ride (or ten-minute walk) from the city center. Rooms are lovely, with Italian marble bathrooms, and 400-thread-count Egyptian cotton linens and Fonté French-press coffee and tea service are provided. The hotel’s Hunt Club restaurant is a destination in its own right, as is the Honduran-mahogany-paneled Fireside Room, which is perfect for afternoon tea or, better yet, after-dinner drinks by the fire.
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