Even the more modest accommodations at W Seattle are deluxe. Pillow-top beds, goose-down comforters, WiFi, and bathrooms stocked with luxurious Bliss products make stays comfortable and relaxing. Guests who want a truly special stay can book the Extreme Wow suite. The 1,000-square-foot suite is located on the hotel's top floor with soaring city views, which gives guests a taste of what living in the Space Needle would be like, if the Space Needle had a jacuzzi.
While guests may come from faraway places, the food served at Trace, the W's acclaimed restaurant, doesn't. Executive Chef Steven Ariel cooks up Asian-inspired dishes with ingredients from local farms. You’ll find 100% organic produce from Willie Green's Organic Farm used in salads and locally caught seafood from Taylor Shellfish Farms in the bouillabaisse. The fresh food, served in Trace's renovated dining room, led to Food & Wine magazine naming it one of the Best Hotel Restaurants.
The first thing guests notice when walking into W Seattle is the colossal, three-story fireplace centered in the lobby. But this isn't some homespun relic. After a massive redesign (which netted the hotel a Restaurant and Bar Design Award in 2013), the architect designed a modern fireplace area that's welcoming—the space is dubbed the Living Room—while keeping to the W's modern aesthetic. In Trace, the designers took some structural columns that were once an awkward necessity and transformed them into sleek, geometric poles that frame the sushi station like curtains, drawing attention to the theatrical preparation. Elsewhere in the dining room, a mural pays homage to the duality of Seattle—a nature-lover's haven and a sci-tech mecca. One side of the mural appears to show jellyfish, but as you walk to the other side, a supersonic jet emerges from the picture.
A glowing, crimson wall accentuates the industrial-chic interior of the Vessel, casting a rosy sheen across the abundant chrome finishes. The bar is rather simple in design—long, wooden, and abutted by plain black stools—yet the mixing that goes on behind it is as elaborate as a teenager’s explanation for missing curfew. A rotating staff of 25 bartenders, in addition to frequent guest mixologists, carefully shake and stir their inspired cocktails, dreaming up a new menu each night. Starting at lunch and continuing until as late as 11 p.m., culinary artists are also at work in the kitchen, churning out elevated bar fare such as foie gras–buttered popcorn and their Old Fashioned sundaes, made with Angostura ice cream, candied orange, and whiskey caramel.
Keywords: Classic Italian Cuisine | Pacific Northwest and Italian Wines | Romantic Ambiance | Pike Place Market Location
Where You’ll Find It: Il Bistro is housed on the lower levels of Seattle’s iconic Pike Place Market.
Awards and Accolades
Bolognese: an Italian meat sauce, typically made from onion, celery, carrots, wine, tomatoes, and meat, such as beef or pork.
Panna cotta: a silky, custard-like Italian dessert, made with cream, milk, sugar, and gelatin and often served with caramel, chocolate sauce, or fruit coulis.
While You’re in the Neighborhood
Before: Inhale the aromas of imported spices, herbs, and teas at World Spice Merchants (1509 Western Avenue).
After: Sample unique craft cocktails at Zig Zag Café (1501 Western Avenue).
Whole oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits make up the essential tools of trade for The Hideout’s bartenders. They hand squeeze this fruit for use in their selection of signature cocktails, all of which come with just a dash of quirkiness. Case in point: the Andy Warhol—a traditional cosmopolitan served with a polaroid picture, which bartenders snap right after you order the drink.
More than 70 paintings cover The Hideout’s soaring 16-foot walls in everything from landscapes to erotica, forming a constantly evolving collage of local art. Ask a server for a flashlight (yes, they have them), and you’ll discover that most paintings also have a price tag. Earl 3.0, one of the bar’s most diligent employees, also sells smaller works of art, just don’t expect him to make small talk or beep at your jokes. The “robot art dispenser” spits out works from local artists in exchange for bills. And since the owners believe that just like that artistic robot, every patron has a bit of creativity hidden inside, they hand out clipboards and pens on which patrons can draw or scribble thoughts. The bar regularly publishes these creations the Vital 5 Review, available for free at the bar.
Karaoke, live bands, and DJs all make up The Hideout’s soundtrack. Yet some of the best performances never show up on a schedule. They’re part of a program called Discreet Theatre, which invites patrons to come and perform a bit of live theatre, with no warning to the other guests inside. To keep things from devolving into complete chaos, the bar does require potential performers to submit a date and a proposal for their art piece. If accepted, the rewards include an evening’s worth of drinks for just one nickel, as well as the opportunity to give someone a story he or she can tell at countless dinner parties.
Amid exposed-brick and wooden walls, barkeeps at The Living Room blend libations such as Templeton Rye and St. Germain with sodas, fruits, and foams. Chefs whip up light bites, cheese plates, and bocadillo sandwiches to sop up the signature cocktails.
The Living Room's rotating contemporary-art exhibitions add intrigue to the downstairs bar and the upstairs fireplace, where a retired FDR still delivers his fireside chats to anyone who will listen. In addition to hosting Sunday-night trivia, The Living Room makes good on its title as "a beacon of eclectic sonic delights," according to (The Stranger), with a roster of DJs and electronic musicians.
Clever Bottle's mixologists and charcuterie chefs source local gourmet ingredients from Pike Place Market for a menu of appetizers, libations, and desserts. Crafted in-house, a selection of bitters house-made with bluebell flowers, chocolate, and the personality of sunshine adds spice to the ever-shifting menu of cocktails. The wine list, which is made up of 98% Seattle varietals, serves as a flavorful guide to the many local wineries that populate it. Abundant candlelight sets a romantic tone for quiet dates or proposals that involve serenading a sweetheart with a champagne flute.