Destination spotlight: Seattle
Yes, there are days when it rains and rains and makes you think it will never stop raining. But there are also days when the sun shines over the skyline and the sound and the wooded islands in the distance and it makes Seattle look like heaven on earth. On those days, you understand why the locals put up with all those drab winter days when the clouds threaten to suffocate every happy thought.
Stroll up to Kerry Park in Upper Queen Anne, just a sliver of green in the Emerald City, and take in the panorama as bustling downtown gives way to Puget Sound and ancient forests. Watch as ferries take passengers to idyllic islands within clear view but a world away from the urban core. Make a picnic out of the many culinary treasures you'll find in Pike Place Market and soak it all in. You'll understand why it's one of America's fastest growing metropolises, why people brave those rainy months with coffee and flannel, biding their time until those perfect days return.
Don't fill up too much on that picnic, though, because there's much more to Seattle's food scene than a Starbucks on every corner. The mussels and clams at Matt's at the Market are a must, as is saturating fresh croutons in the broth at the bottom of your bowl. For dinner, enjoy a handcrafted cocktail at Artusi before heading next door to Cascina Spinasse for handmade pasta. They recommend getting three or four plates to share, and while the choice is yours, you can't go wrong with the aged prosciutto and melon plus squash blossoms to start, followed by tajarin pasta wih butter and sage paired with heirloom tomatoes.
If you happen to be there on First Friday, head to Chop Suey after dinner for Candipop, a salute to the saccharine sounds of '90s and early 2000s hits. Britney Spears and Christina Aguileira will make you forget all about the dreariness that spawned the grunge movement. Go at the right time, and you just might get the impression that it's always sunny in Seattle.
WHERE TO STAY:
Loews Hotel 1000: In 2017 the hotel completed a multimillion-dollar transformation, emerging as the newly imagined Loews Hotel 1000, Seattle. It is conveniently located just steps from the waterfront along Elliott Bay, Pike Place Market, Seattle Art Museum, the business district and historic Pioneer Square. The 120 lush guestrooms feature sleek design and deep soaking tubs. Amenities include a full-service spa, fitness center, wine cellar and golf simulator. The new All Water Seafood & Oyster Bar highlights Seattle’s character and flavors with the freshest seafood. For a nightcap, try the new Bell Lounge for craft cocktails and a chic ambience.
Four Seasons Hotel Seattle: The Four Seasons Hotel Seattle is across the street from Pike Place Market and the Seattle Art Museum, and minutes from the waterfront. Spacious guestrooms are urban-chic and feature deep marble soaking tubs and floor-to-ceiling windows. The resort-like outdoor terrace offers a fire pit and infinity swimming pool, the horizon line of which leads the eye to Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains. Enjoy similar views from The Spa’s couple’s treatment room or Goldfinch Tavern. The restaurant, in partnership with chef and restaurateur Ethan Stowell, offers simply prepared Pacific Northwest cuisine using the finest local ingredients.
Thompson Seattle: The Pacific Northwest lifestyle gets an edgy upgrade at Thompson Seattle. Sunlight and Instagram-worthy views of Puget Sound flood through the floor-to-ceiling windows of this 155-room hotel, just steps from lively Pike Place Market. You’ll find a bevy of locals at The Nest, the rooftop lounge and terrace serving up handcrafted cocktails and a host of hip events like vinyasa flow classes and courtyard parties. A life-size quilted bear welcomes guests to Scout PNW restaurant, where the quirky ambience sets an unpretentious tone for the simply prepared, locally sourced foods.
The Fairmont Olympic Hotel: The recently renovated Fairmont Olympic Hotel has redefined downtown sophistication with its long-standing reputation as Seattle's finest hideaway, along with being listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Just steps from Pike Place Market, the waterfront, museums and world-class shopping, this landmark since 1924 has offered nearly a century of luxury service standards, while melding classic elegance with midcentury modern room décor. Come and see why the Emerald City’s first love has never looked more beautiful.