Air travel can be a hassle these days, with long lines, strict security measures, endless delays and overcrowded planes. And if you opt for a road trip, there’s the cost of gas, which can put a serious dent in your wallet. Then there’s all the passport confusion with regards to crossing borders. Sometimes, it’s just easier to stay home.
But, in my experience, the vacation mentality doesn’t usually kick in unless you get away from your day-to-day surroundings. If you’re home, it’s too easy to get caught up in projects around the house or sucked into answering e-mails for work.
The solution: Pack your bags for a stay in downtown Seattle and become a tourist in your own city. Though there are many hotels in this fine town, there’s only one perched right on the bay, The Edgewater.
A Seattle landmark since 1962, The Edgewater, at Pier 67, has the interior trappings of a luxury mountain lodge, yet sits in the middle of the city. The place takes full advantage of its location and offers stunning panoramas of the Olympics and Elliott Bay, with a colorful parade of ferries and sailboats that can captivate even the most hardcore natives.
As you walk into the lobby, the view from out of the floor-to-ceiling windows immediately commands your attention. You’ll be drawn to it like a magnet and as you gaze out at the picture perfect scene, you’ll feel as if you’re standing right atop the water, which, in fact, you are!
Unlike some hotels where the lobby is simply the place to register and check out, at The Edgewater it’s a true gathering place for guests. They sit in comfy chairs in front of the windows or curl up by the cozy fireplace, where they chat, sip a glass of wine, read, play cards or doze off contentedly. It’s a surprisingly relaxing and unpretentious atmosphere for an urban hotel and you, too, will find yourself seamlessly easing into that vacation mode once inside this hotel’s “living room.”
Recently renovated guestrooms offer stunning views of Elliot Bay or sparkling city skyline vistas. They feature river rock fireplaces, hand-crafted knotty pine furniture, overstuffed chairs and the hotel’s signature bear footrest, bathrooms with flagstone floors and European spa showers (some even have claw-foot tubs), plush Ralph Lauren bedding and a host of extra amenities.
If you want to splurge and get a dose of history at the same time, ask for the Beatles’ Suite, room 272.
The Fab Four once stayed at The Edgewater, back in 1964, on their first world tour. The hotel had to install cyclone fencing around its perimeter to keep screaming fans at bay. Some avid groupies even tried swimming across the bay to reach the band members.
Ironically, the Beatles were not accepted as guests at any other hotel in Seattle, but The Edgewater happily hosted them. Their visit put the hotel on the map and also led to its fame for being the hot place to stay in Seattle for such legendary rock groups as Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, KISS and Black Sabbath.
In the Beatles’ spacious 700 square-foot suite, three panoramic windows offer full views of Elliot Bay. You’ll be surrounded by a photo gallery of the Fab Four, including the famous picture of the group fishing out of the hotel’s window.
There’s also a library of books on the guys, as well as a collection of their CDs, to set the proper mood. And if you’ve forgotten where the lads once hailed from, there are British flags adorning the pillows to remind you of their roots.
Although there are numerous great restaurants in the area from which to choose, the hotel’s famed Six Seven gets high marks for serving up world class Pacific Rim-inspired Northwest cuisine.
Award-winning chef William Koval integrates local ingredients, native herbs and regional seafood to create flavorful dishes, such as Miso Halibut with sweet potato, shitake mushrooms and spinach or Seared Turbot with braised artichokes, asparagus and smoked bacon.
Starters include such delights as Trio of Tuna in a sashimi rice paper roll or Walla Walla Asparagus Soup with jumbo crab.
If you have room for dessert, try the sinful Chocolate Pot du Crème with espresso gelee and vanilla bean ice cream.
The restaurant also prides itself on its extensive wine-by-the-glass list of Washington wines.
When the weather’s fair, opt to dine alfresco on the patio where you can watch Washington State ferries cruise by as the sun paints a vivid orange backdrop in the sky. Fine food and unforgettable views makes for a memorable experience.
The Edgewater’s ideal central location puts visitors in the heart of Seattle’s premiere attractions within minutes.
Hit the pavement for a short walk south along the waterfront to Pike Place Market and watch the fish-slinging with the rest of the tourists or venture north to the new Olympic Sculpture Park.
If being on the water is more your style, then hop on a ferry for a ride to a nearby island or take an Argosy cruise around Elliot Bay and the Seattle harbor.
You can also shop till you drop, browse eclectic galleries and visit a variety of different museums, all within blocks of the hotel.
For the proverbial tourist treat, Ride the Ducks, take the elevator to the top of the Space Needle or get a glimpse into the city’s heritage on the Seattle Underground Tour in historic Pioneer Square.
And if you’re a theatre-goer, take in a show at one of the many venues that dot the downtown corridor. Nearby Myrtle Edwards Park, with its 1.25-mile winding bike and pedestrian path along the bay, offers a beautifully landscaped space that makes a peaceful sanctuary when you’re looking for a change of pace (The Edgewater will even provide you with a courtesy bicycle if you want to pedal your way around town).
We live in an exciting city that attracts millions of visitors each year. It’s easy to take it for granted when you’ve lived here a long time.
For your next vacation destination, take the hassle out of travel and escape to the Edgewater for an opportunity to rediscover Seattle.
The Edgewater Hotel: (206) 728-7000 or www.edgewaterhotel.com.