Checking Into The Pan Pacific Seattle
Photos courtesy of Pan Pacific Seattle
Seattle is a great hotel market. Fast-growing and in high demand, it seems there’s another hotel going up every time I visit, both inside the Downtown core and in the surrounding environs. While there seems to be a new hotel every other month, it’s also a city where I have my old favorites that keep drawing me back again and again.
I first stayed at the Pan Pacific Seattle nearly ten years ago, when the hotel was still new. I’d admired the brand’s gorgeous property in Vancouver for years, and my stay at their first U.S. location was enjoyable. When presented with the chance to return, I set out to discover whether the property’s intimate charm had stuck around over the years.
There have been some changes. The hotel’s signature restaurant, a branch of a popular Bellevue seafood restaurant, closed some years ago and hasn’t been replaced. It’s not much to miss, however, for the hotel’s bar turns out some top-notch food in an intimate setting. Speaking of an intimate setting, the hotel itself is built on a smaller scale than many Pan Pacific hotels elsewhere in North America and in the Asia-Pacific region, but the quiet privacy of the hotel is something that strikes visitors immediately, and lingers after departure.
The hotel sits just outside of the downtown retail core, but it has two great things going for it: a prime position atop a mixed-use facility (shopping at Whole Foods is an elevator away, as is Sicilian-style pizza at Tutta Bella), and proximity to the Seattle Space Needle, affording many of the guest rooms Instagram-worthy views.
Upon entering the lobby, the first thing to notice is that every furnishing seems to fit into place as though it had been constructed right there—the harmonious, natural feeling has a calming effect—it almost feels more natural to float, rather than to walk. There’s detail to admire everywhere, from a quietly comforting fireplace to an eye-catching feature staircase; all of it enhances without demanding attention. A natural wood accent table separates the front desk from the elevator bank upon which sits a single dendrobium orchid.
Compared with many of the several hundred-plus unit properties that proliferate downtown, this quieter, smaller property purportedly enjoys a high return guest rate, and it’s easy to see why – the biggest distraction possible at this property might be a relatively small wedding—and the hotel appears popular for local weddings, if social media is a good indicator.
READ MORE: 6 Awesome Souvenirs from Seattle, Washington
Wonderful little touches everywhere continue into the guest rooms. I had a sort of junior suite that had a picture-perfect view of the Space Needle and plenty of space. Gigantic bathrooms have separate glass showers and soaker tubs, with rolling shutters that open up the bathroom into the bedroom if you want to have a view from the tub. Rooms are serviced twice daily, and coming in late in the evening to a room that has been expertly prepared for slumber is a sublime experience.
The tower itself is compact, for short walks from the elevator, and the problem of noisy ice machines on each floor is remedied by having ice chests in each elevator lobby, which are restocked with mini bags of ice—ice bucket-sized for grab-and-go. It might seem a small thing, but it’s indicative that there’s a lot of forethought put into every service point. With a single exception interactive guest service was gracious, discreet, anticipatory, and memorable. In addition to dining in the bar or in-room, the hotel’s facilities include a health club and access to a house car for short trips in the immediate area.
One might wonder why, after the Pan Pacific brand expanded into the United States with a single Seattle property just over a decade ago, the expansion seemed to halt there. A Pan Pacific spokesperson explained that “the U.S. market has been highly competitive the last several years, and our growth has been focused in the Asia and Australia regions, as the investment and operating fundamentals have been more favorable, especially in the emerging Asian markets”. It’s also worth noting that the brand is expanding to Europe, with a new property opening in London in 2017.
Takeaway: If you’re looking for a hotel close to the action, but outside the most trafficked areas, with a cozy, small-scale atmosphere with bespoke service, Pan Pacific Seattle is a good bet.
Rates from: $225, depending on season and availability
Instagrammable moment: Splurge on a room with a Space Needle view, and you’ll have it.
More by Scott Laird
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