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Seattle is a city that gets its energy from the ocean. A walk along the waterfront, in any weather, is shared with visitors and locals alike, going about the business of their mornings: buying coffee, groceries, or fresh flowers at Pike Place Market, waiting in line to board a ferry on foot or in a vehicle, or simply taking in the fresh air that breezes off of Puget Sound.
It's been that way since long before Westerners arrived. The Coast Salish people who inhabited the Puget Sound Region considered the water to be a sacred source of life, particularly revering the salmon, clams, and orca whales that inhabited the sheltered inlets.
Today, guests at Thompson Seattle are right in the thick of the activity on Seattle's coast. Just steps from the market and the downtown retail core, this boutique hotel is a cozy respite from the action in the traditionally understated Northwest manner.
Minimalist architecture pays homage to two cultural influences that loom large over the city's heritage: clean Scandinavian lines and hardwood floors, perhaps a nod to the heritage of many of the region's early American settlers, and midcentury modern angular furnishings, in reference to the "jet city" boom of the post-war period.
Rooms are also understandably well-wired, for a city whose contemporary growth is fueled by technology. Amazon Alexa for Hospitality puts guests in contact with employees when they have questions or requests, and there is, of course, WiFi in a city where an internet connection is fast on its way to being viewed as a basic right.
Almost steampunk-inspired bathrooms are anything but last century with bespoke amenities from Brooklyn fragrance house D.S. & Durga and luxurious rain showers that are all-too-easy to linger in.
The city's energy hums right outside each room's floor-to-ceiling windows in a curiously paradoxical manner; one feels just as comfortable driven to explore the exciting surrounding neighborhood as wanting to sit back by the window with a beverage and simply watch the city churn.
Guests in water view rooms can watch container ships slowly warp into the Port of Seattle while ferries weave in and out on their way across the Sound. In any weather, visitors throng to the market or to the Seattle Great Wheel, turning lazily through the day and night at water's edge.
When it's time to dine, Scout PNW is steeped in the region's bounty. Oysters are certainly on the menu, for the Sound is famous for them. The clam chowder warms on even the coldest nights, with clams also plucked from local shores. They're shelled but added to the soup whole, so their fresh ocean succulence shines through.
Another indulgence is the pink peppercorn challah, which comes served as an entire piping hot loaf with a side of whipped duck fat. If it can be caught, raised, or foraged nearby, it's likely to appear on the menu here. The mid-century design continues throughout the place, but found wood furnishings and playful tartan banquettes give the ambiance of a well-loved fishing cabin.
For a before- or after-dinner tipple, check out The Nest, upstairs, with even better rooftop views of the water. Entry is on the second floor and staff will unlock the elevator for immediate access for in-house guests. Inquire about the scene before heading up - it's popular with groups and can get crowded.
Thompson Seattle is overflowing with high concept design, anticipatory service, and great location and views. It makes a perfect Emerald City base camp for stays short or long.
I've seen rates starting from about $189 per night during off-peak periods, but the popular hotel books fast, sending rates into the rafters, particularly during the summer.
Room rates do not include at $20 "hospitality surcharge" which includes:
Sparkling wine welcome on arrival
Daily coffee and tea service in the lobby (and it's good coffee)
Turn down service
Priority reservations at Scout PNW and immediate access to The Nest
Free local and 1-800 calls
Water view rooms have unbeatable views of, well, the water, but Pike Place Market and the Seattle Great Wheel great make foreground landmarks in any Instagram photo.
Thompson doesn't have a loyalty program, but that doesn't mean there aren't loyalists.
Good To Know
Honor bars are locally curated; prices are about what one expects. But, if you're going to indulge, it might as well be on something unique.
For those doing a bit of shopping, the hotel has worked out benefits for hotel guests at select surrounding retailers.
The hotel only offers valet parking, at $43 + tax per night
Accommodations and some meals were furnished by Thompson Seattle in preparation for this story.
Scott is a freelance travel writer who has logged a million-and-a-half miles onboard flights around the world in search of...
the latest travel news, advice, updates, upcoming exclusive deals and more.
CEO of Zenbiz Travel, LLC
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