I’ve been visiting Seattle for over twenty years now ever since my childhood friend married and relocated to the Emerald city. On early visits, I stayed with my friend but as her family grew, I quickly lost the guest room and then the basement and finally the air mattress. I started to stay in a variety of downtown Seattle hotels, some with fantastic memories and one that was a comedy of errors. So since I hadn’t quite found my “Seattle preferred hotel”, it was time to try a new hotel. Like my friend’s growing family, my hotel tastes had evolved over the years and as you know leans luxury. Leaning luxury in Seattle meant that it was time to stay at the Four Seasons Seattle.
For years, I flirted with the Four Seasons Seattle, checking price/availabilty, having drinks in the lobby and falling in love with Fran’s Chocolates (a Seattle classic) in the lobby so now it was my turn to check in.
Four Seasons Seattle Location
It’s all about location at the Four Seasons Seattle. It can’t get any more central in the city. Located on 1st Avenue and Union Street across from the Seattle Art Museum and one block from the famous Pike Place Market and the infamous Seattle Gum Wall. You can easily walk to most of the Seattle Attractions (find the flat streets to avoid the hills if you can), such as the Space Needle, Olympic Sculpture Park and Chihuly Glass Museum in twenty minutes or less (yes, you can also take a cab or Uber from the hotel if the hills are too daunting). In case you want to go down to the waterfront to the Aquarium and the Giant Ferris wheel, you can easily walk down the stairs outside of the hotel.
For conveninece – Target is a block away if, like me, you forgot a bunch of stuff for the cruise or didn’t want to pack the bulky toiletries. Just remember to bring your own bags because Seattle has banned plastic bags and Target charges .05 per paper bag (but might count as a souvenir). The original Starbucks is across from Pikes Place Market, Fonte Coffee Cafe is next to the hotel and the Light Rail station to the airport is a block away.
Four Seasons Seattle Arrival
As my flight was delayed (read the ordeal), I arrived at rush hour on a Friday and was not in the mood for the $40 taxi ride in traffic to the city. So I tried the Light Rail for the first time to the University Avenue stop for only $3 (approximately 40 minutes journey). As I exited the station in downtown, I walked one block from the station to the Four Seasons Seattle and was greeted by the bell staff as they opened both doors to the hotel. If arriving by Amtrak Cascades train, you can take a taxi to the hotel or walk from the Amtrak station to the light rail and go two stops.
The lobby was modern and had a bit of an office building feel with the marble floor, high ceilings, separate residence entrance and meeting room stairs. The bar/restaurant is on the right, a seating area in front of the fireplace as well as a seating area on the left.
At the front desk, I greeted and asked if I wanted a glass of champagne – I replied “Hell Yes!, oops sorry for cursing its been a long travel day” (I would later find out they offered this to celebrate France’s Bastille Day as well as the nightly macarons). My room was ready and check in was quick. As I had my own bag, I didn’t need staff assistance. I walked to the elevator bank (two cars) and went to the seventh floor (the hotel shares space with condo residences above which has a separate elevator bank off of the main lobby).
Four Seasons Seattle Guestroom
As I exited the elevator on the 7th floor, the initial view was lovely with the fresh flowers and warm muted design colors (green, cream, brown). As I turned the corner, I noticed an aromatherapy smell emitting from the machine on the floor (the smell was licorice?) and didn’t think much of it other than “that’s weird to put the machine out where it can be seen”. The hallway was devoid of any color or design elements – the hallways are screaming for splashes for color.
As I opened the door to my room I was greeted with a large room and blond woods with built ins. I had a side table by the door across from the bathroom. The storage, entertainment center and desk were all wood (I am not a fan) which was unexpected for a Four Seasons, in my opinion.
The bed was quite inviting with the plushness (note: the Four Seasons was the original hotel bed program before the Westin Heavenly bed and Sofitel So Bed). The room design was a bit odd – I didn’t like the art print on the wall as I would have liked to see local Northwest artists or Seattle colors from Chihuly, the lamps each had a different color and shapes and they had a Boeing plane for sale on the bedside table – just odd and unexpected. The plane would have been better suited to the wet bar space above the minibar with the guide books.
The room had additional furniture for a seating area and large ceiling to floor windows that overlooked the pool area below and a sliver of a water view.
The minibar had a good selection of drinks and snacks along with glasses. One funny provided amenity was the iron and ironing board – I don’t know many who use these items normally and at the luxury Four Seasons Seattle, I would initially think to send out my clothes to be pressed.
Note: I didn’t love the room design but met a housekeeping supervisor who told me that the hotel is set to do a redesign in the next few years and the machine I noticed with the aroma smells was a temporary solution to clear smells in a guestroom that had smoked (it is a non-smoking hotel) and was not normally in the hallway.
Four Seasons Seattle Bathroom
The bathroom was massive. The toiletries were L’Occitane which I love. The shower and toilet rooms were separate and the marble tub was so deep I used the side handles to get in/out for photos. The hairdryer was easy to find and they also provided a scale which I didn’t even bother to use as I was leaving on a cruise the next day. Who wants to know a pre-cruise weight when post cruise will definitely be higher?
Goldfinch Tavern at the Four Seasons Seattle
The Goldfinch Tavern is the on site restaurant and lobby bar of the hotel. It was quite busy during my stay and created a fun vibe in the lobby. During my visit, I enjoyed a chocolate dessert and glass of wine after my dinner at the Concierge suggested local Palace Kitchen (a winner!)
On my return visit to the Goldfinch Tavern after the cruise, my friends met me for brunch and it was pancakes and waffles ala carte. I’m not ashamed to admit that I ate the whole plate of pancakes which kept me full the rest of our jam packed day. Fantastic service and fabulous pancakes which set the bar quite high for other pancakes now.
Note: The hotel adds an automatic 20% tip on the bill which other establishments in Seattle are choosing to do as well.
The spa, gym and outdoor infinity pool and patio are all located on the third floor. You need your key card to access both the gym and outdoor patio/pool. The spa has its own entrance as it is open to guests and non-guests (free parking to spa guests). The pool area was surprisingly crowded when I looked down from my room at check-in. In the early morning on a Saturday, there were only a few people in the hot tub and the pool. The sunny weather in the 80’s was quite conducive to swimming and sunning.
Fran’s Chocolates at the Four Seasons Seattle
The lobby store is Fran’s Chocolates, a local Seattle chocolate institution, known for their sea salted caramels. Their truffles are amazing as well. I always stop at Fran’s on my visits to Seattle to indulge my inner chocoholic.
Four Seasons Seattle – Overall
I was surprised to see that the majority of guests were younger and a few families with children. With the number of events held at the hotel and summer cruise season, leisure travelers seemed to outnumbered business travelers at this property. The hotel offers many promotional rates on their website so you may find that you can afford to stay at the Four Seasons Seattle during down times. For years, I’ve had the image that the Four Seasons was full of business travelers and older luxury travelers. It was good to see a good mix of ages and guests at the Four Seasons Seattle as it created a lively atmosphere. The staff were lovely throughout from check in to check out and again when I left my camera charger and had to retrieve it a week later. I would happily stay at the Four Seasons Seattle again as I always sleep well on Four Seasons beds and despite my opinion of the room design, quality of sleep is more important to me. The location is fantastic and it’s an overall luxury experience in the heart of downtown Seattle.