Bright Lights, Emerald City

Washington Men’s Rowing training on Lake Union with the Space Needle in view on a spectacular day last spring.

I love the Pacific Northwest. The salmon filled rivers, the tall timbers, the snow capped mountain ranges, the food, the people. But most of all, I love Seattle.

Do you ever feel like you were born in the wrong place? I do. All the time. Don’t get me wrong. I love Old Florida and the sweet neighborhoods that make up my community: Winter Park, Mt. Dora, College Park, Lancaster Park. And, of course, I spend most of the summer in glorious Montana. But sometimes, in Florida, in August, when it’s 98 degrees out with 99.9 % humidity, I wonder- “Shouldn’t I have been born in the Pacific Northwest? “

Thankfully, Hunky Hubbie and I have been fortunate enough to have two daughters (Numbers 1 & 3) attend the University of Washington and daughter #2 is now living and working in Kirkland along with her fiancé. Daughter #3 has decided to make Seattle her permanent home as well.

Yay! Adult children living in fun places.

Over the years, we have stayed in LOTS of hotels in Seattle, Kirkland and Bellevue. Some were great and some were not so great. I have two Seattle favorites, but one is on the Eastside in Kirkland so it doesn’t really count. My favorite place to stay while visiting Seattle is the iconic downtown grand dame, The Fairmont Olympic.

Cherry Blossoms in full bloom on campus at the University of Washington. I’m in Heaven.

You are probably wondering, “Why write about Seattle when it’s dumping rain and 38 degrees there right now?” Well, rain aside- it never really bothers me- the sun has never evaded us on any visit. But, mostly because a visit to any city requires planing and if you are thinking of visit the PNW this summer, you might want to get planning.

Back to the Fairmont, this hotel is actually the perfect place to go when it is raining outside. The first you notice are the white lights a wrapped around the trees as you drive up to the valet. There are flowers always in bloom along the driveway. At night, it sparkles and feels just magical. You have already forgotten it’s raining. As you ride the short escalator up into the lobby, the entire place opens up- walls clad in golden, tawny wood paneling, dazzling crystal chandeliers, and fresh flowers in striking arrangements greet you as you approach the desk. The lobby is always buzzing ( as all big city lobbies should). I’ve seen everything from a bride gliding down the grand stair case to Blitz, the Seahawks mascot, in the lobby. Friends hug, glasses clink. It’s beautiful. Ahhh. Vacation.

Creative Florida design on the lobby of The Grand Fairmont Olympic.

The Terrace Bar is an intimate little space where fine cocktails are served. Be sure to stop there. One of the biggest draws to the Fairmont is the Afternoon High Tea in the Georgian Room. Reservations are strongly recommended. I’ve had tea twice. Splurge and get the champagne. Because, well, it’s champagne. The bite sizes treasures are masterfully prepared by the hotels’ pastry chef : smoked salmon sandwiches, delicate chocolate mousses, creams and berry scones. It is the perfect place for a bite after a day of shopping or a place to catch up with a friend. Last time I had tea at the Fairmont was after shopping for wedding dresses with my daughter at the Flagship Nordstroms downtown. It was pretty much a perfect day- wedding dress shopping and high tea. Yep- perfect.

The Georgian Room at The fairmont Olympic

The Sunday brunch in the Georgia Room is a must do as well. Even if you are not a guest of the hotel, be certain to make plans dine there at least once while visiting. The food is sumptuous and plentiful. Watching passers by through the massive Palladian windows you feel as if you been transported to another time. Please take the time to dress in attire worthy of such a beautiful room.

High Tea is a must.

But now to the rooms. We have stayed twice at The Fairmont and both times had beautiful, luxurious rooms. recently renovated and unlike many city hotels, the rooms are spacious with large bathrooms, full closets, incredible views and quiet soundproof walls. The beds are dreamy. I love the built in reading lights on the headboards. Great idea. The make up mirrors are lit along the entire frame so putting on make up is wonderful. The rooms have every luxury amenity you could want.

I love the little fold away lights built into the headboard.
I I wish I had taken a picture of the mirror when lit: it is the best make up mirror ever.

The Fairmont is also home to Shuckers, one of the oldest Oyster bars in Seattle, which is saying something. Local oysters and craft cocktails are on the menu and not to be missed on any trip. Just downstairs there is a sweet coffee shop, the 4th Ave Espresso Bar. It has an entry either through the hotel or right onto 4th Ave. This darling patisserie is perfect for a quick bite in the mornings when you need to get going early. A flaky Pain Au Chocolat and latte is all you need to fuel you for a day of shopping, art gallery viewing and touring the Pike Street Market.

NOTE: As of June 13th, the Terrace Bar and The Georgian are closed for renovations. All hotel dining is currently hosted in Shuckers while renovations to the Terrace Lounge and The Georgian are completed in early Summer 2020.

4th Avenue Espresso bar and their whimsical displays.
The Chihuly Museum glasshouse. Can you imagine attending an event here?

The Fairmont is easily accessible by the light rail system. One visit , Hunky Hubbie and I took the light rail ( for a mere $3) downtown, rolled our bags up one little hill and arrived at the Fairmont. Mass transit in Seattle is very simple and helps you avoid the traffic. We took the light rail to a Seahawks game as well as the Stanford football at the University of Washington. It’s fast, easy and affordable.

Go Hawks! We watched the Seahawks beat the Cowboys last Fall. Sorry Hunky Hubbie.

The Pike Place Market is an easy walk from The Fairmont as well as many other museums, shopping and incredible dining along the water. The Market, established in 1907 is best seen early in the day, avoid lunch hour, and be sure to make reservations if you plan to dine at the Market.

When in the Emerald City, makes plan to splurge and treat yourself to a weekend stay at the Fairmont. Try out a facial at the Penelope Spa, (hoping for a spa visit the next time I’m in town) the local food, the cocktails, the views, the rooms- you may ask yourself, “Why don’t I live in the Pacific Northwest?”

Can’t write a blog about Seattle without a photo of the iconic Pike Place Market neon sign.

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