Guest Author - Rachel Rome
TRAVEL TO SEATTLE, STAY AT HISTORIC ALEXIS HOTEL & Aveda Spa
For the second time in three years, I traveled to Seattle for a vacation and stayed at the perfectly located, and art-filled Alexis Hotel, just a few blocks from the harborfront, ferries, aquarium and Pike’s Market, a Quincy-Market style open air and enclosed market filled with fresh local produce, arts, crafts, food, flying fish, and wide-eyes tourists eying the icy cases filled with fresh salmon, halibut, and Alaskan king crab. I returned to the elegant boutique Alexis Hotel because I knew the friendly staff would provide just the right touch of helpful information, personal consideration and that funky Seattle attitude -- friendly, down-to-earth and eager to help with tourist questions.
This time around, the Alexis Hotel -- part of the top-rated coast-to-coast Kimpton chain (including the Boston Onyx Hotel and the Cambridge Marlowe Hotel) had added a trendy Cigar Bar, just off the lobby, and the Library Bistro Restaurant, serving cozy breakfasts and lunches. I was astounded to view a Dale Chihuly Glass art sculpture, 12 foot glass chandelier, displayed in the hotel lobby, on loan, from the Chihuly Studio in Seattle.
Seattle, the Emerald City on Puget Sound and Elliott Bay, is a great port city to visit, with a Boston feeling. Flying fish, waterfront strolls, galleries, cafes, the harbor and waterfront, cosmopolitan cafes, gold rush history, trolley and Gray Line bus tours, street life, the underground “city,” and Pike Place Market enliven the city. Walkable Seattle is energetic, with cafes, bustling piers, shops with Northwest Indian arts and crafts, and historic Pioneer Square district. From the docks, visitors can get sightseeing harbor tour boats, Washington State ferries, and cruise ships to Alaska.
Grunge music and Starbucks Coffee -- the original coffee shop across from Pike Place Market - originated in Seattle. The market‘s an attraction, with a meandering enclosed narrow arcade, flea market, crafts stalls, flowers, and veggie merchants. Fishmongers clad in bright yellow waders, rubber boots and yellow hats, toss 100-pound King, sockeye and red salmon from the counter to men at the weighing stands. Huge fish from the Copper River, Columbia River, Pacific Ocean, Alaskan waters and other fishing spots, line the glass counter.
At the Space Center, the landmark, Space Needle, is a must-do attraction and offers a sky-high view of the city. Visit the excellent Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park highlighting the gold rush.
For an authentic NW Indian Feast, Dance, Culture experience, head to Tillicum Village, on Blake Island State Park, for a fascinating glimpse into Pacific Northwest Indian’s heritage, culture, dance, crafts and culinary skills. Once the site of a Northwest Indian fishing camp, it is believed to be the birthplace of Chief Seattle. The 475-acre forested island is on the west side of Puget Sound between Vashon and Bainbridge islands, about eight miles from downtown Seattle. The experience includes a narrated 60-minute harbor cruise past red-necked cranes, the ball park, the waterfront and seaport. It’s a wonderful experience. You can see islands, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker, the Cascade and Olympic Mountain Ranges. Sea otters enjoy the dock area, too. The Seattle skyline is a gorgeous sight from the boat, and at night, glows at sunset as you return.
Tillicum Village offers a stage show in a traditional longhouse. The dramatic performances of ancient, authentic Northwest Coast Native American and Eskimo tribal dances, “Dance on the Wind,“ with beautiful feathered and furry costumes are set amidst a moonlit forest glen. The “musical” includes narrations of Indian customs. For more information, go to the website,tillicumvillage.com.
Romantic dinner? Anthony‘s Pier 66, waterfront or palisade, with great Puget Sound and Olympic Mountain views. Nights are lively here. Music lovers enjoy funk and garage bands. Enjoy opera, the marvelous, unique Zinzanni Circus, theater, Seattle Art Museum, and symphony.
At the Aquarium, spend hours at the Pacific Ocean exhibits. The sea otters always fascinate, along with the diving birds, Pacific Coral Reef exhibit, harbor seals, an underwater dome and a new octopus display. The Seattle Aquarium is on Pier 59 on the Waterfront, 1483 Alaskan Way. For more information visit:seattleaquarium.org. or seeseattle.org.
The Alexis, in the heart of downtown Seattle, Washington since the late 1800s, is on the National Registry of Historic Places. It is committed to the local arts community and displays a permanent and rotating collection of original art, especially modern glass art by renown Dale Chihuly. Graceful refinement and warm hospitality continue to make the Alexis the premier Seattle, Washington hotel.
Library Bistro & Bookstore Bar is reminiscent of a 1940s and 1950s-style restaurant with faux lizard skin high-back booths, 10-foot high charcoal blue bookcases displaying hundreds of books by famous and infamous authors. The downtown restaurant is appropriately illuminated to accent the warmly colored tangerine walls, while retro bubble-raised carpet, oiled oak floors and contemporary faux copper and bronze checkerboard tiles tastefully decorate the floors. The Bookstore Bar features soups, salads, pastas and delicious homemade desserts. Guests can also order from the Library Bistro's menu. An outstanding selection of single malt scotch, single barrel bourbon and international beers are featured, along with an excellent assortment of fine cigars in the house humidor.
Pamper yourself after a tough day sightseeing with some time-out at the Aveda Spa in the Alexis. Plus, the hotel includes six special spa suites, each featuring a private jetted tub, allowing you to indulge in that pampered feeling just a little longer.
For more information, or to book an appointment, please call the spa directly at 206-628-9605.
For more information on the Alexis, 1007 First Avenue, Seattle, 800-426-7031, or visitalexishotel.com.