Thursday, January 19, 2012

In Praise of the Edgewater


Staying in nice hotels can be fun.  Most of my life, I have chosen the more offbeat (a euphemism for cheaper, but not scary).  This was often to save money, but it is also about experiencing more.  Most luxury hotels are about providing a reassuringly comfortable, but bland environment.  They reassure you that you are important and successful, and do not challenge you.  Slick, but not too different.  Grand hotels always have little touches that hint at local culture, but allow you to remain in a comfortable bubble.  Still, every once in a while, it is nice to treat yourself to some relaxing luxury, so it is nice when you find a place that still gives you a sense of the place you are visiting.  The most amazing places give you a completely unique experience while catering to your comfort, and the Edgewater Hotel on Alaskan Way is one of these places.




The Edgewater is uniquely Seattle.  It opened in 1962, the year of that famous World's Fair that changed this city forever.  The hotel is built on a pier jutting out into the water of Elliot Bay.  It is the city's only actual waterfront hotel.  It is four stories tall and contains 223 rooms.  It was briefly called the Camelot, but changed to Edgewater Inn.  The place was not well known when the Beatles were looking for a place to stay during their 1964 tour of the United States.  The big hotels in town at the time did not want to host the band as the time was the height of Beatlemania.  The Edgewater Inn's owner invited them to his place and made history.  There are famous photographs of the Beatles hanging out a window of the hotel over the water and of Ringo Starr fishing out the window.    



The hotel later dropped the Inn and became a well-known destination.  They have hosted other famous musical acts including locals Pearl Jam, The Village People, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Ozzy Osbourne, KISS, Wings, Neil Young, Frank Zappa, Blondie, Jewel, David Bowie, Emmy Lou Harris, Iggy Pop, Mel Tormé, REM, Rod Stewart, and Willie Nelson.  Yes there is an emphasis on the 1970's in music, but the hotel has not rested on its laurels.  That is one of the most interesting things about it to me.  After a remodel in 1990, the place seems very current.





The decor reflects both the sophistication and modern feel of the city as well as the large and rough nature that surrounds us with all of the mountains and trees and water. 


I love the columns that imitate trees, with metal-hinged branches.
 And design details referencing local history, culture, and animal life.


Rooms are super nice and comfortable with fireplaces and big windows.  The bear stools are another trademark.

The bathrooms are spectacular with showers reflecting local stone and big claw-foot tubs.  The bathroom wall opens up so one can sit in the tub and get the great view of the Puget Sound.

The bar and restaurant in the hotel, while typically overprices, are stylish and offer views like no other place.
Even the elevators are cool.


So the place is a landmark, but it is a landmark that lives up to the hype.  So if you are visiting Seattle or someone is visiting you in Seattle, this place is worth a splurge.


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