W Seattle exterior at night (photo courtesy of W Seattle).

Travel & Culture: SEATTLE'S SIZZLE

With a swanky new renovation in its recent past, the W Seattle offers a chic, urban haven for those looking to inject a heavy dose of style in their stay in the city.

By Patrick M. Curran II

From the Winter 2018 Issue of Clef Notes Chicagoland Journal for the Arts

If you prefer more of an urban (or better yet, urbane) retreat, then the W Seattle is definitely the spot for you. Set amidst the hustle and bustle of downtown Seattle, Washington, the W is a stylish, sophisticated haven of luxury and swanky drama springing from a witty ode to the city’s musical legacy, its aviation past and the region’s rustic outdoorsy nature.

​In the heart of the city’s shopping district, steps from the city’s popular waterfront and a short jaunt from the Seattle Science Center and the Space Needle, its location is idyllic for those looking to be in the thick of the action in the city.


Benefiting from a recent massive redesign spearheaded by New York’s Krause Sawyer Design, the interiors scream style. The tone is unabashedly upscale, with textural and graphic nods to the city’s link to the aviation industry. (From 1915 to 2001, Boeing was a staple of industry in the area.) The lobby, dubbed the  Living Room, greets guests with the warm, domestic feel its moniker connotes. Dim lighting pacifies the rush of energy lingering from the stir of your travel day. A warm hearth centers the space.  And all you want to do after entering it is see just what your guest room has to offer. 

The room is sleek with tech inspired details that easily remind you of the industry’s hold on the Seattle consciousness. With plush linens and modern seating, comfort underscores a real sense of style that dominates the character of the space. Clever, urban references to music also dot guest room designs, like the turntable inspired bar. A large-scale rustic headboard/wall covering brings the outdoors in with a graphic illustration of overlapping wooden planks.

Each of the prevailing themes (music, tech, aviation and the outdoors) work seamlessly to create a distinctive statement without overpowering the senses or the experience a guest room is meant for, relaxation.

The hotel also has a recording studio, one of only two W properties in the world to have such an amenity. Artists can rent out the space, which includes a vocal booth, mixing equipment, and a lounge area large enough to accommodate 25 people.


Chic and stylish, Trace Restaurant and Bar serves as the vibrant fine dining hub for guests of the W and Seattle foodies alike. Executive Chef Steven Ariel blends flavors from his home in Hawaii with Pacific Northwest cuisine, and even Asian and Caribbean influences from his many culinary travels, to form a signature pallet that sates and inspires every season. The menu boasts international flavors with unusual pairings that are as delightful as they are surprising.

His delicious BBQ’d brussel sprouts set a distinctive tone with just the right amount of heat to boot, and his tasty lemongrass fried chicken is delicately balanced with fluffy jasmine rice, and curried pickles inciting mouth-watering bliss from the very first bite.Libations at Trace are as vibrant as the menu. A wide array of cocktails, beers and wines (many from Washington area wineries) abound to overflowing. Ask your waiter to suggest pairings, and you’ll get serendipitous and insightful education in the finer elements of the sport.