Travel & Culture

A Tale Of Two Seattle Hotels

June 13, 2024

In the heart of Seattle, a city that seamlessly blends natural beauty with urban sophistication, two hotels stand out, each offering a unique perspective on the Emerald City: Hotel Andra and the Fairmont Olympic. While both properties provide exceptional accommodations and service, they tell different stories of Seattle’s past, present, and future.

A modern twist on historical Seattle

In the city’s bustling downtown, Hotel Andra occupies the historic Clise Building. This 1926 gem once housed the Clise Furniture Company. The building’s classic brick facade and ornate terracotta detailing have been meticulously preserved, offering a glimpse into Seattle’s architectural heritage. Inside, however, the hotel embodies the spirit of modern Seattle, with its contemporary design influenced by the Pacific Northwest’s rugged landscapes and industrial roots. The hotel’s lobby, with its exposed brick walls, reclaimed wood accents, and eclectic art pieces, sets the tone for a comfortable and stylish stay.

The guest rooms at Hotel Andra continue this narrative with their clean lines, muted colour palettes, and thoughtful amenities. The rooms’ floor-to-ceiling windows offer glimpses of Seattle’s iconic skyline or the nearby Puget Sound, reminding guests of the city’s stunning natural setting.

For those seeking a more immersive experience, Hotel Andra’s Monarch Suite is a study in understated luxury. This spacious retreat, with its separate living area and spa-like bathroom, provides a perfect haven for relaxation after exploring the city. The suite’s décor, with its nods to Seattle’s music and art scenes, tells a story of a town constantly evolving and pushing boundaries.

Dining at Hotel Andra is an adventure in itself, with Lola serving as a culinary love letter to the Pacific Northwest and the Mediterranean. Chef and author Tom Douglas, a Seattle icon, has crafted a menu that seamlessly blends the bold flavours of Greece with the fresh, locally sourced ingredients of the Pacific Northwest, like Anderson Valley lamb, Penn Cove shellfish and wild King salmon.

The restaurant’s signature dish, the “Smashed Garlic Fried Potatoes,” is a testament to this fusion, with crispy, golden potatoes and a tangy Greek yogurt dipping sauce. Other standout dishes include the “Kebabs,” featuring succulent meats and vegetables grilled to perfection, and the “Spreads,” a selection of traditional Greek dips such as tzatziki and hummus, served with warm pita bread. The restaurant’s lively atmosphere, with its open kitchen and bustling dining room, creates a sense of warmth and friendliness, inviting guests to linger over a meal and a glass of Greek wine. For those looking to dive deeper into Seattle’s food scene, the hotel’s Hot Stove Society cooking school offers a hands-on education in the city’s diverse culinary traditions.

A testament to Seattle’s rich history

Just a short stroll from Hotel Andra, the Fairmont Olympic is a testament to Seattle’s rich history. This grand dame, celebrating its 100th anniversary, has witnessed the city’s transformation from a bustling seaport to a tech hub. The hotel’s ornate facade, with its intricate carvings and soaring columns, is a work of art, hinting at the grandeur that awaits inside. A little-known fact about the Fairmont Olympic is that it once housed a speakeasy during the Prohibition era, where patrons could enjoy illicit cocktails and live music away from prying eyes. Another interesting tidbit is that in 1924, the hotel’s builders engaged in a “brick race” with the builders of the nearby Roosevelt Hotel (now the Roosevelt Apartments), with both teams attempting to complete their respective buildings first. The Fairmont Olympic ultimately won the race, opening its doors to the public on December 6, 1924.

Stepping into the Fairmont Olympic’s lobby is like entering a different era. The soaring ceilings, crystal chandeliers, and plush furnishings create a sense of occasion, inviting guests to linger and soak in the atmosphere. The hotel’s public spaces, from the elegant Georgian Room to the cozy Terrace Piano Bar, are filled with stories of the city’s past, from the Jazz Age to the World’s Fair.

The guestrooms at the Fairmont Olympic are equally steeped in history, with their classic décor and Old World charm. High ceilings, crown mouldings, and rich fabrics create a sense of timeless elegance, while modern amenities ensure guests have every comfort at their fingertips. Many rooms offer views of the city or the Olympic Mountains, reminding us of Seattle’s natural beauty.

Dining at the Fairmont Olympic is a journey through the city’s culinary history, with The George as the centrepiece. This grand restaurant, with its ornate columns and shimmering chandeliers, offers a menu that celebrates Pacific Northwest cuisine, from freshly caught fish and seafood to artisanal cheeses. The Terrace Piano Bar, with its live music and craft cocktails, is a nod to Seattle’s vibrant jazz scene, while the Shuckers Oyster Bar offers a more casual taste of the city’s seafood heritage.

Gateways to the city’s top attractions

Beyond their walls, Hotel Andra and the Fairmont Olympic are gateways to Seattle’s wonders. From the iconic Pike Place Market, with its colourful stalls and lively atmosphere, to the serene beauty of the Olympic Sculpture Park, the city offers endless opportunities for discovery. The nearby Seattle Art Museum showcases the best of the region’s contemporary art scene, while the Museum of Pop Culture pays tribute to the city’s role in shaping popular culture.

In the end, a stay at either Hotel Andra or the Fairmont Olympic offers an immersion in Seattle’s rich history and culture. Hotel Andra’s contemporary design and Mediterranean-inspired cuisine provide a modern twist, while the Fairmont Olympic’s timeless elegance transports guests to a bygone era. Whichever hotel you choose, you’ll find yourself immersed in the essence of Seattle, then and now. —Mark Sissons


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


get social


get more out of


Want the best, curated headlines and trends on the fly?

get more out of vita

Sign up for one, or sign up for all!