This is West Coast USA and the ‘frontier spirit’ lives on. Expect liberal political views, innovation and creativity and a whole host of successful startups. There are also a number of big names based in Seattle and the local area, including Microsoft, Boeing, Amazon and, of course, Starbucks, where it all began for the now global coffee giant.
W Hotels (wseattle.com) sets the standard when it comes to bold design and flamboyance, but if that’s all a bit too much check in to one of Kimpton’s hotels (kimptonhotels.com) in the city. The group’s Hotel Monaco, Hotel Vintage and Alexis Hotel will be joined by a fourth property in 2015 – the 97-room addition is set in the Palladian Building, originally built in 1910 as the Calhoun Hotel. The Fairmont Olympic Hotel (fairmont.com/seattle) might claim the title of Seattle grande dame, but the Four Seasons (fourseasons.com/seattle) has better views and is less chintzy. The Motif Hotel (motifseattle.com) became Seattle’s largest independent hotel when it opened in June.
The city is famous for its seafood and local farmto- fork produce. Right on the waterfront, Aqua (elgaucho.com/aqua) serves a menu of excellent seafood dishes in salubrious surroundings. There’s an outdoor terrace for soaking up summer sunsets, glass walls that make the most of the views, a private dining room and a 25-metre-long bar. The Dahlia Lounge (tomdouglas.com) keeps it local, specialising in Pacific North West cuisine – with a touch of Asian and European influences – and a drinks menu of regional wines and beers all under the stewardship of celebrity chef Tom Douglas.
Craft beer is big in Seattle, perhaps because threequarters of the nation’s hops are produced in the nearby Yakima Valley. ‘Hop heads’ can look forward to visiting some excellent brewpubs like the Pike Brewing Company (pikebrewing.com) or bars such as The Pine Box (pineboxbar.com), set in a former funeral home and with more than 30 beers on tap. Those who prefer the grape to grain should make for Purple Café & Wine Bar (thepurplecafe.com), while Bathtub Gin & Co (bathtubginseattle.com) is a cosy, prohibition-style basement bar.
Delta flies to Seattle daily from London Heathrow’s Terminal 3 as part of its joint venture with Virgin Atlantic. British Airways flies a daily service between Heathrow and ‘the Emerald city’, with a second service on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The flight time is between nine and ten hours.
There are plenty of taxis for the 20-minute journey (on a clear run) to downtown Seattle, plus there’s a number of shuttle bus options. Meanwhile the Link Light Rail completes the journey from the airport to central Seattle in 35 minutes.
Must see sights
Pike Place Market should be the first stop for business visitors with time for a snoop round the city. Founded in 1907, it is one of the oldest farmers markets in the US but its scope today spans more than just fresh produce. The iconic Space Needle rewards visitors with impressive views over the city and the Cascade Range, while the nearby Frank Gehry-designed EMP Museum pays homage to popular culture, ranging from Seattle-born Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana to science fiction and fantasy. Or take a walk around Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park.
“The city is very walkable and also has public buses and taxis to get around. Recommend that visitors do not hire a car while staying in Seattle as parking is expensive” Visit Seattle
Seattle is GMT -7hrs. The city’s climate is famously wet so be suitably prepared. The currency is the US dollar: £1 = $1.69. For more information on the city, visit www.visitseattle.org