Northwest

8 Coolest Hotels in Seattle | Where Nature Meets Nurture

Big concepts, bold cuisine, and cutting-edge tech elevate Seattle's hotel scene. Local writer Amanda Castleman reveals the hippest and most intriguing spots to stay in the Emerald City.

Glasses clinked and grills flared, as the sun slid towards Puget Sound, sharply silhouetting the snow-gilded Olympic Mountains. The city’s iconic “Public Market Center” sign—a cherry-colored neon—popped against the darkening blue of the sea and sky. Crowds gathered on the street below, phones snapping. But we floated above it all on a fifth-floor terrace, watching the lights of the ferries and the Great Wheel reflected on the waves.

Seattle may be known for its “freeze”—how locals are slow to bond with newcomers—but the area’s coolest hotels are creating spaces that invite instant camaraderie. The trendiest blend high-tech touches with chic design, often incorporating the area’s heritage or showcasing its staggering natural beauty. Their menus continue this celebration of the Pacific Northwest. Expect a lively selection of local craft beers, spirits, and premium Washington wines, backed by ingredients drawn from the abundance of the sea, shores, fields, and orchards.

Here are eight of the coolest hotels in Seattle that capture the city’s sparky zeitgeist for business and leisure travelers alike.

Location, Location, Location

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Nowhere combines style, service, and character like Seattle’s Inn at the Market, overlooking Elliott Bay and the famous shops and flower stalls of Pike Place. Often celebrated as one of the world’s best hotels, it crowns the nine-acre historic district, unfurling views of its signature neon sign, plus the downtown ferries, Great Wheel, and snow-capped Olympic mountains. Guests with city-side rooms shouldn’t despair, though. The inn has a panoramic rooftop deck with grills, tables, and loungers: a popular spot for drinks at sunset.

Floor-to-ceiling windows make all 76 rooms remarkably airy. Minimalist décor holds sway here with clean lines, playful geometries and pops of color enlivening a neutral palette—all very reminiscent of the 1815 Biedermeier movement.

Seattle-based architect Ibsen Nelsen designed the hotel to protect the funky and lively character of Pike Place. That ethos continues today with discounts and day passes to lure guests out of the five-star luxury cocoon. Book yourself into this serene downtown oasis, then start exploring all the unique owner-operated businesses, from an herbalist to a radical bookstore, a burlesque cabaret, and the Northwest’s longest-running magic purveyor!

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Inn at the Market

Top rated
Seattle, 3.8 miles to Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture
9.5 Excellent (1785 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.6 / 10
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Art Meets Rock & Roll

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A Belltown classic, the Kimpton Palladian turns the cool up to 11, from its farm-to-table masterpieces to the edgy industrial-chic décor. But the 97-room boutique hotel is most famous for its pop-art pillows screened with modern celebrities painted in a Napoleonic style. You can request your favorite snuggle buddy, but availability is limited, especially for the likes of Brad Pitt.

Built as a 1910 flophouse for sailors, its Beaux-Arts brick façade of red-purple faces the Gilded Age Moore Theatre, making it popular among performers and fans. Kimpton breathed fresh life into the heritage building, but still celebrates the city’s pioneer past with raw wood and nautical-knot art. It also salutes Seattle’s geekier side with black-and-gold hallway wallpaper evoking old book covers—fitting in the most educated, bibliophilic city in the United States.

From in-room yoga mats to Frette Italian linens, the Palladian strikes all the right notes. Don’t miss its speakeasy-style Pennyroyal Bar, complete with antique copper ceiling tiles and drinks like Jack Shows Meg His Tesla Coil (a pineapple rum with Campari and honey-ginger syrup). And the hotel’s Shaker + Spear restaurant holds its own among the city’s best. Book a table and dig into dishes like dill-fried smelt pickles, burrata with truffle cream and wild mushrooms, and rockfish served with squid-ink gnocchi.

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Kimpton Palladian Hotel

Top rated
Seattle, 3.7 miles to Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture
8.7 Excellent (1040 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.2 / 10
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A Bohemian Rhapsody

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Seattle’s Ace Hotel launched the hip brand back in 1999. Today it’s still going strong and staying true to its eclectic charm with local art, loft ceilings, and vintage hardwood floors. Its sky-lit lobby remains the top draw, however. Old-school swivel chairs line a long work table teeming with guidebooks, plants and a freshwater aquarium. It feels like hanging out in a Victorian curio shop.

The Ace keeps things simple in the rooms, which have high ceilings, latex mattresses, and bright Pendleton wool blankets. The flea-market glam continues here with a mix of accents, from record players to stacks of old National Geographic magazines. Stainless steel sinks and pipe shelf brackets add some industrial edge. Another great touch: the rooms all have sulfate- and paraben-free toiletries from Rudy’s, a barbershop chain that grew out of Seattle’s grunge revolution.

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Ace Hotel Seattle

Seattle, 3.7 miles to Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture
8.4 Very good (1287 reviews)
Excellent Service 9 / 10
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A High Point

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The Hotel Theodore occupies an Art Deco skyscraper in the core of the Emerald City. It originally debuted as the Roosevelt Hotel in 1930 and still honors the country’s youngest president. The 2017 rebrand also brought industrial design flairs, which make the property a favorite among creatives and entrepreneurs.

Expect steampunk elegance like globe lamps, retro Tivoli Bluetooth radios and even loaner raincoats crafted by Freeman, a local company. Guests rave about its happy hour, in particular. Seattle hotels usually opt for mid-range wines, but The Theodore rolls out a vintage cocktail cart and serves trendy aperitivi. The culinary excellence continues at the mini-bar, a treasure trove of local treats like Jones Soda and Hale’s El Jefe Weizen Ale, and continues into the Rider restaurant. An Argentine-style grill burns almond and applewood there, turning out dishes like smoked chicken breast with spinach gnocchi.

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Hotel Theodore

Seattle, 3.6 miles to Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture
8.3 Very good (2557 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.4 / 10
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Rat Pack Retro Glitz

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Step into a film noir dreamscape at the Inn at El Gaucho, an all-suite boutique hotel above Seattle’s most iconic steakhouse and a posh movie theater that serves craft cocktails. Expect gentleman’s club glamor, from the fireside lounge to the sword brochettes of tenderloin and live piano jazz. Feeling thrifty? Hit the restaurant’s happy hour for bar bites—from black truffle soup to Thai sticky ribs—and terrific craft cocktails. Or swing by the inn’s daily 5–7 pm event, serving complimentary wine and cheese.

This second-floor haven boasts 17 spacious rooms, where chocolate-colored Italian leather furniture pops against sleek pewter-grey walls. A 2018 refresh brought in Art Deco dimmable pendant lamps and heated floors in the bathrooms, which also have rain showers apothecary-style sinks. Other highlights include fresh baked cookies at check-in and a free all-access pass to NFL coverage during football season.

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The Inn At El Gaucho

Top rated
Seattle, 3.7 miles to Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture
8.9 Excellent (1698 reviews)
Excellent Service 9.2 / 10
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Easygoing Elegance

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Set in the heart of downtown on 1st Avenue, the ultra-modern Loews Hotel 1000 makes a splash with its designer tubs, which fill from the ceiling. A Bath Butler can elevate the experience, preparing the waters with fragrant salts, then setting out body scrubs and butters. Guests can also settle in for more extensive pampering at the spa.

The recently refreshed rooms lean into suedes and crushed velvets in muted jewel tones. High-tech touches also abound, from televisions that double as art displays to the city’s only virtual-reality golf club.

Save time for the superb All Water Seafood & Oyster Bar, a stylish mix of white bricks, riveted tables and rustic wood accents. It draws inspiration from the location—once a bait and tackle shop—and dives deep into the flavors of Puget Sound. The menu ranges from the expected (halibut tacos, seared scallops) to the charmingly unexpected (falafel, fries topped with chowder, Dungeness crab and pork belly with chicory).

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Loews Hotel 1000, Seattle

Top rated
Seattle, 4.1 miles to Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture
9.3 Excellent (3548 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.5 / 10
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Lumberjack Chic

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Lumberjack Chic Set in South Lake Union (Amazon’s turf), the Moxy Hotel is a spin-off of the Marriott brand. With a youthful vibe and affordable price point, the concept’s a hit and has spread across America, Asia, and Europe. The West Coast’s casual style and passion for technology take center stage here. The Moxy blends both these strong suits into the Plug and Meet gathering areas, which feature ergonomic seating, writing walls and 56-inch televisions for projection. The motion-activated LED lights under the bed are another cool touch, as are the two-person rain showers.

Like many Seattle boutique hotels, the hotel evokes the Northwest’s industrial and logging heritage. It has concrete accents, log end tables, nautical steel coat hooks, headboards evoking Gold Rush wax canvas rucksacks and, of course, Edison bulbs in cages. Kerosene lanterns line the main desk and the lobby also contains a display of hand-painted axes, along with books about nature and camping—two of the city’s perennial passions.

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Moxy Seattle North

Top rated
Seattle, 2.9 miles to Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture
8.5 Excellent (251 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 8.9 / 10
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High Style

1/4

Steps from the historic Pike Place Market lies Thompson Seattle, a design-forward luxury hotel. Its 12 stories rise above downtown, unveiling postcard-perfect views of the Sound and Olympic Mountains through floor-to-ceiling windows. The sophisticated architecture is the work of Olson Kundig, an internationally renowned local firm that also reimagined the Space Needle—Seattle’s most iconic landmark.

The 155 mid-century modern rooms maintain a navy, white and brass palette with hardwood floors. The décor evokes the Jet Age and Seattle’s role in the aviation industry, from biplane pioneers to the rise of Boeing. It also features a more recent Seattle innovator—Amazon—with Alexa devices to field common questions.

Budget time to linger in The Nest, the hotel’s rooftop bar. It serves nibbles like beef tataki alongside craft cocktails a la Pea-Diddy (vodka, passion fruit and pea flower). In the spring of 2019, The Thompson debuted its reimagined restaurant, Conversation, featuring a menu inspired by Chef Simciks’s Southern roots, his international travels, and his French culinary background. What does that mean? Try a split pig’s head (teeth and all) with kimchi apples. Follow that up with a chocolate, honey, and black truffle fudgesicle from pastry chef, Kate Sigel.

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Thompson

Seattle, 3.8 miles to Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture
8.7 Excellent (638 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.4 / 10
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