Whether you’re looking for a new city to get lost in for several days, or simply staying for a night or two before embarking on a cruise into frigid northern waters, Seattle should be on every traveler’s list. During a recent trip to the Emerald City my wife and I found ourselves staying at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco in downtown Seattle. If you’ve stayed in one of Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco locations you probably know what to expect, and can rest assured that the Seattle location lives up to the name. If you haven’t, you can look forward to a luxury boutique experience at a reasonable rate when you stay at any of Hotel Monaco—including the one in Seattle.
The first thing you’ll notice when you enter the Hotel Monaco is how courteous and personable the staff is. We arrived during a fairly crowded moment, but there were ample stations with almost preternaturally polite employees who got everybody in that crowded lobby checked in quickly and easily. That lobby sums up the Monaco’s whole vibe: it’s classy but not stodgy, tasteful but warm and inviting, and seasoned with a dash of fun in the form of a large dolphin mural. Beneath the lobby you can find their meeting rooms, where that chic but comforting aesthetic continues, and above you’ll find what really matters the most at a hotel: the rooms.
Yes, the rooms are nice. These are good rooms—or at least the one we stayed in was. It offered just the right amount of space for two people spending a night or two after getting back from a week-long cruise. Our room was like a grey and white art piece, with a few flashes of color from the pillowcases and curtains to inject some life and energy. This room had personality. Instead of a standard, sterile hotel room, it felt like a nicer version of our own house—or what we wished our own house looked like. And coming straight from the cramped quarters of a cruise ship made it feel big enough to be a house.
After a great night’s sleep and a morning of relaxation we hit the hotel’s restaurant, Outlier, for Sunday brunch and early afternoon cocktails. The restaurant offers up a variety of favorites for brunch, including some regional spins on classic staples. I’m a lifelong lover of a good flapjack, and Outlier’s buttermilk pancakes stand out, in part because of the caramelized persimmons that adorn them. When combined with a stiff, brisk Dark Forest—bourbon, stout, coffee syrup and mole bitters—you have a great way to start your day. My wife had the cucumber smash, with Ketel One’s cucumber and mint vodka, and it was as light and refreshing as my drink was rich and thick.
Once we were done with lunch, we took advantage of the single most important reason we picked this hotel: its location. Hotel Monaco is ideally situated on Fourth Avenue in downtown Seattle. It’s less than a mile from Pike Place Market, the convention center and the Seattle Aquarium, and less than two miles to the waterfront stretch where the Space Needle, the Museum of Pop Culture and the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum all sit next to each other. It’s also under two miles to where the Mariners, Seahawks and Sounders play, and not far from the major cruise ship ports. If wherever you want to go isn’t within walking distance from the Hotel Monaco, it’ll only be a relatively cheap car ride away.
With one free afternoon in Seattle, we knew we’d need a hotel as close to the action as possible. Hotel Monaco was the ideal choice—we were able to stroll through the splendor of Dale Chihuly’s gorgeous, elaborate glass structures, sit on Prince’s iconic purple motorcycle at MoPop, and still get in a couple of good hours at the Seattle Pinball Museum, without spending more than 15 or so minutes in a car. The Hotel Monaco was at the center of everything.
We travel a good bit, and we try to not stay at the same hotel twice. Experiencing a new hotel is part of the thrill of going on vacation. But Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco Seattle is so nice that I could see us booking another few nights there whenever we return to the city. It doesn’t just maintain the quality you expect from the Hotel Monaco name—it raises the bar for all of its like-named brethren.
Senior editor Garrett Martin writes about videogames, comedy, travel, theme parks, wrestling, and anything else that gets in his way. He’s on Twitter @grmartin.