Last week, Natalie, Jack and I stayed at the relatively new Thompson Seattle. It opened in June 2016 and is the chain’s first Pacific Northwest property. It’s a contemporary hotel in a 12-story urban landmark building that not too many people have heard about so here’s what to expect.
Location, location, location… It’s everything in real estate and the Thompson Seattle is situated in the heart of downtown, on the corner of bustling 1st Avenue and Stewart Street. It’s just a block and a half from the city’s historic Pike Place Market so it’s walking distance to the ferries and countless of shops (there’s a City Target and a Nordstrom just three blocks away) and restaurants.
2. The views
When I told a local friend where we were staying, she said, “Oooh, that hotel has the best views of Seattle!” She wasn’t kidding because the Thompson Seattle has breathtaking views of Puget Sound and Olympic Mountain Range. I recommend just pulling up a chair and watching the sun set.
3. The Nest
You know a hotel is going to last when locals try to fight their way in to the bar. Every day at 3pm, there’s a hostess situated in the lobby to monitor customers going up to the panoramic rooftop bar and lounge called The Nest. On warm, sunny summer evenings, it’s the place to be to celebrate and try the cuisine of the Pacific Northwest. Guests get first priority so if you’re staying there, you do need to go to the lobby to check in and get a stamp on your wrist. It’s open in winter too, as they cover the deck.
4. Scout PNW
The hotel’s main restaurant is called Scout and is located on the lobby level. The executive chef is from Louisiana so he puts a little southern flair in the indigenous foods from the Pacific North West. They get the shellfish from the Puget Sound, wild mushrooms from the Cascade Mountains and grass-fed beef raised in the Eastern Farmlands of Washington. I had breakfast there both days and although hotel restaurants are never good deals, the prices here aren’t obscene. I had a jarred egg ($9) that was one of the most unusual breakfast dishes of all time. It had an egg, grits, bacon and cheese served in a mason jar and when the server opened it, smoke came out.
I’m not a fan of their automatic 20% service charge in the restaurant where the fine print reads: “A 20% service charge is added to each guest check, at least 65% of the service charge will be shared among your servers and bartenders. At least 20% is shared among your server and bartender support team. 15% will be retained by the hotel to support wages and benefits.” Kudos to them for being transparent but that is bogus if you’re a waiter or customer.
5. Brownies for the road
Every early afternoon, the pastry chef puts out a plate of delicious brownies, which I think had white chocolate chips. They were so good I didn’t really analyze them – I just popped them in my mouth as fast as I could before my wife and son could see me.
6. Friendly staff
I’m not sure if it’s the people in the northwest or what but the people we met in the city and especially in the hotel were all really friendly and down to earth. Natalie had a heartwarming conversation with a server in Scout and the concierge and doormen were all super friendly and helpful.
7. Hotel design
If you’ve stayed at a Thompson Hotel before, then you know you can expect a luxury, chic experience. The Thompson Seattle does not disappoint. The hotel has 158 mid-century modern-inspired rooms, marble bathrooms and beautiful public spaces. There’s a long countertop-style table just off the lobby where people sit and work or send emails. It’s a nice alternative to working in your room. However, the shower is too chic for me since it only has a half door so water sprays on the floor. If you don’t mop up the tiled floor when you’re done, it turns into a skating rink.
8. Comfortable bed
Of course, a hotel is not very useful if you don’t get a good night’s sleep and we did thanks to the comfortable bed, lightweight comforter and pillows.
9. Solid windows
I think because the hotel is a new building, the windows and walls are solid. It was the first time in a long time that I didn’t hear my next door neighbors, their TV (the hotel was full too) or car horns. I did hear an emergency vehicle’s siren so it’s not like they’re completely soundproof but what hotel windows are these days? What I didn’t like about the hotel is that our windows had huge streaks of bird poop like it came from a pterodactyl. It could have just happened so I can’t really knock them for that and it can’t be easy to clean them.
10. It’s a small hotel
I wouldn’t call the Thompson Seattle a boutique hotel since it has over a 100 guest rooms but with just 158 it sure feels like one. It’s small enough to recognize the staff and they recognize you, which I always find comforting when I travel.
I don’t like the 11am checkout policy and you pretty much have to fight for a later one, which to them is 11:30am or 12pm. I was able to get ours extended only because I had met with the GM (they were hosting us).
Overall, we loved the location, our spacious room, the views, and the friendly staff. We look forward to going back.
Room rates begin at $225 in the offseason.
With regard to the 20% service charge being bogus for the waiter and the customer, it’s only bogus for the customer. I don’t know about other states but in most cities in Washington a server is synonymous with waiter. Server/waiter is benefiting from the service charge. There are lots of restaurants In Seattle that haven’t imposed the 20% service charge and I try to patronize them. One of my favorite restaurants imposed not only a 20% service charge but raised the prices as well. I no longer go there.