Most of the Fairmont hotels I know – in Banff, Edmonton, Ottawa, Toronto and the Hotel Vancouver in my home town – have a distinctive feel to them. What do they have in common? A sense of elegance and history, which I like.
A stay at Chicago’s Fairmont Millennium Park late last year was different. Service, meeting spaces and my actual room were all good, but the architecture and design were reflective of a shinier, more contemporary iteration of the brand. It reminded me more of the Fairmont Vancouver YVR, a locale that’s great for business meetings.
When you arrive at Seattle’s Fairmont Olympic, though, it’s clear right away that you’re in for the old school Fairmont experience. This particular hotel, which opened in 1924, boasts Italian Renaissance architecture. Inside, chandeliers suspended from overheight ceilings are complemented by marble, fine millwork, and equally fine service.
With hosts such as the gracious Thien (below) welcoming you curbside, you’re off to a good start.
Entering at street level, you’ll take the escalator or one of the elevators ’round the corner by the shops in order to reach the lobby and check in – where Fabricio (below) and Natalie are equally adept at making you feel at home.
The hotel has 450 guest rooms. My suite was lovely and also reflected traditional Fairmont standards. I appreciated that the hotel, while retaining old style character in its rooms, has visitors fully wired and able to charge a multiplicity of devices without having to prioritise them. The king sized bed and pillows were just right, and the toiletries exactly what you’d expect. I understand that full room renovations will be underway in the next few months and, while it will be interesting to return and see how the lobby and lounge evolve, I hope The Georgian is left unchanged.
If you’re looking for oysters and seafood onsite, visit Shuckers. Otherwise, The Georgian restaurant is just up the stairs from the lobby’s Terrace lounge, and you may also reach it by elevator. Think high ceilings, even more glittering chandeliers, a row of Palladian windows and tableware that would have made your most particular great aunt proud.
Combine the setting and gracious service with the food, and you’ll understand why the restaurant is so popular. If afternoon tea is your thing (and I know it is for many of my readers, not only those from the UK), the hotel has this covered, as well.
SAM and Seattle’s Great Wheel are literally down the hill on University Street – and that’s a good thing because, if you have lunch or dinner at the market or one of the many area restaurants, you can work it off on the uphill return.
If you appreciate interesting architecture, carve out a half hour or more to visit the Seattle Public Library’s Central Library, less than three blocks away – you’re in for a treat.
For more on great spots to visit in Seattle, click here.
Great service is one of the many reasons to stay at the Fairmont Olympic. In addition to Fabricio, Natalie and Thien, I also found the lady closing up the spa and Concierge Patrick to be particularly helpful and gracious.
Using the cardio equipment, you overlook the indoor pool and hot tub.
The mezzanine level business kiosk is compact, but conveniently located just off the lobby, and extensive services are available at the 12th floor business centre.
The hotel has 28,000 square feet of meeting and event space, and 15 meeting rooms, and can accommodate events hosting up to 750 guests.
I like hotels that proudly wear their history. It’s on this site that the University of Washington was established in 1861, and the hotel opened here in 1924; in 1979, it was added to the US’ National Register of Historic Places.
The hotel has been awarded Trip Advisors’ GreenLeaders Bronze Level rating and also earned recognition from the Washington Lodging Association (2010) and the Washington State Recyling Association (2012).
The hotel is in the heart of the city, which is great in that you have little need of a car. Given the age and location of the hotel, the downside is that you have no on-site parking. You can park curbside, check in and then move your car to a parkade the next block up for $39 nightly, or take advantage of valet parking.
As with many locales, pricing will depend on how early in advance you book. The Fairmont Olympic is highly rated, and that’s reflected in the pricing. If planning a stay, check the Fairmont Olympic’s Special Offers page to see if one of the packages appeals to you.
You can have a look at the hotel’s website to see the awards it’s received.
FAIRMONT PRESIDENT’S CLUB
If you or the executives for whom you book travel spend much time in other cities, it’s only logical to acquire brand memberships for the hotels and resorts with which you do business. We’re Fairmont President’s Club members, and the benefits are worth considering. One of my favourites, after a full day of travel and lineups everywhere you turn, is the private reception desk for check in.