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Seattle's new Arctic Club Hotel is top of the line
by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

Unable to afford an out-of-city getaway, whether it be financial reasons or low holiday hours, or maybe you're just looking for somewhere to have a one-night celebration - think birthday, anniversary, job promotion, or simply breaking in a new credit card? What you've got is the makings of a staycation, a popular trend amongst urbanites and outskirters who want a retreat minutes from their doorstep. In Seattle, we're blessed to have a great assortment of hotels to check ourselves into for much-deserved pampering. Fresh on the scene is Arctic Club Hotel, cornering downtown's Third and Cherry streets and a short walk to King Street Station, for those with an early voyage to Vancouver BC or late incoming train from Portland. Opened in June, it embraces the concept of a nostalgic men's club, yet re-imagines it in the modern era with impeccable decor, touches of class throughout, and the most appealing bar-lounge to come along in years. Begin your staycation by visiting www.arcticclubhotel.com or calling (206) 340-0340. Allow me to introduce you to this cool new kid on the block, including its on-premise Juno restaurant and Polar Bar lounge.

HISTORY
In 1908, the Arctic Club was formed by adventurers who struck it rich in the Klondike gold rush. A brotherhood of the city's most successful pioneer businessmen with ties to Alaska met regularly to swap stories and perhaps frame their wealth with all-night brag sessions. Eight years later, the exclusive brethren moved into the Arctic Building now known as the Arctic Club Hotel. Photos of the club's original members decorate the walls of the hotel lobby and reception area, accessed from Cherry Street. Genuine art, architecture, and amenities help acquaint visitors with yesteryear's sophistication. From outside, look up to the third level and spot 27 molded walrus heads fitted neatly around the exterior.

ROOMS
Arctic Club Hotel boasts 120 rooms, each with high ceilings and decorated in soft Northwest-accented colors. All rebuilt from a gutted-out financial building, each includes large bed, wood drawers, leather armchairs, masculine art prints (i.e. arctic Eskimos, not flowery fields), and swiveling flatscreens that allow traveling businessmen and sports enthusiasts to harbor near their manly side - a rarity when you consider how many hotel suites are too pretty for the portfolio-toting guest. Another feature, and unique to Arctic Club Hotel, is their use of high-end Kiehl bathroom amenities. Gay marriage supporter Brad Pitt recently endorsed this fashionable line of skin products, which I'd dip a spoon into if they were edible. His biodegradable body cleanser can be purchased at the front desk, whether you're a guest at the property or just passing by. I loved the original signage on the restroom doors and the cozy, cool ambiance of the rooms - I felt like curling up to a Jack Kerouac book with a cup of Starbucks coffee, another welcome amenity.

JUNO
There's no need to leave the hotel for a good bite, or your room for that matter. Juno prepares an exciting menu of items that utilizes local, fresh, eco-friendly ingredients, including lunch plates like a double-decker grilled cheese and tomato sandwich, duck breast croissant, Juno cobb salad, spring rock hen, Szechuan tuna, and halibut and chips. For dinner, start with Snake River beef and lamb sliders, heirloom tomato gazpacho, duck rillette, crab and fig salad, risotto croquettes, or scallop tartare in tuille. Then move onto Dungeness crab ravioli, Ellensburg lamb loin, sweet pepper crusted striploin, black cod, or house-made pork 'n' beans. Early risers can feast on salmon gravlox and cream, old-school benedict, yogurt parfait, Colorado omelet, Amaretto biscuits and gravy, and cappuccino swirl decadence French toast. The selection of red and white wines is definitely worth mentioning, and delicate presentations for each dish add to an overall divine experience.

POLAR BAR
If you've seen one hotel lounge, you've seen them all, right? Wrong. Polar Bar is the size of a main floor lobby with leather couches, round coffee tables, dim lighting, fireplace, and a real absinthe fountain - my eyes did cartwheels as soon as I walked in here. It felt like a polished first-class lounge at an airport, a place that inspired me to drink. On this night, you could hear ice cubes rattle as young gentlemen sipped the last of their scotch and the women appeared cheerful as they drank fine wine in a classy, open setting. The music was neither loud nor obnoxious at Polar Bar as is often the case in most hotel hangouts, where DJs give your ears an unexpected workout. The prices were surprisingly comparable to any downtown lounge I've been to, if not a tad less expensive. And don't forget that absinthe fountain. This is where I'll definitely bring my football-loving brother and cousins to on the eve of the big Seahawks game. It's sophisticated, vintage, remarkably manly, and a spot to wear those brand-name denims, khakis, and fancy sneakers.
 

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