by Albert Rodriguez -
SGN A&E Writer
There are dozens of reasons why you might need or want to spend the night in downtown Seattle, providing you with the opportunity to play tourist in your own city. The two-year-old Hyatt at Olive 8, notable for its true blue illuminated exterior, is steps away from major department stores and a block from the Paramount Theatre - you could tuck yourself into bed after a showing of Mary Poppins within 10 minutes of the closing curtain. Doubling as both a hotel and residential property, Hyatt at Olive 8 is the boutique sister of the Grand Hyatt down the street and it's an official sponsor of this year's Pridefest - book your 'Seattle Pride' package before December 31 (mention code #81254) and receive a deluxe king room, daily breakfast for two, 15% off one a la carte treatment at Elaia Spa, and 15% off food at Urbane (located in the lobby), all priced between $160 and $200 per night. Here's an introduction to both the Hyatt at Olive 8 and Grand Hyatt.
HYATT AT OLIVE 8
All of the hotel's 346 rooms, including 13 junior suites, are furnished with 37' flatscreen HDTVs, marble baths, full sitting areas, floor-to-ceiling windows, and wireless internet access. Soft browns, greens, and other earth tones give the rooms a natural, yet elegant, touch - nothing is overly bright or too pale. The lobby is ultra-contemporary and ample, and guests range from business travelers to international tourists to soccer fanatics (this is the official hotel of the Seattle Sounders FC). Hyatt at Olive 8 is also the first LEED certified hotel, an honorable distinction for its eco-friendly design.
The premier restaurant is Urbane, a favorite amongst local food critics. The ambiance is sophisticated, and the clientele is a mixture of downtown office workers, local scenesters, and overnight hotel guests, while the menu features knockout selections, like the bacon mac 'n' cheese offered for only $6 during happy hour. You could gorge on French onion soup, Wagyu beef sliders, rabbit pâté, Angus burger, or seared scallops all under $10 between 4-6 p.m. daily and again from 10 p.m. to midnight. Urbane serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. Inquire about brunch times. Visit www.urbaneseattle.com for menus and more information. Urbane Coffee & Wine Bar on the main floor is open 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. to midnight, and doubles as an espresso counter with fresh pastries in the morning and then becomes a charming lounge with a large community table in the middle later on.
Guests who want to maintain their girlish (or manly) figures can do so at the hotel's 2,400 square-foot Stay Fit Fitness Center, filled with updated cardio workout equipment, yoga studio, 65-foot indoor saline lap pool, and co-ed Jacuzzi, not to mention dry saunas and steamrooms in the changing facilities.
Don't leave the hotel without a massage at Elaia Spa, on the same floor as the fitness center. Although the co-ed relaxation area wasn't the most memorable, I found everything else to be top notch. Signature treatments include the holistic massage, market fresh scrub, organic facial, and a 120-minute Elaia olive therapy body treatment. I went for the hour-long Elaia signature massage and the tightness in my shoulders surrendered easily to my therapist's touch. Visit www.olive8.hyatt.com/hyatt/pure/spas for a full list of treatments and prices.
The elder Hyatt boasts 425 guest rooms, including 113 suites and parlors, and are decked out with the hotel's own line of Grand Beds, private entry foyers, iPod docking stations, four-fixture bathrooms with separate showers and soaking tubs, plush robes, and Portico bath amenities. High-speed internet access, morning newspaper delivery, and automatic drapes are other features to note, besides the stylish decor. Local glass artisans helped with the lighting design in the hotel's lobby, also filled with original art displays.
With no signature restaurant on the premises, guests are invited to dine at Ruth's Chris Steak House adjoining the lobby. Part of a national chain, the dining area is classy though relaxed, especially in the bar-lounge where twice-daily happy hours (4-6 p.m., 9 p.m. to midnight) offer generous portions of ahi tuna, flatbread pizza, prime rib sliders, and other tasty selections. Full meals including steaks, seafood and seasonal lamb are popular with guests and locals alike, served optionally with an assortment of familiar side dishes. Another option is Blue C Sushi, also accessible from the lobby, which provides diners the experience of plucking their plates off a conveyor belt and simply stacking their dishes until they're full and ready for the check. The sushi is fresh and yummy, but you might also want to try the teriyaki chicken, cucumber salad, tofu with chili sauce, pork gyoza, or Blue C's katsus - chicken, potato, or shrimp. Some green tea ice cream or red bean mochi completes a great, fun experience. Visit www.ruthschris.com/Steak-House/4094/Seattle and www.bluecsushi.com for more information.
The Grand Hyatt has its own Stay Fit Fitness Center, a 3,800 square-foot space furnished with state-of-the-art equipment, steam room, sauna, and whirlpool, all set on rare Hawaiian koa wood. The hotel's YogaAway program allows guests the benefit of a full yoga workout in the privacy and comfort of their own room. For spa treatments, visit Elaia just up the street inside Hyatt at Olive 8.
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