Sunday, March 12, 2006


The Hotel Sorrento - Seattle, WA

Loved It!

Recently I stayed in this hotel with my husband, who was attending a conference. I certainly didn’t have to go, and in fact, I was the only “wifey” who had trekked across the country for this 3-day doze-fest. But when I heard the class was in Seattle, I was thinking to myself, “I am SO there.”

In a word, Seattle is amazing. Forget all the great stuff you’ve heard from people about the coffee, the music, the food, etc. usually followed by all that stuff that’s not so great: the coffee, the music, but NEVER the food. They say the prices are high, the music sucks, the city is full of wannabees, the other half are hoity-toity computer snobs, and it rains all the damn time. Seattle is so “over” they say.

It’s all true. But who gives a shit? It’s a great city. I love it.

You can hem and haw all you want about Starbucks, but when a city has created something so all-encompassing, it forces the other establishments to achieve even greater heights of coffee excellence. Which makes Née Née very happy indeed. Imagine, getting the greatest coffee of your life at a little take-away stand for lunch. Yep,that’s Seattle all right. For more on Seattle food, check these pages in the coming weeks.

And the rain isn’t that bad, it’s actually refreshing because the temperature in December when we were there never dropped below 35 (refreshing to this Southerner currently living in the steel gray city of Pittsburgh), and the rain kept reminding me of Glasgow, Scotland, one of my favorite cities. So what’s to complain?

But here I am waxing poetic about Seattle (which I’m sure will happen again) but I really want to talk about where we stayed – The Hotel Sorrento, in the city centre near the University.

Aaaah, The Hotel Sorrento, where have you been all my life? After all, what is there bad to say about a place that has a pillow menu? Yes, a menu for the pillows on your bed. They have spoiled me for all other hotels. Now, I find myself walking into my room and looking around forlornly..... “Where is my pillow menu? Where is it?”

So what is a pillow menu? Weeeeelllll, you arrive, and on the bed there are like 15 pillows, literally. The pillow menu tells you which pillows are soft, medium, and firm. There is even a little diagram indicating which is which.

This kind of attention to detail as I said, has spoiled me for all other hotels. When we arrived, soft music was playing on the Sirius cable station which is provided in every room, there was a french press coffeemaker complete with a huge canister of fresh, dark Starbucks coffee, a copier/scanner/printer, and two fluffy robes, and a gazillion cable channels. All for the same price as the chi-chi boutique hotel we'd stayed at the year before.

While the room was a tad small, I kept finding myself opening drawers and finding new, little treasures I hadn't discovered before. A pictorial history of the hotel, which is over 100 years old. Gorgeous old-fashioned spigots in the bathroom.

In the elevator they change out the rug every day. You see, it has the day of the week embroidered into it. So every day you know what day it is---just in case you forget or go on a bender I guess.

And on returning to your room, not only is your bed turned down, and the chocolate laid out, but there is a card indicating what tomorrow's weather should be.

Downstairs, the ambience is Algonquin meets "The Shining" meets Del Coronado. Lots of old, old antiques, dark wood, and you get the feeling, ghosts. We were there around Christmas, and I counted at least five trees decked out, and miles of golden garland. It was beautiful, and I felt very underdressed every time I stepped out of the tiny, 1920's elevator that was only missing a little guy in a red box hat pulling the levers.

Next to the elevator were framed menus of Christmas Dinner 1919, 1920, 1922. Very cool to see that "Roast Goose" and "Mince Pie" were choices back then.

I dragged my hubby to the "High Tea" which is served every afternoon between 4pm and 6pm. Very tasty, very fattening, and very "hen-like" in that I felt like I was in a chicken yard with all the estrogen-heavy talking going on. In other words, hubby was the only guy. The crowd was full of wealthy "ladies who lunch" and moms with little girls in pink dresses who had evidently just gone to see "The Nutcracker". Nevertheless, the tea was excellent, and the pastries, savory and sweet, were yummy.

This hotel has excellent service, outstanding little "extras" and would definitely appeal to the business traveler or to anyone interested in some "old-world" treatment. It's conveniently located on University Hill right near the big library, so it's convenient to downtown, Pike Place Market, shopping, the whole downtown experience. In a word, "pampering" at its best.

p.s. Their bar makes a mean martini too!

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