Though Seattle gets branded by its tech industry, coffee culture and grunge bands (admittedly its last marquee musical moment), it’s actual a strikingly visual city surrounded by majestic lakes, something that has influenced the region’s casual-chic lakehouse aesthetic.
One of the prettiest Eastern “boomburbs” that has recently come into its own is Bellevue, French for beautiful view, it’s the perfect name for this bougie nabe overlooking Lake Washington. It’s now considered the “tech playground” of the Pacific Northwest. And every tech hub needs a good scenester hotel – a role now filled by the irreverently stylish new W Bellevue. Curiously enough, it’s actual the first W hotel to open stateside in seven years – and so was given a splashy opening bash (which we flew out to be a part of) replete with avant-garde performers and a live set by Aussie pop songstress Betty Who.
Paying homage to the aforementioned lakeside culture of the neighborhood, the design plays with that idea all throughout the hotel. The lobby, endearingly named The Living Room, features A-frame beams inspired by traditional log cabins, with a mélange of 70s inspired vintage furniture, and velvet sofas decked with vintage wool plaid throws. Just off that space is The Porch, an expansive alfresco bar with lakeside views warmed by a roaring outdoor fireplace, and boasting romance-inspiring contemporary porch swings created from fishing rope.
“Our design process has evolved to center around each destination’s respective history, environment and culture,” Anthony Ingham, Global Brand Leader of W Hotels Worldwide, told us. “And with Bellevue as a center for innovation in its own right, we are thrilled to unveil this new W.”
No surprise, The Lakehouse is their signature restaurant, serving a Pacific Northwest sourced farm- (okay, lake- ) -to-table menu, created by James Beard winning chef Jason Wilson. Designed as a sort of rockstar’s lakeside pad, the airy and mod space is divided into a garden room, butler’s pantry, “wild modern” private dining room, “wild primitive” dining room and plain old chef’s counter.
25 of the 200 guest rooms have a modern industrial open plan design, with grey hardwood tiled floors and “concrete wallpaper,” with glass showers and soaking tubs in the bathroom. Nodding to the region’s nautical history and its wine country, bedrooms feature a cabernet stained carpet – which, admittedly, might be going a little too “local.” Cool headboards are inspired by inflatable floats – fun!
If your app just got funded, splash out on the 2,300-square-foot, two-bedroom Extreme WOW Suite. Views of sparkling Lake Washington? Hanging bed? DJ booth with a killer sound system, pool table, and open plan jacuzzi? Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes.
But being the culture vultures that we are, we loved the entryway installation illustrating the evolution of the region as seen through the eyes of renowned street artist Gaia. Within it is the entrance to Civility & Unrest, a “secret” lounge offering seasonally inspired cocktails alongside rare scotches and vintage whiskeys in a cozy but, of course, rustic setting. Art pieces by Lady Aiko and Zio Ziegler make for dramatic showstoppers throughout the rest of property.
Best of all? In perpetually rainy Seattle, there’s finally a hotel you might not even have to set foot outside of. Bless.