The Seattle W Hotel

The W Hotel Seattle's "living room". Robyn Hanson photo

The W Hotel Seattle's "living room". Robyn Hanson photo

Dateline: Seattle. The last stop of the West Coast tour of the newly reformed indie-rock band Guided by Voices. Your dedicated and possibly insane correspondent has been following the band since its show in Las Vegas last Sunday (it’s now Saturday), the third of the “Hallway of Shatterproof Glass* Tour” dates.

Four shows, six days and countless (well, probably close to 2000) miles into this admittedly foolish, misbegotten quest, the decision’s been made to go out in style. After staying at Ramada (Los Angeles), a Super Eight (San Francisco), the Timbers Motel (Eugene) and the Jupiter Hotel (Portland), all of which came in at just over $100 after taxes, we are staying at the ultramodern, sleek W Hotel Seattle.

North-facing view of Seattle from the 22nd floor of the W Hotel.

I stayed here once before and it made its mark on me; it was one of my first great hotel experiences, thanks to a combination of the décor (I’m a sucker for anything “espresso”), modernity and sheer sexiness, not to mention celebrity sighting (in that case, Quentin Tarantino, in town for the Seattle Film Festival).

This time, we have a 22nd floor “king corner” suite – a hallway leads to the main room, which features a king-size bed, a desk (espresso-coloured, of course) and a fantastic view of Seattle, including the Space Needle (not coffee-hued, unfortunately). In the spirit of the trip, I have christened it “The Hallway of Shatterproof Glass Suite” (see pic):

As the digs on this trip go, the W is by far superior to anything else. Second place goes not to the Palms (which is nice in its own way but also gaudy and grotesque, and the airless suite we stayed in was purely functional) but actually to the Timbers Motel, which won’t get any marks for modernity or sexiness but had a certain rustic, Oregon-ish charm and is located right near downtown Eugene**. The L.A. Ramada (on Wilshire) was okay, and the Super Eight (booked through hotwire.com) was just squalid.

We have one more night in the W, and believe me, we’re going to enjoy it, though we will eventually have to leave for the show (the band is at the Showbox Sodo) and possibly lunch.

The lounge at the W Hotel Seattle. Robyn Hanson photo

*Named after a line from a song, “Gold Heart Mountaintop Queen Directory”, off the band’s breakthrough 1994 album Bee Thousand.

**Word to the wise: there are several chain hotels when you first come off the highway, but if you have the time it’s worth the extra 10-minute drive west into downtown to stay at the $50/night Timbers.

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October 2010

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