Major Makeover

Four Seasons Olympic preserves historic ambiance

By: Marty Wentzel

When a 6.8 earthquake struck in February 2001, executives at the Four Seasons Olympic Hotel saw an opportunity to accelerate renovations on the landmark 1924 building.

On a recent hosted visit to the 450-room hotel, I got a firsthand look at the results of a two-year, $18 million makeover, and I liked what I saw.

The hotel’s mezzanine boasts bright new attractive colors, and the 5,068-square-foot Spanish ballroom has handsome new carpeting. The fitness center features upgraded workout equipment, with individual televisions at many of the machines, and the corridors show off new upholstery, rugs, drapes and artwork.

In the coming months, the hotel intends to improve the exterior of the building, which is noteworthy for its high, arched Palladian windows.

The hotel has long been on the National Register of Historic Places and the Four Seasons management dutifully preserves the historic ambience. But its rooms now feature complimentary high-speed Internet access via new three-line speakerphones, cordless bedside phone, CD players, 27-inch televisions and PlayStation controllers, along with games that can be downloaded by the hour.

When it came to service, Four Seasons Olympic impressed me, my family and our Welsh corgi, Spice. The hotel welcomes small, well-behaved pets, and whenever we passed through the lobby, the staff members greeted all of us by name, including the pooch.

In the guest room, our daughter was welcomed by alphabet-shaped sugar cookies spelling out her name and little bowls of icing and sweets to decorate them. For Spice, two dog bowls were set on a tray, accompanied by a bottle of Evian water and dog biscuits wrapped with a bow.

When it was time for exercise, we splashed around the skylit indoor pool and soaked in the Jacuzzi. Spice, meanwhile, took full advantage of the hotel’s dog-walking services. For $15, the bellman led her on a 20-minute stroll.

Four Seasons Olympic’s location is perfect for sightseeing families. A short walk took us down to the waterfront home of boat tours, restaurants, trolley rides, horse-drawn carriages and Seattle souvenir shops.

Through April 2003, the Four Seasons’ Fun Family Getaway is $235 per night, including executive suite accommodations, valet parking and discounts to some of the city’s popular attractions such as the zoo and aquarium. As part of the deal, kids get a welcome amenity and one free in-room movie each day.

Hotel Review

Hits: Modern amenities in historic surroundings; impeccable service; in-room high-tech goodies.

Misses: The main entrance is one floor below the lobby and registration desk.

Be Aware: Valet parking, no self parking available.

Clientele: 65 percent business travelers, 35 percent leisure guests.

Rates: From $305 per night, double occupancy, through April 30, 2003.