Exterior of the Alexis Hotel
and Bookstore Bar.
Think of The Alexis Hotel as a blank palate, ready to absorb the
colors and patterns of each client’s preferences. That’s the unique
selling point of the downtown Seattle hotel, whose Art of Living
theme reveals itself from the moment each booking is made.
Like a gallery curator, Alexis concierge Joseph Eames contacts
guests to make them feel welcome before they set foot on the
property. Prior to my visit, he sent me an engaging e-mail, giving
me carte blanche to contact him for advance preparations. He even
asked what magazines I prefer, and sure enough, the latest issues
were waiting for me in my room.
The Kimpton-run property recently revealed the results of a
six-month, $10 million renovation of its guestrooms, meeting spaces
and lobby, its first major renovation since 1992. According to
officials at Dawson Design Associates, which orchestrated the work,
the makeover was meant to “engage the hotel guest in an experience
akin to visiting the home of an art collector.” Clients with an
aesthetic sense should take their time walking between the lobby
and their rooms. On the way, they will pass through the signature
Alexis Art Walk, which features works by Pacific Northwest painters
overseen by a Seattle Art Museum curator. Returning guests will
notice that the collection changes every quarter.
Twelve guestrooms were added during the remodel, bringing the
total to 121, including specialty suites created in partnership
with local arts organizations.
A muted color scheme highlights the
design features in guestrooms.
“We really want to emphasize the sheer size of our rooms,” Alexis
Hotel general manager Andrew Wright told me. “Many of our suites
are 700 to 1,000 square feet.”
Like a gallery, my room featured a muted color scheme that
didn’t interfere with design accents. Innovative furnishings ranged
from a rococo mirror, ornate buffet and chaise lounge to a modern
Keilhauer desk chair. All accommodations indulge guests with
300-thread-count sheets, feather down bedding, 32- or 40-inch LCD
high-definition flat-screen televisions, cordless phones and Aveda
The hotel also transformed its meeting and banquet space. The
new 1,365-square-foot Grand Parlor makes a statement with handsome,
exposed brick walls and floor-to-ceiling windows, while the
620-square-foot Gallery Room beckons with a wood-burning fireplace
and plenty of natural light.
The location of the Alexis lends itself nicely to the Art of
Living theme. Set in one of the city’s most creative hubs, its
cutting-edge neighborhood plays home to such inspiring local
landmarks as the newly expanded Seattle Art Museum, colorful Pike
Place Market, lively Seattle waterfront, historic Pioneer Square
and dozens of upscale art and antique galleries, all within walking
The hotel’s packages encourage creative lifestyles. Case in
point is the Extreme Adventure at the Alexis Hotel, new for 2008.
Underscoring the hotel’s commitment to environmentally aware
initiatives, officials have partnered on the package with local
eco-friendly company Evergreen Escapes. Clients get deluxe
accommodations, a power breakfast, guided transportation in a
biodiesel jeep, a two-hour ropes course challenge in the nearby
town of Woodinville, and their choice of a guided winter adventure
(either ice climbing up a mountain and skiing down, backcountry
skiing, snowshoeing or steep skiing). Rates, priced for four people
in two rooms with two queen beds, start at $2,500 per night.
Other imaginative packages from the Alexis include Downtown
Divas, which pampers gal pals with a treatment at the hotel’s
Etherea Spa, a $50 certificate toward perfume, chocolate-covered
strawberries and champagne, Nordstrom personal shopper services,
town car transfers to and from the store and a pint of ice cream at
turndown (from $475). Culture vultures selecting the Art of the
Perfect Weekend get admission for two to the Seattle Art Museum, 10
percent discount at the museum store, breakfast and a set of
watercolors and blank postcards (from $309 through Dec. 29).
Holiday travelers booking It’s a Wonderful Package stay in a
fireplace suite, savor welcoming hot cocoa and cookies, receive a
DVD copy of “It’s a Wonderful Life” or $15 gift certificate to the
hotel’s Bookstore Bar, and take home a glass ornament (from $359
through Jan. 31).
In so many ways, the hotel helps clients unleash their inner
artist, as I discovered during the nightly complimentary wine
service, where like-minded souls joined in lively conversation and
watercolor dabblings. No matter what your client’s fancy, the
Alexis reminds its guests that travel is a specialized art form in
its own right.
1007 First Ave. Seattle, WA 98104
Rates: from $175-$579 per night
Commission: 10 percent
Travel Agent Rate: From $125 per night based on