Thompson Seattle Hotel Is Your Best Nest in the Emerald City

Couple sitting on roof with water below
Courtesy Image

The first and last thing you’ll notice about the Thompson Seattle Hotel is the view—perched atop a steep hill on 1st Avenue above the warm red glow of Pike Place Market’s iconic neon red sign and main entrance. The twinkling lights of zigzagging ferries across Puget Sound (better referred to nowadays by its historic native name, the Salish Sea) and the Great Ferris Wheel lend a festive vibe to the sparkling blue water lining the edge of downtown Seattle, with its colorful sunrises and sunsets overtop the nearby emerald islands.

Designed by the legendary Olson-Kundig architectural team, every part of the hotel pays homage to this view. The swanky rooftop bar, the floor-to-ceiling windows in the rooms, even the ground-level restaurant faces seaward with little to distract from that panorama: Olympic mountains standing tall and purple along the western horizon.

Rooftop lounge with green velvet chair
Ryan Flynn Photography

The area surrounding the hotel is chock-full of the high-quality, eclectic, and stylish restaurants, bars, and indie shops for which Seattle is famous. Don’t miss The Biscuit Bitch, located just across the street from the hotel, for a quick, affordable, delicious breakfast. The Pink Door serves up great Italian-American dishes in a hip setting with nightly entertainment including local trapeze artists, cabaret dancers, live music, and tarot card readings.

On the arts and entertainment end, be sure to check out who’s playing at The Showbox, one of Seattle’s premier live-music venues just a couple blocks down 1st Avenue from the hotel. The historic Moore Theater is also close by, hosting national music acts, comedians, and other top-notch performance arts shows. The Seattle Art Museum is always worth a visit and is just a short walk away, too.

With its prime location on the cusp of Seattle’s reemerging downtown, the Thompson offers quick and easy access to some of Seattle’s most famous neighborhoods, including the iconic Pioneer Square, bustling South Lake Union, and the ever-popular Queen Anne districts.

Glass exterior of hotel
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What’s Behind All That Glass?

Inside the hotel, the décor is a mishmash of vintage and modern styles with luxe accents and quirky local art. Unexpected touches like a rotating welcome mat in the elevator that changes from “Good Morning” to “Good Afternoon” to “Good Evening” lends a sense of playfulness.

Community-minded rotating discounts for hotel guests at nearby spots like Urban Yoga Spa along with the friendly and accommodating staff help make it feel homey and comfortable. It’s not the transactional, cookie cutter experience some hotels tend to evoke.

The property’s 150 guest rooms and five residences are inspired by Seattle’s proud aviation and maritime legacy, featuring that unbeatable view alongside color schemes of navy blue and white with bronze accents and elegant hardwood floors. The bathrooms keep it classic, with black-and-white tiles and large rainfall showers with glass doors.

Sliders on plate in image on left and cocktail with dried orange slice in right
Jim Henkens

The hotel’s signature restaurant, Conversation Kitchen & Bar, feels like an upmarket take on the classic corner diner crossed with a homestyle dining room. The well-worn Douglas fir tables and lively open kitchen serve a wide-ranging menu of international flavors (a blend of French, Japanese, and modern techniques) and inventive dishes like lamb en croute. On top of the building, The Nest’s craft cocktails embrace those same fresh, locally sourced ingredients. A wine list full of PNW wines celebrates the area’s abundance.

Colorful tattoos on tan background
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Don’t Forget the Ink

What would a trip to Seattle be without getting some fresh ink to help you remember the Emerald City? One of the most interesting things currently happening at the hotel is Thompson Seattle’s Tattoo Artist in Residency program. Guests can sign up to get inked by some of the most talented tattoo artists around the country. It’s worth noting that many of these artists have years-long wait lists, or closed books altogether, so these residencies offer Thompson Seattle guests exclusive access to popular artists.

Some of the tattoo artists participating in the residency include Portland-based Alice Kendall and Justice Wolf. To help complete the experience, the hotel restaurant, Conversation, is creating specialty cocktails inspired by each artist—so you can fortify yourself with a stiff drink inspired by the very artist about to give you a tattoo.

Actually, make it a double.

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