As someone who’s lived on the East coast his entire life, Seattle is a bit of a hike when it comes to travel. I’ve been there a number of times and enjoyed each visit, but because of distance I just don’t get there as often as I’d like. Seattle represents an interesting mix of eclectic restaurants, great sightseeing, rain (of course) and a culture that is, decidedly, Seattle. The focus on seafood (hello, Pike Place) makes it one of my favorite places to visit. Alas, this trip was only meant to be a day, actually just a bit less than a day, landing in the late morning and departing before daylight the following morning. This trip was actually occurred back in November. As I promised in my year-end hotel summary, I’m finally getting a chance to write the review.
Since I had to drive to my meeting I also decided to rent a car from Seattle airport, though public transportation is a great option (Mommy Points had a recent post that detailed the train to downtown). The new rental car facility is almost in Canada it’s so far from the airport. But, I took my own advice as a Hertz Platinum and asked Hertz to deliver the car to me at the terminal. It’s amazing how great the Platinum service is at certain airports. Seattle definitely ranks at the top of that list along with Las Vegas.
It’s a relatively short, 20-minute-ish ride to downtown where the Grand Hyatt Seattle is. My meeting was in a part of town with no hotels quite a bit further South near the stadiums. But, I figured the meeting would be over soon enough that I could sneak in a seafood dinner near Pike Place Market (more on that later), so I chose a hotel that was well located. In past Seattle trips, I’ve stayed at the Westin, Sheraton and Hyatt Olive 8, but this would be my first stay at the Grand.
For those interested in staying at this hotel using Hyatt Gold Passport points, this property is a Category 4, which means 15,000 points a night. The Hyatt Olive 8 is the same category. I view both properties uniquely, enjoying both for different reasons.
After my short drive to downtown, I arrived at the hotel right around lunch time, so well before check-in time. I had notified them I’d be arriving early, but I hadn’t used one of my Diamond suite upgrades, my favorite benefit. The front office manager told me that they had high occupancy the night before but they would do everything they could to accomodate my request. I walked in to a mostly empty, very well-appointed lobby where a front desk agent immediately assisted me.
The front desk agent greeted me and apologized that my room wasn’t ready. No expectation on my part, I was just hoping to get into my room in enough time to take a quick shower after a long transcontinental flight before my meeting. She then replied that she was sending someone from housekeeping upstairs to inspect the suite they had for me (suite?) and hoped that I would be able to head up shortly. Less than 10 minutes later she beckoned to me from where I sat in the lobby and offered to escort me upstairs to my room. That wouldn’t be necessary, but I thanked her for the attention to the early check-in and headed upstairs to what turned out to be a very nice (and un-requested or reserved) suite. From the hotel website description, it’s hard to tell whether this was an Executive or Emerald suite. Both sound very similar and even share the same stock photos on the website. It was no doubt one of the nicer suites I’ve received in a domestic US Hyatt and probably the second nicest Grand Hyatt room I’ve had in the US (next to the Presidential Suite at the Grand Hyatt Denver).
The suite was comprised of a separate living room and bedroom along with a spacious bathroom (almost as big as some Holiday Inn or Hampton Inn rooms I’ve stayed in, no wonder I don’t frequent those brands). The living room area that I walked into had a half bath, wet bar and a sizable, comfortable seating area.
I was starting to regret that I wouldn’t get to spend much time in the suite and I had only seen one room. The bedroom was also spacious and nicely appointed. The bed was definitely one of the more comfortable hotel beds I’ve had in a while. The desk area was fine, though the chair wasn’t the best for long periods of work. I ended up using the living room chairs sit and work at.
The bathroom was another one of my favorites for a domestic US hotel room (though the Park Hyatt DC is probably one of my favorites). The shower had a glass door which I much prefer to a curtain and two shower heads as well as plenty of room. An oversized tub didn’t get used during my visit but I’m sure Mickie would have enjoyed filling it up with steaming hot water to her chin. It’s hard to picture the size of the room based on the way I took the pictures, but I’d have to guess the bathroom was 250-300sf, or roughly the size of the first cabin I ever had on a cruise ship.
While I didn’t have time to workout on this trip, I did snap a couple quick pics of the gym. Definitely enough new equipment to cover everyone’s needs.
I visited the club lounge in the afternoon to grab a cookie and then popped back in before I headed out in the morning. I was surprised to see that the lounge featured a number of sushi rolls as part of the evening snack options. There were a number of other standard items but it isn’t often I see sushi (and very fresh looking sushi) in a domestic US hotel club lounge. Duly impressed.
I was there right as they were getting ready to open so not all the breakfast food was out. But, what was there was ample and appealing. Fresh fruit, salmon, an oatmeal station with a host of toppings and a hot chafing dish for eggs that hadn’t been filled yet. All-in-all, one of the best US club offerings I’ve seen in a while (I’d say better than the Grand Hyatt New York for selection, though the outside seating at GH NY is hard to beat).
After my meeting was done for the evening, I did manage to sneak down to Pike Place for a bite to eat. I walked from the hotel which took no longer than 10 minutes. It was a little chilly and there was a sprinkle or two of rain but it was an easy walk. I managed to snag two pictures of the iconic market signs before heading in to grab some dinner.
I chose Matt’s In The Market. I had not been before, but it looked like one of the more upscale choices and featured a decent wine list so I decided to give it a try. Matt’s is very small. There were half a dozen seats at the bar and probably about 10 or 15 tables.
I started my meal with a pretty awesome dish of clams that consisted of littlenecks, chorizo, peppers, fava beans and big croutons. The sauce was made with sparkling cava. It was just the right mix of spice and sweetness. One of the more enjoyable dishes I’ve had in a while. The light was horrible, so my picture of that meal came out pretty badly.
Next I had a cheese and charcuterie plate featuring one of their special cheeses call Black Mambazo. The plate was rounded with some Sentinelle, Two Faced Blue and for charcuterie I had some Linguica, Boudin Noir and Pete de Cochon.
I finished up both of those plates and was pretty well satisfied. I would normally have passed on dessert, but they were featuring a pumpkin bread pudding with caramel salt ice cream. I’m a sucker for most things pumpkin, and do like bread pudding. I made a mental note to work out extra long in the future (which I’m certain never happened) and dove into the bread pudding.
I wish I had written down the two wines I drank. One was a sparkling wine, the other a local blend (predominately Pinot if I recall). The wine list was well-rounded, including a number of interesting selections by the glass. I always give a restaurant extra points for featuring exciting wines by the glass on their list. They’re taking a risk opening those bottles in the hopes that their normal clientele will consume them in enough quantity that they don’t spoil. It’s not a big risk, IMO, but a lot of restaurants don’t take it. So, bonus points to Matt’s for that. I was looking for something casual with a fresh piece of Pacific salmon and not necessarily a daring menu. In Matt’s I found a good blend of Pacific Northwest staples and imaginative cuisine at reasonable prices. I would certainly recommend it.
The Grand Hyatt Seattle presents an interesting quandary for me. I enjoyed Hyatt Olive 8 when I’ve stayed there and there’s no question these two properties have a different vibe. I think if guaranteed this suite type I would commit to the Grand in the future. It’s probably the only area my rooms at Olive 8 failed. The bathroom had a sliding glass door and just a shower, reminding me a bit of an Aloft-style limited service property. Otherwise, their rooms are very nice. I don’t think you can go wrong either way, but I suspect I’m a Grand guy in Seattle going forward.