There's something exciting out past Interbay: a boutique hotel not in the downtown core but in an honest-to-goodness Seattle neighborhood. On Monday the Hotel Ballard opened its doors and became the most luxurious crashpad in the neighborhood (beyond, perhaps, the gutters outside the Tractor).
The hotel is built atop the Olympic Athletic Club and has the same owners, James and Debera Riggle. The 29 rooms were built at the same time the club was renovated and a pizza-and-pasta joint from Bastille chef Jason Stoneburner, also called Stoneburner, is still forthcoming. (Expect it to open in June; Bastille's owners James Weimann and Deming Maclise are behind it, and they're pretty good at on-time debuts.)
What you need to know about the new Hotel Ballard:
• It is not the Ballard Inn next door, though they have the same owners; the Ballard Inn is much more intimate (aka small) and many rooms share bathrooms, European-style.
• The Hotel Ballard's rooms are, in a word, gorgeous: slate-gray walls, massive violet upholstered headboards, and each bathtub is bigger than a Car2Go. But these beds are mere feet from Ballard Avenue; white-out drapes attempt to block the light and double-pane windows muffle the noise from bars like King's Hardware.
• The three indoor guest floors are decorated with paintings depicting the national anthems of Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, a nod to Ballard's Scandinavian roots. The hotel design is by Gordon Lagerquist and Gene Morris, with rooms by Mike Skidmore.
• A pavilion with a view of the Ship Canal (good for weddings or your casual 150-person cocktail parties) shares the fifth-floor rooftop with eight courtyard suites, which are closest to the communal outdoor fire pits.
• Guests get 24-hour access to the renovated Olympic Athletic Club, which has added a second pool—big, saltwater, and crowned with twisty chandeliers—and new locker rooms that are so well-appointed that they'd also make a good venue for a 150-person party (everyone in the steam room!).
Debera Riggle says she imagines the property to have the feel of a New York City neighborhood hotel, and she's already eyeing the unrenovated corners of the Athletic Club for future touchups. Guests are already checking in, but the spot will really start hopping when Stoneburner opens next month.