The Hotel: Last month it was a Red Lion, catering to business travelers and undergoing a three-year renovation. As soon as that work was completed in the Fifth Avenue property, it became something else: Hotel Motif, independent but managed by Destination Hotels & Resorts Group.
What's new, besides the sign? Bright shades everywhere, from electric-pink pillows to multicolor glass over the entrance. A series of Northwest designers will provide patterns that inspire the overall color scheme and hotel textiles; for the first six months everything is based on a swatch by Jordan Chistianson of Jonquil & Mr. Black. When the next designer comes in, everything from the key cards to the staff's pocket squares will get a makeover.
For Out-of-Towners: The 319 rooms retain some of their Red Lion standard features; they're uniform and just big enough to not feel cramped. They all have recycling bins so visitors can trash like a local. Rooms on the upper floors can have broad Elliott Bay views, though the non-water city views are high enough to to escape street-level claustrophobia. Best for tourists is the location: one block from the 5th Avenue Theater and equally close to Westlake Park. Rates are around $199–$399 as the hotel woos a new kind of customer, one a little artier and a little pickier about local flavor. Besides an in-house restaurant and patio, the hotel has a quick-serve counter and a seating area with couches and video game consoles.
For In-Towners: It's all about the patio. Patio, patio, patio. Frolik Kitchen + Cocktails, the fifth floor restaurant, is spacious enough inside, but the showstopper is the giant outdoor space that reopened last year. (When it debuted, food and drink editor Allecia Vermillion's official comment was "Ye gods, that patio.") Shuffleboard, a fire table, and hanging strings of lights suggest a taste of Miami in downtown Seattle, though the wood stump stools are all Northwest. Oh, and there's a near-endless happy hour.
Downstairs, a busker program will reserve performance space for Seattle musicians on the street-side patio, and the hotel aims to partner with local nonprofits and cultural organizations whenever they can. The upshot: Expect to hear about the Hotel Motif more than you did the Red Lion.