The Hotel The Globe building was built about a decade after the Great Seattle Fire of 1889 wrought massive damage downtown. In 1982 it was renovated and reopened as the Alexis Hotel, where you can still see 19th-century storefronts in the parking garage. The boutique property pushes high culture: pieces from the Seattle Art Museum in the lobby, wine tastings every night, and books all over the place.
For Out-of-Towners Halfway between Pike Place Market and Pioneer Square, the Alexis has a great downtown access—but nearby street parking is accordingly sparse. It’s part of the Kimpton hotel group, which encourages an independent aesthetic but still provides some trappings of a corporate chain (a loyalty program, a business center). The Alexis dishes out free passes to SAM, along with free bicycles—those are best taken to the nearby waterfront paths, not busy First Avenue. The pet-friendly policies are why pop star Rihanna and her toy poodle once chose the spot; there are no size restrictions on animals, and the concierge can arrange pet sitting. Of the 121 rooms, the specially designed suites are the highlight. A SAM room has original art on the walls (and for sale), while a KMTT radio suite has framed records and a signed guitar from Coldplay.
For In-Towners The lobby is especially welcoming to locals during the First Thursday Art Walk. At the adjacent Bookstore Bar, a list of 131 varieties of whiskey balances Scotch classics and American bourbons. Yes, it sells both booze and books. There are also tomes on shelves at the Library Bistro, which uses retro booths to create a clubby atmosphere for lunches and brunches. You can page through any one of the books you see, even purchasing one for a mere $5.
Alexis Hotel, 1007 First Ave at Madison St, 206-624-4844; alexishotel.com.