The Sorrento is almost like being in Italy, as long as you’re not too picky about the warm weather part.

Local Rooms is Tripster’s new blog series about Seattle-area hotels. We’re looking at what they have to offer to visitors (for when your friends come to visit) and to locals (for when you need a spot of food, drink, or entertainment).

The Hotel: When the Italian-style Sorrento Hotel opened on the crest of First Hill in 1909, it was the highest spot in town; now its seven stories are almost quaint among hospital high-rises. Its real estate on Madison isn’t as convenient as downtown, as pretty as Queen Anne, or as of-the-moment as Capitol Hill, but if the city of Seattle has been around long enough to have an old guard, the Sorrento is it.

For Out-of-towners: Of course there are 400-count Egyptian cotton sheets and Italian-marble bathrooms here; it’s that kind of posh, historical spot. The 76 rooms are all different shapes, with many suites fashioned from multiple 1909 rooms. But what’s not here are the standard amenities of a corporate chain: no massive gym, no pool, no more than one really ancient elevator (only one other lift in town is older). Oh, and no gross corporate blandness either. It’s where to stay the night before your daughter’s wedding, or perhaps the night before your high-end cosmetic procedure at Swedish.

For In-towners: Don’t be fooled by the manicured hedges, the low-lit dining in the Hunt Room, and the hundred-year-old Honduran mahogany on the ceiling; there’s a whole lot of hipster nightlife at this tony old hotel. Once a month it puts 80+ Seattleites in the spotlight Fireside Room for the Silent Reading Party (look for The Stranger personalities like Dan Savage). Regular Night School events include cocktail classes, and while the live music calendar skews toward jazz, one could also happen upon acoustic folk-pop or rock-classical by the fireplace. It’s awfully hip for a venue known for weekend prime rib ($30) and for serving an average of 310 martinis per week. Yes, they counted.

Sorrento Hotel, 900 Madison St at Terry Ave, 206-622-6400; hotelsorrento.com.