Stepping into the lobby of Thompson Seattle feels like taking a secret passage to the middle of Manhattan. It's upscale, chic, and, well, cooler than Seattle's usual vibe. Outside is tourist-clogged Pike Place Market and the traffic of First Avenue and Stewart Street. Inside, the Pacific-Northwest-themed chalk drawings on the dark walls are playful, while the rest of the lobby has modern furniture and muted colors. A hotel staff member accompanies guests into the elevator to push the floor number, pointing out the elevator's graphic welcome mat; they change throughout the day ("Good Morning," "Good Afternoon," etc.).
Thompson Hotels opened its ninth location in June, in a building from Seattle's Olson Kundig firm. Thompson has outposts in Chicago, New York, and Toronto, and Seattle's 12-story boutique hotel wouldn't feel out of place in any of those urban centers.
With its glassy exterior, Thompson Seattle doesn't waste its proximity to the water. The floor-to-ceiling windows in guest rooms and event spaces provide views of the Olympics and the market. The 158 rooms are furnished with dark-wood floor panels with white, navy, or brass decor, designed to feel like sleeping on a private jet—a local shout-out, considering Seattle's place in aviation history. Room amenities include state-of-the-art rain showers, complimentary wifi, and bedside USB charging ports. Those in the water-view suites can get an even staying closer look at the surroundings using room telescopes.
Locals will encounter the Thompson two ways: on the ground at Scout or up top at The Nest, both from chef Josh Henderson's Huxley Wallace Collective. The latter is a rooftop bar and terrace with a small menu of snacks and house-bottled cocktails. Open daily until midnight, the space offers fire pits and sunset views of Elliott Bay from the 3,500-square-foot patio in clear weather or a glass-clad section on rainy days.
On the ground floor, Scout, also launched by Henderson, offers breakfast, lunch, dinner, and brunch on the weekends. Dishes use exclusively local ingredients and the booths have flannel-lined seats. Much of the decor is made from regional Douglas fir, crafted into booths, the bar-top, and shelves by Seattle wood workers Meyer Wells, the company also responsible for the woody Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor Center.
Chef's Counter, the eight-seat private dining table at Scout, puts guests face-to-face with chef Quinton Stewart for a 14-course meal; that menu changes daily. Scout also has an open courtyard with tables armed with umbrellas and space heaters to battle the elements.
Thompson Seattle will also be hosting holiday festivities in its first winter. On Thanksgiving Day, Scout will host a non-traditional Friends-Giving Celebration that includes a cocktail hour, photo booth, and prizes, plus turkey and truffle mac-and-cheese. On Christmas Eve or Day (it's yet to be scheduled), The Nest has an ugly-sweater party with selfie stations and drinks. New Year's Eve links the two eateries with a party at both that has a "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" theme; think champagne wishes and caviar dreams. Take that, Manhattan.
Thompson Seattle, 110 Stewart St, 206-623-4600; thompsonhotels.com