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Though the W Seattle’s restyling meant a welcome refresh to its previously bland rooms, the hotel missed major opportunities to further modernize the property. The Pros: An excellent location and great service. The Cons: Mediocre dining options, small rooms and outdated showers.
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here: Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
The W Seattle was reviewed by The Points Guy back in 2014, but recently went through a restyling overseen by New York-based design studio Krause Sawyer, so we figured it was time for another look. The intent was to combine tech and aviation with Seattle’s music scene, all while giving a nod to 1990s grunge and the outdoors. The design studio calls the result an “urban lodge.” Here’s what it was like to stay there.
The W Seattle is a Category 5 SPG property requiring 12,000 Starpoints per night for a free stay. Standard room rates for my dates were going for $369.90 (including taxes) and I could have redeemed 12,000 Starpoints for a value of 3.1 cents per point — not bad according to TPG’s most recent valuations. Instead, I took advantage of SPG’s Cash & Points availability, redeemed 6,000 Starpoints and paid $110 plus taxes, which brought my total to $129.16 and gave me a value of four cents per point. SPG was running also running a promotion at the time that allowed me to earn 500 points for a Cash & Points booking, and because I used my Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express to cover the cash portion, I earned 2x points, yielding a total of 758 Starpoints for this stay. Alternatively, I could have paid for my stay with a travel credit card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which would have given me 3x points or 2x points for the travel purchase, respectively.
Lobby and Check-in
The hotel is located in Downtown Seattle, within walking distance of both Pike Place Market and the Nordstrom flagship store. A five-minute taxi ride will bring you up to Capitol Hill, while a 10-minute ride gets you to the Space Needle. It’s also one block away from one of my favorite restaurants, Purple. The check-in area was redesigned with a custom desk, glossy furnishings and a projection screen, which was turned off during our arrival.
The living room and bar areas have remained the same since its original 2012 renovation. Personally, I feel the gold hue from the daytime sun actually translated to a dingy brown so it ended up being not as aesthetically pleasing as it could have been.
The hotel was completely full on the weekend we arrived. As an SPG Platinum member, I was upgraded to a Spectacular King Room on the 25th floor. The room was much more colorful than it had been in its previous design, but it was still rather small, with lower-than-expected ceilings. The carpet featured overlapping patterns taken from sonic pulses and equalizer meters, while the wood print on the wall matched the backlit headboard, giving it a 3-D feel. Metallic purple, silver and gray tones added vibrancy to the room’s furnishings.
A nod to Seattle’s aviation history could be seen in small details like the jet printed on the corner of the throw pillow and the round bedside speaker, which reminded me of the front wheels of an airplane.
The room afforded a nice view of Capital Hill.
A Nespresso machine sat on top of the desk, while a see-through mini-bar tempted me to indulge in overpriced snacks.
The closet was small but sufficient.
Sadly, the restyling came to a crashing halt in the bathroom, where the same old shower design and basic white curtain were visually unappealing and left the room feeling unfinished. The lack of a modern walk-in shower was a missed opportunity to create a more spacious feel in the already cramped room.
Food and Beverage
We’d already made plans for dinner outside the hotel so we missed out on the chance to dine at the W’s only restaurant, Trace. But since our meal was fairly early in the evening, we arrived back at the hotel around midnight completely famished. Unfortunately, we were left with only a joke of a room-service menu, which listed options that seemed to tread the line between comfort food and things you might find yourself craving after dabbling in Seattle’s recreational cannabis scene.
So how did the munchies menu stack up? We got a vanilla milkshake that earned an A+ but really, how could you possibly mess that up? Our grilled cheese sandwich was okay but none of what we ordered was really worth the price. Lesson learned: look elsewhere if you find yourself in need of a midnight snack.
Breakfast for SPG Platinum members was a bit on the stingy side compared to what you’d usually find at other W properties.
We were allowed one menu item up to $17 per person — as you can see, that didn’t leave too many options without having to pay a little extra.
The avocado toast I ended up with was okay but nothing special.
The fitness center was good enough for a short stay, with various machines and free weights available for a decent workout. Other than the W’s signature green apples near the entry, there was no notable décor or anything else that really stood out. Though there was no physical spa at this hotel, there was a small menu of spa services you could order and have done in the privacy of your room.
While the location of the hotel was perfect and the service during my stay was excellent, the whole experience left me feeling more “meh” than “WOW.” The restyled rooms were a welcome change from the previously bland decor, but there were tons of missed opportunities for further improvement. The amenities offered were minimal and the restaurant was a solid “skip.” At 12,000 points a night, it’s a solid choice for a stay in Downtown Seattle, but if you’re paying $350 or more a night, not so much.
Have you stayed at the W Seattle after the restyling? Tell us about your experience, below.
All photos by the author.
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