Seattle’s profile among America’s top cities continues to rise as another national brand enters the market with a showcase product. Embassy Suites will soon open its newest hotel in Seattle as a West Coast flagship property located in the city’s oldest neighborhood, Pioneer Square. The 282-key hotel will be the company’s first urban hotel that takes cues from the suite format for which the hotel is known, yet it will occupy a much smaller footprint than a typical Embassy Suites property would.
“This particular building is the newest version of the Embassy direction,” said Wendy LeBlanc, the hotel’s director of sales & marketing. “Embassy is now moving as a brand into the city centers, and as such they’ve designed the atrium to be to the side and the tower-style hotel for a [smaller] footprint.”
Embassy Suites Seattle Downtown Pioneer Square is located next to the city’s King Street Station and is adjacent to the Stadium District. The Seattle Seahawks elements are subtle but present across the property. The hotel is part of a two-tower structure located at 225 South King Street in Seattle. The second tower is the Avalara Hawk Tower, home to Seattle-based taxation software company Avalara, which signed a 10-year lease for the property in 2016, according to published reports. The Freiheit & Ho-designed structure is modern, yet on the inside interior designers Degen & Degen focused on the past with a goal of making future history.
“We really wanted to celebrate the Pioneer Square location, but we wanted to fit in a more modern way, as opposed to trying to fit in the historic way,” said Anita Degen, managing principal of Seattle-based Degen & Degen. “We also wanted to play off our juxtaposition to the King Street Station and bring the idea and romance of travel.”
When the project kicked off, the King Street Station had just been renovated, and it featured prominently in the Beaux-Arts style, Degen said. So, the designers used that as a model and created interiors that harkened back to the era of early to mid 20th century, pulling elements from that design but adding contemporary touches. This is especially evident in the Zephyr lobby bar, which looks out at the train station and is as much a part of the neighborhood as it is part of the hotel.
On the other end of the hotel property is one of Seattle’s iconic restaurants, reincarnated in its new location. 13 Coins is a 24/7 entertainment and food establishment that features live music, which fits into the ethos of the hotel itself. This Embassy Suites also joined the Upstream Music Fest, and it will have live concerts at its ballroom and be featured as a venue. “In our pre-sales, we have noticed a lot of people have been coming for our core events, so concerts, the Sounders, the games and kind of things going on at the stadium,” said LeBlanc, speaking of the entertainment draw the hotel has had so far.
When it opens on March 28th, the hotel will offer 17 room styles, from premium and penthouse suites to the more standard two bedroom suites. Amenities in the hotel will include Northwest inspired food and drinks, an upscale health club with a pool and outdoor deck. The conference center is large enough to offer events for up to 500 guests along with an outdoor veranda that provides an urban setting for weddings and other private gatherings.
One of the more prominent features in the rooms is an Alexa speaker. According to the hotel staff, this is the first time Amazon’s Alexa has been featured so prominently in a hospitality setting. The largest installment to date was for a number of VIP suites at the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas; this is the first time each room had received one.
This feature was not an easy obstacle to overcome, however. The property owners, Seattle-based American Life, Inc., made the initial request, but Hilton Worldwide, which manages and operates the hotel was concerned about privacy. “Ownership company reached out to [Amazon] and had an interesting conversation with Hilton, they were not on board initially because of privacy concerns, but Amazon was able to assure that Alexa is assigned to the room not to the person, so there is a limited number of things you can do with it,” said LeBlanc.
Rates at the hotel for mid-April occupancy start in the mid-$300s. These figures will likely fluctuate as occupancy in the hotel increases due to events, games and conferences in the city.
For now, as the team of 150 works to put the finishing touches in the rooms, the hotel is buzzing with activity, which will soon be replaced by the sounds of luggage pulled across the floors and chatter of guests making their way across the hotel.