A couple months ago, I woke up to a rainy, cool Seattle morning and felt a pang of the blues. From all the years I’ve lived in Seattle, I’ve realized that when it’s your nth grey, rainy day there’s nothing you need more than just to relax and bathe in some heat. So now as we’re heading into the fall, I wanted to share one of my favorite pick-me-up finds in the city- Vida Spa at the Pan Pacific Hotel- and specifically their line of Ayurvedic treatments which could relax and reinvigorate anyone. (more…)
In all the years I lived in Seattle and on all my subsequent trips, I always thought that the city was getting younger, trendier, and less “sleepy.” Certainly in the past few years as more and more young professionals, taste makers, and trend setters have moved to Seattle, I feel like I’ve watched the city evolve to keep up with the demand to stay fresh and sophisticated. On my recent visit, I decided to check out (and check into) Hotel 1000, a relatively new boutique hotel, that to me, really embodied the newer, younger, Seattle- sleek and modern ambiance meets luxurious and uncompromising service. (more…)
As a former Seattlelite, I try to keep up with what’s new in the city even if my visits are few and far between. As the cultural and business hub of the Pacific Northwest, Seattle has always held its own in the food, shopping, and art scenes. But these days, the city seems to grow more cosmopolitan by the minute as a flurry of the world’s trendiest and most luxurious brands (Four Seasons, Neiman Marcus, David Barton Gym) all move in to call Seattle home.
In the past few years I’ve followed the city’s metamorphosis through its ever-changing skyline. In 2006, it was dotted with dozens of cranes, poised to transform the downtown from business commuter hub into some of the most desirable residential real estate on the West coast. I am always wowed each time one of these projects complete- always a technologically advanced, masterfully designed building that adds a new sparkle to the city view.
Last week, TDO was invited to celebrate one of these developments- Fifteen Twenty One Second Ave- with a private gallery opening at the penthouse that brought together the social and influential set for an evening of art and architecture. We sent a correspondent to scope out the scene and he reported back with what can only be described as genuine awe. The art collection, valued at more than a quarter of a million dollars, featured over 25 pieces from Seattle artist, Jean-Pierre Canlis, who is most well-known for his nature inspired large-scale glass installations. Canlis collaborated with Fifteen Twenty One to showcase what he calls “art in place.” Instead of presenting art against a stark museum wall, Canlis brings to life the true flavor of his work by placing it in one of its most natural settings. (more…)
Although I stayed at the Four Seasons when I was in Seattle earlier this month, I was also hoping to check out another hotel that was hot on my radar: The Hyatt at Olive 8. The hotel opens today so I obviously wasn’t able to book a night’s stay when I was there, but was able to go on a very cool hard hat tour.
I used to go to Seattle on business quite a bit and have spent many nights at Seattle’s Grand Hyatt down the street, which to this day, remains one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever stayed at – from it’s rich elegance, to top notch service, to their huge bathrooms. From what I could gather, the Olive 8 Hyatt certainly meets or perhaps even exceeds the quality and amenities of the Grand Hyatt, but delivers a completely different feel. To put it in a different way, if the Grand Hyatt best suits the corporate crowd, the Olive 8 attracts the young techies, the startup crowd, and modern entrepreneurs who may not necessarily wear suits to work. Instead of deep mahogany tones, the Hyatt at Olive 8 is designed in light tones, which creates a general cheerful and expansive feel. This is not to say that the Olive 8 needs to create the illusion of expansiveness; their facilities are already some of the largest I’ve seen. Their spa contains 12 treatment suites (named as such because they are larger than standard rooms), the grand ball room is over 6200 sq ft, and they have an 2,400 sq ft gym (twice the size of my entire New York apartment!). Now that’s a gym! Not a closet with three treadmills that you often find at many hotels. (more…)
As a former Seattleite of seven years, it’s fair for me to make the claim that Seattle usually enjoys only two seasons: rainy and summer. So it was definitely a welcome sight to locals and travelers alike when the Four Seasons landed in Seattle last November. Even during the gloomiest weeks of winter, the Four Season provides it’s residents the warmest level of service and luxury to cheer anyone up.
On my last trip to Seattle, I was fortunate enough to stay at the Four Seasons and was thoroughly impressed with the gorgeous rooms and impeccable service. As with all Four Seasons properties, the Seattle hotel provides best in class amenities and service across the board. However, what I think is particularly unique to Seattle is the genuine and down-to-earth friendliness of the staff, never making you feel uncomfortable with anything over-the-top. The rooms and accommodations, while certainly up to par with any luxury hotel, are more zen than grandiose. This is not to say that this Four Seasons doesn’t pay attention to detail – far from it. My bathroom was equipped with a TV built into the mirror, the stone shower had the most amazing rain shower head, and the toilet is privately located with its own door. (more…)
On my most recent trip to Seattle, I made a point of stopping by Tilth for a meal – not because The New York Times named it one of the top ten restaurants in the country a year ago – but because one of my best friends and a fellow foodie has been obsessed ever since it opened in 2006. Hence, it was only fitting that I invited her there as my guest to a Saturday brunch.
Located in Seattle’s residential Wallingford neighborhood, Tilth occupies what could easily be mistaken as just another house on the block, complete with a porch and front lawn. The restaurant serves only 40 guests in an intimate two room dining set up on the first floor. Naturally, I started comparing Tilth to another Seattle house-restaurant I visited a couple years ago, Crush. My experience at Crush had been disappointing, and I had left telling friends to go for the cocktails rather than the food, concluding that the restaurant preferred “scene over substance.” Tilth couldn’t be further from that. The dining room decor is modest and simple with menus printed on sheets of white paper. It is clear that quality ingredients, good food, and warm service are priorities over trend. The design concept of dining in a house only makes the experience more inviting and casual, rather than trying to impress with its novelty. (more…)
Happy Friday! There’s nothing quite like thinking about the weekend that makes me want to drop everything and go shopping. I’ve been spending the past few days looking over one of my favorite boutique’s website/blog and loving everything I see on there. Merge is everything I look for in a boutique – a small selection of unique and sophisticated clothes and it has what many other Seattle boutiques miss- impeccable taste. Truth be told, I’m a little tired of the Savvy department and buyers who only go after the “It” trend of the season. At Merge, you won’t find (at least I didn’t) Rachel Pally dresses or Juicy Couture anything, but instead unique and beautiful pieces you won’t see anywhere else in the city. Some of my favorites include this top by Greyhound and this dress by Black Halo. I bought a bird dress from Voom that I’ve never seen anywhere else.
Merge carries a lot of black (my favorite!) and other dark colored pieces but they are all uniquely shaped and cut. The store space is actually very comfortable and the owner is incredibly friendly. Merge is located in Seattle’s Ballard area at 5000 20th Avenue NW but for those of you who don’t live there, pieces can be ordered off their website at mergeboutique.com
Seattle is becoming a serious foodie’s city – from a recent influx of some major chefs to new culinary experiments popping up everywhere. But even in a city with a lot of new things to try, one of the most delicious dinners I’ve had there was at an oldie-but-goodie: The Harvest Vine.
Situated in Seattle’s residential Madison Park area, The Harvest Vine is a small and intensely intimate place- perfect for parties of two and conducive to good conversation. And in true Spanish style, it is also a very warm space: warmly lit, friendly service, and cozy atmosphere. Even though the ambience is fantastic (and just what I needed that evening), it was the food that truly stood out to me. Harvest Vine is a tapas restaurant so all the portions are served in small plates for sharing- and everything I had was just so delicious! The head chef, Joseph Jimanez de Jimanez, is a Basque native (from San Sebasatian, one of my most favorite cities in the world) who brings with him tried and true recipes from the old country and flies in many of his ingredients from Spain. The result is very authentic and tasty, yet still down-to-earth, dishes. I don’t think there was anything on the menu that we didn’t love- from the beefsteak tomatoes to the scallops to the duck.
Jimanez’ wife Carolin handles the desserts as the pastry chef as well as stocks the restaurant with her favorite Spanish wines. We each had a couple glasses of a full-bodied Spanish red to accompany our meal and then shared a glass of port. Although I am not usually a dessert person, I did enjoy every last bite of the fruit tart that I ordered. Simply put, there was nothing on the menu short of “great!” And for those of you who aren’t in Seattle in the near future, their website publishes seasonal recipes so you can recreate a little bit of the restaurant at home.
But what I love the most about Spaniards and their culture is their unwavering sentiment that friends are meant to be cherished and life is meant to be enjoyed. My evening at The Harvest Vine was such an experience: having many laughs and conversations with a good friend over a truly great meal.
As this is my last week living in Seattle, I’ve been out trying a lot of places that I’ve always meant to go. Most restaurants I visited this week were delicious, but none stood out like Black Bottle did. Located on 1st and Vine, Black Bottle is situated in the trendy Belltown area of the city, but without the artificial scene and without the high prices.
The first thing I noticed about the restaruant/bar was the high ceilings and the candle lighting. Definitely sets a very romantic, easy going mood right off the bat. I wandered into the back room and sat down at a table. At my right, a party of 8 were clearly greatly enjoying their food and drinks. Black Bottle offers your standard cocktails and a fantastic wine menu. I ordered a drink: Louis Bouillot Grande Reserve Brut, which was so good if you enjoy a sweet sparkling wine. The food was completely out of this world. Even though Black Bottle refers to all its plates as apptizers, they are generously portioned and a table of 2 could split 3 plates for a filling meal. I would give you recommendations, but as I’ve heard and seen, everything on the menu is recommended. At only $8 a plate, it’s definately worth going back to again and again to try everything.
If anyone comes to Seattle, I would point you to Black Bottle first. Afterwards you may not want to try any other restaurant. Visit blackbottleseattle.com or for pictures of some of the plates: www.seattlest.com/archives/2005/08/12/relish_black_bottle.php
If there’s one thing I may enjoy even more than shopping (shocking!), it may be dining out.