Pioneer Square is one of the top spots to visit in Seattle. It’s the heart of the city, where things really started for Seattle. Although the neighborhood doesn’t have defined boundaries, it is generally considered to be that area north of the stadiums, west of the International District, and south of the downtown business core. It’s home to Union Station, the King County Courthouse, art galleries, cafes, and shops. It was a mix of workers, shoppers, tourists, and too many men and women who called the park benches home.
But times have changed the Pioneer Square neighborhood, allowing it to maintain its history and tradition while eliminating the sketchiness that once lurked on the fringes. Until recently, the hotel options in the neighborhood were pretty slim. Giving things a real boost forward was the opening of the LEED-certified (Silver) Embassy Suites Pioneer Square, a more upscale hotel option than previously available.
The 23-story Embassy Suites Pioneer Square is bright and modern, with an eight-story atrium that makes a winning first impression. Remote check-in and keyless entry are available, but we opted for the old-fashioned way of checking in – we went to the front desk and talked to a real person.
I love all the high tech touches, but it was a bit confusing for us. We intentionally arrived early, planning to drop off our bags with the bellman and return later, but we couldn’t find a bell desk. Or a concierge to ask. Turns out there is no bell desk, you can leave your bags with the front desk and claim them there later. This is something that I’d love to see changed as we were not the only one confused about where to leave bags.
We were in for a big surprise as we were shown to our room – a beautiful water view penthouse suite on the 23rd floor – which, at 715 square feet, was bigger than our first apartment.
The suite had a dining area that could easily seat four, living space with a queen size sofa bed, Televisions were located in both the living room and dining area, and a kitchenette/entertainment area housed wine storage, microwave, refrigerator, coffee makers and supplies, and other amenities. Amazon’s Echo controlled much of the lighting and temperature, “Alexa, turn the heat up.”
The bedroom had a king size bed and from anywhere in the room had a sweeping few of the city skyline (facing north) and Elliott Bay. Despite the difficult winter weather Seattle has had this year, the sky was blue and the Olympic Mountains were a welcome sight in the distance. This is picture perfect view of Seattle that you sea on television and in the movies – spectacular.
A door in the bedroom led to a private balcony for an outdoor look at the view. A couple of chairs were there for relaxing. In the summer it would be a perfect spot for a glass of wine to watch the sunset. Since it was winter, our time outside was brief.
The bathroom covered two room, a powder room of the living area with toilet, sinks, and a wonderful heated floor, and a bathing area of the bedroom, with a walk-in rain shower, and vanity. The rain shower had multi-spray nozzles and controls, a delightful way to wake up and start your day.
We did have some time to check out some of the standard guest rooms. They all provide a nice range of amenities, including refrigerators, microwaves, dining and workspace, and a comfortable bed with attractive bedding.
Public spaces around the hotel included work out space on the 8th floor, with separate areas for cardio and weight work. The indoor swimming pool was also located on the 8th floor, had floor-to-ceiling windows create a bright and airy feel, and an outdoor terrace extended the social area.
A lounge and work loft was located on the second floor, a great work area during the day and the location for the complimentary happy hour in the evening. Assorted light appetizers and complimentary beer and wine were served. Additional food and beverages are available for a charge.
One of the amenities that Embassy Suites are known for is the complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast.
The breakfast area was laid out with stations throughout the main dining area. If you’re carb loading in the morning, you’ll enjoy the bread station with assorted pastries, muffins, and bread. A healthier area, had yogurt and toppings, energy bars, and fruit. A hot station featured scrambled eggs, pancakes, bacon and sausage, and breakfast potatoes. And off to the side were cooks ready to cook your eggs just the way you want them, create a masterful omelet. or prepare any other breakfast item that they could help you with.
The complimentary breakfast and the complimentary happy hour are two ways that staying at an Embassy Suites can help stretch your budget.
We went to Zephyr Bar, located just off the lobby, one evening for a late night bite to eat. The menu features the usual cocktails, beer, and wine, and an assortment of small plates. The grilled cheese and tomato soup combination tops my list of recommendations – delicious comfort food.
There are lots of other bars and restaurants in the neighborhood, so you’ll have plenty of food and beverage choices. It’s an easy walk to the International District, expanding your ethnic selections exponentially. Or, grab something to go and bring it back to your room – microwaves and refrigerators make it easy to eat in.
The hotel is well located if you’re attending an event at Qwest Field or T-Mobile Park (formerly Safeco Field). It an easy walk to both venues and a great location if you’re coming to the city for a weekend of games. The light rail system and the Metro bus system will easily get you to other parts of the city.
The Embassy Suites Pioneer Square is located at 255 South King Street. Although valet parking is available, if you don’t need a car, don’t bother. For travel into the city from SeaTac Airport, take the light rail from the airport to the International District station. It’s a short walk to the hotel across the Union Station (Amtrak) sky bridge.
Rates start around $175/night. You can check for lower rates at Hotels.com or other online booking sites.
Disclosure: Our stay at the hotel was comped for purposes of a review. Before checking out, however, we booked a room for a return personal stay.