There’s something electric about Seattle. Though it’s surrounded by some of the most stunning nature you’ll find anywhere in the U.S., it maintains that big city vibe without feeling pretentious.
Each neighborhood has something special to offer. But when we visited the Emerald City, we wanted to be in the heart of it all. Opting for a downtown stay, we unpacked our bags at the sleek yet cozy Scandinavian style Hotel Andra.
A Warm Welcome Scandinavian Style
Seattle is known for as being a haven for coffee lovers, techies and seafood connoisseurs. That being said, stumbling across a Scandinavian-inspired hotel was the last thing we thought we’d be doing in Seattle.
Having hopped on the train from Portland, we arrived in late afternoon, welcomed by cold wind. Stepping into the lobby, the warmth of the fireplace was tangible. However, it was the stunning design that really captured my attention.
On each side of the granite fireplace, stacks of small round logs wait for their turn in the flames. Floor-to-ceiling wooden bookshelves display books detailing the culture of Scandinavian countries as well as that of the Pacific Northwest. Glass vases add a pop of color to the room. Low-sitting tables and chairs offer spots to sit and rest for a while, soaking up the warmth of the fire.
Heading upstairs to the room, we were greeted with a tray of fresh fruit—a pear, an apple and an orange. The room itself, one of the hotel’s Superia rooms, was decorated in neutral colors with that same sleek Scandinavian style. Browns, greys and deep blues in the carpet, the bed and two-seat couch were accented a wood-lined full-body mirror, a glass coffee table, sleek lamps, two pastel pieces of abstract artwork and a minimalist office desk adjoined to the television and dressed.
A granite countertop housed bottles of wine and snacks that were for sale, while the bathroom featured pale green walls and tiles with maple wooden cabinetry.
But the expansive sets of windows let natural light flow readily into the room, creating the perfect environment. Even with the rain clouds obscuring the colorful skies, the light was beautiful. The view facing 4th Avenue was one of my favorite things about the room, offering picturesque scenes of old-time red brick buildings blended with the aqua glass of modern city skyscrapers.
While the room was cute in and of itself, there were quite a few bonuses to make the stay worthwhile. The journalist in me was thrilled to find a New York Times hanging on the door handle in the morning, while the in-room refrigerator was stocked with for-purchase mini bottles of booze in case it was just too cold to make a trip to a local store.
The harsh weather was freezing—especially for two Southern California girls who rarely experience a real winter. But the heater coupled with the plush robes hanging in the walk-in closet kept us warm as the snow flurried outside.
Downstairs, the lobby was a dream, with the cozy living room a popular spot to relax, but those looking for a bite to eat or a night out on the town can turn to Lola. Set within the hotel, the food was not Scandinavian, but Greek-inspired with a little North African thrown in for good measure—an interesting blend that you’re not likely to find everywhere.
The eatery serves up everything from breakfast and brunch to lunch and dinner, as well as in-room meals. Those looking for a nightlife hotspot don’t have to venture elsewhere. Lola is transformed, with mood lighting and loud music making it a fun hotspot for a night on the town. And you don’t even have to leave the hotel.
Back to the Basics
Full of style and sophistication, the property became Hotel Andra in 2004, but that isn’t where the historic building started. In the 1920s, the rooms were apartments before becoming a transfer station for the Women’s Army Corps in the 1940s. Then, in the 1970s, it became a different boutique hotel, sealing its fate for the future.
But possibly the most unique aspect of the hotel, aside from its enthralling architecture and warm, welcoming atmosphere, is the name itself. As the Swedish word for ‘change,’ Andra seems the perfect moniker for a building that has seen many different types of tenants.
And with its location in the thriving downtown area, it’s sure to see a good deal more.