With its seamless blend of shrewd commerce, uncompromising luxury and countercultural abandon, all set against a dramatic mountain backdrop, Washington's capital of cool is a study in complementary contrasts
Author Michael Kaplan Photography Nick Hall
DAY TWO | Your morning begins with a leftover blueberry muffin and a cup of coffee in the Monaco’s art deco-flavored lobby. You make a short trek to Pier 52 and you’re on a ferry to Bainbridge Island, the endpoint of a 30-minute cruise that provides cracking views of Seattle and the Olympic Mountains. Bainbridge has everything a small island should: great bookstore (Eagle Harbor), superb café (Blackbird Bakery) and addictive ice cream (Mora Iced Creamery). You rent a bike and spend the morning zipping around, settling finally at a spot on the bay, where you lick your blueberry cone and watch the sailboats skitter by.
Back on the mainland you see that it’s past noon, so you’re glad you scored a meatloaf to go at the island’s Fork & Spoon sandwich shop. From here, local tour guide Evergreen Escapes is taking you to Woodinville, a wine-country town 20 minutes from Seattle. The tour starts at JM Cellars, whose secluded grounds invite you to recline as you tipple. Next up is Hollywood Hill Vineyards, owned by a former Microsoft exec who grows excellent pinot noir grapes. The tour concludes at DeLille Cellars, where you nurse a fine syrah as the sun dips behind the trees. On the ride back to Seattle, the bottles you’ve bought clink, as if toasting themselves.
A little woozy, you take a cab to the swish, centrally located Hotel 1000, the second hotel of your stay. The modern, unflaggingly plush 1000 boasts exceptional views of the city and surrounding mountains, which you’ll survey while plotting ways to improve your handicap on the hotel’s virtual golf game. First, however, a rest is in order. You teeter across your wood-paneled room and sink gratefully into a deep snooze.
Before heading out for the night, you try the golf only to discover you’re as much of a hack digitally as you are in the real world. You hope to swing a touch more ably at the storied Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley, a quick cab ride away in the smart waterfront district of Belltown. Lucky for you, New Orleans piano great Dr. John is playing a set. They call him the Night Tripper, but even in the early evening Dr. John shines, belting out a stream of jazz-blues-zydeco classics, ratcheting up the heat in the room while barely breaking a sweat.
As you step outside, the Doctor remains stuck in your head—”Got my money and my honey, and I’m out on the stand to play”—and you find yourself doing little foot shuffles as you stroll through Belltown toward dinner.
The narrow, candlelit eatery Spur calls itself a gastropub, but the food is more adventurous than that word suggests. The duck pastrami that you order, at least, is more gastro than pub. Also, the bartenders have mastered the art of pairing cocktails with food—you try the pear rum swizzle with Dungeness crab salad, and still have room for a portion of potato chip ice cream with beer foam (really).
Finally, endowed with a fresh respect for flash-fried spuds, you take a taxi back to Hotel 1000, head up to your room and commence the long process of digestion.