Seattle Hotels: Hotel Ballard

Insider tips on where to stay in and around Seattle
Posted May 20, 2014
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The lobby at Hotel Ballard

Location: Ballard, 5216 Ballard Ave NW; 206.789.5012;

Number of Rooms: 18 standard rooms and 11 suites (8 are rooftop suites)

Rates: $189 for standard room $299 peak season); $299 for rooftop suite, and up depending on season ($499 peak season)

Pool: Yes

Fitness center: Yes

Spa: None

Restaurant: Yes, Stoneburner

Room service: Yes

Hotel bar: Yes, also Stoneburner

Parking (cost per night): $15

Proximity to Downtown Seattle: 4 miles north; about 10-20 minutes by car, depending on traffic. No transportaton

More of the gorgeous Hotel Ballard lobby

Quick look:
This of-the-moment decorated swank boutique hotel is in the heart of one of Seattle’s hottest neighborhoods (Ballard is to Brooklyn as Seattle is to Manhattan…well, sort of. You have to cross a bridge to get here, after all.). This is a small, upscale spot for upscale visitors. Just north of downtown, the sandstone-facade building also has the only rooftop deck and small event space in the neighborhood is perched on Historic Ballard Avenue’s restaurant, bar and shopping area.

Occupants: Visitors appear to be mostly affluent empty nesters or well-heeled couples, perhaps celebrating a childless getaway. Let’s put it this way, you know someone is already in the know if they’re staying in this chic boutique hotel rather than in downtown Seattle.

Lobby: The entrance is tricky and a little anticlimactic; a small door next to the adjacent Stoneburner restaurant opens up to a long, angled texture-wallpapered hallway that leads to the lobby, which is small but grand. A well appointed room with plenty of comfy seats, a 1903 giant oil painting of a sleeping (dead?) lion surrounded by rabbits (painted by T. Bordes) certainly catches one’s attention as the centerpiece.

Service: Extremely friendly, young staff.

Cleanliness: Impeccable.

The hotel's guest room

Room size/decor:
We were upgraded from our standard room (booked at a media rate) and to a rooftop suite, which had a small living room, separate bedroom and a large “waltz-size” bathroom ballroom. Rooms are “classically current” with grey short shag carpet, sleek grey walls with white crown mouldings. Standard rooms are designed tight old-school footprint, but what’s lacking in space more than makes up in style.

Bedding: Bedding: 600- thread count sheets and plush duvet; pillow-top mattresses; down pillows.Got a great night’s sleep.

Robe and towel quality: Towels: Lynora plush Standard Textile microcotton.

Robes: Boca Terry fleece robes (not our favorite for their lack of water wicking ablities, but warm and cozy; White terry cloth slippers were also available to use in the suite.

The splendid bath at Hotel Ballard

Bath products: Molton Brown, not one of my favorites. It seems a missed opportunity to not carry body products as chic and forward as the rest of this boutique hotel’s decor—but what they selected for the rooms was nice. The ultra pure milk bar soap has a clean, fresh scent without “rebranding” you with another smell all together. And the Radiant lilli-pilli shower gel and the naranji hand lotion were beautiful yet not overpowering.

In-room coffee: A small brewer with free handy single-serving pods of Cafe Umbria coffee and Two Leaves organic tea, with a bottle of tap water for brewing or drinking, plus real cream (mini moos)!

Other amenities: Mini umbrellas, afore mentioned free tap water in cool pop-top glass jug.

Wireless: Free, decent connection

TV: Giant, and High-def channels

Sound-proofness: There is some post bar-time revelry happening on the restaurant-and-bar-laden Ballard Avenue below (The live music venues Tractor Tavern and Conor Byrne are within a stone’s throw), but most noise was actually heard from a fan/AC unit outside. Rooftop suites are set back far enough from Ballard Avenue and quite quiet.

Pool/workout room: Absolutely lovely and serene in blue and white tile. With hip lighting fixtures overhead, it’s like taking a dip in someone’s giant spa bathroom, but you’re in a ¾ Olympic sized pool. Plus, there is a separate kid friendly pool so you can do your laps without the intermittent screams. The Hotel is adjacent to and owned by the same people who own the Olympic Athletic Club and guests get full access to the multi-faceted club.

Restaurant/room service: The attached Stoneburner restaurant, owned by the same team who owns Bastille across the street, is the king of delicious, veggie-heavy wood-fired small plates, plus pastas and Northwest inspired plates. No breakfast yet, the restaurant opens at 11 a.m. and closes at 11 p.m.. Pizzas to-go are popular with hotel guests. The bar, with vintage wood and wrought iron stools, is a great place to hang and people watch. Room service available from t11 a.m. to 10 p.m., bar and resto stays open till business allows.

Kids/Pet services: Cribs availabe, no pets

A sitting area within the guest room

Pretty and patterned wallpaper