Market Inn a Seattle Jewel
By Chris McBeath
I was in seventh heaven. The early morning aromas of just-brewed coffee, warm-from-the-oven croissants and sweet smelling lilies awakened my senses, drifting towards my balcony as an invitation too hard to resist.
As I followed their trail, I found myself amidst the start of another day at Pike Place Market.
As one of Seattle’s most popular and historic attractions, this sprawling, bustling market is a delight for visitors and locals alike. Stretched above the waterfront for more than seven acres, almost all of it under cover, browsers and shoppers will discover all manner of goods: hand-woven knits, jewelry, pottery and glass, tie-dye shirts and, of course, fresh seafood and produce galore.
From my hotel, the Inn at the Market, I reveled in a grandstand view of Pike Place. Far enough away to enjoy the views of the harbor beyond; near enough to watch the stall keepers setting up five-gallon buckets overflowing with tulips, orchids and more, while artisans, fishmongers and farmers carefully stacked their tables with a plethora of color.
Rated as one of Conde Nast Traveler’s "Best Places to Stay in the Whole World", The Inn at the Market is a jewel of a boutique hotel, tucked away in a picturesque off-street courtyard alongside a small covey of restaurants and specialty shops. Offering an ambiance of casual elegance, the 70-room Inn has a variety of accommodations, all with floor-to-ceiling windows, which reveal views of the city, the Market, the courtyard or Puget Sound.
All rooms are also equipped with refrigerators, coffee makers, fluffy robes, modem dataports and other amenities; some even have large, harbor-view patios where Adironback deck chairs invite you to relax and wile away the hours.
To my mind, two things set this hotel apart:
First, it has a spectacular location: steps from the market, and within an easy stroll of designer shopping, theatre, galleries and some of the finest restaurants Seattle has to offer.
And because bus transportation in the downtown core is free, visitors can go further afield with ease.
Second, The Inn offers service. Not the perfunctory kind that is delivered as part of a corporate creed but the kind where a gracious staff seems to care genuinely about the well being of their guests. It’s as if the Front desk staff become your personal concierge whose sole intent is to tailor an itinerary to your needs and preferences.
On their recommendation, we found Le Pichet, a hot new restaurant within a few minutes walk of the hotel. And what a find it was.
Everything in this Frenchified hang-out is deliciously dead-on: the tile floor, rolled zinc bar, wood framed mirrors. Wine is poured from small earthenware pitches (the very ones that give Le Pichet its name), while blackboards cite the day’s specials, the ripest cheeses, and deserts du jour. Seating only 30, with eight more at the bar, Le Pichet is a noisy, intimate place where your dollar stretches beyond expectations. Sample any number of the fifty or so wines (mostly French) and enjoy cuisine that is so authentic that simply stated, is magnifique; a word that also happens to sum up our entire stay at The Inn at the Market!
If You Go:
The Inn at the Market
86 Pine Street
Seattle, WA 98101
Tel: (206) 443-3600; 1-800-446-4484
Web site: www.innatthemarket.com
By Car: On I-5, traveling north or south to Seattle take the Stewart Street/Denny Way exit (#166)
Travel down Stewart Street, south, towards the water
Turn left onto 1st Avenue and immediately right onto Pine Street
The Inn at the Market is on the corner of 1st and Pine
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