I really do love this hotel and always have. It’s my favorite place to stay in Seattle. I like the Sheraton, have a bit of love-hate with the Westin, but the W is my first choice.
Upgrades: There are only about 8 suites here, half of which are smoking and one of which is ‘accessible’ so there aren’t a lot of suite upgrade opportunities. But a Kool Korner room on a high floor has never been a problem.
When I stayed in May 2005 there was a large conference booked over several days staying at the hotel, and they’d wrapped up a bunch of the small number of suites that the hotel had. Plus Snoop Dogg was staying there. So I was in a Kool Korner room.
I did notice a few areas of the room where form overtakes function. I didn’t have enough drawers. 1/3 of the chest is taken up by the safe and it’s only about half the size of the usual hotel chest. (Regular rooms seem to have more chest space, oddly enough.)
Our first night at the hotel we had dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, Earth & Ocean. It’s much improved over two years ago. The chef is very creative with presentation and they offer very high quality meat and fish. The sweetbreads were a nice size with no sinew whatsoever. Despite the food, though, it’s not a great restaurant, at least it wasn’t on this occasion. Service lacked. Several times they dropped silverware by the table. I cringed when someone in the party asked for a Miller Lite and the waiter said “I don’t think so. But I’ll check.” with a roll of the eyes. He never returned to the subject (such as to followup and apologize for not having the first choice, and perhaps offer a suggested alternative).
Ordered room service breakfast around 6:30, it arrived in 14 minutes. I had an excellent avocado, bacon, and cheese omellette. Truly delicious. The food at the W, from the restaurant to room service to banquet, is good across the board.
For folks who haven’t been there, it’s a typical W: lighting is dark, ‘hip’ music plays in the lobby. There’s a funky ‘living room’ in the lobby to relax in. The bar scene is trendy. Rooms are comfortable. The hotel aspires to be high-end in service, touting its ‘Wherever/Whenever” line (they’ll handle any need you have) but this is no Four Seasons or Ritz-Carlton. Hotel employees are mostly attractive twenty-somethings dressed in black, and not as well-trained in service as are staff at the high-end chains. If you want refined service, stay across the street at the Fairmont. The W is funky, fun, and for me comfortable.
It’s sometimes surprisingly inexpensive. TravelZoo sometimes promotes great deals, I’ve seen it for as little as $139 there. It occasionally participates in Starwood’s cash & points award program, which this year means 4000 Starwood points and $60 for a night. But without deals it can run $230 or more, even $289. I’m not sure it’s worth twice the price of the nearby Sheraton.