W Bellevue: A City Within a City
W Bellevue is a bold and exciting addition to the brand’s U.S. portfolio. The new hotel in Bellevue, Washington, is the first physical example of the brand’s new design narrative and is the first ground-floor build in the United States for W in seven years. W has cultivated a locally-inspired design matching it with the city’s footprint while keeping their signature whenever/wherever attitude. This, you guys, is a really big deal.
When a hotel makes you feel like you’ve come home — like you’re family and like you are within familiar surroundings — it’s a recipe for success. It’s like taking a trip to visit family, and you bring along your vacations to-do’s but never actually leave the house because everything you could possibly want is right there. That’s W Bellevue.
The most prominent feature throughout the hotel is the A-frame construction and lake house accents. A-frame architecture is characteristic to the Eastside and offers a sense of familiarity to locals and visitors when they enter the W. There are many subtle reminders throughout the hotel of decorations that would have been found in homes of the Pacific Northwest back in the day. Take a close look! You’ll notice picture frames throughout the hotel. It could be a picture of a duck, an old couple holding hands, two BFF’s enjoying a cocktail by the lake, a girl blowing a dandelion, a boy in a fishing boat catching a fish; all pictures that don’t really have any rhyme or reason separately, but combined offer a sense of familiarity.
Let me walk you through the blueprints of this (lake) house.
THE LIVING ROOM, aka the living room plus living room bar: The living room prominently showcases A frame construction throughout (which is indicative to Lake Washington), the walls are covered with street art from well-known commissioned artists keeping the edgy and sexy feel that W is known for around the world. Because of the lake house influence the room has a comfortable yet modern vibe, making it a great place to unwind after checking in, catch up with friends before going out on the town or relax a bit before heading up to the room.
THE PORCH, aka the outdoor patio: The Porch is just a few steps away from the welcome home bar. There isn’t anything more breathtaking than a city’s skyline at dusk. The patio is surrounded by super comfortable and cozy sectionals, large porch swings with fluffy pillows, and a beautiful fireplace. I took a minute to grab a cocktail, sink into the sectional and watch the skyline as I breathed in the cool Bellevue air. So relaxing.
Aesthetically it’s familiar yet modern, comforting but practical. The large mural by Lady Aiko also had me mesmerized. You’ll see quite a few large murals by different street artists throughout the hotel all embracing the lakeside region.
THE BEDROOM, aka the guest suites: I walked in and just stopped in my tracks because I was blown away. It could have been the ginormous life size mirror and giant orange rocking chair or the super-efficient barnyard bathroom door or could have been all the space. If I could redesign my own place, I would mirror this concept. The rooms are modern chic with pops of bold bright colors. Every single nook and cranny has a reason for being there. It’s like the saying: There’s a place for everything and everything has a place. Every inch of the room is utilized to its fullest potential, and so much attention was paid to the little details. There is a 4-inch gap in the wall which was the perfect space for the ironing board. Golden leather straps stand in for doorknobs on the dressers next to three-way mirrors. The barnyard sliding doors just disappear in the walls. The crafted bed is covered with a warm flannel blanket underneath the inflatable tufted headboard. The sunken tub right next to the giant windows overlooks Bellevue. My thoughts: This room is efficient and comfortable and has a killer cool vibe.
THE DINING ROOM, aka the Lake House: Led by James Beard Award-winning chef Jason Wilson, the restaurant boasts the same warm farmhouse feel as the rest of the hotel. It has an A-frame ceiling and farmhouse tables, with a bright, open floorplan along with decorations you would see in a chic lodge. Wilson’s concept is to catch the bounty of each season and bring farm-to-table goodness to everyone through his food. He describes his restaurant as a vegetable- and plant-driven Northwest farmhouse concept.
THE LIBRARY: This is a great little spot in the hotel that is filled with board games, couches, and books — lots and lots of different kinds of books. You can spend the afternoon getting lost in romance novels. Remember back in the day when houses had libraries? I don’t either, but I know it existed, and I went there with this library. It was cozy and just felt like a place where family and friends would gather for an afternoon board game.
CIVILITY AND UNREST, aka the speakeasy: Another concept by James Beard Award-winning chef Jason Wilson. The entrance door is hidden amongst the street art mural that starts on the third floor and continues down to the ground floor. I can’t give it away, just follow the art. Inside this speakeasy are master mixologists who are using the finest, freshest, locally-sourced ingredients to create elaborate cocktails. Explore a bit, as it’s bigger than it appears.
I sat down with Anthony Ingham, the global brand leader for W Hotels Worldwide, to get his take on why this new W is so important.
“There’s something specific to this hotel that makes it a big deal,” Ingham told me. “In the past 10 years the brand has expanded drastically. All the sexy fun new stuff has been happening outside of the U.S. until recently.”
“When W started in the U.S. in 1998, all design concepts went across the U.S. The model worked really well. As our thinking evolved, the W design concept became more localized. Every new W follows the W design narrative process: Research the culture, the social aspect of the community, and people. It becomes a magic formula. You’ll always have a W feeling, but every W today looks completely different from one another. Talent is encouraged to really showcase their personality so you get the full experience.”
This is a new and provocative experience. Visit the W Bellevue website to book a room if you’re heading to Bellevue.
FTC Disclosure: This was a sponsored visit; however, all opinions herein are the author’s.