Hotel offerings in Seattle’s outlying neighborhoods are fairly limited, making the Hotel Ballard a welcome addition to this newly revitalized district north of downtown. The boutique property has just 29 rooms, some with Juliet balconies and peekaboo views of the Olympic Mountains to the west. Eight of the suites face the hotel’s private courtyard, and the best-in-house rooms feature enormous soaking tubs. With tufted headboards and gilt-framed mirrors, the rooms channel a classic, European style. But true to its Pacific Northwest sensibility, the hotel is equipped with modern features including HDTVs, complimentary Wi-Fi, and pillowtop bedding.
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Ballard is booming with new businesses—restaurants, boutiques, cafés, and clubs. It also offers beautiful public spaces, such as the park at the Ballard Locks, and Golden Gardens with its wide sandy beach. But the central thoroughfare of Ballard Avenue is where the action is. La Carta de Oaxaca [5431 Ballard Ave. NW] is one of the city’s most popular Mexican restaurants. Lucca Great Finds [5332 Ballard Ave. NW] carries charming paper goods—books, cards, and other stationery items—and hides an adorable back courtyard with garden art. And to underscore Ballard’s supreme hipness, there’s Bop Street Records [2220 NW Market St.], a music store specializing in vinyl.
Need to Know
Rooms: 18 rooms, 11 suites. From $199. Check-in: 4 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: The always-hopping Stoneburner restaurant is a modern space with vintage design touches. The menu combines seasonal Northwest ingredients with Italian-style cooking. Stoneburner provides room service for the hotel, but additional choices exist right outside in the neighborhood's many restaurants. Spa and gym details: The adjacent Olympic Athletic Club provides guests with full access to two lap pools, as well as exercise studios, racquetball courts, yoga and fitness classes, steam rooms, saunas, and more.
Who's it for: Independent luxury travelers; those looking for an alternative to big downtown hotels. Our favorite rooms: All the Courtyard Suites are on the roof garden level and have a private seating area outside. Some rooms overlook Ballard Avenue. Even the standard rooms offer a view of Salmon Bay. Sunday market: Ballard hosts one of the biggest farmers' markets in the city. If you happen to be visiting on a Sunday, don’t miss the local produce, various edibles, and lively city scene.