The building that is now the Fairmont Olympic was once the original campus of the University of Washington. Transformed into a stately hotel in 1924, it has since remained a popular place for proms, weddings, banquets, and other opulent events. John F. Kennedy stayed in the Presidential Suite during his visit to Seattle, and other celebrity guests who've checked in include Haile Selassie, Elvis Presley, and John Wayne. At 90 years old, the hotel is the city’s grandest of ladies.
But the Fairmont Olympic is very much involved in modern concerns. Executive chef Gavin Stevenson is also the chief beekeeper and a prominent voice for environmentalism. The hotel produces nearly 600 pounds of honey annually from its rooftop hives. The hives are maintained by a fleet of specially certified beekeepers. Much of the honey goes to the kitchen, where it’s used by the resident pastry chefs, but a portion also goes to a partnership with Pike Brewery to make the hotel’s signature Honey Ale.
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The Fifth Avenue Theater is just a block away, so visitors will know when a show is coming in—or out. Also nearby is Seattle’s spectacular public library; Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas designed it as an allusion to a stack of books. The hotel’s downtown location ensures plenty of great restaurants within walking distance—and Michael Mina’s RN74 might have the best happy hour in the city.
Need to Know
Rooms: 450 rooms, 216 suites. From $369. Check-in: 11 a.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: Shuckers serves up fresh oysters and seafood—don’t be afraid to ask your server exactly which Puget Sound waters your oysters came from. It’s a casual pub setting, perfect for a dozen on the half shell and a drink before you head out for the evening. For something more elegant, there’s the Georgian with live jazz on Friday and Saturday evenings. The breakfast menu features items made with honey from the Fairmont’s very own rooftop hives. Spa and gym details: On the ground floor is Penelope and the Beauty Bar, a luxury spa and wellness center offering an extensive menu of treatments. The second-floor Health Club includes a 42-foot indoor swimming pool and Jacuzzi under greenhouse-style glass, as well as top-of-the-line exercise gear.
Who's it for: Couples seeking an upscale city getaway and anyone who loves the opulent style of classic hotels. International travelers who love the Fairmont brand. Our favorite rooms: Because the hotel has so many suites, there is ample opportunity to upgrade to one. Members of the Fairmont Club are given priority on upgraded rooms, so join—it’s free—and odds are very good you’ll end up in a suite. Local indulgence: Afternoon tea is a popular splurge with locals, and yes, there’s a children’s menu if you want to bring your little ones. Make reservations at (206) 621-7889.
An Historic Hotel In An Iconic City
The Fairmont Olympic hotel is a Seattle landmark. It's been open since 1924 and has been a luxurious member of the Seattle community ever since. Going on a short jaunt and want to travel in style? The house car will take you, no charge. Feel like staying close to home for the evening? There's a famous oyster bar, Shuckers, below the lobby. Or just feel like being treated like royalty? The staff here have that down pat. This hotel is a very convenient place to stay downtown and their rates are surprisingly reasonable for a five star hotel.
The Fairmont Olympic Hotel is also, fortuitously, the host hotel of AFAR Experiences-Seattle, March 7 - 9, 2014.
From the Smith Tower observation deck, lush green pops of color against a grey rain-washed cityscape are a vibrant reminder that Seattle-ites leverage every opportunity to innovate. Rooftop gardens abound.
At the Fairmont Olympic Hotel, rooftop honey forms the core of the hotel's environmentally friendly initiatives. The hotel maintains five rooftop hives for a half million bees and partners with chefs and breweries to offer a honey-infused breakfast, honey-smoked salmon, and honey ale.
Back home on a grey day, while preparing a cup of tea, a small jar of Rooftop Honey is a sweet reminder of reasons to return to Seattle - innovative energy, amazing food, and natural beauty.