Sleepless in Seattle
A small but vibrant city on the north west coast of America, Seattle has a lot to offer and is a great starting point for cruises to Alaska or adventure trips to Canada.
The home of the original Starbucks, Seattle is a compact city with a coffee shop on every corner and plenty to keep you occupied for a week or so.
Situated in Washington State, north west USA, this is the starting point for active land trips into the Canadian Rockies as well as numerous luxury whale watching cruises along the Pacific seaboard between April and September.
With a large university campus in the city, and Boeing and Microsoft based very nearby, the population are proud to be fitter, healthier, more literate and more educated than in any other US city. Over 56% of adults living here have a degree.
The best time of year to visit
Visit between June and early September for clear blue skies, sunshine and comfortable temperatures into the 80’s, often with a cooling sea breeze. For much of the year Seattle is grey and damp, so is definitely a summer destination.
At time of writing there are only two direct flights per day from London to Seattle. British Airways advise that there is a lot of demand for this route, Avios reward flights are hard to find and complimentary upgrades for honeymooners are unheard of.
Flights are 9.5 hours with an 8 hour time difference.
Alaskan Cruises from Seattle
Seattle is the most popular embarkation point for cruises to Alaska, with cruise ships departing most days for a 6-8 night cruise, perfect for honeymooners in the UK to spend a few days acclimatising and shopping in Seattle before departing for the cruise.
These cruises take in the dramatic shorelines with lots of wildlife and birds, and as they largely explore the sheltered inner passageways they are a great option for those not sure that they will enjoy the motion of the ocean cruises.
Cruiselines operating out of Seattle include Norwegian Cruiselines, Carnival Cruises, Princess Line, Royal Caribbean and Holland America Cruise Line.
This is a small city, easily and safely navigated on foot, although a lot of the streets are steep.
Highlights of Seattle
Get your bearings with a bus tour with Grayline double decker bus tours, or the more raucous Duck tours in an amphibious vehicle.
Seattle’s Space Needle. Save on the $20 entry fee and book a table at the 5* revolving restaurant. There is a minimum spend of $35, but no queues for tickets and better views than from the viewing platforms above and their $49.95 Sunday Brunch rib-eye steak is legendary..
Museums and Exhibitions. There are several great museums covering everything from science and music to glassblowing, most located close to the Space Needle.
Seattle’s Aquarium. Check out the local marine life, including sharks, fur seals, otters and a giant octopus as found in the surrounding deep waters of Puget Sound.
Pike Place Market. The top tourist destination with numerous fresh food and craft stalls, with the renowned fish throwers.
Underground and underworld tours. There are several popular walking tours to choose from including food tours, ghost tours and the famous Bill Speidel underground tours.
Shopping. No city break is complete without shopping, and Seattle doesn’t disappoint with a couple of big department stalls and shopping malls.
Eating. Seattle has some exceptional seafood restaurants, and if you are here with romance in mind, oysters are a speciality. No trip is complete without a visit to Elliott’s Oyster Bar (1201 Alaskan Way – just by Seattle’s Aquarium and close to Pike Place Market), and if you have time to spare for a long leisurely waterside lunch, you won’t do better than Chandler’s Crabhouse (901 Fairview Avenue North – 20 minutes from the city centre but well worth the bus ride).
Hotels in Seattle
With such a short summer season hotels with swimming pools are in short supply.
Most hotels are within a small area to the south and east of Pike Place Market and the main shopping district, with a few business hotels closer to the university.
Voted Seattle Bride Magazine’s best place for your wedding night, Hotel 1000 is one of Seattle’s most luxurious hotels.
Read a full review here.
This luxury hotel group also includes Sorrento, a city centre hotel with a more traditional feel, and Willows Lodge just outside Seattle. Willows lodge is perhaps the ultimate place for a romantic getaway in the area and would combine well with a couple of nights in this city centre hotel.
Seattle Pan Pacific:
With fantastic views of the Space Needle, this is the place to stay if you want to really get a feel for Seattle life. In a great neighbourhood just a few minutes walk from the main shopping district, it has an easy, friendly, youthful vibe about the place with the adjacent WholeFoods market being the hub of the neighbourhood during the day.
Read our full review.
The hotel’s exceptional Vida Spa is opposite.
The Hyatt at Olive 8:
The Hyatt at Olive 8 was designed with ecotourism as its first priority. Everything from the eucalyptus wood in the lobby, to the wine served in the hotel’s restaurant, is locally and environmentally sensitively sourced.
The hotel has a bright and modern feel throughout, and has an indoor pool, spa, extensive fitness centre, bar and restaurant.
Read our full review on The Hyatt at Olive 8.
Seattle Marriott Waterfront:
The perfect choice if you are in Seattle to join a cruise, the Seattle Marriott Waterfront is just beside one of the two cruise terminals, with fantastic views across Puget Sound to Mount Rainier. Seattle’s version of the London Eye, the Seattle Aquarium and the must-visit Pike Place Market are all a very short walk away and there are seafood restaurants opposite.
There is a relaxed family feel to this popular hotel. Read our full review.
Seattle Four Seasons Hotel:
A popular hotel close to Pike Place Market and with views over the Sound. The Four Seasons is the most central hotel with an outdoor pool, and the hotel designers worked hard to make the most of this feature – the infinity pool appears to flow straight into Puget Sound.
There is a more of a resort feel here than at other hotels with plenty of comfortable sun loungers and a poolside cocktail bar, so it is a great option if you are looking to relax in the sun on your honeymoon.