W is for Woofs and Wags

The W is a beacon welcoming the urban, urbane and contemporary—human and canine alike—to a refuge in the heart of Seattle’s cultural core.
Written and photographed by J. Nichole Smith
Welcome. No matter which set of giant glass doors you find yourself entering at W Seattle, one thing’s for sure—you are going to immediately realize that you and Toto are not in Kansas anymore.

A soothing and warm respite from the bustle and rush of Fourth Avenue at 4 p.m., walking towards the W reception desk and the two-story wall of art behind it, really is like walking into another world entirely.

The staff is bright and cheerful and dressed in what looks more like W fashion than hotel uniforms. The concierge is helpful—letting us know about a few places for dog walks nearby, and that we can enjoy complimentary Wifi in the lobby, and with that, we’re on our way up.

Our ride in the elevator is quick and no one seems to mind being stuck in a moving box with a human-sized dog, in fact quite the opposite, our fellow guests ask to pet Olivia and ask the usual questions; “What’s your dog’s name” “How old is she” “How much does she eat?” Both Olivia and I are smiling when we step off the suddenly empty elevator on the 26th floor.

Our walk to room 2620 is surprising at first, low-lit hallways with halogen spot-lights on framed prints beside us and bold patterned carpet below us, make for a dramatic transition. My mood is now officially set to chic.

Wag. Our corner suite is nothing short of wow. Immediately upon opening the heavy wood door I spy a generous soaker tub with a wall-window view of the city below.

Also in the bathroom I am thrilled to discover Bliss bath products (all the basics plus a “fabulous foaming face wash” and “lemon + sage soapy-sap shower gel”) as well as the presence of both jets and a neck massager built-in to the bathtub. Wonderful.

With an entirely different agenda, miss Olivia trots in to inspect the goodies that await her near the royal blue velvet couch. After her typical sniff-inspection she settles on the red, bell-filled rubber ball and proceeds to happily pounce around the room chasing her new jingly little adversary.

In her haste, she has overlooked the delectable bone-shaped treats crafted by the W’s own Adam Stevenson (Earth & Ocean’s executive chef and proud owner of two black Labs). The peanut-buttery morsels smell so fresh and sweet that I nearly grab a bite for myself before calling her Highness over for a nibble.

The in-room pet amenities are outstanding—a plush W bed, ceramic bowls, baggies, treats (fresh as well as pre-packaged), the already-missing red rubber ball, rope tug-toy, and two bottles of Fiji water, all atop Starwood’s signature “Woof” mat. There is even a little tag for Olivia to wear while she’s a guest.

Wish. Although Olivia seems sated with her wholesome treat, I still have a craving for a snack, so we make our way down to the “living room.” On weekdays from 4-7 p.m. the W offers “qwench” a delightfully branded happy hour that includes “W Haute Dogs,” $3 draft beers and $5 eats. I settle on the “carrot fritter” and the “tuna carpaccio” with a Stella Artois to wash it down.

Meanwhile, Olivia is warmly greeted and attended to as if she were a proper human on the couch, rather than a giant canine sprawled (and probably shedding) on the glamorous black carpet. Our server asks if Olivia would like a bowl of water, which she brings promptly, along with a few more frosted cookies.

Olivia chomps her biscuit and I sip my Stella and we both watch the captivating pulse of activity throb up and down the staircase between the reception desk and us. The surprisingly cozy “living room” in which we are reclining, is essentially a luxurious mash-up of a low-lit hotel lobby, trés chic nightclub and designer furniture showroom. The two-story-high space is accented with a splattering of lit candles, blown glass art pieces and gravity-defying shelves supporting a meticulous mess of design and style books.

Walk. In the morning, with the sun streaming through the floor-to-ceiling blinds and your drowsy dog yawning and stretching, you’ll likely be obligated in short order to dress and explore an outdoor place where a certain four-legged someone can take care of business.

For a quick stroll around the block the options are numerous. Although the staff doesn’t recommend visiting at night, in daylight hours Freeway Park, just two blocks East of the hotel, is a grassy oasis in a sea of concrete and bustling traffic.

If your pup is in need of more running and less leash, take a longer walk North on 4th Avenue, turning left on Bell St. and you will find yourself at Regrade Park. This urban dog spot is not grassy but it is fenced as well as a bone-i-fied off-leash area where you are bound to find some other city dogs having a romp.

With no weight, size or breed limitations, complimentary walks offered by Lassie-loving W staff, wholesome treats made fresh in-house and a generous collection of essentials and extras included in the amenities, the W may just have the most liberal and luxurious pet program in Seattle. But, as with most luxuries, there’s a pretty price. The pet fee includes a non-refundable $100 cleaning deposit as well as a $25/per night pet fee.

Gear up for the W Hotel at the CityDog Shop.

W Hotel
1112 4th Ave., Seattle
206. 264.6000
Rates start at $159, variable by room/season.
Free wifi in the lobby or $14.95/day in your room.

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