Get Leashed Visits the Emerald City, Where Dogs Outnumber Children!
By Si Si Penaloza
Seattle is quickly gaining a reputation as the best city in which to be a dog lover. Case in point, Seattle has more dogs than children. The city’s now infamous dog-to-kid ratio has nabbed headlines in the likes of USA Today, The New York Times and the National Post. While perhaps not as famous as its coffee or penchant for precipitation, Seattle’s uncanny canine distinction makes it an ideal place to visit with your dog. These stats go all the way back to at least 1997, when The Seattle Times first published a feature that noted that the scales had officially tipped in favor of dogs.
There are also more than 100 dog-friendly restaurants in Seattle! Norm’s Eatery and Ale House in the Fremont neighborhood even allows leashed dogs inside the restaurant. Many local farmer’s markets are also dog-friendly, including Fremont Sunday Market and Ballard’s Farmer’s Market. The city also features 14 off-leash dog-parks. At more than nine acres, Magnuson Park is the largest off-leash dog park in Seattle, and includes water access to Lake Washington and areas allocated for dogs of all sizes and temperaments. Urban hiking with your dog includes trails in Discovery Park, Carkeek Park, Ravenna/Cowen Park, the Washington Park Arboretum, and Lincoln Park.
Photo: @TinkandBent at Magnuson Park
Where to Stay
W Hotel Seattle
W Hotels’ recent completion of its highly anticipated $18 million renovation of W Seattle is an absolute coup, sealing their footprint in the thriving Emerald City scene. It’s the ultimate crash pad for you and your pup, strategically located near the waterfront, Pike Market and the expansive ferry system. W Seattle is intrinsically connected to the city’s thriving business empires of tech, music and design, alongside the pristine wilderness that the city is renowned for. All 415 guest rooms and nine stylish suites have been transformed, completing the multi-phase renovation that included the hotel’s signature Living Room and Trace restaurant.
At the W Seattle, pets are more than welcome. In fact, the hotel was voted one of the “5 Best Pet Friendly Hotels in America” by Travel + Leisure. They welcome pets of all sizes and weights, so you can enjoy a vacation or business trip with your most loyal best friend. This attitude illustrates how the evolving wish and whimsy of the contemporary pet parent has become implemented in the “family” life of W Hotels. They realize that for many millennials and older movers and shakers, pets are the only “children” they may ever have.
Image credit: W Seattle
The room rate with a pet is a reasonable $25 above the daily room charge. The brand’s P.A.W. program features these helpful pet services for four-legged fun in Seattle: dog walking, grooming services & pet sitting (they can recommend the best places), pet toys, pet turn-down treat, W Pet Bed.
Re-imagined guestrooms capture the innovative spirit of Seattle. The mood palette is derived from the blue hues of Seattle, with pops of purple, teal and yellow gold drawn into a grey canvas inspired by the city’s infamously dramatic skies. The focal point of each room is the ‘Lodge Wall’ headboard, connecting creative design to nature through stacked wood beams backlit by LED lights. The throw blanket pattern comes from a Boeing 747 model kit at scale, and a pillow with a jet image punctuates each bed.
Image credit: W Seattle
A good hotel lobby acts as a social hub, a key gathering place in the life of the venue. Lobbies capture guests from the first second they enter, and are a crucial part of the overall experience. W Hotels dub their lobby areas “Living Rooms” and the W Seattle version is a destination in itself, allowing the guests to fully dive into the local scene. It’s he perfect backdrop for W Hotels & Billboard’s Next Up: New Artists, New Music concert series. The walls in the northwest corner of the living room feature a series of oversize wallpaper panels depicting a record album collection with a quarter of the titles representing Seattle’s most beloved bands. This certainly gives the space a ‘Sonic Lodge’ feel, an eclectic mix of materials and textures influenced by regional history merged with the city’s contemporary aspirations.
The W is very homogeneous in its development and design language, creating cohesive brand values across a portfolio of strategically located properties. In other words, design is one of the brand’s core values. As you step into TRACE, the tone softens and becomes luminous. A massive lenticular mural reveals a floating jellyfish or a fighter jet in flight, depending on where you stand. The open floor plan includes a sushi bar and a popular 12-seat private dining room. Indeed, the whole hotel is designed to inspire people to sip and savor, linger and lounge.
Image credit: W Bali – Seminyak
In a nod to the city’s reputation as one of the defining music capitals of the world, W Seattle is now home to the first W Sound Suite in North America (the first was launched at W Bali Seminyak). The smashing new space functions as a private music studio and writer’s room for professional recording artists, studio musicians, as well as hotel guests, to record in style while on the road. Imagine a sky-high studio with sweeping views of Mount Rainier and the Seattle skyline.
The aesthetic is on point, as this is after all, the city where backpacks and briefcases mingle over microbrews. Grand wooden ‘lodge poles’ inspired by the Northwest’s Native American culture greet guests on arrival, while tree-ring flooring is a clear nod to the region’s logging history. Our favourite decorative element? A three-story fireplace with a built-in DJ booth, cleverly clad in stainless steel industrial-inspired tiles to mimic an airplane turbine — a tribute to Seattle’s rich aviation history.
Where to Spa
Your journey to moisturized bliss begins with a genuinely warm welcome at this celebrated spa within the Hyatt at Olive 8. Hedonists flock to Elaia, for healing and culinary arts, both of which are renowned here (the spa lunch menu is as drool-worthy as the treatment menu). Expertly led by Spa Director, Serene Sanders, Elaia offers guests a creative, cohesive approach to wellness.
Image credit: Hyatt Spas
Renew Day Spa
Eco-friendly and respectful of its milieu, Renew Day Spa is a sweet sanctuary tucked away in the courtyard of Bainbridge Island’s Winslow Building. The spa’s raison d’être is to provide guests with soul-shatteringly delicious treatments; you’ll be glad you made a day of it.
Where to Dine
Sundays in Seattle are best anchored by brunch at Lola. Book a table during the magic hours when they’re serving both breakfast and lunch; you can get their made-to-order doughnuts, one of the big draws of this dining hot-spot. Tom’s Big Breakfast with octopus is phenomenal, as are the lamb kebabs. In fact, all kebabs I tried had the perfect char, never over done or dry.
Plating here is a bit amateurish but I suspect that’s sort of the point – that a good lunch should be hearty and unfussy seems to be the main message. Garlic smashed fried potatoes are total flavor bombs; the usual diner home fries seem impoverished in comparison. Lola succeeds at all the little details that add up to a masterpiece.
Image credit: Lola
Brendan McGill, chef and owner of Hitchcock on Bainbridge Island, reigns supreme as Washington’s oracle of regional cookery. His hearty yet refined dishes combine French flair with local ingredients. The multi-course tasting menu shows off his virtuoso techniques – smoking, pickling, sous vide – across a panorama of star ingredients.
McGill’s plates are meticulously detailed balancing acts; sublime Yellowtail is ground with sweet pea pearls. The stunning contrasts continue with silken and unctuous pork chop pooling in a divine fruity reduction. The Lan-Roc pork was cooked and cut beautifully; black eyed peas were the perfect accompaniment, enforcing earthy flavors, but with a spike of acidity which only enhanced with the char. This was the most memorable dish in its simplicity and subtlety. The wine list is full of surprises, featuring local depth of selections from nearby Yakima and Columbia Valleys, as well as Oregon State. French selections feature affordable vintages from Loire Valley.
Front of house service is top notch, fixing Hitchcock firmly on the must-try map of destination dining. An intimate bar is exceedingly well-stocked with spirits, while old family photos highlight the link to the Hitchcock-Williams clan, among the island’s earliest homesteaders and the forebears of McGill’s wife, Heidi. The design is employed as a means of intimate storytelling; the dining room conjures a unique experience rooted in a Bainbridge Island identity.
Image credit: Hitchcock
Ensconced in downtown’s Fairmont Olympic Hotel, this classic seafood venue impresses international guests and locals alike with perfectly seared fish entrees and a dizzying array of raw bar offerings. The cozy wood-paneled resto-bar is perfect for kicking back after strolling Pike Market. If you enjoy feasting on the day’s local catch on the merits of its freshness alone, then Shuckers is the reservation to make!
Image credit: Shuckers, Fairmont Olympic Hotel
Ivar’s Acres of Clams
Flaunting a splashy, top-to-bottom makeover at its old perch on Pier 54, this Seattle seafood institution delivers on classic chowders and shellfish. Founded in 1938 by Seattle folk singer Ivar Haglund, the popular outdoor patio offers panoramic views of Elliott Bay.
Image credit: Ivar’s Acres of Clams
Josh Henderson’s new restaurant at the Thompson Seattle is a date night win: a gastronomic ode to romantic, woodsy charm. The decor conjures the feeling of a National Park rangers’ lodge, but with a much heftier budget. The food is on the mark; think curated selections of fresh oysters sublimely paired with an inventive cocktail menu. Heartier fare of pork cheek bourguignon and a dry-aged strip loin arrives on plates with major curb appeal. Booths are backed with plaid flannel in a way that kindles fond memories of camp blankets, on top of being a playful nod to the grunge era.
Image credit: Scout, Thompson Hotels
Where to Play
A paddling adventure with Exotic Aquatics Scuba and Kayaking is your best bet for blowing off steam on a hectic business trip. With a 25 year track record, this top notch outfit offers engaging day trips above or below the waters of Puget Sound.