Hip, $ (From $109)
Youthful and budget-friendly, Hotel Max is a Seattle destination for the modern traveler, where art, photography, and music meet trendy dining, playful amenities, and an unbeatable central location in the heart of downtown. Once the historic 1926 Vance Hotel, a city landmark for decades, the gleam of the neon-lit signage alerted travelers they were close to the city. Today, the rooftop sign shines brightly as Hotel Max, drawing in guests and locals alike with large leather sofas, complimentary coffee and craft beer happy hour, and an impressive collection of artwork by Warhol, Ruscha, and Jackie Barnett. The hotel also pays homage to the city's grunge movement, where the entire fifth floor is dedicated to Sub Pop Records, the iconic independent record label that broke Seattle’s signature sound. Music lovers will appreciate the rock-star touches of old-school Crosley record players, curated vinyl, and large-scale black-and-white photos from the '90s. Whether you're in Seattle for work or play, single or with friends, Hotel Max impresses any downtown nomad at a bargain rate of $109 a night.
At a Glance
The Vibe: Rock 'n' roll.
Standout Detail: The impressive lobby art collection includes an original Andy Warhol Campbell's Soup Can, an Ed Ruscha painting, and a signed Gibson guitar by Seattle’s Krist Novoselic of Nirvana.
This Place Is Perfect For: Solo travelers who want a lobby to mix and mingle, and large groups of friends who are close enough to share a bathroom.
Rooms: Guest rooms are simple and stylish with light wood furniture, comfortable beds, and vivid pops of orange and pink. Single travelers looking for function over fashion will appreciate the hotel's pint-size mini rooms with a full bed and split shower and powder room. Designed for music lovers, the fifth floor is dedicated to Sub Pop Records with framed music posters featuring the early days of Nirvana, Mudhoney, and Soundgarden, along with a curated selection of vinyl and Crosley record players. Last spring, the hotel debuted a new class of rooms ideal for urban wanderers who travel with friends, complete with old-school bunk beds accommodating up to five people with a separate lounge area, work desks, and plenty of built-in storage.
On Site: The spacious lobby is a cool local hang with dramatic high ceilings, dark leather furniture, custom sculptures made from vintage drums and guitars, and a daily craft beer happy hour from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. with local brews to sample. A complimentary latte and coffee bar is set up between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. each morning to perk up guests before their morning stroll through Pike's Place Market.
Food + Drink: A nine-foot-long, custom-made grill is the focal point of Miller's Guild, the hot Seattle eatery where chef Jason Wilson executes his wood-fired menu of 75-day dry-aged beef, locally caught seafood, and nose-to-tail butchery. The warm and rustic design of the restaurant reveals the history of the 1926 building and includes custom furnishings created by Seattle carpenters, metalworkers, and masons. Craft cocktails are made from spirits house-aged in oak casks suspended above the bar. If you find yourself fending a midnight sweet tooth, pints of crave-worthy Salt & Straw ice cream can be delivered to your room with local flavors including raspberry ginger beer and Beecher’s Cheese with peppercorn.
What to Do Nearby
No trip to Seattle is complete without a trip to Pike's Place Market, conveniently located six blocks from the hotel. If it's a sunny day (they're rare but celebrated), do as the locals do and put together a grab bag from the bounty of vendors and head to the grassy knolls of Gas Works Park for a lazy afternoon. To follow the music scene, head to Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley, where the bi-level jazz club has stuck around for three decades bringing in name acts with great cocktails and a local crowd. Le Caviste is a nearby cozy wine bar with booth seating and daily wine selections written on a a chalkboard. A few blocks over, you'll find the Museum of Pop Culture (formerly the Experience Music Project). Founded by Paul Allen in 2000 and designed by Frank Gehry, MoPOP showcases the rich musical history of Seattle — Quincy Jones, Jimmy Hendrix, Heart, Pearl Jam, and Nirvana, and hosts rotating music-themed exhibitions.