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THE DEAL: FAIRMONT OLYMPIC HOTEL, Seattle, WA

2x3hireslobby2006_2 WHY IT’S A CONTENDER: Seattle’s Grand Dame delivers, with clubby, old-fashioned rooms, and a central downtown location that’s within walking distance to most everything. The public rooms are vast yet welcoming, with plenty of grandeur. It’s a faux Italian Renaissance palace, with gilt, crystal chandeliers, marble and moldings. So it’s not surprising that this 1924 edifice did a brief stint as a Four Seasons before becoming a Fairmont. It reminds me of other classic American city hotels, like the Copley Plaza in Boston (which also happens to be a Fairmont).

THE ROOMS: It’s that American idea of European hotel luxury. Comfortable and solid, you don’t stay here for the cutting edge design, but for the comfort that crown moldings and rich fabrics impart.

2x3hiresexecutivesuite

MORE REASONS TO STAY: There’s a small fitness center overlooking the indoor pool. And kids get treated well, with child-size bathrobes, and milk and cookies on demand.

THE DEAL: You can find a room for $339 a night, but in popular times, rates often hit $429. The hotel has a uniquely Seattle deal, the Lakes to Locks Package. It offers a guided sea kayaking trip on Puget Sound from South Lake Union to the Chittenden Locks and comes with Executive Suite accommodations and a $75 credit to either The Georgian or Shuckers restaurants. And you get a Go Zero certificate from The Conservation Fund, offsetting carbon emissions from the entire package. The package starts at $550 plus tax for two people

INSIDER TIP: The Power Breakfast in The Georgian is reminiscent of dining in one of Europe’s great hotel dining rooms.

Georgian 

CAVEAT: Not an inexpensive stay.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: You’re minutes from Pike Place Market, the waterfront, and countless theaters, shops, restaurants and more Starbucks than you can count.

THE DETAILS: Fairmont Olympic Seattle; 800-257-7544; http://www.fairmont.com/seattle/

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