Hotel Ändra: West Coast Chic

Breathe easy at Hotel Ändra

Change Is In The Air On The Seattle Hotel Scene

Located on the boundary of downtown and Belltown, Hotel Ändra is Seattle’s stylish rider on the wave of small, hip hotels increasingly found in cities from Beijing to Buenos Aires.  While large hotels try to be as personal as possible with five hundred rooms in the house, smaller establishments such as Hotel Ändra are gaining ground as the preferred place to stay for people wanting full service on a smaller scale, making it a perfect fit as a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World.

The hotel’s unusual name (properly but rarely pronounced EN-dra, it means ‘change’ as in ‘for the better’) is Swedish, which in Seattle is not unusual; the city has one of the highest concentrations of Scandinavian culture in the US.  The long association with Scandinavia is shown very movingly in the Nordic Heritage Museum in the northern suburb of Ballard.  It’s a bit of a trek but worth the effort if Scandinavian culture is of interest.

Though Hotel Ändra sits on the edge of two districts, it is right in the centre of Tom Douglastown, that being the culinary neighbourhood of Seattle chef supreme Tom Douglas, whose exciting restaurants are clustered around the intersection of 4th and Virginia.  Serious Pie (wondrous pizzas) and Dahlia Bakery present stellar options in their genre; Lola is a Tom Douglas interpretation of Spanish cuisine located right in Hotel Ändra itself.  A few blocks away at Etta’s, Tom sees to it that Seattle’s fresh seafood is put to good use. 

Hotel Ändra’s classy exterior
Hotel Ändra’s cosy lobby

With hotels always trying to outdo the competition in originality and quality, kudos to Hotel Ändra for succeeding.  A personal oxygen canister in the bathroom?  Very original, this place.  Not that it has to try very hard to be different; the contemporary style of the rooms and suites are refreshingly…fresh.  Suites such as Room 710 have a separate bedroom and expansive living room, though the hotel’s lobby is so cosy a living room that it is just as comfortable to sit downstairs next to the fire and watch the world of Ändra come and go. 

Among the comings and goings is a tour of Belltown’s growing food scene offered by Seattle Food Tours.  Food in Seattle is something of a religion whose devoted followers make their way to their assorted temples on a very regular basis.  Belltown being one of the city’s most eclectic neighbourhoods sees to it that its food establishments are out of the ordinary. 

Room 710’s bedroom is a
cocoon of comfort
The decorative style at Hotel Ändra recalls the clean lines of its Scandinavian heritage
As is the building in which Hotel Ändra is housed.  Architecturally, Seattle is one of the richest cities in America, a fact well appreciated by the dedicated staff at the Seattle Architecture Foundation, whose volunteers work with passion to enlighten visitors and residents alike to the city’s history as seen through its buildings.  Given the small size and budget of the organisation, the array of tours it offers is very impressive.  Surprisingly, it seems the majority of tour participants are locals intent on knowing more about their own city.  Congratulations, then, to Seattleites and their civic pride; from the snowcapped peak of the Seattle Tower, meant to resemble Mount Rainier, to the snowy grated cheese on a Tom Douglas pizza, they have much reason to be proud.
Source = Mr. eTraveller
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