Stepping Back in Time at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel Seattle

Fairmont Olympic in Seattle

The Fairmont Olympic is the Grand Dame of Seattle and is known as one of the most luxurious hotels in the Emerald City.

There are three plaques near the entrance honoring different eras in the hotel's history. One states, “This is the original site of the University of Washington A.D. 1861 - A.D. 1905, presented by The Daughters of the Pioneers. Located on University Street, when the University of Washington outgrew this site, it moved to it's present location a few miles away.

The Metropolitan Theatre was built on the site and opened in 1911, and the second bronze sign is in ‘Memory of Albert Sperry Kerry, Past President Community Hotel Corporation, Patriotic Unselfish, an Outstanding Citizen.’ He was part of 400 prominent citizens who formed the corporation to offer $100 bonds to build this hotel. They raised $2.4 million dollars and in the 1920s, this grand hotel was built to wrap around the theatre in a stately U-shape design. The Fairmont Olympic Hotel celebrated its grand opening in December, 1924.

Through the years, she has been a luxury stay for vacationing dignitaries and celebrities such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Bing Crosby, Joan Crawford, and John Wayne. Senator Warren G. Magnuson used the hotel as his private residence in Seattle whenever he wasn’t in Washington D.C. 

The third plaque reveals ‘The Property Has Been Placed On The National  Register of Historic Places by The United States Department of The Interior' in the 1970s.

Courtesy of the Fairmont Olympic Hotel

Walking into the stunning lobby of the Fairmont Olympic Hotel, one appreciates the beautiful wood detailing inside the Olympic Bar. The black and white marble floor and 1920s velvet seating is the centerpiece of the hotel lobby area. This opulent Italian Renaissance design has comfortable tufted sofas, ornate chandeliers, and interesting wheels and gears hanging above the island bar.

ACCOR members stop here to receive a complimentary sparkling flute of Cava bubbly to enjoy before taking one of the elevators up to their guest room. On weekends a sumptuous afternoon tea is held in the lobby lounge, and in the evenings guests gather to order one of the signature cocktails made with honey from the hotel’s rooftop beehives.

Photo by Jill Weinlein

Also in this area is a secret speakeasy bar called the Founders Club. It's hidden behind rows of bookshelves. This cozy spirit drinkers' enclave showcases sought-after bottles for connoisseurs and adventurous imbibers. Sitting in a serene, social club experience, the menu offers an Ode to the Classics that includes 'Hanky Panky' made with Monkey 47 Gin, and 'The Hemingway Daiquiri' made with Plantation 3 star Rum.

Photo Courtesy of the Fairmont Olympic Hotel

The menu also features champagnes by the bottle, and wines, cognacs, brandies, beer and ciders by the glass. Bartenders also make an array of creative non-alcoholic drinks.

Due to the intimate size, walk-in seating is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Reservations can also be made on OpenTable between 5 p.m. to 12 a.m.

Jill Weinlein

During Seattle's World's Fair in 1962, the grand dame’s spacious President Suite hosted U.S. President John F. Kennedy. Other presidents staying at the hotel included Dwight D. Eisenhower and Lyndon B. Johnson.

Guest rooms feature a variety of king and double beds, plus suites that range from 450 sq.ft. to 3,000 sq.ft.

After a $25 million dollar restoration from 2020-2021, the guest rooms have been refreshed with elegant mid-century modern decor. The comfortable rooms feature spacious en-suite marble bathrooms, a dressing area, and a work desk. 

This eco-friendly hotel offers guests the option to decline housekeeping service for the entirety of their stay to receive a $10 per day food and beverage credit as an #EarthDayEveryDay thank you. Reusable glass water bottles are filled daily with filtered water to help eliminate the use of plastic.

Indoor Pool at Fairmont Olympic

Guests will be charged an Urban Experience fee of $29 per room per night and receive a variety of benefits. There is access to the Health Club with the use of Peloton bikes, plus the indoor heated swimming pool, hot tub and sauna privileges.

This Urban Experience also includes a coffee credit for up to $5 per day at 4th Ave., Espresso Bar. This also includes a sparking wine sabering masterclass and toast at The George at 5 p.m. 

View of the Seattle Space Needle from the Chihuly Garden and Glass

The Fairmont Olympic is ideally located within blocks of Seattle's light rail to the airport. It's also near the lively Pike Place Market and Seattle's waterfront, Ferry Terminal, Pioneer Square and Seattle Aquarium.

Guests are also close to Seattle’s monorail to ride to the Seattle Center and experience some of the Emerald City’s landmarks and attractions, like the Seattle Space Needle, MoPOP and Chihuly Garden and Glass. Be sure to purchase a Seattle CityPASS to gain entry to these attractions and more for one special price.

For additional information about Seattle, go to Visit Seattle.

Jill Weinlein

Los Angeles based Jill Weinlein covers travel, food and lifestyle destinations for multiple newspapers, magazines and websites. Her areas of expertise include, luxury travel, culinary reviews, cruising and family travel destinations. Born in Los Angeles, Jill studied Communications and Theatre Arts at UCLA. She has a a Dine and Travel blog - and she writes a weekly restaur...(Read More)

Related Articles

Around the web