Fido Friendly Fairmont
Written by Brandie Ahlgren | Photography by Jamie Pflughoeft
We would not be doing Seattle’s Fairmont Olympic justice if we didn’t first talk about its incredible history. In fact, a whole book has been written about it (The Olympic, the Story of Seattle’s Landmark Hotel by Alan J. Stein and the HistoryLink Staff). Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and widely regarded as one of the city’s most celebrated treasures, the Fairmont Olympic is a Seattle destination in itself.
Built on what was originally the site of the first campus of the University of Washington, the Fairmont Olympic opened its doors to great fan fare on December 6, 1924. More than 2,000 Seattleites and guests attended the gala, with hundreds more lining the streets to glimpse the new hotel. Since then, this grand dame of hospitality has evolved into one of Seattle’s premier luxury hotels, playing hostess to the likes of Charles Lindbergh, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Bob Hope, Richard Nixon, John F. Kennedy, Crown Prince Akihito and Crown Princess Michiko of Japan, and the Rolling Stones, to name a few. Today, the hotel still reflects the same degree of elegance, never straying from its original Italian Renaissance architectural design despite several restorations and renovations.
Walking through the lobby doors feels like stepping back in time to a bygone era. Upon arrival, we are greeted by the Fairmont’s doorman extraordinaire Kramer Nirider. Like all places with impeccable service, Kramer has been expecting photographer Jamie Pflughoeft and I plus all of our camera gear and of course, our canine model Chloe. He greets each of us by name, including Chloe—we are most definitely impressed.
All pleasantries aside, we are here on business and speaking of business (Chloe’s business to be exact), the Fairmont has the perfect grassy knoll for potty breaks located just outside the lobby doors. With our first order of business (literally) complete, we head to our room—or I should say, suite—all 1,250 square feet of it. Again, impressed.
We are booked in one of the Fairmont’s newly renovated Corner Suites, which features a gigantic bedroom with a king-size bed, separate seating area and dressing room plus a large marble bathroom. The adjacent living room includes two oversized chairs, a loveseat, Murphy bed, another large marble bathroom and a dining table that seats up to six guests. As we explore our posh surroundings, we discover a decent view of the city (we are in the heart of downtown, after all) and a peek-a-boo view of Elliott Bay.
For our canine companion Chloe, there is a cushy dog bed, water and food bowls, Fiji water and tasty treats. I think she’s impressed.
As mentioned above, the Fairmont Olympic Hotel is located in the heart of downtown Seattle, near the main financial and retail districts. The hotel is within walking distance to an array of places for dining, shopping and entertainment including Pike Place Market, Seattle’s waterfront, Westlake Center, Pioneer Square, the Seattle Art Museum, Benaroya Hall (home to the Seattle Symphony), and Pacific Place, site of high-end retail shops and a movie theater. For the pooches, nearby Freeway Park off-leash area is good for a romp and Mud Bay at 321 East Pine Street is chock full of Fido favorites including high end food, toys, treats and accessories.
With all of that entertainment within walking distance, you would think we’d opt for a night out on the town, but instead we decide to partake in some doggy decadence with Chloe and order room service. I order New York steak with garlic infused, black truffle whipped potatoes, wilted spinach and a lovely jus. Jamie decides on Dungeness crab bisque infused with cognac and tarragon, with a crispy crab cake and an asparagus salad with locally made goat’s cheese in truffle balsamic.
Chloe, the four-legged member of our crew, has her own special pet menu, and indulges in the most expensive item on the menu, a pound of chopped sirloin steak with carrots, celery and a sprig of parsley (for fresh breath, of course) for a mere $35. After dinner, Jamie and I continue the gluttony by enjoying several incredibly delicious Sea Salt Caramels made by the hotel’s executive pastry chef Artis Kalsons.
If you prefer dining out, Seattle is a Mecca for amazing restaurants and the Fairmont Olympic is home to two of them: The Georgian, an award-winning restaurant featuring Chef Gavin Stephenson’s French-inspired regional cuisine and world-class wine list, and Shuckers, Seattle’s pre-eminent downtown seafood restaurant featuring fresh and flavorful Northwest seafood and local artisan microbrews in a pub-style setting. The hotel also features the Terrace Lounge, an intimate piano bar adjacent to The Georgian offering award-winning martinis and live music during cocktail hour. And, adding to the hotel’s level of service, if you don’t find anything you want on the room service menu, you can order items from either The Georgian and Shuckers menus to be delivered to your room. Did I mention impressed?
If shopping is your weakness, the Fairmont features twelve in-hotel shops of national and international scope. The hotel also sits directly across the street from Rainier Square, with even more shops, and is only three blocks to major department stores such as Nordstrom, Macy’s and Barneys New York. If you need a lift, there is complimentary house car service for downtown Seattle featuring a brand new Jaguar, no less.
If you prefer a workout of the body instead of the wallet, there is a complimentary Health Club on site with a pool, whirlpool and dry saunas in the men’s and women’s locker rooms plus state-of-the-art cardio and weight training equipment.
While we are certainly enjoying our Corner Suite, the hotel features 450 guest rooms in all, including 31 moderate rooms, 201 deluxe rooms, 167 Executive Suites, 28 Deluxe Executive Suites, 10 Corner Suites and two Presidential Suites. All of the rooms include 24-hour in-room dining, twice-daily housekeeping service and evening turndown service and complimentary high-speed Internet access, among other services and amenities.
I know I said it before, but the Fairmont Olympic is an impressive property, providing exceptional service for both pooches and people. All three of us—two humans and one canine—are quite totally impressed.
The Fairmont Olympic
411 University Street
Fairmont Room: $249
Deluxe Room: $269
Executive Suite: $299
Corner Suite: $875
These rates will fluctuate based on time of year and availability. For an additional fee of $40 per visit, pets are welcome and the hotel offers a variety of pet amenities including beds, water and food bowls, doggie bags, and pet friendly in-room dining options. Concierge can also provide you with additional information on walking routes, dog friendly shops and venues as well as arrange for pet-sitting and other pet services.
2119 First Avenue
Freeway Park Off-leash Area
700 Seneca Street, Seattle, Washington