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Sonesta Hotels

by Megan Hill

When I think of upscale but accessible hotel brands, Sonesta—and in particular, the Royal Sonesta collection—are front of mind. I grew up in New Orleans, where Bourbon Street’s iconic Royal Sonesta Hotel resides. I can easily picture its classic wrought iron façade and curving balconies.

I was excited to stay at downtown Seattle’s Alexis Royal Sonesta Hotel. I planned a one-night “staycation” with the hotel as my anchor. Though it’s just a few minutes from my house, the hotel provided the perfect launch point for a Seattle weekend. From the hotel, it was an easy stroll to T-Mobile Park, where I took in a Seattle Mariners game, and to numerous restaurants and bars. Beyond that, downtown Seattle has plenty to offer: the Seattle Art Museum, Pike Place Market, and the Great Wheel—which I could see from my hotel room.

The hotel imparts a sophisticated air as soon as you walk into the lobby. Though the building dates to 1901, the updated interior thrives in the modern age. Local art, warm wood tones, and exposed brick lend high-end touches. Some hotel rooms face the waterfront, where views stretch over Elliott Bay toward West Seattle.

The rooms are massive, with high ceilings and tall windows. I opted for a “spa studio,” a 660-square-foot stunner of a room with a cavernous bathroom complete with an expansive shower and stand-alone tub set under a skylight in a massive, tiled space.

The Alexis Royal Sonesta has several other attractive amenities: in-room spa treatments are available, or you can visit the Chrome Spa downstairs. There’s also a highly rated gym, complete with a climbing wall and Peloton bike. Though currently closed, the handsome Bookstore Bar and Café will eventually return as a charming spot for food and drinks.

In addition to its Seattle location, Sonesta boasts an impressive portfolio of other properties, each with unique stand-out characteristics:

  • Friday and Saturday nights bring movie nights at the rooftop heated pool at Sonesta Denver Downtown. There’s also poolside yoga each Saturday morning, so guests can kick off their weekend feeling refreshed, all while taking in 360-degree views of Denver and the Rocky Mountains. The on-site restaurant, The Lockwood Kitchen and Bar, uses local sourcing when possible, and the entire property leans green, with a long list of eco-friendly aspects.
  • Royal Sonesta Kaua’i Resort Lihue is set in lush landscaping and has the largest single-level pool across all of Hawaii. On top of that, guests can opt for beachside spa treatments, a weekly luau, and outstanding meals across five restaurants.
  • Bourbon Street’s Royal Sonesta New Orleans oozes Southern charm. Staying here puts the best of New Orleans just a few steps from your room, from world-class cuisine to bar hopping and live music. The hotel offers plenty of entertainment within its own walls, too, with live music at The Jazz Playhouse and award-winning gumbo at Desire Oyster Bar.
  • The recently redone Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel in San Francisco melds historic craftsmanship with modern design. It’s also home to the famous Redwood Room, a gorgeous art deco bar with a massive redwood bar as its centerpiece and original paintings by Austrian artist Gustav Klimt.
  • At the Royal Sonesta Chicago River North, downtown architecture and nightlife are easily accessible. This highly respected property is one of the city’s top hotels, thanks in part to memorable design details like the checkerboard entryway, gilded accents, modern fireplace and Renaissance chandeliers. The on-site restaurant, C.B.R., is known for its cocktails, and there’s a stunning 17th floor pool and sundeck.

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