Tucked inside a century-old former office building, a block from iconic Pike Place Market, Pensione Nichols feels more like a European hostel than a traditional B&B. With a longtime proprietor known for making guests feel at home, Pensione Nichols features small but cozy guest rooms with shared bathrooms, a lovely continental breakfast, and a spacious common room with views of Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains that rival the ones at fancy hotels.
Pensione Nichols is easy to miss. Be on the lookout for the yellow hanging sign out front.
The historic building has a mix of standard room sizes and layouts, all with spacious shared bathrooms; many rooms on the third floor have skylights instead of windows—skylight rooms are quieter but window rooms have great views of the bustle on 1st Avenue. Suites have their own bathrooms, plus kitchens and living rooms.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Walls are thin in this old building, which means you might hear other guests going about their business. Bring earplugs.
Guest rooms share private locking bathrooms with checkerboard floor tiles, pedestal sinks, and a clawfoot tub-shower combo. Suites have their own bathrooms.
It may be a budget hotel, but the views from the spacious common room would cost big bucks elsewhere. The welcoming space features tables, sink-in leather sofas, and large windows that frame beautiful Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains. There's also a terrace.
On nice days, this is the place to be for sunsets. Seattle's are spectacular.
The European-style breakfast spread includes fresh fruit and bread, jams, and French pressed coffee.
It's a five-minute walk to Westlake Station, a transit hub where you'll find the light rail, which services Capitol Hill, University of Washington, and Sea-Tac Airport; the Monorail, which connects to Capitol Hill; the terminus for the South Lake Union Streetcar; and buses that reach every corner of the city.
Located just behind the hotel on Post Alley, The Pink Door (2-minute walk) serves fresh Italian fare though it's truly known for entertaining guests while they eat with trapeze, cabaret, music, and tarot. Not surprisingly, it's a popular draw, so make reservations. The charming Le Pichet (1-minute walk) is like stepping into a classic French neighborhood spot, with traditional and regional French dishes, including housemade charcuterie, and wine.
Behind a staircase in Pike Place Market, the Zig Zag Cafe (5-minute walk) is easy enough to spot--just look for the attractive plant-bedecked patio and eye-catching sign. The popular local spot made a name for reviving classic cocktails before it was a widespread trend. At Seattle Beer Co (5-minute walk), you can sip locally made beers and ciders poured in a laidback two-story building with large windows and several TVs.
WHY WE LIKE IT
With a prime location near Pike Place Market, the cozy and charming Pensione Nichols is easy on the budget but big on the views. More European hostel than American B&B, the welcoming inn features small rooms with shared baths and a common area that overlooks the Puget Sound. The breakfast spread is a bonus.