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Fodor's Expert Review Hotel Sorrento

900 Madison St., Seattle, Washington 98104, USA See on Map Fodor's Choice

Built in 1909, when Seattle was still a feisty upstart of a city, the Sorrento once attracted gold prospectors, eager entrepreneurs, and visitors to the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition. Today the 76-room Italianate hotel hits the sweet spot between vintage glamour and on-trend design, from the moody lobby to the spacious front patio with black-and-white striped umbrellas. The immediate area isn't particularly attractive but is worth overlooking for the hotel's proximity to Downtown.

YOU SHOULD KNOW If you plan to walk everywhere, take note that the hill between the Sorrento and Downtown has a few not-so-nice nicknames, including Profanity Hill and Heart Attack Hill.


No two spaces are exactly alike at the landmark Sorrento, a seven-story brick building with two wings and attractive architectural details. Bright and airy rooms feature carved wood moldings, a unique mix of classic vintage furnishings, sumptuous hues, and original artwork. Beds topped with soft, crisp white linens are particularly comfy.

If you can swing it, the suites are lovely, especially the Sorrento's Luxury Suite, which features interior design straight out of a shelter mag.


Beautiful bathrooms clad in gray-veined white marble feature classic details like porcelain consoles, soothing white walls and accents, and bathtub-shower combos. A few rooms even include the hotel's signature round windows in the shower. Some guests find the bathrooms on the small side.


It’s hard not to imagine glamorous days of yore when you behold the Sorrento’s dimly lit Fireside Room, which features a substantial octagonal column at its center. Rich mahogany paneling, a baby grand, and a unique green-tiled fireplace all nod to the hotel’s elegant past while an on-point assortment of midcentury furniture and contemporary art keep it current. Plenty of seating and power outlets make it an equally perfect spot to sip a cocktail or catch up on emails.


Featuring Pinterest-worthy interior design details like leather banquettes, patterned cement floor tiles, and eclectic artwork hung gallery-wall style, the cozy-chic Dunbar Room serves Italian-inspired fare (the cioppino is especially tasty). If weather permits, a large patio with striped umbrellas and a fire pit serves food and makes an especially lovely place to spend happy hour.


Tucked in a nook between the restaurant and lobby, the Dunbar Room's bar serves excellent cocktails, both classic and custom.


Getting Around

Exploring Seattle from Hotel Sorrento as a home base is easiest with a car, but the nightly parking rate is $39. It’s a 10-minute walk to the University Street light rail station. From the light rail, you can reach Capitol Hill and the University District, as well as Sea-Tac Airport. One light rail stop from University Street is Westlake Station, a transit hub where you can pick up the Monorail, which goes to Seattle Center, as well as the South Lake Union Streetcar.


Home to several hospitals, First Hill isn't exactly Foodie Central, but there are options. Just across the street (1-min walk), 206 Burger Co is a casual spot for breakfast, lunch, or an early dinner (they close at 8 on weekdays, 9 on weekends). Think themed burgers (like the Sounder and the Seahawk for sports fans). Or hit up the Sugar Bakery (1-min walk), which will please the sweet tooth types in your party but also has savory goods and light lunch fare. For dinner, the old-school Vito’s--think Rat Pack style (dark wood paneling and red leather banquettes)--serves up classic Italian supper club fare such as spaghetti and meatballs and red table wine. They even have live jazz on occasion.


You’ll feel like a local at Quarter Lounge (1-min walk), a casual neighborhood dive with friendly patrons, great service, and reasonably priced drinks. Head Downtown for tons more options, from the tower of wine at Purple Café (10-min walk) to the perfectly poured martinis at Oliver’s Lounge (15-min walk).


From the eye-catching early 20th-century architecture to the chic interior spaces, the landmark Hotel Sorrento is a stylish spot to stay in Seattle. Bright rooms feature comfortable beds and marble-clad bathrooms, the dimly lit Fireside Lounge invites lingering, and the spacious patio might be one of the best places in town to sip rosé on a sunny day. While First Hill isn't exactly a trendy neighborhood, it's only a 10-minute walk to Downtown if you don't mind climbing a rather steep hill on your way back.


Grande Dame


Phones: 206-622–6400;800-426–1265

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