Seattle borders the west side of long-and-narrow Lake Washington, and on the "Eastside" you'll find Kirkland. A waterfront town brimming with art galleries and boutiques, well-to-do Kirkland has hopes of becoming Seattle's Sausalito. The Heathman is a step in that direction. Just blocks from the picturesque waterfront, in the center of town, the upscale boutique hotel mostly caters to business travelers, but during the summer, leisure travelers are drawn to the low-key lake vibe of Kirkland, which is still within relatively easy reach of Seattle.
YOU SHOULD KNOW While Kirkland is technically only 25 minutes from Seattle, you must cross Lake Washington to get there and rush hour traffic can be a nightmare.
Comfortable and well-appointed rooms feature warm woods, subtle patterns and textures, and a soothing neutral palette. In fall of 2017, the hotel will be renovating all its guestrooms. The on-trend new look replaces the neutrals with a handsome mix of midnight blue, wood, leather, and marble, as well as accents of bold patterns, like oversized houndstooth carpeting, and artwork that nods to the Pacific Northwest, including a striking built-in piece above the headboard. A spacious workspace is a plus, as are the fresh coffee and French press, but the view from most rooms is lackluster.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Before booking, ask about construction status (including nearby the hotel) if daytime noise is a concern.
Bathrooms--which currently feature tasteful earthy hues and brown granite counters--will also be getting an update with the remodel, going for visual impact with a deep blue accent wall and floating wood shelves that complement pale gray stone tiles and a marble sink. A roomy shower-tub combo and an illuminated mirror are convenient touches.
The lobby of the hotel, which opened in 2007, has an elegant air, featuring a traditional look with contemporary accents. Armchairs upholstered in fine fabrics are clustered in front of a massive fireplace, and pops of deep orange-red and abstract artwork enliven the soothing space. There's also a grand piano.
The hotel's unusually attractive fitness center includes several cardio machines, weight machines, free weights, and a wall of large framed mirrors.
Popular with locals as well as visitors, Trellis boasts an inviting dining room with gleaming wood tables and cozy high-backed booths, as well as a covered patio. The substantial menu features farm-fresh seasonal produce, from small plates like scallop crudo and cauliflower soup to entrees such as lamb meatballs and fish and chips. A grains, nuts, and seeds section is a bonus for healthy eaters. On the slightly less healthy side is the restaurant's happy hour menu, which includes Fried Squeaky Cheese.
Trellis offers an afternoon tea from Thursday to Sunday, with a not-your-grandma's-tea assortment of savory treats and sweets. Think pork belly BLTs and spun cotton candy among more traditional offerings.
To cross Lake Washington from Seattle, head east on the I-90 floating bridge, which passes through Mercer Island (the engineering marvel, the second-longest floating bridge in the world, will eventually accommodate light rail). From there, hop on I-405 North to Kirkland. You can also cross the lake on WA-520 East, a toll bridge. The Heathman offers a complimentary shuttle that services most of the Eastside.
Seattleites regularly trek to Kirkland to dine at the upscale Cafe Juanita (10-minute drive), which serves an exquisite Northwest take on Northern Italian fare. The modern space is intimate and the service exceptional, making it a popular place for special occasions. In other words: Reservations are essential. Closer to the Heathman, Cactus Restaurant (4-minute walk) is a local favorite for Mexican and Southwestern food, while the petite Sushi Joa is a pleasant neighborhood sushi spot.
With brick walls and a substantial carved-wood bar backdrop, Bottle and Bull (3-minute walk) offers a dark and cozy ambiance, creative cocktails, and tasty tapas. Vovina (3-minute walk) is another intimate spot known for martinis and a good selection of wines by the glass; hit up the happy hour for the best deal.
WHY WE LIKE IT
If your travel plans include activities on the Eastside--or if a small waterfront town is more your speed than urban Seattle--The Heathman is a lovely place to stay. Following a renovation this fall, guestrooms will feature a trendy design that rivals the hip boutique hotels on the other side of Lake Washington. And Kirkland, which aspires to be the Sausalito of the Puget Sound, has its own attractions, including the launching spot of a boat tour that cruises past the very fancy homes dotting the east and west shores of the long-and-narrow lake.