Located in the city's U-District -- as in the University of Washington -- the Watertown Inn is a worthy alternative to Downtown as a home base for exploring the city. Featuring 100 spacious studio rooms and suites and a bright contemporary vibe, Watertown offers cool amenities like an on-site café, complimentary yellow cruiser bikes to borrow, and an afternoon reception with coffee and cupcakes.
If you are lucky enough to visit in spring when the famous cherry blossoms are in bloom, head to UW’s quad to see a dazzlingly showy display. The Harry Potter-esque Reading Room in UW’s Suzzallo Library is also worth a visit.
Watertown looks more like a contemporary condo building than a hotel, and the rooms follow suit. Spacious studios and suites feature comfy beds, wood floors, textured wall coverings, large full-length mirrors, and cheerful pops of teal and green. Suites include a generous seating area. View rooms provide a panorama of the city, including Downtown, the Space Needle, Lake Union and Mt. Rainier. All rooms include a fridge, microwave, and Keurig coffee service.
Clean and functional, the bathrooms are nothing to write home about but get the job done. The sink is separate from the toilet and shower/tub, which makes sharing a lot easier. For a splurge, the Jacuzzi Suite includes (surprise!) a Jacuzzi tub.
Contemporary chairs and sofas, pillows in bright turquoise and marigold, and a wood slab coffee table make for an inviting lobby living room. Particularly eye-catching is the funky wall-size artwork, a paint-by-numbers style mural overlaid with fluorescent tube sculptures of a man and woman. An outdoor patio also has a few tables.
Guests have access to the seasonal pool at nearby sister property the University Inn.
A basic fitness center gets the job done.
The charming Pineapple Café is on the premises (Watertown is part of the Staypineapple brand of boutique hotels). A cheerful space with seating and conveniently placed power outlets for charging devices, the café serves locally roasted Dillanos coffee, breakfast--including goods from Seattle’s excellent Macrina Bakery--and light lunch items, as well as snacks all day long.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Foodies, take note: Most of the nearby restaurants and bars cater to cash-strapped students, not well-heeled epicures, though great cheap eats abound.
Having a car is the easiest way to see Seattle. The $20 (plus tax) overnight parking at the University Inn is a bargain compared to Downtown hotels, which charge up to $50 per day. The hotel offers complimentary shuttle service to Downtown Seattle and area attractions (dropping off at Westlake Center, a transit hub). Intrepid travelers can get around on public transit. The best way is to take the #43 or #44 bus to 45th and Roosevelt, then walk 2.5 blocks to the Link light rail station near Husky Stadium; it connects to Downtown and Capitol Hill (and to Sea-Tac airport as well).
Portage Bay Café (2-minute walk) is a local favorite for breakfast and lunch (and brunch!). Trinity Market and Deli (1-minute walk) is another solid option for coffee and a quick bite to eat. U District dining options tend to cater to college students, which means there are lots of fast, cheap eateries. Pho Thy Thy (7-minute walk) serves a delicious steaming bowl of pho, and UW students and faculty love Big Time Brewery (7-minute walk), which offers a large selection of beer and so-so pizza. For something more upscale with incredible views, try Ivar’s Salmon House (15-minute walk).
This isn’t a neighborhood for fancy cocktail lounges, but happening dives and sports bars abound. Don’t miss Kraken Bar & Lounge (15-minute walk), which features live punk bands and pinball. College Inn Pub (10-minute walk) is an old-school basement bar near the university where you’re likely to rub shoulders with grad students and professors, who hang out to drink and play darts and pool.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Part of the hip boutique hotel brand Staypineapple, the Watertown Hotel has a bright, contemporary vibe and fun amenities like yellow bikes to borrow, afternoon coffee with pineapple cupcakes, and a cheery on-site cafe. Just blocks from the University of Washington, the hotel is close enough to major Seattle attractions to be convenient yet removed enough to offer a less touristy experience. The area is home to countless cafes, dive bars, budget dining, bookshops, and boutiques.