Four Seasons Hotel Seattle Introduction
We booked the Four Seasons Hotel Seattle as our last stop of a luxury hotel road trip to Portland. We knew we would be tired at the end of our trip, and wanted to save the best hotel for last (or so we thought). Service recovery ended up being the theme of the trip, with The Four Seasons Hotel Seattle disappointing the most (based on the high cost and our high expectations).
This hotel isn’t cheap, with off-peak prices in the $500-$600 range, and summer rates easily approaching $1,000/night. Thankfully it does participate in American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts, which at least offers a lot of added value, including daily breakfast for two, guaranteed late check-out, a $100USD food/beverage credit, and more. If you don’t have a Platinum Card, consider applying now to earn 60,000 Membership Reward points as a welcome bonus, plus receive a $200 travel credit that can be used towards your first hotel reservation through Amex travel!
While I don’t normally pay this much for hotel stays, I was very curious to see how it compared with The Fairmont Olympic Hotel, which was pricing out at about half the price through Fine Hotels and Resorts. I just had to know if it was worth the premium (hint: it was not).
Four Seasons Hotel Seattle Arrival
We had checked out of the Hi-Lo Hotel in Portland around noon and very (very) eagerly made our way to The Four Seasons (I’m a BIG Four Seasons fan, if you haven’t noticed). The hotel is located right downtown near the harbour, and has one of the best locations in the city, just steps away from Pike Place Market.
The driveway is tight, with not a lot of room for traffic. Thankfully it wasn’t busy, and we were greeted immediately by staff and directed inside for check-in. In my experience, Four Seasons always has terrific front door staff, who always welcome us (and our dogs) warmly. Valet parking is the only option, and costs $50USD per night, which really stings given the terrible exchange rate to CAD.
The lobby of the hotel is stunning. Unfortunately, it was quite busy when we first arrived, and based on my experience with The Four Seasons Vancouver prohibiting pictures in public spaces, I waited until night to snap some pics. The lighting wasn’t great, and the photos don’t really do the space justice.
The check-in desk is located around the corner, and we were immediately helped by a friendly front-desk agent.
While definitely well-intentioned, I think the guy was a bit green, as he didn’t seem confident with the check-in process.
Agent: Welcome to The Four Seasons Seattle Mr. Weatherup. We have you confirmed in a Superior Room on the 5th floor. Here are your keys.
Me: Is the hotel almost full tonight?
Agent: No, occupancy is quite low now that the holidays are coming to an end.
Me: I see. Is there any chance of an upgrade?
Agent: I can put you in a Deluxe View Room for an additional $30USD per night, are you interested in that?
Me: What about the complimentary room upgrade with American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts, subject to availability?
**Agent seems flustered**
Agent: Actually, we’ve been able to upgrade you to a Partial Bay-View Room on the 10th floor!
Me: All along? I thought you said Superior Room – I’m getting confused…
Agent: Absolutely! Thank you for booking through American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts! We had you in a Partial Bay-View Room as part of the Amex package! You’re all set!
Now, I don’t care if a hotel fails to apply all benefits proactively. I’ll always ask politely, and usually the front desk agent is more than willing to look into it. This guy flat out lied, which is really bizarre. He had literally handed me the keys to a Superior Room on a lower floor, tried to sell me an upgrade to a category lower than the Partial Bay-View Room, and then proceeded to tell me the upgrade wasn’t based on me asking, but rather they had confirmed it prior to my arrival. Strange.
Anyway, we made our way up to the 10th floor, and found our room in a far corner after turning right from the elevator lobby. The hotel hallways (and much of the room decor) is contemporary and minimalist, which I really like, but I don’t think the photos do the decor justice.
Four Seasons Hotel Seattle Partial Bay-View Room
At about 475 square feet, the room had a very standard layout, but felt quite spacious. The room opened up with a bathroom on the left, and a short foyer leading into the main space. The Partial Bay-View Rooms are very similar in layout to most other rooms, with the view differentiating the different categories. The room featured a large and comfortable Four Seasons king bed, a single chair seating area near the window, an oval office desk opposite the seating area, and a built-in wall unit which housed the TV, mini-bar and storage.
I LOVED this room. It was very contemporary and minimalist, and felt almost Japanese in style. All of the woodwork was quite stunning, and everything was incredibly high quality and spotlessly clean.
Four Seasons has my favourite bed of any hotel brand, with the most comfortable pillows I’ve ever experienced.
The seating area next to the bed was comfortable, though unfortunately the chair was facing the city, not the harbour. Also, I feel like a hotel in this price range should have a seating area for at least two in all room categories.
The views from the room were…. just ok. I would have been really disappointed had I paid for the partial harbour view, but it’s better than nothing. The building next door felt quite close, and most vantage points from our room looked directly into those apartments, and not at the harbour.
This is definitely a very accommodating business hotel, with a large desk and comfortable office chair. I appreciated that there were two seats so that the desk could double as a dining space. There were a few Washington apples as a welcome amenity, which played into the minimalist theme.
I usually find televisions to be eyesores in rooms, though I think the designers did a very good job placing it on top of the built-in unit. That wood though!!
Beside the television was the minibar area, which looked equally impressive. There was a small fridge fully stocked with beverages, and a small selection of snacks. As expected, everything was grossly overpriced, though I appreciated it wasn’t a sensor fridge which seems to be a growing trend (even at luxury hotels).
Interestingly enough there is no in-room coffee machine! However, the hotel does setup a tea/coffee station in the lobby every morning, though I do normally prefer having my first cup before getting ready for the day.
The bathroom was stunning, as is the norm at most Four Seasons’ properties, though I was a bit shocked at the small vanity area with only one sink. Also, I think they could have been a bit more generous with the marble, though maybe I’m just getting used to the marble usage at Asian hotels (specifically the Four Seasons Shanghai Pudong, which has the nicest bathroom I’ve ever seen).
Four Seasons Hotel Seattle Partial Bay-View Room Service Issues
I had emailed the hotel in advance and asked for two special requests:
- That the pet amenities be placed in the room prior to our arrival, as we would be coming from Portland and the dogs would be thirsty after a long drive
- That the hotel place alternative bathroom amenities in the room, as I loathe L’Occitane amenities. I think they stink.
Both of these requests were welcomed with ease, and I was assured there would be alternate bathroom amenities and dog bowls on arrival. They weren’t, which lead me to believe the front desk agent was most certainly lying when he said the room had been upgraded prior to our arrival (the other amenities were in the originally assigned room).
I called down to request both items again, and was told they would be delivered immediately. About half an hour later the dog amenities showed up, but the bathroom amenities never did.
I was a bit shocked to find a 50USD pet charge on the bill, which wasn’t listed on the website when we booked (it was ultimately removed by a manager). Both The Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver and Four Seasons Resort Whistler welcome dogs with no additional fees, and I think that used to be the case at this property, though it must have recently changed. Also note that pet weight restrictions are in place, at 20lbs per dog.
During turndown, the room attendant was advised to bring the replacement bathroom amenities (according to the agent who checked us in), though we came back from our walk and discovered that turndown wasn’t done as requested, and only some water had been added to the room. Also, the remote control for the TV was gone!
More frustrated at this point, I went down to the front desk to voice my concerns, and was told the person who checked us in was sick, and had actually gone home early, which they used to justify the poor service. This seemed like a really strange excuse, and while I empathize if the guy was actually sick, I’m positive the Four Seasons has a generous sick-leave policy, and I wasn’t really buying it.
The new agent promised to follow-up with her supervisor in the morning, and said she would send up a new remote and a treat from in-room dining. While a dessert tray arrived moments later, a replacement remote never did, and we were unable to use the TV for the rest of our stay.
Four Seasons Hotel Seattle Dining
Since we booked through Fine Hotels and Resorts, we were eligible for daily breakfast and a $100USD food/beverage credit. What wasn’t told to me during check-in (actually the agent didn’t provide any info on the FHR benefits) was that the credit could only be used for food costs, and wasn’t applicable to taxes, the mandatory service charge on all food/beverage, or alcohol! Taxes and gratuities I can understand (though most properties don’t have any such restriction), but no drinks?! Why not call it what it is – a food credit!
We went to Goldfinch Tavern for dinner, and overall had a really nice experience. I had a chicken dish, and Brad had a crab pasta, and both were delicious.
We also had a couple of craft cocktails, which were really good (and really expensive). We saw a poster in the elevator and decided we would both try that when we sat down, but the server didn’t seem to know what we were talking about. We told him it was in the elevator, and maybe he could go have a look.
He came back and said they didn’t offer that anymore. Uhmmm, ok, so maybe take the advertisement down? The bartender was great though, and made something very similar.
We were also able to have breakfast in the morning, which would have cost about $100 without the FHR benefit. Service was great, and the food was delicious. I especially loved the little tea set, and amazing harbour views during the daylight hours.
Four Seasons Hotel Seattle Pool And Fitness Centre
Easily one of the best features of this hotel is the outdoor patio space overlooking the harbour with infinity pool, jacuzzi, and seating area with fire pit. While it was cold during our stay, the pool was heated and quite nice, and we had the place to ourselves. I imagine it’s quite enjoyable in the warm summer months!
The fitness centre was just inside from the pool area, and featured a variety of equipment with nice views overlooking the harbour.
Four Seasons Hotel Seattle Partial Bay-View Room Bottom Line
This was a very interesting stay. On one hand, I LOVED the contemporary and minimalist rooms, the outdoor patio and pool, and the food/beverage options. On the other hand, the service was not good, and everything was oh-so-expensive!
Prior to check-out, the Director of Rooms spoke with me and apologized for the lapse in service, and promised to make things right on our next stay. He also waived the pet fee since it wasn’t clearly listed on their website, and paid for the parking as a gesture of goodwill. I don’t think it quite compensated for the service failures, but trust that our next stay will be much better with him overseeing the reservation. That said, I don’t think we will return anytime soon, just because the Fairmont around the corner is half the price. The Fairmont Olympic certainly isn’t as luxurious or exclusive, but I don’t think I could justify paying twice the price to stay at The Four Seasons Hotel Seattle again.
What I loved about this hotel:
- The room features contemporary and minimalist design with luxurious bathrooms
- The location can’t be beat
- Great food/beverage (though it’s expensive)
- Beautiful building with nice common spaces/lobby
- The outdoor patio and pool
What I didn’t love about this hotel:
- The Amex FHR food/beverage credit is very restrictive, and designed to be revenue generating for the hotel
- The service was poor for the price of rooms
- The pet fees and parking charges are high
- It’s too expensive compared to the competition – almost twice the price
I’m happy we got to visit, but probably wouldn’t return unless rates dropped, or I had to be in Seattle when rates at comparable properties were pricing just as high. During the off-season, base rooms were almost twice as much as they nearby Fairmont, with both properties participating in American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts. Sure The Four Seasons Hotel is more exclusive and a bit nicer, but I just don’t see the value, especially considering the mediocre service.
Have you stayed at The Four Seasons Hotel Seattle? Do you think it’s worth the price premium over other luxury hotels in the area? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!