Tacoma’s boutique Hotel Murano will surprise you. It’s conveniently located right in the heart of Tacoma’s downtown museum district close to Chihuly’s art glass walkway and the Museum of Glass. But what is surprising is that this contemporary hotel itself is a stunning repository of art glass, some from Murano, Italy and some from noted artists across the United States and around the world.
Art at Hotel Murano Begins in the Lobby
We arrived at Hotel Murano in the afternoon and the valet parked the car. It was then that I turned to see light shining through the soothing turquoise blue of the glass wall leading to the lobby. This wasn’t an ordinary steel and glass hotel. The artistic touches hinted at the beauty inside. I was to find out that at night the lights played on this wall and the adjacent soaring glass sculpture to create a fanciful world of glass and colored light.
As we walked to the reception desk we noticed the huge Murano glass chandelier. The large silver chandelier anchors the multi-story lobby. When you check in, the colors behind the reception desk change from pink to blue. A modern rainbow of art glass supports the desk.
Adjacent to the open lobby is a beautiful cocktail lounge. I looked forward to sitting by the long fireplace and enjoying the art glass on the walls… a nautical theme with blown glass fishing lures and crossed glass oars.
Hotel Murano Guest Rooms and Suites
The elevator with touch screen took us quickly to our floor. I bypassed the intriguing art in the hallway to get settled in my room, a Junior King Suite. Rooms are modern, colorfully decorated in coordinated colors with chic textiles. A chaise beckoned me to rest awhile after I unpacked. I enjoyed the expansive view of the Tacoma skyline and Mt. Rainier.
On a previous visit I luxuriated in their 1100 sq. ft., Superior Suite King, a light-filled two-room corner suite with a separate seating area featuring a sleeper sofa, a 42-inch TV and an additional half bath. Looking out over the city from this viewpoint at night was magical!
I’d recommend you book one of the upper-level, corner rooms so you can feast your eyes on Mt. Rainier and the Tacoma skyline. From your room you may even be able to see the 90-foot cone that makes the Museum of Glass a recognizable landmark. On this visit a storm came in and, on the 12th floor, I had a view of the rain clouds, lightning and city skyline. You never know what you will see but my favorite was the view of snow-capped Mt. Rainier.
I found the hotel to be quiet and conducive to sleeping. In fact, downtown Tacoma quiets down after work hours. Hotel Murano welcomes pets and children. I noticed a door leading to a park and landscaped areas. A couple of cute dogs in the elevator looked like they were having a great time.
I appreciated that Hotel Murano offers bathtubs as well as showers. I find a warm bath after a busy day of sightseeing or work very relaxing. The beds are extremely comfortable with comforters, multiple pillows and crisp sheeting. At night the glow of the table lamp’s glass base put a relaxing pink glow on my pillows. All the little artistic touches did not go unnoticed.
Glass Treasures Fill Hotel Murano
Hotel Murano showcases a unique collection of glass art made in the 21st-century. The art is a blend of specially commissioned works and others acquired from artists’ studios and galleries. 45 artists from 12 countries on five continents (Asia, Australia, Europe, South and North America) are represented throughout public and private spaces in the building.
There is art on every one of the 25 floors. As I rode the elevator one morning I was surprised when the doors opened and I was faced with a wall of glass art breasts. Each floor is different and features a unique piece of art glass, beautifully displayed along with framed photographs of the artist at work.
In the hallway outside the meeting rooms, my gaze turned upwards. Suspended above the Grand Corridor were three giant Viking boats created by Danish artist Vibeke Skov from stained glass that depicts the Norse creation stories.
And the art doesn’t stop there. Check out the unusual art in the lobby with works by American glass art icon Dale Chihuly, Karen LaMonte’s Pianist’s Dress, a life-sized, floor-length gown made of cast glass. Up the stairs, by Bite Restaurant are more exhibits. One was a cheerful display of art glass designed by children.
Sipping and Dining at Hotel Murano
Hotel Murano has a relaxing happy hour at the lobby bar (enjoy the craft cocktails, local wines and brews) and has a very good 4th floor restaurant, Bite, which features yet more art and the incredible cuisine of Chef Matt Stickle who sources many of his ingredients locally. You may run into him at the Tacoma Farmer’s Market.
We enjoyed both dinner and breakfast at Bite. Since they source locally, we were interested in the seafood. I started with their signature crab and corn chowder enjoying the large pieces of crab in a not too rich creamy base. Just a cup will do you!
For my main course I ordered the seared halibut in lemon buerre blanc with creamy Yukon gold mashed potatoes, and my favorite veggie—grilled asparagus.
My friend raved about the freshness of the scallop dish she ordered. The seared scallops were served in a rhubarb-orange reduction and garnished with fresh orange. Pretty!
They also offer steaks and Kobe burgers so there is something for everyone. But I especially recommend their seafood. And, of course, we had to try a dessert. The beautifully plated carrot cake was a hit with both of us.
Consider eating at Bite when visiting Tacoma. You’ll enjoy the art, good service and delicious food.
More Relaxing Ideas
Just off the lobby you’ll find a day spa. They offer massages, body treatments, facials and nail services.
When the weather is warm (and dry), you can sit outside in front of the hotel and enjoy the fireplace and ambiance of the colorful art glass hotel.
When You Go to Hotel Murano
Hotel Murano is a good base for exploring downtown Tacoma’s art glass scene and museums. It’s within walking distance of the Convention Center. A light rail system stops not all that far away and it seems like taxis are always waiting across the street.
If you are an art glass aficionado, inquire about their docent led tours of the art collection there (by arrangement).
The buildings around Tacoma offer plenty of fascination. Be sure to check out some of Tacoma's history here and how the city is revitalizing. Car lovers will enjoy paying a visit to LeMay America's Car Museum.
Be sure and visit the hotel's website for specials and packages. I have seen very reasonable prices for an overnight stay.
Visit Travel Tacoma for more ideas when you are in the area.
1320 Broadway Plaza
Tacoma WA 98402
Note: As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with accommodations and meals for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.