Hotel Max is one of Seattle's hippest downtown boutique hotels with trendy amenities to match. A cherry red reception counter and the stack of drums by artist Ivan Navarro almost vibrate against the dark urban tones and contemporary lines in the lobby. Add on a signed guitar by Nirvana's Krist Novoselic, Andy Warhol's pop art, and nods to Seattle's independent record label Sub Pop Records and you feel as if you've entered a space where creativity rules, or in this case, rocks.
I had the privilege of being hosted by Hotel Max and its adjoining restaurant, Miller's Guild. From the moment I arrived, the hotel created plenty of wow moments, which started with a complimentary craft beer hour.
Plus, being a mere six blocks from Pike Place Market, a short walk to Link Light Rail station, and steps away from shopping, dining, and Seattle's nightlife, travelers can easily get around and be close to the beats of the city.
A Seattle Icon Turns Rock
Since 1926, the Beaux-Arts Classical Eclecticism building has been a beloved Seattle landmark. Originally named Vance Hotel, the neon sign lit up the night sky, letting everyone know they were close to the Emerald City. In 2005, Hotel Max shed its former persona, yet kept its roots with the neon sign.
Rockin' Rooms at Hotel Max
The lobby's cool factor and cheeky sense of humor continue in a very cozy elevator all the way up to our floor where each guest room door is bedecked with black and white images from Seattle's photographers. My spacious corner room had lots of natural light with views of the street and park below. Furnished with a queen-sized bed with soft linens, it also had a desk, flatscreen television, free WiFi, in-room coffee and tea, and an honor bar with local snacks. If you travel with Fido, they have pet-friendly rooms!
Hotel Max has a total of 163 rooms that range from mini to max, with a variety of bed configurations, including bunk beds. All rooms feature plush bathrobes, laptop-sized safes, Bluetooth speakers, flatscreen televisions, USB charging stations, and linens imported from Italy. All the decor is fun and playful.
Hotel Max's Sub Pop Floor
Music die-hards will want to book a room on the 5th floor, which is all about Sub Pop Records. Guest room doors are wrapped with photographs taken by Charles Peterson with images from Seattle's grunge era. Each room has a Crosley record player and hand-selected records.
Rockin' Amenities at Hotel Max
Beer lovers will totally appreciate the complimentary craft beer happy hour that takes place in the lobby from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. It's a great way to enjoy a drink and meet other music-loving guests. All you need to do is show the tap master your room key.
In the morning, guests can revive from a night out on the town with their free morning pour-over coffee service. And, if you have a craving for Salt & Straw delicious and creamy ice cream, you can have a pint delivered to your room!
Dine Next Door at Miller's Guild
James Beard Award-winning chef, a nine-foot Infierno grill, dry-aged beef delicacies, are a few of the keywords used to describe Miller's Guild. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, a meal here is something you don't want to miss. Many Seattleites call this the “best restaurant in the city.”
From start to finish, the dining experience was exceptional. We started with a grilled Ceasar salad with smoked anchovy, charred lemons, and seasonal radishes. I wasn't sure how grilled lettuce would turn out, but it deepened and enriched all the flavors.
For our entrees, we ordered a grilled halibut with clams in a flavorful broth.
And, the Painted Hills Sirloin Steak with seasonal mushrooms and Yukon Gold potatoes.
Be sure to save room for dessert. The house-made doughnuts with fire-roasted jelly and maple raspberry mascarpone are delicious!
Seattle's Iconic Must-Sees
If exploring Seattle's iconic sites, like the Space Needle and the Seattle Spheres, is high on your list. Hotel Max is only a 4-minute walk from the spheres and an 18-minute walk to Space Needle as well as Chihuly Garden and Glass, Museum of Pop Culture, and the Pacific Science Center.
To learn more about the city under Seattle's modern-day streets, head to Pioneer Square (about a 25-minute walk), to join Bill Speidel's Underground Tour. The guides are very entertaining, and it is fascinating to learn how Seattlites used to climb ladders to get from business to business. No joke!
Stay at Hotel Max
After experiencing this boutique hotel, I can say whether you are a music or art lover, Hotel Max creatively sets the stage for a one-of-a-kind hotel experience. Paired with exclusive amenities, exceptional on-site dining, and nearby walkable attractions, the hotel offers travelers the ease of experiencing Seattle's hip culture and iconic music history from the luxury of your own room or on the street.
For more inspiration about what to see and do throughout Washington, check out more Washington adventures, courtesy of our Wander writers.
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.