HKS Designs W Bellevue in Washington
Newbuild hotel opens in suburban Seattle
Marriott Intl.’s W brand has debuted its first newbuild in North America in seven years, with the opening of a hotel in Bellevue, Washington. Designed by HKS Inc., W Bellevue takes cues from the innovations of nearby tech hubs—such as Seattle, which is home to Amazon, and Redmond, where Microsoft is based—as well as the region’s natural surroundings and lakeside lifestyle.
"Throughout the brand's nearly 20-year history, W has come to be known for reinvention,” says Anthony Ingham, global brand leader, W Hotels Worldwide. “Our design process has evolved to center around each destination's respective history, environment and culture, and with Bellevue as a tech-capital and center for innovation in its own right we are thrilled to unveil W Bellevue, the first new-build W Hotel in North America in seven years with more on the way.”
Led by HKS associate principal and design director of hospitality interiors Mary Alice Palmer and architect Tom Sprinkle, principal of HKS Hospitality Group, the design team drew inspiration from the region’s setting along Lake Washington to execute their vision for a modern lodge oasis. The hotel’s entry features a reclaimed wood staircase surrounded by colorful street art by famed international artist Gaia. Original works by such artists as Lady Aiko and Zio Ziegler are also showcased throughout the property.
The Living Room lobby was designed as a clubhouse for modern travelers, with exposed A-frame beams lining the ceiling as a nod to log cabin homes. Mirrors contour the interior edges of the room to create the illusion of open ceilings that connect with the open-air porch area. Deep sofas and lounge chairs are modeled after 1970s lake house furnishings and are paired with plaid throws and plush pillows.
Near the Living Room, The Porch provides an open-air homage to the lake house with porch swings and a fire pit, while The Library lounge is home to romance novels and vintage board games.
The property’s 220 guest rooms and 25 suites reflect the history of the city with design elements such as side-table lights that mimic traditional dock lamps and inflatable tufted headboards that nod to historic dockside decor. Beds are adorned with painted pillowcases featuring pulp poetry reminiscent of summer escapist novels. Carpet patterns evoke the look of wine spills, reflecting the wineries of the region. Glass showers, placed in the middle of each room, play up the boundless aesthetic of the hotel's design, project participants say.
Set on the 13th floor overlooking Lake Washington, the 2,300-sq.-ft., two-bedroom Extreme WOW Suite (the brand's take on the traditional Presidential suite) features two king beds, including one that hangs from the ceiling; a surround-sound audio system and a selection of vinyl records; an in-room pool and poker table; and a retractable flat screen TV. Hanging porch swings line the border of the space for a floating effect.
F&B concepts at the property are comprised of The Lakehouse, a Northwest farmhouse restaurant concept, and Civility & Unrest, a speakeasy-inspired cocktail lounge, both helmed by James Beard Award-winning chef Jason Wilson. The restaurant was designed as a modern interpretation of an entertainer's lake home. The concept is made up of several themed spaces, including a garden room, a butler’s pantry, a “wild modern” private dining room, a “wild primitive” dining room and seating at the chef's counter. The venue is decked out with a counter-height bar, porcelain antler sconces, a column of living greenery, trestles and interspersed charred wood that’s inspired by the city’s past Japanese farmers who preserved wood in the authentic shou sugi ban method. Meanwhile, the cocktail lounge is accessible through a discreet entry within Gaia's showpiece artwork and features soft contours and plush seating.
For events, the 4,400-sq.-ft. Great Room showcases deconstructed docks that appear to be floating just below the ceiling. The carpet features layers of tribal tattoos and archetypal house shapes that reference the native cultures of the Pacific Northwest overlaid on a stylized lake background. Two Strategy rooms and six Studios continue the theme of lakeside living, with window-like mirrors and dock-inspired light sconces.