The Emerald City Adds Another Jewel

Sticking to its principle of developing hotels only in areas where a successful one already operates, Pan Pacific Hotels and Resorts opened the Pan Pacific Seattle on November 14, its fourth Pacific Northwest property, joining two in Whistler and another in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Pan Pacific Hotel in South Lake Union, Seattle

The Singapore-based hotel operator mainly concentrates on the Pacific Rim—it has nine properties in the region—but is turning more attention to North America, where hotel demand is at record highs.

The new Pan Pacific Seattle is a mixed-use development housing a Whole Foods market that is connected to the hotel's ground floor, and there are 34 condominiums in addition to the 160 guest rooms. Of course, what new Seattle property would be complete without a Starbucks nearby? That's right, caffeine fiends, there's one adjacent to the hotel lobby.

Not only does the luxury hotel stand on its own, it is also one of the key cogs in the development of South Lake Union, a downtown lakefront neighborhood that is one of the largest urban-revitalization projects in the country. The only drawback is that the property is a good hike—about 20 blocks—from downtown Seattle and attractions such as the famous Pike Place Fish market.

However, what the hotel lacks in convenience, it makes up for in design. The new property takes its cue from Pan Pacific's Manila property, boasting many of the same design elements. Zebrawood, striped with rich warm tones, is incorporated throughout the property and is especially well employed in the bathrooms, which feature glassed-in separate showers and European-style bathtubs, with shoji screens to keep the bath private when closed, or create a large suite when opened.

Many of the guest rooms, designed by Hirsch Bedner, a leader in hospitality interior design, offer unobstructed views of the famed Seattle Space Needle, downtown Seattle and Lake Union, which sits directly across from the hotel.

Guest room hardware includes 32-inch HDTV plasma TVs, featuring Kool Connect technology, which allows guests to watch high-definition TV and movies or listen to more than 40 radio channels. Additionally, all wired and wireless in-room, high-speed Internet is complimentary, a striking departure from many luxury properties that still charge for Internet services. The only current hiccup at the hotel is that there won't be a functioning restaurant until mid-February. In the meantime, there is still 24-hour room service from the hotel's kitchen and a lobby bar, open every day, offering a light food spread.

The Pan Pacific Seattle operates under the concept of the "total stay experience," designed to provide focused guest service and amenities. To achieve this, the hotel takes a page from the cruise lines, which typically know guests' profiles before they even step on board. "We develop our services around that system," says Lori Main, general manager of the Pan Pacific Seattle. "Who they are? What do they want?" Those wants are then taken care of by personal stewards, who can give guests utmost privacy or take care of every need they may have.

The recent opening of the hotel is also the perfect time for travel agents to book clients. Through the first quarter of 2007, Pan Pacific Seattle is offering "luxury on sale," a program whereby travel agents can get discounts on the rack rates. It's wise to act now, because normal rates vacillate between $300 and $500 per night, and availability at the hotel could prove to be a problem if you don't book far in advance. "We have limited availability right now," says Main. "Every room has been sold." Agent commissions range between 8 and 10 percent.

The hotel's travel agent liaison is Paul Sposare, director of sales (206-654-5010). For further information on Pan Pacific Seattle, visit (www.panpacific.com).

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