Sleeping in Seattle: Hotel Sorrento

Andrew Giammarco

In a city where some dozen new downtown hotels are coming soon, a local landmark debuts a chic renovation.

In 1909 Samuel Rosenberg opened Seattle’s Hotel Sorrento. During the Great Depression, Rosenberg swapped the hotel for a pear orchard, which was eventually taken over by his sons (their names were Harry and David). The Sorrento, meanwhile, went on to become a mainstay in Seattle’s bustling First Hill neighborhood. But we all grow older, and now the Sorrento has undergone nips and tucks to help it remain relevant in its young, fast-growing city.

All 76 rooms have seen minor updates—new paint, lamps. Ask for one of the three suites reimagined by Seattle designers, like room 601 with its handcrafted furniture by Tamara Codor. The other changes revolve around lightening the hotel’s men’s-club feel. In the Fireside Room, a Honduran-mahogany-paneled lounge that’s a Seattle staple, the owners exposed an old oak floor and added a five-seat bar and white marble tables.

The dining room has been lined with 7,000 pounds of bright Moroccan tile, and its menu has been overhauled, too. (The $26 “secret burger” of Wagyu short ribs and smoked-blue-cheese jam is a hit; the seafood, oddly for Seattle, less so.) Outside, the stuffy porte cochere is gone, giving a new option to a town that craves more alfresco seating. Rooms from $299; 900 Madison St.; 206-622-6400;