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Middle Age Miles

Hotel Review – Sheraton Grand Seattle

hotel review sheraton grand seattle
Beautiful Chihuly glass display in the lobby of the Sheraton Grand Seattle

Introduction

If you’re a regular reader of Middle Age Miles, you know that we spend a lot of time in Seattle, between Philly’s full-time job responsibilities and Middle Age Miles daughter being a student at the University of Washington. That means we’ve spent many nights in Seattle hotels, especially in the north downtown/South Lake Union area surrounding Philly’s work.

By my count, we’ve stayed in at least 11 hotels in this area within the past 2-3 years, and our go-to list has 3 current favorites. In alphabetical order, they are:

  • Grand Hyatt Seattle (to be reviewed soon)
  • Hyatt Regency Seattle (links to Middle Age Miles review 5/24/2019)
  • Sheraton Grand Seattle

We prefer these hotels because they’ve offered us quality experiences, they’re within a reasonable distance for Philly to walk to work, they have good fitness centers, they have nice lounges that we can access with our Hyatt and Marriott elite status, stays there help us qualify for elite status with Hyatt and Marriott, and rates are usually within the zone of reasonableness. In fairness, our preferences have changed meaningfully during 2019 as we’re Going for Globalist for the first time with Hyatt this year, and of course the Hyatt Regency Seattle is brand new, having just opened in December 2018.

Between these 3 properties, our preference for any particular stay depends mostly on the rate. If rates are similar, we next look at where we most need elite night credit along with points-earning and other promotions.

[There are other nice properties within the zone of possibilities that we’d like to try, but rates can be prohibitive. For example, the Pan Pacific would be a great choice and better-located than any of our 3 preferred hotels, but we’ve never been able to justify it based on the rate. The Fairmont Olympic is also problematic based on rates, plus it’s less convenient. Finally, we’d love to try the Thompson Seattle, which recently became part of World of Hyatt, but rates there tend to be meaningfully higher than the Grand Hyatt or Hyatt Regency. With some recent research, though, we discovered that we may be able to get a rate at the Thompson Seattle that will give us a chance to stay there later this year.]

That’s a long introduction, to come back to the point that we really like the Sheraton Grand Seattle, and we regularly return there. It’s a very nice property that hits our key marks – particularly a good lounge and a solid fitness center. It was extensively renovated in 2017, so it has a new and modern feel. It’s certainly a place that works well for us on our travels, and we’d recommend it.

Booking and Rates

On each of our 2 stays this year at the Sheraton Grand Seattle, we’ve booked using a corporate rate available to us. On our first stay, in January, Member Rates were within a few dollars of the corporate rate. Our second stay, however, was in June during a high-demand period where the hotel was completely full (as were many other hotels in downtown Seattle). In that case, the corporate rate was a life saver, as it saved us hundreds compared to other available rates.

Our stays were booked and paid as follows:

  • Stay #1 (Jan 2019; 5 nights): Booked through Citi Aspire Concierge, paid with Citi Prestige using 4th night free ($179.58 rebate)
  • Stay #2 (June 2019; 3 nights): Booked direct (didn’t use a portal since the corporate rate doesn’t qualify); split payment 3 ways, using 2 Chase Sapphire Reserve cards with Chase Offers attached and putting the balance on an Amex Marriott Business card (total $66 in statement credits from Chase Offers)

We were very happy to fortuitously receive Chase Offers for 15% back at Sheraton ($33 cap; maxed out by charging $220) a few weeks before our already-planned stay!

The Sheraton Grand Seattle is a Marriott Bonvoy Category 5 hotel. The standard award redemption rate is 35,000 Marriott points per night. Later this year, when Marriott goes to Peak/Standard/Off-Peak pricing, the award pricing matrix will be 40k/35k/30k.

Assuming that you can find availability, award rates can be a solid-to-very good deal during high-demand periods in Seattle (which includes basically the entire period of June through September). Room rates during summer routinely run in the $300-400 range, which gets you at or close to 1 cent per point value for Marriott points at 35k. Even when Peak pricing kicks in later this year so that a peak-time award room will cost 40k points, you’d be getting 0.75 to 1.0 cents per point, which will remain a solid deal.

In addition, note that you’re currently able to use the 35k Free Night Certificates that you receive annually from several Marriott co-branded credit cards here. After Peak pricing goes into effect, though, you won’t be able to use the 35k certificates during “Peak” times.

Location

The Sheraton Grand Seattle has a good location on 6th Avenue amongst the active shopping district in the northern part of downtown Seattle. The street address is 1400 6th Avenue.

Importantly, the hotel is located just off I-5 and is very easily accessible from this primary Seattle traffic artery. And it’s a short walk of about 5½ blocks down Pike Street to the famous Pike Place Market.

Lobby and Check-In

When you enter the Sheraton Grand Seattle from the main entrance on 6th Avenue, you walk into a large open room. The front desk is straight ahead of you, across the room. We’ve always found check-in to be quite efficient here, and service has always been solid and friendly, if not particularly memorable. Don’t be surprised if you see lots of flight crews in the lobby, as the Sheraton Grand seems to be a preferred hotel of airlines for crew lodging.

Sheraton Grand Seattle – front desk

To the right of the front desk is a large open area with various seating options, including table-and-chair configurations as well as working high-top tables with power ports for your computer. This area also includes the highlight of the lobby – cases full of glass artwork from the Seattle-Tacoma area’s favorite-son glassblower, Dale Chihuly. Definitely make some time during your stay here to admire the dozens of beautiful Chihuly pieces.

Sheraton Grand Seattle – lobby seating area
Sheraton Grand Seattle – working table in lobby with power ports
Sheraton Grand Seattle – display case full of beautiful Chihuly blown glass pieces
Sheraton Grand Seattle – more intricate Chihuly glasswork

Farther to the right, on the other side of the lobby seating area, you’ll find a large Starbucks and the elevators for the guest rooms in the Union Tower.

The left side of the lobby is less interesting. There you’ll find a computer station to print boarding passes, the concierge desk, the elevators for the guest rooms in the main Pike Tower, and the Fountain Wine Bar. There are also escalators up to the 2nd floor conference rooms and meeting space.

Restaurants & Bars

The Sheraton Grand Seattle has 4 restaurants/bars:

  • Starbucks in the lobby
  • Loulay Kitchen & Bar, a stylish-looking “urban contemporary French restaurant”
  • Daily Grill, an upscale “classic American” grill with a dark-wood 1930’s theme
  • Fountain Wine Bar

We’ve actually never eaten a meal at these restaurants, so we can’t opine on them. We’ve had drinks at the Fountain Wine Bar, and we can attest that it stays lively from early Happy Hour through late in the evenings.

Sheraton Grand Seattle – Fountain Wine Bar entrance
Sheraton Grand Seattle – Fountain Wine Bar

Club Lounge

The Club Lounge is an absolute highlight of the Sheraton Grand Seattle, and it’s a major reason why we really like staying there.

The Club Lounge is on the 32nd floor of the Pike Tower (the highest floor in the hotel is 35). The entry to the Lounge is straight across from the elevator bank. You’ll need your room key to gain entrance, using the card reader at the door.

Once you enter the Club Lounge, you’ll see drink stations immediately to your left and right, and the food stations straight ahead. On each side of the food stations are seating areas with various options – 2-person tables, 4-person tables, larger tables with power ports for working, and comfortable lounging seats around a TV. The final seating option is my favorite for those days when I’m eating breakfast alone, the long bars with stools, where you can look out the west-facing windows to see much of downtown Seattle, Puget Sound beyond, and if it’s a clear enough day, the Olympic Mountains in the distance.

Sheraton Grand Seattle – Club Lounge seating areas
Sheraton Grand Seattle – Club Lounge bar seating looking out the west-facing windows on Floor 32
Sheraton Grand Seattle – view from the Club Lounge on a very smoky day in August 2018

The Club Lounge has 2 food presentations each day – breakfast (6:00 am until 10:00 am on weekdays; 6:30 am until 11:00 am on weekends) and evening heavy hors d’oeuvres and desserts (5:00 pm until 8:00 pm every day).

Sheraton Grand Seattle – Club Lounge entry sign with food presentation times

You can access the Club Lounge at other times, at least during the day in between the food presentations. I believe they close the Lounge completely at night, but I’m not sure it that happens at 8:00 pm, or if it’s open for a while after that.

The breakfast spread at the Club Lounge is quite solid. Every day includes multiple hot options including a breakfast meat (bacon, sausage links or turkey sausage patties – frankly, I don’t love the sausage choices here), eggs and oatmeal. There’s a ton of fresh fruit and lots of muffins and other assorted breads and pastries. There are also cold cereal choices.

Sheraton Grand Seattle – Club Lounge breakfast – hot options (must have been sausage link day)
Sheraton Grand Seattle – Club Lounge breakfast – muffins and pastries
Sheraton Grand Seattle – Club Lounge breakfast – fresh fruit (this must have been near the end of breakfast, because this is pretty picked over; there’s normally much more fruit)
Sheraton Grand Seattle – Club Lounge breakfast – cut fruit
Sheraton Grand Seattle – Club Lounge breakfast – cold cereal towers
Sheraton Grand Seattle – Club Lounge breakfast – toasting stations
Sheraton Grand Seattle – Club Lounge – fancy coffee & tea machine
Sheraton Grand Seattle – Club Lounge – cold soft drinks and snacks

In between the food presentations, the Lounge has fresh fruit and granola bars for snacks, in addition to the chips and popcorn you see in the picture above.

Sheraton Grand Seattle – Club Lounge – fresh fruit and granola bars available during the day, between food presentations

Unfortunately, we don’t have pictures of the evening hors d’oeuvres. We’ve had cheese plates there as a before-dinner appetizer, and we’ve had some tasty post-dinner dessert treats as well.

Fitness Center & Pool

The fitness center and pool are located on the very top 35th floor of the Pike Tower. The fitness center has an unusual 2-level design, and once you’re inside the fitness center there’s a staircase you can take to the upper level. All of the cardio and weight machines are Life Fitness brand, and they’re all relatively new. The cardio machines include displays where you can watch TV or start a video workout program. We like this fitness center.

The windows in the fitness center face east, which can make for some interesting times if you’re working out at the same time the bright sun is rising. Also, at times in the past the fitness center has been unbearably hot. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case during our recent visit, so hopefully that problem has been fixed.

The pool is in a separate room immediately adjacent to the fitness center. The pool is on the corner and has nice views to the east and south.

Here’s a look at the fitness center and pool:

Sheraton Grand Seattle – Fitness Center – Life Fitness treadmills on the upper level (there are also a couple of bikes on this level)
Sheraton Grand Seattle – dumbbells and adjustable benches on upper level
Sheraton Grand Seattle – Fitness Center – weight machines on lower level, with cardio machines in the background
Sheraton Grand Seattle – Fitness Center – more dumbbells on lower level
Sheraton Grand Seattle – pool

Interestingly, the only thing on the 35th floor besides the fitness center & pool is the hotel’s signature ballroom, the Cirrus room. And when the elevators come to the 35th floor, you emerge into an open area, with the Cirrus room straight ahead, and the fitness center/pool around the corner to the left. If there’s an event in the Cirrus room, this can make for an odd situation, where you’re all hot and sweaty after a workout and have to wait for the elevator in the same open room where very nicely-dressed people are coming and going from some important or celebratory function in the Cirrus room. It’s not a huge issue, but it’s a little weird.

Sheraton Grand Seattle – entrance to 35th-floor Cirrus ballroom
Sheraton Grand Seattle – inside the Cirrus ballroom

Guest Rooms

Standard guest rooms at the Sheraton Grand Seattle are 334 square feet. In our stays there, we’ve always been “upgraded” to a high floor (and given Club Lounge access based on our Marriott elite status), but we’ve never been upgraded to a suite.

We’ve noticed that the bathroom configuration is different in different rooms in this hotel. In the pictures below, you’ll see a bathroom with a sliding door and a glass shower stall. On our most recent visit, however, our bathroom had a regular door and a tub/shower combo. Otherwise, though, the rooms and furnishings have generally been consistent.

Room configuration is pretty standard – When you enter the room, the bathroom is to one side and the closet to the other. Beyond that, the room opens up into the bedroom, where you’ll find the bed(s), a flat screen TV facing the bed(s), a circular table and chair with a colorful spherical light fixture above, a chaise/couch, and a station with a mini-fridge and small coffee maker.

Sheraton beds generally rank high for me, and the beds at the Sheraton Grand Seattle are no exception. I find them very comfortable and tend to sleep pretty well there. We’ve never been bothered by noise from the street or adjoining rooms at the Sheraton Grand Seattle, which we appreciate.

From here, we’ll let the pictures tell the story of the standard rooms at the Sheraton Grand Seattle:

Sheraton Grand Seattle – Standard 1 King Guest Room – looking from the entryway across the bedroom
Sheraton Grand Seattle – Standard 1 King Guest Room – looking back across the bedroom from the far end of the room by the windows
Sheraton Grand Seattle – Standard 1 King Guest Room – work table and chairs, with colorful spherical light fixture above and flat-screen TV in the background
Sheraton Grand Seattle – Standard 1 King Guest Room – chaise/couch
Sheraton Grand Seattle – Standard 1 King Guest Room – mini-fridge and coffee machine
Sheraton Grand Seattle – Standard 1 King Guest Room – night stand with lamp & clock radio
Sheraton Grand Seattle – Standard 1 King Guest Room – side of other nightstand, showing convenient power outlets by the bed
Sheraton Grand Seattle – Standard 1 King Guest Room – handy reading light above each side of the bed
Sheraton Grand Seattle – Standard 1 King Guest Room – closet with robe, safe and ironing board
Sheraton Grand Seattle – Standard 1 King Guest Room – sliding-door entry to bathroom (or maybe you’ll have a regular door?)
Sheraton Grand Seattle – Standard 1 King Guest Room – vanity, with my favorite kind of perimeter-lighted mirror
Sheraton Grand Seattle – Standard 1 King Guest Room – towels and such underneath the vanity
Sheraton Grand Seattle – Standard 1 King Guest Room – standard Sheraton “le grand bain” toiletries
Sheraton Grand Seattle – Standard 1 King Guest Room – glass shower stall (or maybe you’ll get a tub/shower combo?)
Sheraton Grand Seattle – Standard 1 King Guest Room – nice artwork (photo of Chihuly glass sculpture)

We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of the recently-renovated Sheraton Grand Seattle. There’s no single thing here that totally blows us away (other than perhaps the Chihuly glass pieces), but the fitness center and Club Lounge are very good, and everything else here has been solid for each of our stays. Among the Marriott properties in the north downtown/South Lake Union area, it’s our favorite. And it holds its own with our other two favorite hotels in the area, the Grand Hyatt and the new Hyatt Regency Seattle. We recommend it to Middle Age Miles readers, if you’re visiting to Seattle and the location suits your plans.

Have you stayed at the Sheraton Grand Seattle? What can you add to our review? Please share with us and other Middle Age Miles readers in the Comments!


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