After multiple delays and hours of listening to my seatmate complain about being stuck in the airport for 36 hours, I finally made it to Seattle, stepped outside, and embraced the immediate temperature difference from my home state of hot and humid Florida. I took in the city’s atmosphere on the drive to my hotel until I came to a halt. At first, I was confused as to why we had pulled up to a church.

A doorman greeted me as I stepped outside the car, “Welcome to the Lotte Hotel. Can I help you with your luggage?” Which answered my question of whether I was in the right place.

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The Lotte Hotel Seattle

sanctuary church at lotte hotel seattle

Photo: Lotte Hotel Seattle

The Lotte Hotel Seattle (rooms starting at $350 per night) is filled with treasures, trinkets, and aesthetic design, but the first thing that caught my eye was how it transformed a former church into a piece of art. The Lotte Hotel includes what was once a First United Methodist Church built in the early 1900s. What’s left of the church is now a set of 12 event spaces called The Sanctuary. It’s been renovated to highlight the beautiful stained glass, original dome ceiling, and the pipe organ. Stepping inside is like stepping into a time machine.

The hotel is in Downtown Seattle, and it’s one of the city’s only luxury hotels in the downtown business district. It spans two buildings: the church and a 44-story tower that houses the hotel’s main areas like the 189 guestrooms, the spa, Charlotte Restaurant & Lounge, and more. Together, the hotel mixes the present and the past.

Lotte is a South Korean hotel company, and the Seattle location was the second in the continuous United States. Korean hospitality was evident from the moment I stepped out of my car and was put into the capable hands of the doorman. No matter where I was in the hotel, all staff greeted me with a traditional Korean bow and a formal greeting. Respect, social interaction, and proper etiquette are embedded in the Lotte brand.

Rooms at the Lotte Hotel Seattle

deluxe queen room at lotte hotel seattle

Photo: Lotte Hotel Seattle

Lotte’s check is on the 16th floor. Stepping outside the elevator, I was immediately greeted by unparallelled design from French designer Philipe Starck and the receptionist, who greeted me with a traditional bow from behind the stunning front desk crafted out of a 3,000-year-old Sequoia tree.

Nothing could have prepared me for my room’s views. Floor-to-ceiling windows give guests views of either Seattle’s ports, ferries, Elliott Bay, or West Seattle, depending on the side of the building. The massive windows also, of course, let in the gorgeous Pacific Northwest sunshine on sunny days.

I stayed in a junior king suite with a bay view. The room is super spacious, and in my suite, I had views of the bay and ferries coming in and out of the dock.

The rooms highlight Starck’s impeccabile design taste with the spacious rooms, wood and marble interiors, and contemporary vibe with superb artwork. Travertine stone is throughout, and the movie-like rain showers and warm vibes reel you in and make it hard to leave. Starck’s favorite arched mirrors and mid-century modern decor were a personal favorite touch. In all, everything felt different than a typical hotel, which is exactly what was intended with this design.

Amenities at the Lotte Hotel Seattle

reception desk at the lobby at lotte hotel seattle

Photo: Lotte Hotel Seattle

The Lotte Hotel Seattle has a fitness center (which will actually have you wanting to work out), business center, meeting and event spaces, 24-hour in-room dining, a restaurant, and, my favorite, Le SPA de l’hôtel LOTTE.

Due to my flight delay, I didn’t make it on time for my massage. Thankfully, the hotel accommodated me with a massage later in the week. I put myself into the good hands of miss Regina for a full body massage, and was amazed at how someone could put me into such a relaxed state in minutes.

In addition to massages, the spa menu has facials, couples massages, body treatments, sugaring and waxing, hair and makeup, and a wide variety of men’s services, and guests have access to the sauna and steam room. Along with its multiple accommodations, the spa also uses and offers world-class skin care products like Biologique Recherche and MBR Skincare.

The Charlotte Restaurant and Lounge

desserts at charlotte

Photo: Lotte Hotel Seattle

My visit was my first to Seattle, and I was excited to try Pacific Northwest cuisine. When I sat down at the Lotte’s on-site restaurant, the Charlotte Restaurant and Lounge, I expect my meal to also come with a stunning view. The restaurant is on the 16th floor and has gorgeous views of downtown and midtown Seattle, the ocean, and the mountains.

I had a menu of the chef’s choosing, starting with an oyster tart and a stuffed chicken wing. The menu continued to show of the ocean’s bounty from there with a stone oven octopus, a king salmon, and a black forest soufflé for dessert.

Afterward, the bartender showed me how to make one of the restaurant’s specialty cocktails, called the Orange You Glad You’re Here. After tasting that, the name seemed more than fitting.

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What to do in Seattle around the Lotte Hotel

Pike Place Market Sosio's vegetable display

Photo: Katae.Olaree/Shutterstock

Chihuly Garden and Glass Exhibit, Pike Place Market, and Dianne’s Market Kitchen

If you’re looking for a hotel near top attractions, then Lotte is the perfect spot. It’s a 10-minute drive to the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit, where I experienced the thought process and detailed work of glass artist Dale Chihuly.

From there, it was a quick six-minute drive to Pike Place Market for a guided tour from local cooking connoisseur Diane LaVonne, who runs Diane’s Market Kitchen. Pike Place Market is referred to as the soul of Seattle, and I couldn’t agree more with its produce stands, artisan shops, restaurants, and flying fish. LaVonne then led us to her kitchen, where she holds private cooking classes and dishes out the most delicious, fresh, and savory meals. We had a delightful lunch of gazpacho, zucchini corn fritters, frogmore soup, a cucumber and blueberry salad and a nectarine cobbler with candied ginger and creme fraiche.

“I think ingredients have a voice,” she said during our time together. “I don’t want you to hear my voice. I want you to hear the voice of the food.”

Pastry-making class, wine tastings, and a floating home

On my final day in Seattle I joined a pastry making class with chef Artis Kalsons, who taught me how to make macaroons. This was my first macaroon, and it was not only delicious, but very tedious to make. I stepped in and put on an apron as I love to bake, but those macaroon shells fell into a heart shape and were were not as perfect as the chefs.

No trip to Washington would be complete without wine. Washington produces the second most wine after California, and many of the wineries are known for making world-class bottles, so I was looking forward to getting a taste of some high-quality wine. We visited three wine cellars: Chateau Lill Via, Betz Cellars, and DeLille Cellars, and all three were, of course, better than the cheap wine I used to drink in college. Each wine was a different experience, and I can say that this trip may have made me a wine person.

As our final night ended, our last stop in Seattle for dinner was at a private floating home. Yes, that’s correct, a floating home. It was so serene and comforting simultaneously if you ever get to see one up close in person, take the opportunity because this was such a unique experience.

If you’re looking for a hotel that has a delicious restaurant, gorgeous views, and A-plus hospitality while being right in the middle of Seattle’s popular hotspots, then Lotte is the place for you. Trust me when I say this hotel will have you wanting to come back.