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Murphy makes himself comfortable in the Presidential Suite Murphy makes himself comfortable in the Presidential Suite Photography by J. Nichole Smith

Four Legs, Four Seasons

A relaxed approach to luxury is the signature of the Four Seasons Seattle, where the staff caters to the needs of both humans and canines alike.

Written by Mary Sheely; Photography by J. Nichole Smith

Any Four Seasons Hotel is going to have style, and the Seattle location, newly opened in 2009 after a five-year hiatus, is no exception. With amenities like a fourth-floor patio that includes a fire pit, infinity pool and stunning views of Elliott Bay, the Four Seasons is a true getaway as well as a place of lodging. But if you’re visiting with a furry friend, rest assured that the Four Seasons Hotel Seattle is more earthy-modern than hoity-toity—much like Seattle itself.

Enter the lobby and you’ll be struck by the silence and serenity. With walls tiled in rectangles of volcanic basalt, furniture in muted tones, and carpeting in undulating deep oranges and grays, the space is meant to invoke the feel of a riverbank—a very modern riverbank. The far end boasts sleek yet comfortable couches by a fireplace with flames that jet up between layers of polished glass pebbles.

Dogs of all sizes are welcome at the Four Seasons, and each is greeted with personal care. Mention you’re bringing a furry friend when you make your reservation, and the Four Seasons staff will welcome you at check-in with amenities specially chosen to reflect your dog’s size and style—you might receive a small toy for a small chewer or a plastic food mat for a large drooler. Of course, any dog might drool for the treats that are included, like biscuits from Seattle’s Scraps Dog Bakery.

You and your dog may stay in any one of the Four Seasons’ 147 rooms. Bay-View rooms look out onto Elliott Bay, while City-View rooms look out onto the Seattle Art Museum and its famous Hammering Man sculpture. Whichever you choose, floor-to-ceiling windows will make the most of the view.

The most luxe lodging is, of course, the 2,480 sq. ft. Presidential Suite, with its own living room, dining space for ten, and sweeping tenth-floor views of Puget Sound and Elliott Bay. In fact, we personally enjoyed our stay in this suite on our visit. Okay, okay—we were actually there just long enough to shoot photographs of Murphy, the winner of the 2009 CityDog Cover Dog Model Search.

In any case, at 5,000 bones a night, the Presidential Suite might be a little too steep for most budgets. Not to worry—there’s really no such thing as an “average” room here. The smallest room at the Four Seasons is a spacious 470 sq. feet, starting at $275 nightly. All are soothingly appointed with ergonomically designed chairs and tasteful blond wood furniture, plus amenities like large-screen plasma TVs.

But the real “wow” factor is the bathroom, with a TV built right into the mirror, a delicious, deep soaking tub, and a glass-enclosed rain shower large enough to, dare we say, bathe a good-sized dog.

But why do that when the Four Seasons staff can arrange it for you? Anything you or your dog might bark for, the 24-hour Concierge will be happy to provide. Need a different bed or an extra doggie dish? Coming right up. Want to stretch all six legs? She’ll help you plan a pet-friendly hike. If Bowser needs a bath after that outing, you can even arrange for dog grooming.

The Four Seasons Seattle limits dogs to individual rooms and the hotel’s lobby—sorry, no pooches on the patio. So if you want to get away for some people time, the concierge can arrange dog-sitting services for as long as you require, whether you want to take in a symphony performance at nearby Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., or simply linger over dinner.

Ah, dinner. Food at the Four Seasons is an art—or, rather, ART. The name of the hotel’s restaurant was inspired by the collection of works by Northwest artists that decorate nearly every room. Spanning the entire northern length of the hotel, ART specializes in Pacific Northwest cuisine prepared from fresh, local ingredients and, of course, more amazing views. Guests can enjoy a nightly tapas menu for $14, an all-you-can-eat cheese table for $12, or combine the two for $20. You can choose from more than 100 wines to accent your meal.

During the warmer months, enjoy a bite on the breathtaking fourth-floor patio, where you can settle in next to the fire pit and watch ferries and pleasure craft traverse Elliott Bay. A full menu is available during the spring and summer, but even during Seattle’s cooler weather, Room Service will be happy to deliver hot chocolate or a cup of tea for you to enjoy by the fire.

f you really want to warm up, the patio Jacuzzi is steaming year-round. Completing the scene is a mesmerizing infinity pool, as much a work of art as a place to take a dip, which is heated to 80 degrees, and just off the patio is a well stocked exercise room.
If you’d rather sweat a little more passively, visit the Four Seasons Spa, where softer lights, muted voices and the scent of essential oils immediately infuse you with calm.

Guests can enjoy the spa’s steam room or showers free of charge, or schedule a treatment ranging from a manicure or pedicure to an 80-minute Northwest Passage treatment with a sea salt scrub, lavender oil bath and seaweed wrap. A couples’ treatment room includes a soaking tub with water views.

But you can’t stay inside all day—you’re less than a stone’s throw from some of Seattle’s most appealing attractions!

Leash up and take a short jaunt down the outdoor steps just off the Four Seasons lobby to Alaskan Way for a morning stroll or run along the water (the hotel provides a map). In just a mile, you’ll find yourself in the Olympic Sculpture Park, where leashed dogs are welcome and fanciful and dramatic oversized sculptures compete with sound and mountain views.

For local color of a different sort, head one block north on 1st Avenue to Pike Place Market. With stalls and walk-up restaurants indoors and out, you’ll find several dog-centric market vendors depending on the day you visit. Just across from the famous fish-throwers at Pike Place Fish is the Adventure Dog Treats booth, where Melody J. Price sells all-natural, wheat-, corn- and preservative-free treats that are taste-tested on McKinley, her Chesapeake Bay retriever. Further down the corridor are colorful leashes and collars handmade by Robert Jones, who’s proud to offer larger-than-average collars up to 27 inches in diameter.

Unfortunately, only service dogs are allowed inside the market, but there is plenty to explore outside the market.

Swing through Post Alley between Pike and Pine streets. Not only is it picturesque, it’s home to Dog Alley, a store chockablock with T-shirts and treats for animals and their humans. Then relax at an outdoor table in the alley with a cup of Seattle’s Best Coffee, or opt instead for a spot of tea outside The Crumpet Shop, 1403 First Avenue.

If you want to go a little farther afield, head back to Alaskan Way to Pier 52 and board a Washington State Ferry for a day trip to Bainbridge Island. Dogs are welcome on ferries either by car or on foot, though they’ll be restricted to certain decks, and they ride free! Downtown Bainbridge is an easy walk from the ferry terminal, or you can take advantage of a taxi service to explore more of the island.

Still looking for things to do? The Four Seasons Hotel will provide you with a copy of the Puppy Print Post. Not only will the newsletter tell you how to get everything from extra doggie treats to emergency vet care, it includes a list of destinations amenable to person and pet. As the newsletter says, at the Four Seasons, it’s a doggie dog day.

Gear up for the Four Seasons at the CityDog Shop.

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