Seattle Day 1 – Vancouver to Seattle and Shopping

During the New Year’s holiday it was time for another roadtrip down to Seattle and this time staying in downtown Seattle for 2 nights with my siblings. New Year is always a special occasion not just because of its iconic moment in the calendar but it is also my sister’s birthday so what better way to celebrate it than to go to Seattle for some shopping. It works too now that the Loonie is on par or higher than the Buck. From a long night after a steamboat dinner on New Year’s eve in Vancouver, we woke up early and departed for Point Roberts, this small piece of land connected to Vancouver which has become a spot for Canadians living in Vancouver to pick up online shopping deliveries, top up cheap fuel and foreign passport holders like me to obtain that white form for entry into the United States first and avoid the long wait at the main Seattle – Vancouver border. This was done in no time and we were soon on our way on Highway 99 headed south towards Washington State!

Mountain View from Highway 99 between Seattle and Vancouver

The clear day on a New Year certainly brightened up our spirits that day and we were treated to the snow capped majestic mountain ranges of the Pacific Northwest in the distance. As expected the queue for the passport control was long and on that day it took around 20 minutes before we cleared the border and continued our journey into the United States. First stop in the States was for breakfast which we savoured at a Jack in the Box branch somewhere close to the border. The best food served in Jack in the Box got to be the curly fries which I really liked. Saying goodbye to our grumbling stomachs, we moved on to our next itinerary which was a stop at the Seattle Premium Outlets just beside the Tulalip Resort and Casino. This factory outlet store has got to be one of the most favoured shopping haunts of residents of Vancouver, and on that holiday, it was packed. We didn’t made much purchase since the deals weren’t tempting enough so we journeyed on towards Seattle, reaching the downtown by around 2.30pm or so, checking into the W Hotel in Seattle.

Stopover for Brekkie at Jack in the Box

Having had an amazing stay at the W Hong Kong a week prior, I had high expectations for W Seattle. But alas I was kind of disappointed, for the hotel doesn’t really live up to the W Hong Kong. Check in was fine and our room was ready, but the room we were assigned has some kind of odour and it was really sparsely kitted out in the amenities department. For a hotel of this class, I had expected separate shower cubicles but none of that in this property. Other than that, the room was alright, and I was assigned a nice room on a high floor with a good view of the distant Mt Rainier and the skyscrapers of downtown Seattle. Location wise, the W is situated at the corner of 4th and Seneca just beside the Fairmont Olympic Seattle, so it was situated nicely in Downtown close to the Art Museum, beside the Central Library and neighbours to some luxury shopping. Should one want to visit nearby Pike Place or the Seattle Center, there is always the complimentary Acura shuttle from the hotel concierge. In fact that afternoon, just as we were debating on where to head out for the evening, the helpful concierge asked if we would like the complimentary shuttle. While we intended to drive out initially, we thought the shuttle makes sense since it saves us the hassle of finding a parking space. We were dropped off at Pacific Place by the chauffeur of the Acura and it was a really nice ride in an Acura MDX. There was still time for us to check out the shops and we spent some time at Nordstrom shopping, where we got for my sister her birthday present!

Sunset at Downtown Seattle

From Nordstrom, we continued towards Macy’s on Pine and ended up on 4th Avenue before making our way back up on Pike Street where we walked towards the Washington State Convention & Trade Center where we found a branch of the Cheesecake Factory to pick up some desserts to bring back to the hotel. Winter at downtown Seattle does seem a tad colder than in Vancouver, and I have to attribute that to the wind as it was a cold walk back to our hotel which took around 10 minutes at a leisurely pace. Back at the hotel, the concierge helped us in recommending a place for steaks in the city and even made a great reservation for us.

Shopping at Seattle
The Cheesecake Factory at Seattle

Upon getting the location of the restaurant from the concierge, we decided on walking since it was just 2 blocks away along 2nd Avenue and when we arrived, the receptionist had wanted to place us in a room, but with just the 3 of us, we chose the main dining room. We ordered an order of crab cake and another of rabbit confit to share on top of our individual steaks for our main courses. The crab cake was a tad ordinary, though the rabbit confit was nicely garnished and was tasty. For the mains, I had a Steak au Poivre or Pepper steak which was coated generously in peppercorn and presented in a beautiful long rectangular plate, served with mashed potatoes topped with a slice of fried mesh-chips and accompanied with 2 fried jumbo onion rings. The meat was a bit tough for my taste even in medium though the sauce and side dishes were perfect with steak! It was an enjoyable first dinner of 2011!

Steak au Poivre at the Brooklyn Steak and Seafood House

Since we had bought cheesecakes, we skipped on the dessert menu and walked back to the hotel to collect our car since we needed to get some water for our stay at Seattle. Again we got directions to a grocery store near the hotel before driving out to the location to purchase our mineral water. Back at our double bed room, we opened the bottle of Inniskillin Icewine we brought along for the trip to enjoy it with the cheesecakes and savour the first night of 2011. It was a fitting celebratory day for the New Year and of course my sister’s birthday!

Inniskillin Icewine to end the magnificent day
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