Step into Rock ‘n’ Roll History at The Edgewater Hotel


edgewater front

Photo Credit: The Edgewater

In February 1964, a Pan Am flight from Heathrow Airport brought Beatlemania to America. Their third stop on the group’s very first U.S. tour was in Seattle, and while no other local hotel would grant the Fab Four a reservation, The Edgewater embraced the mania with open arms, open doors, and a bit of fortification.

King County Sheriff’s deputies and Seattle police stood guard and The Edgewater installed cyclone fencing around the premises to keep crazed fans away. Even still, some teens resorted to swimming across Elliott Bay to reach the band (albeit unsuccessfully). During their stay, The Beatles famously fished from the window of their suite; the photo of which has now become iconic.

edgewater driveway

Photo Credit: The Edgewater

Just 24 hours in Seattle—at The Edgewater—and The Beatles solidified the hotel’s reputation with the rock world.

Of course, the troves of rock ‘n’ roll stories go far beyond that one night in 1964.

When KISS stayed at the hotel, they never left their rooms without their full concert get-ups (makeup and boots included). Led Zeppelin had a “mud shark incident.” And the hotel was one of Anthony Bourdain’s favorite places in the city; during filming for “Parts Unknown,” he rolled a joint with the Edgewater’s stationary, and smoked it out on his room’s balcony. Nirvana, Blondie, The Rolling Stones, and The Village People have also made the Edgewater home (at least for a night).

edgewater lounge

Photo Credit: The Edgewater

Located on the waterfront at Pier 67, the four story 223-room Edgewater is the only over-water hotel in Seattle. Originally built for the Century 21 Exposition 1962 World’s Fair, its backdrop of the Olympic Mountains and glistening Elliott Bay are main draws for visitors all these years later.

Pike Place Market, Space Needle, Great Wheel, Olympic Sculpture Park, Pioneer Square, T-Mobile Park, CenturyLink Field, and many other Seattle landmarks are all within walking distance to the Edgewater. The hotel even offers a “Urban Walking, Running & Hiking Program,” which includes routes, playlists, and running shoes (if needed), to point guests towards some of the city’s coolest destinations. 

six seven restaurant

Photo Credit: The Edgewater

And being a destination all its own, the Edgewater’s Six Seven Restaurant & Lounge combines unrivaled waterfront views with an award-winning menu created by Executive Chef Jesse Souza. The restaurant celebrates the bounty of the Pacific Northwest, using local, sustainably-sourced produce, meats, and seafood.

Chef Souza’s signature dishes are a tribute to the region’s fare. The locally-sourced Cedar Planked King Salmon with truffle cream and West Seattle honey is melt-in-your-mouth rich and Miso-Glazed Pacific Cod has a complexity of flavors that are both exotic and comforting. The enticing dishes are supported by Six Seven’s impressive cocktail program and wine list, which has earned the restaurant the title of Best Hotel Bar by Food & Wine magazine for four years in a row.

wall of fame edgewater

Photo Credit: Djani Schafer

The Edgewater embraces the Pacific Northwest in more places than on its plates. The hotel’s interiors mimic that of a lodge—wood details, leather club chairs—bringing the outside in with a modern edge. And there are hints of rock ‘n’ roll everywhere, if you know where to look. For example, the Wall of Fame, which sits across from the lobby’s majestic stone fireplace, is an homage to the rock stars who have stayed at the Edgewater: Diana Ross and the Supremes, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Stevie Wonder, and The Monkees (to name a few).

wyland mural edgewater

Photo Credit: Djani Schafer

A quieter tribute is the Wyland mural—his 101st “whaling wall” designed to bring awareness to the endangered orcas of Puget Sound. There’s a bit of rock ‘n’ roll here too. Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder helped Wyland paint a few of the orcas, now called the V-Pod (the four whales lined across the water’s surface). A mud shark at the top left, is a nod to the ambiguous legends surrounding the fish and hotel—as described, vaguely, of course, in Frank Zappa’s song, “Mudshark.”

edgewater lobby

Photo Credit: The Edgewater

It’s not the mural or even the incredible menus at Six Seven that keeps attracting the musically inclined. What makes the Edgewater so popular among the musical? Its reputation as Seattle’s little oasis for big stars.

For example, Dave Grohl’s wife said the Foo Fighters loves staying at the Edgewater when they’re in town because when they perform for thousands of fans, it’s chaos. Then they check into the hotel, and the atmosphere is a complete 180. The doors to their room close and it’s just peace, quiet, and the calming sounds of Elliot Bay.

beatles suite

Photo Credit: The Edgewater

Surprisingly, amid the chaos, The Beatles more than likely found some bit of tranquility at the Edgewater. The exact room where they stayed—more than 50 years ago—has been turned into a suite that salutes the band. In fact, the Beatles’ Suite is one of the most popular rooms at the hotel. It’s a bit of a modern musical wonderland, fit for the ultimate Fab Four fan and filled with memorabilia, records, contemporary elements, and retro pops of color. (Fun fact: while guests can stay in the same room as the band, they can’t walk on the same carpet; the original shag was pulled up as soon as The Beatles checked out and squares were sold in a local department store.)

pearl jam suite

Photo Credit: The Edgewater

However, true fans of the Seattle music scene will appreciate the Edgewater’s Pearl Jam Suite. The hotel partnered with the band and their fan club to design the ultimate, grunge-inspired space, reminiscent of Pearl Jam’s Seattle studio. There’s authentic concert memorabilia and vintage posters lining the walls, and a record player and plenty of Pearl Jam vinyls to soundtrack your stay. A library of original books, tour tickets, and reproduced Seattle show set lists were all pulled from the band’s vault. Symbols and designs that represent the band—like the Mother Love Bone mural above the bed—are graffitied all over the place. Because, what’s rock ‘n’ roll without a little anarchy?

pearl jam suite

Photo Credit: The Edgewater

The Pearl Jam Suite isn’t meant to be a museum though, it’s an authentic, living tribute to the band and its fans. An in-room guitar and amp allow guests to rock out on their own. The bathroom wall is adorned with a blown-up photo from the band’s 1992 Drop in the Park concert; it’s taken from the stage and focuses solely on the crowd.

guest room edgewater

Photo Credit: The Edgewater

Even beyond the themed suites, the Edgewater’s rooms and accommodations are edgy and cool; again, mixing a Northwest lodge motif with modern luxury. Guests can check out record players and choose LPs from the hotel’s collection or rent a guitar and have their own jam session while staying at the hotel.

All guest rooms feature gas fireplaces, minibars, in-room coffee makers, large windows, and views of the Puget Sound or downtown Seattle. The Superior Waterfront Room offers the perk of a balcony furnished Adirondack chairs, while the Waterfront Premium Room has an upgraded bathroom that includes a claw-foot slipper tub and French sliding doors that open up for a greater view.

mopop pearl jam exhibit

Photo Credit: Djani Schafer

While the Edgewater offers enough amenities to keep guests on property, it’d be remiss to pass up a chance of exploring the city. After all, legend has it the even the Beatles took off to tour the city; they allegedly snuck out of the hotel the night of their stay, hidden in a manager’s car trunk, so they could visit the Space Needle after closing.

The Edgewater partners with local companies and institutions to offer special tour packages to guests. The “Savor Seattle with the Edgewater” gives guests an inside look at (and taste of) the famed Pike Place Market. And partnering with Argosy Cruises, the hotel’s “Locks Tour with the Edgewater” and “Harbor Tour with the Edge” provide guests with unique views of the harbor, Elliott Bay, and Lake Union.

Guests who want to explore the Emerald City on their own should schedule in trips to the Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass. Seattle’s quirky Museum of Pop Culture has Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, and Gremlins artifacts on display, and sticking with the Edgewater’s rock ‘n’ roll vibes, the museum is also home to the Pearl Jam: Home and Away exhibit, as well as collections devoted to Nirvana and Prince.

edgewater at night

Photo Credit: The Edgewater

You don’t have to be a rock star to live like one. Create your own ambiguous (but preferably tame) “incidents,” write your own legends, and book your own stay at the Edgewater.

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