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Things to do in Seattle

Enjoy an evening at Seattle's modern concert hall

Benaroya Hall (tel: +1 206 215 4747; www.seattlesymphony.org) is home to Seattle Symphony, one of America's most revered concert orchestras. Thoroughly contemporary, the foyer floods with light from vast bay windows and the hall features a detailed wooden interior. Catch a concert at one of the greatest modern venues in the world. The acoustics are superb.

Freewheel through the city

Lovers of two wheels will find a bike-friendly city. Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop (www.seattle.gov/parks/lakeunionloop) is easy and scenic, and runs through parks and past Lake Union. Alternatively, hire a cruiser from Alki Kayak Tours (tel: +1 206 953 0237; http://kayakalki.com) and wheel along the Alki Beach Trail in West Seattle to enjoy terrific views of the downtown skyline.

Hit the record breaking slopes

For those itching to hit the snowy peaks surrounding Seattle in winter, you don't have to go far. Snoqualmie (tel: +1 425 434 7669; www.summitatsnoqualmie.com) is an hour's drive away and a great option. But for potentially bottomless powder, there's Mt Baker (tel: +1 360 734 6771; www.mtbaker.us), which once received a mind-blowing 29m (95ft) of snow – still a world snowfall record.

Join in with the latest craze: flo-yo

WUSUP (tel: +1 206 387 9054; http://wasupyoga.com) have taken yoga to the next level by combining it with the latest waterborne craze, stand-up paddleboarding. So not only do you have to focus on staying out of the water (have no illusions – it's cold), you must also concentrate on a series of yoga poses while afloat. 

See the wildlife from a kayak

Paddlers have an abundance of kayaking possibilities in Seattle. Northwest Outdoor Centre (tel: +1 206 281 9694; www.nwoc.com) offer equipment for hire and tours around Lake Union. Further afield, the San Juan Islands (tel: +1 866 810 1483; www.sanjuanislandoutfitters.com), 130km (80 miles) north, are a magnet for kayakers and home to nesting bald eagles, sea lions and a resident orca population.

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City Highlight: Seattle

Surrounded by lush green forests, water and mountains, Seattle is an outdoor lover’s paradise

Featured Hotels

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Fairmont Olympic Hotel

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Fairmont Olympic Hotel captures the elegance of a bygone era - without stinting on modern luxuries. Its 450 rooms have cosy furnishings with excellent amenities, and the service is impeccable. This Seattle hotel, built in 1924, also has a sumptuous health club with indoor pool and whirlpool plus an on-site spa. Other features include two superb restaurants.

Moore Hotel

Just a couple of blocks away from Pike Place Market, the Moore Hotel and Theater date back to 1907. Rooms are basic, but clean, and a good price for the location. The theatre itself (run separately by the Seattle Theatre Group) is Seattle's oldest operating theatre and has been renovated in 2013. All the grunge-era greats played there, including Pearl Jam, Mudhoney, Nirvana and Soundgarden.

The Maxwell Hotel

Wonderfully eccentric décor, friendly staff and an enviable downtown location combine to make this one of the city's top mid-range boutique hotels. Rooms are famously comfortable (some even boast views over towards the Space Needle) and guests have access to an indoor pool, fitness centre, café and 24-hour business centre. Outside, it's just a hop-and-a-skip to major attractions such as the Teatro ZinZanni, Seattle Center and Experience Music Project Museum.

Hotel FIVE

Modern and colourful, Hotel Five's guest rooms are all shiny hardwood floors, bright red accent walls and super-contemporary furnishings. It's the neat little extras that make this hotel stand out too – freshly baked pineapple cupcakes and coffee each afternoon in reception, golf umbrellas in every room (a Seattle essential), plus complimentary bikes and town car service. Max's Café is a great stop for breakfast or lunch.

Hotel Ändra

Hip Hotel Ändra's sleek décor is a tasteful nod to Seattle's Nordic heritage melded with Pacific Northwest contemporary design, featuring wood, water and stone throughout. Finnish architect's Alvar Aalto salon chairs and Arne Jacobsen's striking orange swan chairs make the living room loft a cool place to hang out. Guest rooms come with traditional Scandinavian patterns, alpaca headboards, striped chenille bedspreads, Lacava sinks and FACE Stockholm bath products.

Thompson Seattle Hotel

Housed in a spectacular Tom Kundig-designed building, the 12-storey Thompson is the hottest new addition to Seattle's hotel scene. The 158 guest rooms are the epitome of class – think dark-wood panelling with brass details – and the best rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows with views over Pike Place Market. There's a rooftop bar boasting a dazzling outlook towards the Olympic Mountains, a 'glam-rustic' restaurant and a spectacular events space for business travellers.