“Ändra” means “change” in Swedish, and changed is what we are. Now the premier in Seattle boutique hotels, the building first opened in 1926 as efficiency apartments and became a transfer station for members of the Women’s Army Corps from late 1945 through 1947. In the 1970s, the building was restored to become a small boutique hotel, and was thoroughly re-created as became Hotel Ändra in April 2004.
Hotel Ändra is uniquely Seattle and a world apart from other Seattle boutique hotels. The Scandinavian design elements are a tribute to the city’s Nordic heritage, while the use of prominent Pacific Northwest elements – water, wood and stone – is present throughout the hotel. The design reflects the contrast of modernism and sustainability – sleek and textured, light and dark, warm and cool, modern and traditional.
Stepping into the Living Room, guests are surrounded by distressed plank floors with inset custom wool hand-knotted rugs, warm walls, and rich brown woods. Low sofas combined with wood coffee tables made from fallen Seattle trees and leather ottoman cubes create an atmosphere that invites conversation. Cocoon-like leather side chairs look out onto tree-lined Fourth Avenue. A quiet corner by the fireplace features a Platner coffee table and four chairs, which is most often occupied by guests reading the paper or working on their laptops.
The dramatic lobby fireplace, constructed of local split-grain granite, is surrounded by floor-to-ceiling maple bookshelves filled with books on Scandinavian culture, Northwest interests and an exquisite collection of colorful glass vases.
The front desk is walnut and maple, inset with glass above the floor and below the honed granite counter, lending itself to a “floating” appearance. Behind the desk, commissioned glass art pieces are backlit and framed by a warm maple wall. A large boathouse door constructed of maple, black steel and frosted glass opens the hotel’s Living Room into the bar and restaurant, Lola.
The metal and wood stairs leading to the mezzanine level – known as the Living Room Loft – were commissioned by a local artist for the hotel. Floating above the hotel’s Living Room, the exposed loft was designed for casual meetings and socializing.
Contemporary salon chairs designed by Finnish architect Alvar Aalto create an intimate space for relaxation, while Arne Jacobsen swan chairs in hot orange alongside brushed aluminum side tables give the space a warm, residential feel. The minimalist glass and steel railing was designed to allow guests an easy view of the Living Room below.
The corridors submerge you with their perforated pewter blue metal ceilings, which project “underwater bubbles” of light along the walls. The carpet, with waves of undulating layers of deep blue and rich brown, contrasts the walls of kelp green and ushers you through the premier of Seattle boutique hotels. Sconces constructed of laminated linen and brushed stainless glow along the hallways.