Meetings Get Creative in Seattle

New meetings offerings are on the way in this city of innovation

Summit expansion WSCC rendering

This summer, the Washington State Convention Center officially broke ground on its new convention facility, the Summit, which will almost double the venue's offerings, adding as much as 255,000 square feet of exhibition space, 120,000 square feet of meeting rooms, and a 60,000-square-foot ballroom. While the venue won't open until 2022, there are plenty of other additions and developments happening in the city right now -- with a 20 percent growth in its hotel inventory expected by the end of the year, according to Kelly Saling, vice president of sales for Visit Seattle.

"This is one of the most beautiful, vibrant, innovative cities in the world. We have world-class restaurants, flagship retail stores, a thriving waterfront and amazing cultural and artistic attractions year-round," says Saling. "Groups can experience several Seattle-themed experiences right downtown and steps from the convention centers and hotels -- from coffee-bean roasting to skippering an electric boat while checking out the spectacular skyline."

Last month, the city's offerings were on full display for the Event Innovation Forum, a series of gatherings and conversations hosted by Visit Seattle that brought together meeting industry leaders, industry experts and corporate leaders. Attendees took part in a session about Starbucks Reserve brand at the company's global headquarters, learned about storytelling and media at SagaCity Media's offices and heard about "The Value of 'Make'" at the Microsoft Garage.

When it opens in December 2018, the Hyatt Regency Seattle will be the city's largest hotel, boasting 1,260 rooms and more than 100,000 square feet of flexible meeting and ballroom space. Two blocks north from the WSCC, it will serve as a valuable new convention center hotel and add several new F&B options to the area, including steak house Daniel's Broiler as well as a trattoria and bar.

Next year will see the opening of the 189-room Hotel at the Mark, taking up floors two through 15 of the F5 tower in downtown Seattle. It will boast 21,000 square feet of event space as well as the new Halo Bar, Sanctuary and Albert Ballrooms inside the renovated First Methodist Church.

In February 2019, the Sound Hotel Seattle Belltown, the first Tapestry by Hilton property in the state of Washington, will open its 142 rooms on the bottom 10 floors of a mixed-use complex close to such favorite Seattle spots as the Space Needle and Chihuly Garden & Glass.

Currently the largest hotel in the city, the Sheraton Seattle Hotel finished a refresh of its 1,236 guest rooms and common spaces in spring of this year. It offers 40 event rooms, totaling more than 77,000 square feet of space.

The Charter Hotel, part of the Curio Collection by Hilton, has added 229 rooms to Seattle, right near the famed Pike Place Market. It includes a 2,500-square-foot fitness center as well as the Argentinian restaurant Patagon and rooftop lounge Fog Room, plus 10,000 square feet of event space.

Another recent opening is the Hilton Garden Inn Seattle/Bellevue Downtown, a 254-room property with flexible meeting space for up to 100 attendees, as well as an on-site restaurant and bar.

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This article appears in the October 2018 issue of Successful Meetings.