Crown jewel of farthest, leftest corner of the country, Seattle has a long and fabled history of doing things its own way. The Sorrento Hotel has been part of that history since the beginning (almost): When we opened our doors in 1909, our first guests were the anxious prospectors, cagey entrepreneurs and curious tourists who attended the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exhibition, which was pretty much the first time anyone outside the Northwest ever heard of Seattle. Intrepid men and women from near and far came to rest their heads in our 76 spacious guest rooms, celebrate their adventures in our sumptuous Fireside Room, and dance and dine at the Top o’ the Town, the city’s highest restaurant way up on the seventh floor. The Sorrento became Seattle’s original hub of hospitality, creativity and urban life.

Back then, the Sorrento’s promontory perch on the summit of First Hill offered unimpeded views west to the Puget Sound, south to Mt. Rainier and east to Lake Washington. In the hundred-some years hence, Seattle has grown into a hyper-modern metropolis and now our grand old hotel is adjacent a bustling downtown and surrounded by world-class art museums, concert halls and hospitals, not to mention dozens of restaurants, cafes, boutiques, cocktail bars and nightclubs. Our latest remodel—helmed by Magnetic/ERV, an experienced team that’s developed stylish hotel properties all over the world—brings a new restaurant and bar program and updates guest rooms and event facilities with vintage-modern furnishings, honoring the Sorrento’s landmark legacy while aligning its spirit with the progressive character of the fastest growing city in America.

As you’ve probably heard, we still do things our own way in Seattle. And we’ve only gotten better at it.

Welcome to the Sorrento.


The Beginning

The Sorrento Hotel first opened its doors in 1909, just before the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, a world’s fair held in Seattle to highlight the development of the Northwest. The exposition attracted nearly four million visitors, which marked an auspicious beginning for the city’s first boutique hotel.


The hotel was commissioned by clothing merchant Samuel Rosenberg and built by architect Harlan Thomas who later became the first dean at the School of Architecture at the University of Washington. The seven-story building features Italian Renaissance style architecture, inspired by the architect’s muse, The Vittoria in Sorrento, Italy.  The famous circular porte-cochére was originally a square Italianate garden. The tiled pottery surrounding the large open fireplace in the Fireside Room is a beautiful example from the famed Rookwood Pottery Company, Cincinnati, Ohio, and was their first commercial installation. The hearth is irreplaceable and designed with sea green matte textured glazed tiles, a mosaic of an Italian landscape and traditional della Robia pattern that border the fireplace opening.

A Place to Meet

At the time of its opening, the Fireside Room was the Seattle gathering place for locals to engage in conversation, listen to music and poetry readings or discuss new artists and their work. The original registry has an impressive line-up: President Taft was rumored to have signed the book, plus the Vanderbilts and Guggenheims stayed here.

From the 1930s to the 1950s diners flocked to the very popular “Top O’ the Town” restaurant on the 7th floor for prime rib and entertainment from Betty Hall Jones (who performed again at the hotel’s 75th anniversary in 1984).

Modern Times

The Sorrento Hotel was later traded by Rosenberg for Bear Creek Orchards near Medford, Oregon. The exchange was characterized as “trading a lemon for a pear,” as Rosenberg’s sons, Harry and David, turned the orchards into a multi-million-dollar business.

Since 1967, the Burke Family, led by preservation-minded patriarch Marvin E. Burke, has owned and nurtured the property. The Malone family became stewards of the Sorrento in the early ’80s and has since guided the hotel’s ongoing evolution. The original 154 rooms are now 76 deluxe rooms and luxury suites. In recent years the owners have renewed the hotel’s arts and cultural programs, and the hotel maintains its position as a cultural and intellectual hub of Seattle.

In October 2014, Magnetic/ERV, a collective of entrepreneurs, took over the management of the Sorrento and embarked on a restoration of the historic property. The enhancements included a refresh of the property’s guest rooms, a lobby renovation, and rebranding of the hotel’s food and beverage service. The team brings a reverent attention to detail, starting from the ground up.


The Stranger — September 2015

I'm not saying Alice B. Toklas does or does not haunt the Sorrento. It's a beautiful place, and they have even invented a terrific drink for her, the Ms. Toklas (lucid absinthe, elderflower, chamomile, honey, lemon juice, rocks). So, if Alice's spirit is a wandering one, why not come back to Seattle?

Capitol Hill Times — August 24, 2015

Hotel Sorrento celebrates its public art.

The Hotel Sorrento underwent a sizable renovation from January to May, and it was decided something should be done to enhance the look of its parking garage.

Hotel Scoop — August 13, 2015

Seattle’s Landmark Hotel Sorrento - If walls could talk, Seattle’s Hotel Sorrento would have great stories to tell. Everything from tales of prospectors who were guests in 1909 during the world’s fair, to anecdotes about modern day celebrities. The oldest boutique hotel in Seattle, Hotel Sorrento embraces its history while delivering the modern day luxury and conveniences travelers expect.

Seattle Times — August 6, 2015

Seattle’s Hotel Sorrento is ever stylish; see it over 100 years ago

Capitol Hill Seattle Blog — July 7, 2015

Three giant new murals grace E Pike, Central District, First Hill walls. The new Sorrento Hotel parking garage mural is the work of Ellen Picken, an artist originally from Spokane.

Gray Magazine — April 16, 2015

Sorrento Sessions Recap: Pacific Northwest Design Now

The Pursuitist — April 2015

The Sorrento, Seattle’s Oldest Boutique Hotel, Unveils its Artful Restoration.

Eater Seattle — April 23, 2015

The Newly Restored Sorrento Hotel Debuts their Dunbar Room Restaurant

Eater Seattle — May 11, 2015

Ogle the Sorrento Hotel's Newly Remade Dunbar Room

Thrillist — May 1, 2015

7 Reasons Why the Dunbar Room is Seattle's Sweetest Hotel Bar

Seattle Magazine — April 27, 2015

On April 24, the 76-room, century old Hotel Sorrento unveiled its revamped eatery. Gone is the stodgy Hunt Club and in its place owners Barbara and Michael Malone have debuted the chic, Moroccan-tiled Dunbar Room, whose name is repurposed from the Sorrento’s 1960s restaurant.

PR Newswire — April 23, 2015

The Sorrento, Seattle's Oldest Boutique Hotel, Announces its Restoration and the Dunbar Restaurant Debut

Seattle TImes — April 22, 2015

On Wednesday the Sorrento debuted anew, with updates throughout and the latest edition of its restaurant, re-christened with its former name, the Dunbar Room.

Hotel Management — April 24, 2015

Seattle's Sorrento Hotel unveils updated restaurant and bar

Seattle Met — June 2012

Every second Wednesday of the month, the Hunt Club hosts a local bartender, distiller, or drink historian who’ll lead an intimate booze-infused class on a chosen spirit. This month they’ll break down the differences between Cognac and Armagnac (one of the great mysteries of the world).

Seattle Magazine — June 2012

The 103-year old hotel, The Sorrento, is so beautiful that reading alone in the lobby seems like a special affair. (In fact, “Silent Reading Parties” have actually been popular here.) But look to the hotel’s programming (it’s not just for guests) when you want a cocktail and an excuse to get a little dressed up.


Hotel Sorrento

900 Madison Street, Seattle, WA 98104




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