I was born and raised in Seattle. In fact, I'm a fourth generation Seattleite. My great grandparents helped build businesses and community centers in the city and my parents met while working at Seattle retailer Nordstrom during college (they had to ask the company permission to date!). It's no wonder that Nordstrom has always felt like a second home. So despite being a long-time Angeleno my Seattle roots run deep. That's why I was thrilled when GMC and Seattle's Hotel Ändra offered to partner with me on the newest installment of my Design-Lover's Travel Guide series - a guide to my hometown of Seattle.

 A myth practically every native Seattleite is more than happy to have you believe is that it's grey and rainy 365 days a year.

A myth practically every native Seattleite is more than happy to have you believe is that it's grey and rainy 365 days a year.

I traveled up to the Emerald City for a Memorial Day weekend packed with visits to the city's newest hot spots (and of course some old family haunts). Forget the Space Needle, forget the Smith Tower - I love both, really, you can even read my 1500+ ode Seattle's first skyscraper on Curbed. But both also persist in the city's skyline so as a design-lover, you probably already know about them. 



Hotel Ändra - One of the things that drew me to Hotel Ändra was the way the hotel’s contemporary Scandinavian style pays homage to Seattle's Scandinavian roots. Yep, Seattle was a top destination for Scandinavian immigrants around the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many of whom were Swedes. In fact, my maternal great-great-grandparents emigrated from Sweden to Seattle. Much of Seattle's Scandanavian population settled in the city's Ballard neighborhood where, just recently Seattle's Nordic Museum re-opened. I love when hotel design, like that of Hotel Ändra's, can create context and tell the stories of their cities. The hotel's "Living Room" or lobby area, with its big hearth, stacked logs, and contemporary seating is a luxe mix of PNW and Scandanavia. 

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Hotel Ändra is also home to the Hot Stove Society, a cooking school from famed Seattle chef Tom Douglas. Douglas also has a restaurant located inside the hotel as well, the Mediterranean themed, Lola.

I had a Lux Suite - and it was huge. I mean most likely bigger than my actual house.

Hotel Andra Restaurant

Located in downtown's bustling Belltown neighborhood, so the Hotel was an easy walk to tons of restaurants, the iconic monorail (which I also had a view of from my room ), and Pike Place Market. 


I explored the city, the beach, and the rocky and verdant roads of Seattle's more off the beaten path locales in GMC's new 2018 Terrain Denali. I couldn't wait to get behind the wheel because the very first couple of cars I ever owned were SUVs and I absolutely love sitting up high and getting a full view around me while driving - particularly in a city as beautiful and varied in terrain (no pun intended) as Seattle. I was impressed at how easily the Terrain handled, nimbly traipsing through narrow alleyways and making sharp turns.

GMC Terrain Denali Seattle
GMC Terrain Denali
GMC Terrain Denali
GMC Terrain Denali

The GMC Terrain features sleek design and advanced technology like Apple Carplay for easily connecting all my iPhone apps like Maps and Music. One of the coolest features of the new 2018 is its Electronic Precision Shift located on the central console. Want to put the Terrain in reverse? Just pull the switch. Drive? Pull the switch. Park? Just tap the button. 

Belltown Corridor Murals - Just a few blocks from the hotel I visited the Belltown murals. The alley where they're painted is accessible from Blanchard or Lenora streets (and between 2nd and 3rd Avenues). The murals were the brainchild of Joe Nix, co-owner of nearby bar The Jupiter as a way to ring artists from around the world to Seattle. There, find murals by Pursu, Jordan Roukes, Joe Nix, and Drew Merritt.

Alki Point Light
Alki Beach Seattle.jpeg

Alki Point Lighthouse - Each summer Seattleites, my family included, have flocked to West Seattle's Alki Beach for well, the beach and -for at least the last 80 years - also the unbeatable fish and chips at Spud. Keep driving a few blocks down from the delicious eats on Alki Avenue and find the Alki Point Lighthouse. Built in 1913, the building features a 37-foot octagonal tower made of brick.

Seattle Library
Seattle Library

Seattle Central Library - Notable for its wonky shape, jagged edges, and green-tinted glass exterior, the Seattle Central Library made waves when it was first opened back in 2004. Designed by principal architects Rem Koolhaas and Joshua Prince-Ramus the building is a paragon of modern design.

Retrofit Home Seattle
Retrofit Home Seattle B

Retrofit Home - This kind of mini department store in Capitol Hill offers an eclectic array of everything or the home. From large furniture, to vases, coffee table books, and decorative musings like stuffed animal taxidermy. The selection spans modern, to more rustic-Pacific-Northwesterny, to vintage-inspired vibes like their atomic clocks or their '70s style Seattle sports tees.

Ship Canal Bridge Seattle

Ship Canal Bridge - If you love a good feat of engineering wander down to the shores of where Lake Union meets Lake Washington and then do yourself a favor and look up. The double decked Ship Canal Bridge is what you'll see. Once you're done taking in the bridge, turn your body to 2 o'clock and soak in the breathtaking views back across Lake Union to the Googie architecture of the Space Needle.


Bar Melusine Seattle

Bar Melusine - By now most of you probably know I have an obsession with the color mint. Walking into Bar Melusine was like walking into a real life manifestation of my design dreams. That’s on top of the fact that the food was absurdly deicious. 

Bar Melusine
Bar Melusine Seattle

The restaurant was designed by Price Erickson.

Mr West Cafe

Mr. West Cafe - with it's white leather seating, white marble cafe tables, effortless gallery wall, and all its greenery this spot is a feast for the stomach and the eyes.

Mr. West Cafe
Mr. West Cafe

Posted in partnership with GMC and Hotel Ändra; all views my own.