Live in Seattle or plan to visit? Have a special someone? Whether your love is 4 or 104, they’re sure to be wowed by a day of treats and pampering at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel.
Better yet, you can enjoy the day together.
I took my daughter, who hasn’t had much “mom time” since her little brother came around. She’s four and—to both my happiness and relief—composed herself like a true Big Girl.
If your little one is younger, you may still be able to do it, depending on his or her temperament. Just be forewarned: There is a lot of sitting still and inside voices.
First up, we headed to Penelope & The Beauty Bar, the spa on the ground floor of the Fairmont.
Despite the fact that it’s one of Seattle’s premiere spas, the staff didn’t blink an eye at having a toddler infiltrate their den of tranquility. As a matter of fact, they couldn’t have been nicer or more welcoming.
My daughter took her cue from them. Soon she was sipping lavender tea, snuggling into the lounging couch and breathing along to the relaxing music like a pro.
The bathroom itself was an exotic getaway to her, frankly, but the highlight was our express mani-pedi.
After two friendly attendants ushered us into our own little room, we chose from a wall of polish colors and took our seats in the “space chairs “(lavish, white relaxation recliners on hydraulics).
A selling point of the mani-pedis for me was that they don’t use harmful chemicals in their polishes or cleaners (such as the usual formaldehyde and touline). In other words: no worries, no smell, no headache.
They’re also one of only two places in Seattle that does a waterless mani-pedi. This provided much better results for my poor constantly cleaning hands and a much more sterile (and safe) experience for my young daughter.
Insider tip: Penelope’s mani-pedis certainly aren’t limited to moms and daughters. It can be an excellent date night (or day) outing with your significant other or a ladies night with a friend. Shucker’s (also in The Fairmont) will even bring in wine and beer for you!
After our piggies were perfectly primped, we headed upstairs to The Georgian for tea. Before we left my daughter told the spa staff she’d expect them at her next birthday party.
Afternoon Tea at The Georgian
At The Georgian, “tea” is a three-tiered treasure trove of gorgeous gluttony. Sure, each portion isn’t much more than a bite or two, but we’re talking a dozen bits of sheer decadence. And that’s not even counting the pots of homemade raspberry rose-water jam, Devonshire cream and honey on the side.
So for those bringing kids, be forewarned: They will be eating sugar, and lots of it. (It’s kind of what makes it a treat.) Just be prepared to make a fast post-tea exit. Fidgety feet, hands, and mouths can only take so much of “genteel” amusements, especially when power blasted with chocolate and cheesecake.
One tip is to abscond the hot cocoa and sell them on the benefits of a “grown up” pot of their own (decaf) tea. Or ask for a refreshing glass of milk. It comes complete with a take-home kids’ cup and color-changing straw… a big hit with my daughter.
For the adults, I recommend the 1907 Fairmont Centennial Darjeeling. It was so good, I asked my server for some to take home. (You can purchase many teas on the menu, bagged or loose leaf.)
Of course, there’s always the option of a bubbly cocktail for the more romantically inclined.
The menu changes seasonably, but my favorite dessert was the cherry-rose-almond shot. My daughter, not too surprisingly, devoured the candied-cocoa-nib cheesecake pop.
The savory bites held their own, too.
As if English smoked salmon and honey poppy-seed butter terrine on rosemary bread weren’t enough, top with a perfect sprinkling of cucumber pearls and cured lemon baton. Just a roasted chicken salad sandwich? Nope. Add chive remoulade, Beecher’s white cheddar, honey grain mustard and apple butter, all on fresh brioche.
But the all-around favorite, for both of us, was the pistachio-apricot scone… slathered in jam and cream, of course. Mmmm.
Pair all that taste-bud razzle dazzle with the hustle-bustle of downtown, a tea room worthy of a fairytale and whimsical touches like DIY raspberry sauce pipettes, and you have an afternoon that will make you (and your love) feel as giddy as kids again.
Insider tip: If you have tea upstairs at The Georgian, you can request a free $50 spa credit to be used that same day. That’s like getting a free manicure! If you have dinner at The Georgian, you can valet for free—an important point to note during Seattle’s many cold, drizzly months.
Many thanks to the Fairmont Olympic in Seattle for hosting Angela and her daughter for the purposes of this review. As always, my opinions are my own and that of the writers for Walking On Travels; when they aren’t you will be the first to know. Winter break tea via ShutterStock.com