In preparation for the first flights at Seattle’s Paine Field, I had to arrive in the Seattle area the night before the first flights. With only a few older mid-range hotels located directly around Paine Field, I decided to stay in Downtown Seattle. As a traveler who considers himself fairly loyal to the Marriott Bonvoy program, I decided to first check Marriott’s website to see if there were any properties that were of interest to me and were within my budget. Seattle has grown increasingly pricey with nightly rates for a standard three-star hotel routinely starting around $200 without taxes and fees. To my surprise, nightly rates were quite inexpensive with hotels averaging around $150 a night. That left me with plenty of options. However, one option, in particular, stood out to me, the Moxy Hotel in South Lake Union near Amazon’s campus.
At just $147.66 a night with taxes and fees, it was a no brainer to book using cash allowing myself the opportunity to earn Bonvoy points. The Moxy Seattle stood out to me more than any other hotel as it’s still a new and emerging brand. Seattle features nearly every Marriott brand in existence, however, none of the other properties really stood out. With most hotels priced around the same nightly rate, I decided to book the Moxy Hotel.
I used my American Express Platinum Card to book my stay. Since I booked directly through Marriott and not American Express Travel, I only earned 1x points this stay. If I would have used the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card by American Express I would have earned a whopping 6x points with this stay
I booked the Moxy Seattle roughly an hour before I arrived at the hotel. I arrived at the hotel around 10:30 in the morning and, having recently been dropped down to Gold Elite status, I figured I would have to wait for my room in the lobby for an hour or so. To my surprise, a room was assigned to me soon after booking.
After a rather long drive complete with bumper-to-bumper traffic, I arrived at the hotel. The exterior of the hotel is quite unique. It reminded me of something you’d see in Reykjavik, Iceland or in Scandinavia. The exterior also seemed rather premium and upscale, though, the booming neighborhood likely contributed to this feeling.
I made my way into the lobby and was immediately flooded with stereotypical hipster decor. The lobby is littered with wood accents, cement walls and ceilings, mismatched chairs, a bookshelf, colorful accents and wall art, flannel blankets, and pretty much anything else available in Urban Outfitters’s Home Collection. The lobby felt like the hotel equivalent of that one meme featuring Steve Buscemi, the “how do you do fellow kids” meme. What I couldn’t find was the check-in desk. After a few seconds of rapidly surveying the cluttered lobby, I located the check-in desk. To my surprise, the check-in desk was located at the bar.
The bar served as the focal point of the lobby though the red check-in sign was oddly hidden from view positioned well above eye-level. The bar makes up 90% of the check-in counter area. The check-in counter was comically small with just two check-in positions spaced just inches from each other. To make the check-in experience even less enjoyable, the bar area gets surprisingly busy and quite loud in the evening. I can’t imagine checking into the hotel on a busy Friday night.
I approached the check-in counter and the stereotypical Seattlelite behind the counter greeted me with a smile. She couldn’t have been more than two or three years older than me yet, throughout the entire check-in process, she talked to me as if I was a young child. While I wasn’t offended or insulted, I was confused. The way in which she spoke to me throughout the check-in process threw me off to the point that I don’t remember much of what she said. Though her tone and demeanor were off, she was welcoming and enthusiastic about the new hotel.
Check-in was completed in around three minutes. Before I left the check-in desk, I was handed a pink poker chip which entitled me to a few drink or espresso beverage at the bar during my stay.
A Standard King Room at a Moxy Hotel by Marriott
I was upgraded to an enhanced room, a concept I yet to fully grasp. I had booked a room with a king bed and was upgraded to a room with a king bed. Though the room was not the largest, it was an upgrade over my original room at least according to the representative at check-in.
I was assigned a room on the third floor. My room was at the end of the main hallway which I prefer as corner rooms typically cut down on noise. This particular hotel was equipped with a mobile key system, however, I never received the option for a mobile key.
As I previously mentioned, the room was pretty small. However, smaller rooms are somewhat part of the appeal or at least the concept of Moxy Hotels. I personally didn’t have a problem with the size of the room, maybe because I’m a millennial, but many travelers will surely take issue with the smaller size of the room.
The hipster-esque decor was quite apparent from the moment I stepped foot inside the room. The room featured decor reminiscent of a barn and the 1960s with many aspects of the room feeling quite retro.
The most premium and functional part of the room was the bathroom. It was brightly lit, featured a door that actually locked, and the fixtures and furnishings felt quite upscale. The only two examples of the Moxy’s trashy design evident in the bathroom was the drain in the shower which featured the phrase, “the deep end” and the hot pink blow-dryer. One thing I would change about the bathroom would be the hand soap, shampoo, and body wash which smelled a great deal like bubble gum or cotton candy.
Aside from the bathroom, other parts of the room were quite awkward. For some unknown reason, hoteliers think that millennials and younger travelers don’t use desks. This is simply not true. Millennials are far more likely to work remotely than older generations making a desk even more important than in traditional hotels. However, at the Moxy Seattle, the desk was a fold-out tray table not much larger than an airplane tray table. The desk featured a small spongey stool that was surprisingly comfortable. Nonetheless, the lack of a true desk was noticeable to someone, like me, who works remotely. The desk also featured a lack of AC outlets.
Directly above the desk was the wall of many functions. This wall served as the closet. Before I continue, no, the room did not feature a traditional closet, only a wall with some hooks. A large metal bar ran along the wall and featured some rather sharp industrial-looking hooks for storage. From those hooks, guests can hang their clothes except, there were just four hangars. Also hanging from the hooks was a full-mirror, the luggage tray, and an industrial-esque Edison bulb light fixture. Overall, though it might have saved space, the closet-wall was an absolutely awful substitute to a traditional closet.
The wall-closet was one of many examples of the hotel giving off a try-hard hipster vibe. Sure, it saved some space and was an alternative take on a closet and in-room storage, but it overlooked the fact that millennials also need to hang up their recently dry-cleaned sport-jacket. Millennials also need proper storage.
A second apparent element that exemplified the Moxy’s try-hard attitude was the various forms of artwork and decor. I almost found the art and decor to be borderline insulting to young adult travelers. It was if the designers of this hotel have no clue what millennial travelers actually want in their hotel rooms. For example, one of the focal points of the closet-wall was a framed picture of three silhouettes with stereotypical hipster beards and mustaches. Additionally, the pillow on the bedside chair featured the text “I just want to drink coffee, create stuff, and sleep.” That pillow belongs in the corny sorority girl’s freshmen year dorm room, not a $150 a night hotel room.
Other examples of trashy artwork included the wall-sized picture of three hipsters taking a selfie with bigfoot near the elevators and the hip-new take on the ‘wet floor’ sign which featured a silhouette slipping and proceeding to throw up jazz-hands. While, no, wall art and aesthetics do not impact the functionality of the hotel, I can’t help but wonder how much time and effort was spent designing a Moxy Hotel only to come up with the most insulting and stereotypical tryhard design elements.
Returning to elements of the Moxy experience that directly impact a guest, I found the bed to be less than comfortable. The bed felt thin and the bed linens were some of the thinnest I’ve come across in my travels. The room did not feature a traditional duvet and both sheets were thin to begin with. Delta and American Airlines both offer superior linens in their international business class cabins. While the sheets were thin and the bed was stiff, I managed to get a solid 8 hours of sleep.
The room did feature an abundance of power outlets near the bed which is essential for any traveler, not just millennials. One aspect of the room that was especially puzzling was the height of one of the two bedside tables. The bedside table, which also featured a retro-looking phone and storage, was no more than 10 inches off the ground. I managed to get past the odd height of the bedside table but it was still quite odd and seemed out of place.
One aspect that I would eliminate from any millennial-centric hotel room is the TV which, at the Moxy was both large, offered super crisp viewing, and was internet enabled. That said since, like most younger travelers I stream content via my iPad, laptop, and even my phone, I did not use the TV once. I did, however, peer out the window for maybe an hour which provided great views of the up-and-coming neighborhood.
As a whole, the room was sufficient. The bed was underwhelming, the decor was tacky, and only the basic essentials were included in the room. It was a totally adequate room. It is noteworthy that the maximum price of the room was posted at $1,000 a night with an average rate over the summer months priced well over $200 a night. It is important to note when booking the Moxy Hotel Seattle that you are not booking the equivalent of the Ace Hotel or other boutique hotels but rather, a try-hard hipster version of the Aloft or similar.
The Lobby and Other Unapologetically Hipster Amenities
The hotel is quite stripped of other amenities. The lobby is ultimately designed to serve as the heart of the hotel. As is the case with many hotel brands that cater to millennials, the lobby is supposed to be an attractive place to relax, get work done, eat, drink, and socialize. The lobby did accomplish all of these, however, it did so with an abundance of cheesy artwork and design elements. For example, the lobby featured a foosball table, mega-sized Jenga, an assortment of other board games, and a teeter-totter. Personally, if I were designing a hotel aimed at attracting young professionals, I would have spent a little bit more money on seating that was conducive to productivity and less on mismatched chairs for the communal seating areas.
The lobby was unique, for a lack of a better word. It was also the location of virtually every amenity the Moxy Seattle does feature a fitness center, however, I spent the better part of 5 minutes visiting various floors looking for anything that would indicate a fitness center to no avail. As I wasn’t actually planning to workout, I didn’t follow up with hotel staff to confirm the existence of a fitness center. Based on the photos on the hotel’s website, the fitness center looks quite functional though, appears to feature even more corny hipster(esque) artwork and design features.
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It’s quite obvious that one of the major appeals of the Moxy Hotel Seattle is the location. The Moxy Hotel is surrounded by Amazon’s campus. With Amazon attracting much of the cities business travelers, the Moxy Hotel Seattle is ideally located. As with any major business district in a city with a booming tech-sector, the Moxy isn’t the only millennial-oriented hotel in the area and the Moxy is by no means cheap. Still, if you’re someone who is loyal to the Bonvoy program and you’re looking for a more interesting experience compared to a Marriott, Courtyard, or Sheraton, the Moxy Hotel Seattle is a reasonable choice.
In short, while ideally located for those visiting Amazon’s campus and looking to experience Downtown Seattle, the Moxy Hotel is the perfect example of hoteliers and executives, not truly understanding the needs of the next generation of travelers. Some elements of the Moxy Seattle were aesthetically pleasing and offered a unique experience, however, as a whole, the Moxy Seattle was essentially the hotel equivalent of a try-hard hipster. If you’re looking for a boutique hotel experience, I would direct you to the Ace Hotel, Thompson Hotel, or one of the many Kimpton properties in the area.
All images by Max Prosperi/TravelUpdate
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