The 140-room Maxwell hotel opened in March, adjacent to Seattle Center and the Space Needle. Among highlights at the property are an exercise facility, an indoor pool, an espresso bar, 1,600 square feet of meeting space and 3,000 square feet of retail shops. (206) 286-0629; themaxwellhotel.com
Local Update: The 147-room Four Seasons Hotel Seattle recently opened near Pike Place Market. The property has 10,570 square feet of meeting space and the Art Restaurant and Lounge, run by local chef Kerry Sear.
Early last year, the 346-room Hyatt at Olive 8 welcomed its first guests. Notable amenities include the Elaia spa with 12 treatment rooms, the Urbane restaurant and bar, a gym with yoga classes, a saline lap pool and 11,000 square feet of meeting space. The property is LEED certified and features a "green" roof, inhabited by native and imported plants.
Plans to expand the Washington State Convention & Trade Center stalled last May, when the state legislature rejected a request by the center to obtain funds to secure a land option and begin design plans. Lawmakers recommended additional feasibility and financing studies. In the meantime, the center has acquired 50,000 square feet of additional meeting and exhibit space in an adjacent building, which should be ready for use by July.
The Hyatt Regency Bellevue unveiled a second tower with 351 new guest rooms and 43,000 square feet of meeting space. With the expansion, the hotel offers 733 rooms, 60,000 square feet of meeting space and a 7,000-square-foot gym.
The former Arctic Club Hotel is now the Doubletree Arctic Club Hotel Seattle-Downtown. The property, featuring early 1900s architecture and Alaskan marble, has 120 rooms and 5,800 square feet of meeting space.
Carnival Cruise Line will operate a seven-day Alaska excursion from Seattle starting this month. The Carnival Spirit accommodates 2,124 passengers and departs the city on Tuesdays.
In December, Sound Transit's Link light-rail completed its new line from downtown Seattle to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The 15.6-mile journey stops at Westlake Center, the financial district, Pioneer Square and the International District, and lasts approximately 30 minutes.
Tulalip Resort Casino, about a 30-minute drive north of Seattle, opened a $130 million hotel in mid-2008. Among the property's offerings are approximately 30,000 square feet of meeting space (including the 15,000-square-foot Orca Ballroom), the 14,000-square-foot T Spa and the 450-seat Canoes Cabaret entertainment venue.
Meeting Hotels: Major properties in downtown Seattle include the 1,258-room Sheraton Seattle Hotel, 891-room Westin Seattle, 553-room Renaissance Seattle Hotel, 450-room Fairmont Olympic Hotel, 425-room Grand Hyatt Seattle, 424-room W Seattle, 415-room Crowne Plaza Seattle, 358-room Seattle Marriott Waterfront, 346-room Hyatt at Olive 8, 297-room Red Lion Hotel on Fifth Avenue, 262-room Courtyard Seattle Downtown Pioneer Square, 250-room Courtyard by Marriott Seattle Downtown/Lake Union, 237-room Hilton Seattle, 234-room SpringHill Suites Seattle Downtown, 223-room Edgewater, 189-room Hotel Monaco, 123-room Best Western Executive Inn, 120-room Hotel 1000 and 119-room Hotel Andra.
Convention Center: Washington State Convention & Trade Center; exhibit space, 236,700 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 72. (206) 694-5030; wsctc.com
Airport Transit: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, 13 miles south of downtown. Transfer cost by taxi to downtown, $45-$50; from downtown hotels to the airport, flat fee of $32; by shuttle, $11 and up. Sound Transit Link light-rail direct from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport into downtown Seattle, approximately 30-minute trip, $2.50 one-way
Taxes: Room tax, 7%; sales tax, 8.6%; total tax on hotel rooms, 15.6%
Group Venue: If the blockbuster films Happy Feet and March of the Penguins are to your liking, treat your group to a tour of the Humboldt penguin exhibit, new to the Woodland Park Zoo this month. The 17,000-square-foot exhibit houses 20 endangered Peruvian and Chilean Humboldt penguins among replicated rocky cliffs, tide pools and coastlines. In keeping with the zoo's sustainability program, the exhibit uses geothermal energy, a water-filtration system and water-recycling technology. A few gathering spaces at the zoo to consider among the dozen or so available: an auditorium seating 214; the Rose Garden, accommodating 150 seated and 200 standing; and the lush and forested Jaguar Cove, which holds 50 seated and 100 for a reception. (206) 548-2590; zoo.org
CVB Services: Seattle's Convention and Visitors Bureau, (206) 461-5800; visitseattle.org