The Sound Hotel Seattle Belltown, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, embodies the spirit of the vibrant and artistic Belltown neighborhood. Designed by Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA), the 142-room hotel, which is situated on the first 10 floors of the 42-story Arrivé tower, offers up design elements like custom-drawn murals, feature millwork and ceiling elements, one-of-a-kind carpet patterns, and bright accents contrasted with deeper tones and natural finishes to personify the playful community.
“We were greatly inspired by the location,” said Ashley Bright, HBA senior project designer. “Belltown has such a rich layered history and is located near the heart of Seattle but is still surrounded with the beautiful natural environment.”
Naturally, the design team began its process by really getting to know the flavor of Belltown. “We spent a lot of time exploring the neighborhood and experiencing this part of the city from a personal perspective,” Bright said. “We wandered all over, stopping at major architectural moments like the Seattle library, strolled through the sculpture art gardens, tasted delicious food, and checked out the numerous concert venues. The community was consistently described as creatively driven, a relaxed place with amazing people and great nightlife. With the rapid growth of the area, locals spoke of a changing culture. We wanted to do our best to preserve and highlight that artistic essence and neighborhood history as much as possible to retain that genuine experience of the area and everything it has to offer.”
To do that, the team layered in quintessential moments throughout the property to reinforce the narrative, she said, citing as examples the custom carpet patterns “inspired by the neighborhood street art bouncing through the corridors” and “hand-drawn murals of the city on select headboard walls created by our graphics department.”
According to Bright, the end results was a hotel that’s comfortable yet sophisticated, with playful moments peppered throughout. “We wanted the hotel to feel welcoming for any generation and to take the guests on a journey of discovery where each visit might reveal something new that they didn’t notice before,” she said. “We utilized key architectural elements like the industrial metal screen feature over the lobby bar to create focal moments to anchor the space, while plush seating elements and warm wood tones entice guests with moments of respite. Each of these moments or guest experience is curated to evoke a greater sense of place and emphasize the project’s design flair.”
Right from the start, guests are immersed in the creative, with the hotel lobby designed as a nod to the artist’s studio. “Belltown’s streets embody the idea that art is everywhere, and the neighborhood itself is on display as an urban gallery on the harbor,” Bright said. “It is this essence of creativity we want to imbue in the lobby where guests form their first impression upon arrival. Using items typically found in artists’ studios—like stretched canvases and flat files—and turning them into art and the lobby reception desk, or the murals evolving in process in the public restrooms, we too are creating a gallery for guests to explore, giving them a glimpse at the artist’s process.
“Traveling along the finished concrete floors we transition to The Currant, our hotel bar, restaurant and coffee experience,” she continued. “If the lobby is our studio, the restaurant is our canvas.” Flanking the front of the building, it features large operable windows, muted colors, earthen tones, textural finishes offset with fresh white backdrops and softened industrial accents.
On level seven, guests going to the meeting rooms or club lounge are greeted with framed view of the Space Needle. “The rich cognac and soft blush hues of the plush seating make the perfect place to relax and enjoy a small meal and a cocktail in the twilight hours, or you can start the day on the adjacent terrace taking in the views of the bustling city,” Bright said. “Meeting rooms along the large expanse of windows absorb the natural light and highlight the textures of exposed brick, nodding to the city’s history.
“Surrounded by blue tones that inspire, a fine artist favors the bold, creating an experience or artifact to articulate their own perspective,” she continued. “When arriving at the guestroom levels you are immediately presented with a display of art and photography evoking the local mood. The stage is set by dramatic lighting combined with a custom-designed cascading corridor carpet inspired by regional patterns and local street artists.”
Much like the public spaces, guestrooms unleash the creativity of the neighborhood—from art to music. Warm, wood-toned floors were designed to echo the musician’s stage, while a dynamic graphic mural behind the headboard is composed of layered iconic Seattle landmarks distinct to Belltown with its direct reference to the legendary rock and jazz history of the vibrant neighborhood. “Murals also vary throughout the guestroom types, creating unique experiences for different uses,” Bright said.
In the junior suites, the aesthetic becomes more refined, reminiscent of the jazz scene with sheet music and abstracted piano key murals, a trunk-like closet and dark, moody bathrooms. “Microphone lights, plush robes, metal accents and rich black linear tiles set the perfect backdrop for getting ready for the big performance,” she said.
One thing the project certainly is? Curated. “We really enjoyed the entire project and made decisions with great care and regard to the hotel’s story. We particularly had lots of fun with sourcing some of the key art and accessories,” Bright said. “We did a lot of shopping locally at one-of-a-kind stores to curate unique finds that further reinforce the fabric of the neighborhood and weave the user experience. Books about the local jazz and rock music scene and glasses filled with art brushes are positioned on the shelves next to vinyl albums from local-born artists like Jimi Hendrix and Chris Cornell. We found a 1990s boombox with the tape still in the deck and vintage metal movie reel canisters reminiscent of the film distribution centers and the neighborhood theater next door. The ground floor elevator lobby features a framed vinyl record art piece with local marine life forms cut from vintage vinyl cascading from the piece and swirling down the neighboring wall.”