Two Fireplaces You Wish You Were Sitting in Front of Right Now
The Fireside Room
900 Madison Street
The tiles surrounding the namesake of the Sorrento's Fireside Room came from the Rookwood Pottery Company of Cincinnati, founded by Maria Longworth Nichols Storer in 1880. The capacious hearth and surround are a dignified, deep forest green; around the firebox runs a bas-relief border of grapes, plums, and other assorted fruit, while above, a tranquil scene of a garden with a domed pavilion, untroubled by people, is depicted in the Arts and Crafts style.
Ripe fruit and an undrizzly vista: When the fireplace was installed upon the Sorrento's opening in 1909, these signified the lap of luxury in wintertime Seattle. Still, now, to sit in front of this fireplace is to sit in that lap. The two leather wingback chairs there are marked with an "S" in the spot where you might rest your head while dozing a moment; they're each almost broad enough for two, their arms very slightly, genteelly worn. A large lozenge of leather ottoman awaits your feet. The fire itself is gas, with realistic enough fake logs; the flames are a bit thin on the starboard side at the moment, but all is still cozily warm and flickering bright. For best results, order an amber-colored drink.
The Arctic Club
700 Third Avenue
The only hotel fireplace in the city that begins to compare to that at the Sorrento may be found in the lobby of the Arctic Club, straight ahead from the marble-floored entry. The tile here is sedately unornamented, and the massive oak mantel is marked with only shallowly carved ionic columns, a subtle seal, and the discoloration of the overenthusiastic fires or unopened dampers of the past. Two deep-red velvet two-seater couches flank the fireplace, waiting to be sunk into, and the marvelously accented barkeep at the lobby's Polar Bar is at the ready.