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In Seattle, luxury and hospitality

February 11, 2007|Eric Lucas | Special to The Times

Seattle — WHAT can brown do for you? That's the thought that comes to mind after a few minutes inside Seattle's new outpost of the Pan Pacific chain, a modern tower (the top floors are condos) whose color scheme ranges from desert sand to oak bark.

Walls are beige, the trim almond, bath tiles ocher-orange, carpeting mocha. Fortunately there are splashes of brighter color on vivid modern art canvases in the lobby.

And the famed Pan Pacific Asian-style service ethic is in full force: Hotel workers not only leap to fill requests but they also act as though they enjoy doing so.

Bunking down: Within the comfy but not overly capacious standard rooms, the fine-cotton sheets practically glow, and the bed linens feel as good as they look. A lime green divan faces the full-wall window, which affords splendid views of downtown Seattle. The soaking tub overlooks the room, the picture window and the television. Art is sparse; in our room, the only piece was a hunk of rusted metal that, was, of course, corroded dark brown.

Hanging around: In the same building complex, at street level, is the new downtown Seattle Whole Foods, a transcendentally opulent grocery store that deserves at least as long a visit as the nearby Experience Music Project. Its fresh-food counters are so extensive that hotel guests might find the best restaurant in the area is the supermarket.

Going out: Just a 10-minute walk is Seattle Center, the home of Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen's Experience Music Project, the Space Needle, Seattle Opera and several playhouses and museums. Westlake Center and the flagship Nordstrom store are also within walking distance, as are the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Lake Union and REI's flagship store, with its famed indoor climbing wall. Trek over to REI, work out your travel aches, then head back to Whole Foods, and you're ready for a soaking-tub supper.

Perks and peeves: Our room lacked a wastebasket, but one was brought in two minutes flat. The plasma TV has a user-friendly click-through menu and can be seen from the two-person soaking tub. However, the tub is only wide enough for one person in each direction, so a couple would both have to be Kate Moss-sized to watch a movie side by side. The bathroom features those eminently sensible European (Villeroy & Boch) toilets that offer two types of flush, low and high volume. With all that high-tech bounty, we fervently wished for a heated floor in the bathroom; alas, it wasn't.

Pan Pacific , 2125 Terry Ave., Seattle, WA 98121; (206) 264-8111; Doubles from $165.

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