The Alecis hotel, Seattle

The Alexis hotlel is Seattle in miniature; sophisticated yet cosy, laid back yet efficient and just that little bit more personal than some of its larger North American counterparts. The sort of hotel you would expect to find in a corner of the northwest that has brought us Frasier, Bill Gates, Nirvana and tall-skinny-double shot mochacchinos. Along the corridors, walls are used to display art produced in and around the city, such as the technicolour confections of glass artist Dale Chihuly, who lives nearby.

There is also an Aveda spa and a wood-panelled bookstore bar and café, where you can easily imagine Dr Crane relaxing, were it not for the Café Nervosa. The Painted Table restaurant serves local northwestern market cuisine and you can try and find your artistic side at the bar serving cocktails and paintbrushes. If you feel the need to mingle with the other guests, a wine reception is held each evening. The hotel is pet friendly, to boot.

Location, location, location

The hotel is located in downtown Seattle in between the bustling Pike Place market and the historic district of Pioneer Square, and it is just a quick stroll down to the waterfront. 1007 First Avenue, Seattle, Washington 98104 (001 206 624 4844,

Time to international airport: Seattle-Tacoma airport is 10 miles south of the downtown area. Taxis charge a flat fare of $25 (£17.50) for the half-hour journey from the airport to the centre of the city.

Are you lying comfortably?

There are 109 rooms and suites. You soon come to realise that things are on a much larger scale here in the northwest. My suite was bigger than the average London flat, and not only had a bedroom, but a separate living area and kitchenette. Decoration can only be described as charmingly schizophrenic. My room had pale yellow walls, gingham curtains, the occasional exposed brick wall and patterned carpets thrown in for good measure. The minibar also displayed a nice touch, offering a few alternatives to alcohol and fizzy drinks such as wholesome organic snacks and juices. Bathrooms are decorated with deep red flock wallpaper and black and white tiles.

Freebies: Aveda shampoos, conditioners and soaps crying out to be taken home, some magazines and a newspaper delivered each morning. The hotel also has a small gym and steam room and has an agreement with a fitness centre.

Keeping in touch: The rooms have no fewer than two televisions (one in the bedroom and one in the living room), several telephones, a personal fax line and there are also extensive business and meeting facilities where, if the work ethic proves too strong, you can even rent a computer.

The bottom line

Doubles start from $295 (£207).

I'm not paying that: The West Coast Vance (001 206 441 4200, also in the downtown area, has doubles starting from $92 (£65).