• Divine Intervention at the Newly-Renovated Heathman Hotel

     
    POSTED July 2, 2018
     

    A visit to this property in Kirkland, Washington is good for the soul.

  • Divine Intervention at the Newly-Renovated Heathman Hotel

     
    POSTED July 2, 2018
     

    A visit to this property in Kirkland, Washington is good for the soul.

I hadn't visited The Heathman Hotel in downtown Kirkland since Columbia Hospitality took over management in 2017 and renovated the property. This jewel of a hotel has been a favorite of mine. I’d heard good things about the renovation, so it was time for me to see the results for myself.

A misguided renovation can destroy a muchloved treasure, but as soon as I stepped into the lobby, I realized there was no reason for concern. It was still the warm, inviting space I remembered, dominated by the large fireplace, with selected pieces from Heathman’s fine-art collection on display. An enthusiastic welcome from new general manager Jim Larson made it clear that the tradition of gracious hospitality and personal service continues. Asia Martin, director of sales, took me on a tour of the property. I was totally immersed in the serene ambience of the new and improved Heathman. 

Martin guided me through the public spaces and a few of the Heathman’s 91 luxurious, comfortable guest rooms. “Each room is designed to provide a unique experience and celebrate our Pacific Northwest roots,” Martin said. The hotel’s décor includes woven textiles, rich colors in deep navy and soothing gray, warm walnut tones, and custom artwork representative of the natural beauty of the region. A new flexible meeting space has been added on the hotel’s main level and lower lobby, and includes a foyer for receptions, expansive windows and a private patio. 

Delighted with the changes so far, I hit the restaurant, Trellis, with high expectations. Food and Beverage Director Shaun McKinley—one of the team members who oversaw the renovations—assured me that “Trellis still uses locally sourced ingredients and changes its menu seasonally, but with a fresh twist.” The menu changes every six weeks, and McKinley’s goals are to offer “a blend of the traditional and the unexpected and fun.” After sampling fare such as braised pork cheeks, foraged-mushroom risotto and a seasonal soup, I became Trellis’ newest fan.

After a chance meeting with friends at Trellis led to a delightful fireside chat over coffee, I headed to my suite. Floor-toceiling windows provide an expansive view of downtown Kirkland and the sparkling lights from homes dotting the shores of Lake Washington. It was mesmerizing. 

Well rested, I went to breakfast the next morning. Eggs Benedict was always one of my go-to faves at Trellis, and I was thrilled to find it on the menu this morning. As I read the paper, sipped coffee and indulged in a leisurely breakfast, McKinley stopped by to ask what I thought. I grinned, raised my cup in a toast and said, “It’s heavenly; I’ll be back!” 

With meetings returning to normal as the COVID-19 pandemic levels out, outdoor mountain pursuits are finding more time on meeting agendas. Taking events outdoors not only boosts attendees’ comfort level as they ease back into in-person meetings, time spent in nature is proven to improve brain health and stimulate creative thinking as well.

We’ll be looking at this topic in-depth in the Spring/Summer 2022 issue of Mountain Meetings. Consider this as an introduction to some of the possibilities.  

 

Richmond, the capital of Virginia, is a city rich in history. It’s here, in 1775, that Patrick Henry famously declared “Give me liberty or give me death.” And while the extensively renovated Hilton Richmond Downtown can’t trace its roots back quite that far, it is housed in the historic former Miller & Rhoads department store, which dates back to the end of the 19th century. 

 

Every planner wants to create experiences that make meeting attendees feel they’re on top of the world. If you’re planning a meeting in northwest North Carolina, you can achieve that with a visit to Grandfather Mountain. Soaring 5,946 feet and estimated to be 300 million years old, with some rock formations dating back 1.2 billion years, the peak off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, is accessible by vehicle and by a paved road.