Sorrento, à Bientôt

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There is certainly no shortage of references to the Hotel Sorrento in the original Town Crier publication that ran locally from 1910 to 1938. In fact, if you do you a quick online search of the Seattle Public Library’s holdings of the Town Crier, there are 612 mentions of Seattle’s famous hotel. A lot of people seem to have wanted to have occasions there, stay there on vacation, or even live there. From a 1922 edition, “Mrs. Henry Stever Tremper was hostess at luncheon given at the Hotel Sorrento on Tuesday afternoon for Mrs. James Hamilton De Veuve.” From a 1917 issue, “At a meeting of the trustees of the Active Patronesses of the Blind, held at the Hotel Sorrento Wednesday morning, the report of the secretary and treasurer…was most gratifying.” From a 1912 issue, “Mr. Malcolm Bogue, son of Mr. and Mrs. Virgil Bogue, is a guest at the Hotel Sorrento for a few days.” It seems everyone wanted to go to the Hotel Sorrento. It’s no secret as to why they did—and why people still do.

Hotel Sorrento under construction. Photo courtesy of Museum of History and Industry.


The hotel opened on May 30, 1909, just in time for the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, a world’s fair that was held at the University of Washington campus starting in June of that year. A 7-story, 150-room hotel, it takes its inspiration from the Vittoria in Sorrento, Italy. It was designed by Harlan Thomas, who later was chair of the University of Washington Department of Architecture. Thomas also designed the 7th Church of Christ Scientist building on Queen Anne. The Seattle Times were over the moon in regards to the new hotel saying rooms had views of “the tide flats, the manufacturing plants of that portion of the city, the harbor and Sound, West Seattle, Eagle Harbor, Fort Lawton, Smith’s Cove, the Olympics, Queen Anne Hill, Lake Union, Ballard, Fremont, Capitol Hill, the Cascades and Mount Rainier.”

The Sorrento is Seattle’s oldest hotel still serving as a hotel. If you book a room, it might be Malcolm Bogue’s. Even if you don’t, there are still reasons to walk through its historic doors. For instance, the first Wednesday of every month, there is a quiet reading party in Sorrento’s Fireside Room. Folks gather there, sit very close, and read books.

The next reading party is on January 2nd. Learn more here.

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