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Hyatt Regency Lake Washington

Water's Table

Celebrating their one-year anniversary on July 10, 2018, everyone at the Hyatt Regency at Seattle's Southport is excited about how far they've come, what they offer, and what the future holds.

Entering the lobby, you want to take in the beautiful walnut wood (used throughout the hotel), the broad expanse of the lobby and the grand staircase ahead of you. But the enormous windows straight on framing Lake Washington, Mercer Island, Seattle's skyline and the Olympics, robs you of the ability to see anything else. Check in later. Go look now.

Veer to the left to Water's Table, their signature restaurant. As Executive Chef David Flegel says, around the world many of the finest restaurants are in hotels. Having worked for Hyatt in Canada, Asia, Latin America, and Europe, he knows of what he speaks. Here, that idea isn't generally accepted, although it's changing. David and his team would like to move that change along. "Our concept is Pacific Northwest highlighting the cultural diversity of the area. We strive to follow the Hyatt food philosophy which is, 'Food Thoughtfully Sourced, Carefully Served.' Hyatt is the only hotel company in the world with this type of food program which was initiated from the chefs in the company." Basically, they are offering options that are good for us, good for the community, and good for the planet; food that comes from natural, local and sustainable sources. There are indulgent and healthy choices on the menu, in right-sized portions.

"We change the menu on a regular basis," explains David. "This could be one item or a few. As the season progresses, we use what's coming in to create new dishes. It's a collaboration between the Restaurant Chef, Gerald Gutierrez; Sous Chef Tim Newcomb; Restaurant Manager Carly Viup; and myself. At breakfast we have introduced a brunch where we are offering an Asian dim sum buffet, salads, soup and the full breakfast with omelets and waffles. This has been a great success with the local community. Lunch offers light, fresh dishes that are quick and easy to serve so people can enjoy the views of the lake." Needless to say, there is salmon on the dinner menu, along with an outstanding octopus on carrot butter with soy beans, and chili oil drizzled over. We hope that stays on. Asian influence shows in many ways, like vegetable curry, and sake beverage options. Their truffled cauliflower puree is an indulgence on its own, although it accompanies a protein.

Tim Newcomb (left) and David Flegel

The room is lovely with a walnut wood wall, wood center piece in the ceiling, and nicely-spaced tables (booths, one communal table for 10). It is casual, yet fine dining. Windows go from table height up; you won't miss a moment of sea planes, kayaks, birds, boats, clouds. The bar, set behind the dining room, offers a full menu, cocktails, craft beer, cider, and wine along with that view. And if the window gets in your way, sit in the outdoor covered dining area, open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and bar lounging (weather permitting). With 50+ tables, you won't be cut off from an outdoor dining adventure.

Just inside the lobby doors is The Market where you can find espresso, snacks, salads, sandwiches, bottled drinks (including beer and wine which they sell until 2 a.m.), and sundries 24 hours a day. Options reflect that food philosophy-healthy choices, including nutrition bars and more. But you can also get macarons and other cookies.

Two things stood out on a recent visit. Every dish we tried was beautifully presented and cooked perfectly. We had our favorites, and items that weren't, but there wasn't a misstep in how the food came out of the kitchen. Secondly, we are in admiration of whoever is doing the hiring. Everywhere in the hotel and particularly in the restaurant, people were friendly and engaging naturally; consummate professionals. Some are Hyatt employees from other hotels, some were new to Hyatt and this hotel.

The hotel is gorgeous throughout. Rooms have the walnut wood, Keurig coffee makers, lovely bathrooms, comfortable beds, 65" flat-screen HDTVs, free Wi-Fi and work spaces. High-end suites have outdoor terraces. All have windows that open, letting in natural light and offering a view. As we were told by several staff members, the owners, SECO Development (developers of urban sites-this one includes apartments, office space and more), spared no expense in making this a beautiful place to be. They also thought out a lot of details which is even more impressive when you know this is their first hotel project. For instance, guests using the spa, pool, Jacuzzi, steam rooms and fitness center (with yoga room) do not have to walk through the lobby or past event space. It's the little things.

There is 40,000 square feet of indoor event space and 23,000 outdoors, able to be used in numerous configurations. Ceiling lights in some rooms can mimic visiting company colors. All but two rooms have natural light. One room has a display kitchen which has been used for cooking classes and as an action station. Some connect directly to outdoor space. The Lake Washington Ballroom has floor-to-ceiling windows and 5,000 square feet. The Regency Club (this is an add-on, expense-wise) offers a lounge area, optional breakfast, snacks/beverage, and appetizers in the afternoon, along with break-out rooms for small groups.

Fine, but Renton? Think again. Argosy Cruises picks guests up at the dock. By 2020, a water taxi will go to South Lake Union, and will expand to Mercer Island, Bellevue and Kirkland. There is a 17-mile trail that you can walk/bike to Bellevue that connects with Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park next to the hotel. A bird sanctuary nestles between the hotel and park. It's a half mile to The Renton Landing with shops, restaurants, movies. Plenty to do, and then you can return home to Hyatt Regency Lake Washington to relax and have a great meal. It's a new world.

Hyatt Regency Lake Washington
Water's Table
1053 Lake Washington Blvd N.
Renton, WA 98056

Connie Adams/August 2018

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