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The two early-20th-century buildings, both on Seattle's historic register, have been combined to make this hotel. But the interior decor is anything but old-fashioned. Dark shades of taupe and brown are used as a background in the rooms, where paintings, ornate headboards, and one-of-a-kind accessories (like a desk lamp with a sculpted head as its base) add personality to the space. There are dozens of different room configurations, including some enormous suites with wood-burning fireplaces, media rooms, and Elliott Bay views. And this is a rare Seattle hotel where you can actually open the windows, but unfortunately you’ll probably keep them closed because of the traffic on First Avenue. Works by local, national, and international artists hang in the lobby and in the gallery-like corridor that connects the two buildings. On the fourth floor is a sauna that guests can use for free (reservations in advance necessary). Also free: a complimentary evening wine hour, and morning and afternoon coffee. A new bar-restaurant called The Bookstore serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The last time I stayed at the Alexis, the elevator doors in the lobby opened and a young woman wearing a white bridal gown got out of one car, and an older guest with a giant poodle got in the other. That, to me, is the Alexis.