Ten miles east of Seattle you’ll find Bellevue Washington, the high-tech and retail hub of King County’s Eastside. Microsoft is the city’s largest employer, and a flurry of recent development has transformed Bellevue from a Seattle bedroom community into a sophisticated destination offering a host of leisure and recreational pursuits.
Whether you’re looking for a weekend of shopping with the girls, guys’ golfing trip or couple’s getaway, Bellevue’s extensive selection of restaurants, shops and activities promises to please!
Bellevue’s two major shopping centres are within a short stroll of one-another. The Shops at Bravern, an upscale open-air village anchored by Neiman Marcus, features only the most luxurious of brands including Hermès, Jimmy Choo and Louis Vuitton. Trophy, Seattle’s finest cupcake bakery, also has a shop at Bravern, and its salted caramel cupcake is a compelling enough reason to visit the village. The Bellevue Collection, which is about a 5-minute walk from Bravern, includes a mix of large retailers (Nordstrom, Macy’s, Crate & Barrel), over 200 specialty stores and a diverse selection of popular restaurants. When the sun is shining, head to the shops on Bellevue’s Main Street, just south of Bellevue Park. The street’s old-fashioned lampposts and quaint shops, boutiques and cafés offer a glimpse of ‘pre-Microsoft’ Bellevue.
The Golf Club at Newcastle is Bellevue’s premier public course. Panoramic views of Lake Washington, Mt. Rainier, the Olympic and Cascade Mountains and the Seattle skyline are showcased throughout the 36-hole championship course. Pre and post-game brews and bites can be enjoyed at either of the club’s two restaurants. The Calcutta Grill & Pub, which boasts the ‘Best Happy Hour in Town’, and a patio with views of Seattle and the Puget Sound, serves a Pacific Northwest grill menu and classic pub fare. For a more casual meal try the Wooly Toad; with its cozy lounge atmosphere, billiards tables, and impressive line-up of single malt scotches, it’s a great way to end a day on the greens. Tee-times at Newcastle must be secured a week in advance and range from $65 – $170 (including cart) depending on the day, time and course booked.
An afternoon at the spa is a welcome addition to any getaway. Yuan Spa is a full-service day spa offering a varied menu that includes traditional Chinese therapies. The most unique treatment at Yuan is the Chinese Body Scrub, which uses traditional Asian Mitts for a head to toe exfoliation, followed by a soothing moisturizer application and hair wash. Couples can also book the spa suite and choose from a Yuan Traditional (signature blend of Chinese Tuina Acupressure, Thai Stretching, and Lomi Lomi massage), Swedish or Deep Tissue massage. All treatments include the use of the spa’s hydrotherapy area, complete with whirlpools, saunas and steam room. Yuan Spa is open until 10:00 pm, so your pampering need not interfere with your shopping.
Happy Hour and vacations go hand-in-hand, and Lot No. 3 in Bellevue is just the place to go. House favourites are the Duck Confit and PB&J&B (peanut butter, berry jam & bacon) sliders for $3 each. Wine by the glass, draft beer and well drinks are also $2 off. Western Washington’s culinary icon Chef John Howie has two exceptional upscale restaurants in Bellevue – the ZAGAT award-winning Seastar Restaurant & Raw Bar and the John Howie Steakhouse. Even the most discerning of Sushi aficionados will be impressed with the quality and assortment offered at the Raw Bar. Salmon and Ahi Poke, Scallop Ceviche, Mussel Crudo and Shucked Oysters with caviar, crème-fraiche and chives are just a few of the seafood choices available. With some of the world’s best steaks on the menu, John Howie’s Steakhouse will be equally as impressive for meat lovers. Choose from hand-cut, 28, 35 or 42-day custom aged American, Australian and Japanese Wagyu beef, as well as seafood, poultry and lamb.
Hyatt Regency Bellevue, located directly across from the Bellevue Collection, is offering its Canadian neighbours a Shop-and-Save package through December 2013. All two-night stays, with proof of Canadian residency, include a $50 gift certificate to the shops and restaurants at Bellevue Collection, $25 Shell gas card and free wireless internet and self-parking. Guests also have complimentary access to the 7,000 square foot fitness centre and 25-metre indoor lap pool. In addition to the Hyatt’s breakfast restaurant Eques, which serves both an a la carte menu and full-breakfast buffet, there are three other on-property restaurants to choose from. Room rates start from $169 USD per night.