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Graduate Seattle opens in former Hotel Deca

The university-centered hotel chain aims to combine Deco heritage with modern Seattle

Courtesy of Graduate Hotels

The University District’s Hotel Deca—an appropriately named Art Deco tower—closed last year after an acquisition by an investment firm. Earlier this week, the hotel re-opened as Graduate Seattle, the 12th in a chain of university-adjacent hotels.

The hotel first opened in 1931 as the Edmond Meany Hotel, designed by Old Faithful Inn architect Robert Reamer. The unique shape was designed to give every room something at least close to a corner view. At the time, its construction was groundbreaking: it was one of the first buildings in the region to be made of poured concrete rather than brick and terra cotta.

Architecture firm NBBJ gave the building a makeover in the late 1990s, and it became the Meany Tower Hotel and, eventually, Hotel Deca.

This time around, Graduate Hotels did a full renovation of the guestrooms, common areas, event spaces, and amenities, while hanging on to some of the 1930s Deco details. Some of the furnishings match, too, like scalloped headboards, tasselled chairs, and period, rotary-dial telephones-as-decor. Pale pink walls and checkered floors also add to the effect.

But Graduate adds some quirky pops: Some of the hotel art depicts celebs with Seattle in their history, like Sir Mix-A-Lot and astronaut Michael P. Anderson. We spy Bruce Lee on the wall of one room, too. (Plus a Space Invader, although that’s kind of its own thing.) Some wallpaper features Dungeness crabs. Purple touches and husky-shaped furniture pop in to show school spirit for University of Washington.

Courtesy of Graduate Hotels

The color schemes extend into the common areas, which combine a Deco extravagance with themes of UW and the Pacific Northwest. Take, for example, a lobby lounge, with pendant lighting, green walls with marquee lighting, floral carpet, and a pop of pale pink on the ceiling—with rows of wooden sofas with plaid, purple cushions.

Other Graduate locations are also set up near university centers: Ann Arbor, Michigan; Berkeley, California; Tempe, Arizona; Athens, Georgia; and others. In Seattle, rooms start at around $150 per night, and range from small rooms with a single double bed to fancier suites.