A trip to the Seattle area often includes attractions — like the ferry port or Ferris wheel — along the city’s Elliott Bay waterfront. But visitors who want to work their way east into the Cascade Range for mountain adventures might want to start their trip in Kirkland. The city’s scenic location on the east side of Lake Washington is a good way to bypass the congestion in Seattle along the west side of the lake.
Kirkland is about a 30-minute drive on Interstate 405 from the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, meaning you can get there nearly as fast as a trip to downtown Seattle. Once there, the Kirkland area has beautiful lakefront hotels and other lodging that makes the most of this suburb’s charm.
1. The Woodmark Hotel
First on any list of hotels in Kirkland has to be the Woodmark Hotel. Located right on the Lake Washington shore in the heart of Kirkland, this 100-room, four-star hotel rises four stories along the lakeshore with rooms outfitted in a sleek, modern style that welcomes the outdoors with bright colors. Accommodations are roomy, with the king or queen rooms starting at around 300 square feet and ranging up to suites at around 650 square feet. Rooms facing west have excellent views of Lake Washington, while rooms facing east open to the grandeur of the Cascades.
The hotel offers beautiful views of the waterfront, the local marina, and the blue waters of Lake Washington. Outdoor spaces are plentiful and offer seating and fire pits to ward off the cool, northwestern night air. Along a waterfront path leading north, visitors can find two nearby parks that make the most of the lake by offering wildlife viewing, swimming, picnic areas, and more.
Back at the hotel itself, you’ll find it situated in The Carillon, an upscale dining and retail development featuring some of Kirkland’s most sought-after brands. Restaurants of note just steps from the hotel include Como, featuring food of the Italian Lake District; Le Grand Bistro Americain, a French restaurant with dining spots overlooking the lakefront; El Encanto, Mexican-inspired cuisine with an elevated chef’s touch; and for the taste of the Pacific Northwest at breakfast and lunch, Carillon Kitchen.
The main attraction inside the Woodmark is its Still Spa, a full-service spa offering patrons eight different types of massages, a whole range of body treatments, manicures and pedicures, and many different levels of facials. The hotel also offers boat rides on Lake Washington and bike rentals so you can explore the shore at your own pace.
Parking is available for a fee and the hotel has electric car charging facilities on site.
Pro Tip: While the hotel offers much to make your stay complete, venture out to explore the area along Lake Washington. One place of note just an 8-minute walk north of the hotel is Ivar’s Seafood Bar, a Seattle-area landmark eatery known for its fried clams.
2. The Heathman Hotel
Heading a little more than a mile north on the Lake Washington shoreline, you’ll find another four-star gem — The Heathman Hotel. This property is not situated right on the water but is just a 3-minute walk away from the Kirkland City Dock, Marina Park public beach, and an array of waterfront attractions. The property calls itself a “boutique hotel,” though it is larger than most facilities that you would think of as boutique, offering 91 rooms on four floors. Rooms are ultra-modern with large windows and light colors that really open up the rooms to the outdoors. As with the Woodmark, these are good-sized rooms, ranging from around 350 square feet for standard rooms up to around 600 square feet for suites. Centered in a neat commercial area about two blocks from the waterfront, the neighborhood is nice, but there aren’t any real views to be had from any of the rooms.
Traversing the short distance to the lakeside, visitors will find Kirkland’s official dock on the Lake Washington waterfront. Visitors can walk the dock and view the lake for free. Just to the south, you’ll find the Kirkland Sailing Club, which offers an inexpensive way to get out on the lake and try your hand at sailing. The club’s introductory lesson runs around $100 per person and offers an experience you can’t get on the bigger cruising boats.
Going ashore, the neighborhood around Kirkland Avenue and Lake Street boasts a series of interesting drinking and dining locales. Popular with locals are George’s, a quaint mom-and-pop diner that’s the oldest restaurant in downtown Kirkland; The Slip, a local burger joint with outside seating and lake views; and Bottle & Bull, a craft cocktail bar that also serves a diverse menu of trendy dishes.
The hotel offers its own dining at The Hearth, with an extensive cocktail menu, food selections featuring stone-fired pizzas, and an expansive weekend brunch. When it’s time to work off all the food you’ve eaten, the hotel offers a very large fitness center open 24 hours a day and featuring a Peloton bike for guest use. Or, if you prefer outdoor exercise, grab one of the complimentary bicycles available to hotel guests to explore Kirkland and beyond. A ride along the entire 2.5 miles of Kirkland waterfront will only take about 20 minutes, providing a chance to see all the natural beauty the city offers.
Pro Tip: The Heathman Hotel takes part in the Stash Rewards loyalty program, a network of independent hotels banding together to provide benefits for frequent travelers. Be sure to sign up before your stay to get credit.
3. Lakeview Hotel Kirkland
If being ultra close to the water isn’t a high priority for you, consider moving a few more blocks inland and staying at the Lakeview Boutique Hotel. Despite its name, you will not have a view of the lake from this establishment. But you’ll be able to reach the lake with a 10-minute walk through a quiet, tree-lined residential neighborhood. This new hotel (built in 2022) has just 20 rooms, ranging from single rooms to king rooms. The vibe here is traditional, with deep wood finishes, soft surfaces, and plenty of open space. The hotel doesn’t neglect its outdoor spaces with a beautiful wooded area outback featuring a fire pit and rustic seating.
Just a 5-minute walk from the hotel, you’ll find the Cross Kirkland Corridor, a former rail line that once served the logging industry in town and now serves as a walking and biking trail across the entire city. Hop on the trail and head north. A 10-minute walk will bring you to Chainline Station, a trailside outdoor location of Chainline Brewing. Enjoy a beer and a snack out in the open at this new location. A walk in either direction on the trail will take you through an eclectic mix of tech and nature, from the Google campus to a number of pocket-sized parks.
The hotel doesn’t have its own restaurant, but there’s a variety of casual international fare just a half-block away from the hotel on NE 68th Street, including Bibi’s Persian food; Toshi’s Teriyaki Grill, originator of Seattle-style teriyaki; Sarducci’s Italian subs; and Fan Tang Asian Café, serving Pacific Northwest-infused Hunan cuisine.
Pro Tip: The hotel offers free parking in its underground garage, a rare perk for business hotels in the Seattle metropolitan area.
4. The Lodge At St. Edward Park
The final gem for visitors to Kirkland lies just across the city boundary in Kenmore but is worth including in this list because it carries the same lakeside charm you’ll find in Kirkland. The Lodge at St. Edward Park is a breathtaking Romanesque Revival structure with Art-Deco interiors that look like you’ve stepped onto a movie set. Built in 1931 as a Roman Catholic seminary, the property carried out that duty until it became part of a state park in 1976. In 2017, real estate developers stepped in to restore the structure to its full glory and turn it into a grand lodging experience.
Once inside the property, you’ll find that the renovation worked wonders. It turned what was once dormitory space for priests into 84 luxury rooms, the dining hall into the Northwest-inspired Cedar+Elm restaurant, and the barbershop into the Tonsorium Bar. In fact, the hotel offers a historical tour for guests to learn about the property’s past and see the remnants that remain from the time it was a place of worship and learning.
Guest rooms incorporate many features in tribute to the history of the structure, including keeping the originally sculpted windows and using blueprints of the renovation as part of the décor. Furnishings strike a nice balance between the traditions of the space, modern luxury, and convenience. Bathrooms are luxurious with modern showers and plenty of space for a couple to get ready.
Getting out of the hotel to explore the area is easy. Walking and hiking trails criss-cross St. Edward Park, leading to St. Edward Beach at the Lake Washington shoreline. It’s also nearby Big Finn Hill Park across the city line in Kirkland and the beautiful campus of Bastyr University. If the walking gets to be too much, the lodge has complimentary bikes for exploring the area.
Pro Tip: Since the lodge sits in the middle of a state park, it’s not a short walk to nearby dining and shopping. Your best bet for meals is to go by car into Kirkland or stay put and dine at the lodge.