History of the Baroness
The Baroness Hotel is a cherished piece of Seattle's architectural heritage. Its history, marked by architectural distinction, and its evolution from an apartment to hotel, reflects the dynamic character of Seattle. In 2009, the City of Seattle's Landmarks Preservation Board officially designated the Baroness Apartment Hotel as a Seattle Landmark. This recognition solidified the building's significance in the city's history and its importance in preserving architectural heritage.
An Art-Deco Seattle Landmark
Designed by the architectural firm of Schack & Young, the Baroness bears the distinction of being one of their final works. James H. Schack, in partnership with engineer Arrigo Young, formed a highly successful firm in 1920. Their portfolio included notable Seattle buildings and The Baroness Hotel, with its Art Deco style, showcased their versatility and commitment to architectural excellence.
Constructed during a period of architectural innovation, the Baroness Apartments epitomized the luxury apartment buildings of the 1930s. Its Art Deco ornamentation, featuring stylized floral motifs and intricate brickwork, was a testament to the era's architectural sophistication. This design also aligned with the tradition of elegant living on First Hill, where the building was situated.
The Baroness opened in 1930 as an apartment hotel with 30 dedicated apartments and 30 hotel suites, boasting one of the first new buildings in Seattle with electric appliances! It operated as a residential apartment and hotel on First Hill for over 70 years.
In June 2006, the Virginia Mason Medical Center (VMMC) purchased the Baroness building. This marked a new chapter in the building's history as it transitioned into a residential hotel primarily for the housing of families and recovering patients from nearby hospitals. The proximity of the Baroness Hotel to VMMC allowed for a unique synergy. VMMC, a non-profit medical group practice with a renowned research institute, recognized the value of this historic property. They acquired several nearby buildings, including the Baroness, to expand their operations and provide near-by and convenient accommodations for patients and their families. Under VMMC's ownership, the Baroness underwent renovations in 2007-2008 to cater exclusively to hotel guests.
The Baroness Hotel stands as a Seattle Landmark that embodies the city's architectural and social history. From its creation by Schack & Young during the architectural renaissance of the 1930s to its ownership transitions and adaptation to modern needs, the Baroness has endured as a symbol of Seattle's vibrant past and its commitment to preserving its architectural heritage.
Learn more and check out The Baroness Hotel on History Link's Walking Tours of First Hill.