Now that Valentine’s Day is in the rearview mirror, it’s time to spend some quality time with the girlfriends. I recently met up with one of my besties in the USA, for a girls’ weekend in Seattle. We arrived in the heart of downtown via the ferry from Bainbridge Island. Check out the new ferris wheel spinning on prime waterfront real estate. Taking a cue from the other cities in the ferris wheel club, like Singapore and London, Seattle built this baby in 2012. It costs 13 bucks for a ride on the Great Wheel, the official name, which I googled, because it was not uttered by anyone during our entire Girls’ Weekend. We resisted in the name of priorities: shopping.Instead, we drove off the ferry and a few blocks to our hotel, just down the street from that other iconic Seattle symbol I have never been to, the Space Needle. I don’t know what it is about cities and their towers (even Calgary has one) but it’s interesting to see the changing of the guard in the status symbol department from phallus to unity.If you’re not on a five-star budget but you require a hotel that’s hip enough to be your base camp for a weekend of dining and shopping, Hotel Andra is a good choice. Given a Swedish name to emphasize the Scandinavian decor – that “A” is supposed to have an umlaut over it – the boutique hotel opened in 2004.The rooms may not be the most stylish in the world (after all, Sweden has given us Ikea, not B&B Italia) but they are uncluttered, huge and have everything you may need, from a desk and flatscreen…… to a bar area, to a separate beauty area that doubles as a walk-through to the closet (not shown)…… to a modern bathroom…… with Swedish products, of course.
Meanwhile, just a few blocks away, the heart of the Seattle shopping district was bustling! On a late Saturday afternoon, I almost thought I was in New York. The buzz was that good. Seattle, I didn’t think you had it in you.Everywhere you turned, something was going on. I found this talented cellist outside Barneys. The Barney’s itself was a little disappointing — much smaller than San Francisco’s, and of course tiny compared to the flagship store in New York. But there was almost every shop you could ever want.We all know Seattle is the original Starbucks city. Which of course made me want a different brand — I’m always so contrary. But I was like a lemming to the sales, shopping up a storm. That Vicky’s Secret bag may be small, but it contains a lot of undies.The cool store window award goes to…… British fashion retailer All Saints.Here’s a rare and exclusive shot of my elusive friend Emily, who is beautiful but hates being photographed. Gotcha journalism, courtesy of yours truly. Sorry Emily. Yes, that’s right, I’m saying it in the most passive-aggressive Canadian way. I don’t mean it. You look wonderful, and besides, I need to include it —proof that this was indeed a girls’ weekend.The bargains were so good we actually ran out of time before we ran out of money. Back to the hotel, now lit up in moody blue. Or Blue Besos blue?No time to relax in the lofty lobby… we’re got to do a quick change to be on time for our dinner reservations. Next up, Art Restaurant & Lounge. Mmmm.