Opening Nov.1, 2019, the new Hotel Leo returns 130 years of hospitality heritage to Downtown Bellingham. Once the grand old dame of Bellingham and the center of the city’s social scene, the historic site was originally the Byron Hotel in 1889. From 1929 to 1985 it was known as Hotel Leopold, built and styled during the roaring 1920s. Now transformed into Hotel Leo, the building has been restored to its previous architectural glory.
Hotel Leo currently has 40 hotel rooms, 31 of them in the south wing, which was built in 1968, and nine in the tower, which dates back to 1929. Half the hotel rooms have kitchenettes, making them ideal for longer term stays. There are also 52 apartments. The partners had the carpeting removed to expose terrazzo floors that complement the hotel’s original tile work. An expanded, state of the art universal gym has a wide range of equipment that includes cardio, lifting, stretching and strength training and is exclusive to hotel guests and tenants.
The transformation of the building was inspired by the vision of co-owners Peter and Aimee Frasier and Bob Hall.
“Originally we were going to turn the entire building into apartments” Frasier confided. “But it’s been a dream of Bob’s and mine to bring back the first hotel in downtown Bellingham in a quarter century. And since the Leopold was designed as a hotel, it made sense to use a portion of the building for this downtown hotel.”
The Frasiers are experienced Airbnb hosts, and also co-own the Heliotrope Hotel in the Fountain District with Hall. They plan to use everything they’ve learned from the Heliotrope to make Hotel Leo a success.
“At the Heliotrope we learned that by providing a clean, comfortable, modern, well-designed environment for guests, coupled with opportunities to socialize, people feel happy, welcomed and it gives them a great base camp for explorations in our community,” Frasier said.
“We’re trying to use the Leo’s location as an amenity, in that it’s downtown Bellingham and there are so many great things going on – restaurants, bars, retail and events. We used a similar, modern design to the one used at the Heliotrope and we spared no expense with our surfaces, tile work, furniture and artwork, most of which has been purchased and sourced in downtown Bellingham and Whatcom County.”
Many rooms feature gorgeous views of the city and are beautifully finished, with new bathroom fixtures, furniture from the Greenhouse and antique working typewriters with a page welcoming each individual guest.
Each level of the hotel has an original mailbox slot that descends all the way to the lobby, where there will be one or two restaurants, a cocktail lounge and event and banquet space. The library is a gorgeous, wood-paneled room lined with books and featuring a cozy fireplace and a pool table. In the common dining area guests and tenants can mingle over café style tables and play shuffleboard. And the theatre, with plush leather couches, will have scheduled movie showings for guests and residents on weekends.
Hotel rooms range from $150 to $399 per night. For reservations, call (360) 739-0250 or visit www.thehotelleo.com.
“We love the idea of welcoming guests to this amazing community that we’re fortunate enough to live in,” Frasier confided. “We’re excited about bringing the Hotel Leo back to its rightful place as the social center of Bellingham.”