A historic hotel will be open again in the heart of downtown Bellingham this fall, on the site where the original Byron Hotel opened in 1889.
The Hotel Leo includes 40 hotel rooms split between the wing that was constructed in 1968 as a modern motor-inn and the adjoining brick tower built in 1929. The lobby and social areas are shared with 52 residential units called The Leopold Apartments. This is the first mixed residential and hotel property in Bellingham, a combination which has become popular in luxury hotels in Seattle and cities across the country, according to Peter Frazier, Hotel Leo’s Managing Partner.
Hotel Leo, located at 1224 Cornwall Ave., aims to offer business travelers and vacationers the opportunity to experience downtown Bellingham and the excellent dining, shopping and cultural experiences available.
“Downtown Bellingham has an attractive mix of restaurants, stores, business, breweries and events drawing visitors in,” Frazier said. “We are excited to be adding a modern, high-quality hotel within walking distance of them, and hope to grow with the neighborhood.”
The apartments were renovated and started filling up with new residents in July, while work has been ongoing in the hotel floors through the summer. New bathrooms, kitchens, paint, tile and flooring have transformed the vintage rooms. Charming nods to the building’s history remain, and the lobby in particular captures its historic legacy.
Hotel owners Peter Frazier, Aimee Frazier and Bob Hall have a commitment to the downtown community, and focused on utilizing local businesses as they planned the hotel. Artwork in the rooms was created by Ginger Oppenheimer and Doug Bensch. Nearly 75% of Hotel Leo’s furnishings, equipment and materials come from local businesses, including: The Greenhouse, Ideal, Mt. Baker Plywood, Fitness Gear & Training, Judd & Black, RFDesign, Frameworks and Hertco Kitchens, among others. Wherever possible, the aim was to support other local businesses, Frazier said.
The rooms include studio and one-bedroom units, with reservations being accepted now at www.TheHotelLeo.com for dates in November and beyond.
Hotel Leo worked with interior designer Michelle Banks of Bellingham firm Spiral Studios on the rooms and other updates. Comfort and style were considered in equal measure and the results include plush beds, beautiful modern furnishings and gorgeously tiled bathrooms. Some rooms include kitchenettes appointed with Le Cruset cookware and new ranges, making it a great choice for visitors planning a longer stay or who just prefer home cooking.
Views from the rooms include peek-a-boo and full views over Bellingham Bay, as well as postcard-worthy views of the iconic Bellingham buildings all around.
Hotel Leo will be hosting events again in the ground floor Crystal Ballroom, Chandelier Room and other event spaces, which have been host to proms, weddings and parties for generations.
The hotel guests and apartment residents will share use of an exceptional fitness facility spanning multiple rooms and offering universal, weight and stretching equipment. The social lounge and library afford space for working, meeting or playing a game (including shuffleboard and a pool table). The Clark Gable Theater will have a rotation of films showing.
Hotel Leo’s local owners are seeking a tenant to lease much of its ground floor for a restaurant, lounge and events in the Crystal Ballroom, and they hope to see the property return to its role as the social center of Bellingham, Frazier said.
Frazier and his wife Aimee Frazier were part of a team who designed and developed Bellingham’s Heliotrope Hotel in 2016. The Fraziers and Bob Hall are co-owners of Hotel Leo and the Heliotrope Hotel. Jamie Verkist is general manager of both hotels.
Rooms are being released for reservations as the finishing touches are completed on each floor, with the first hotel guests being welcomed Nov. 1. For more information or reservations, call (360) 739-0250 or visit www.thehotelleo.com.