Case Study

W Hotel Bellevue A Virtual Lakehouse Escape where High Tech, Nature and Nostalgia Merge

Bellevue, Washington, USA

The Challenge

Create a unique identity for a new W Hotel in Bellevue, which sits just across Lake Washington from Seattle. Bellevue, the home of Microsoft, is often seen as a community living in the shadow of its more famous and celebrated neighbor.

To create an experience unique to Bellevue, the design team had to seek out the threads of local history as well as contemporary influences to weave together the narrative that became the backbone and driver for all design decisions.

The Design Solution

The design narrative is drawn from the multifaceted history of Bellevue. The hotel’s location on Lake Washington was the genesis, beginning with the concept of a “virtual lake house”; a modernist’s club house for a creative culture filled with music, fashion and design.

Designed by HKS with interior design by ROAM, the hotel design artfully knits the region’s past with its current tech innovation renown. Each guest’s journey is a slow reveal of discovery, like tales told around the campfire, and memories captured in old family photos.

Within the lake house archetype framework, the Bellevue narrative is found in vivid visual and textural references to the wilderness, rugged individualists, Japanese strawberry farms, summer vacations at the lake, and suburbia.

The Design Impact

The interior is a high/low extravaganza of color and pattern, like the lake house repository of a family’s cast-off treasures or the garage band’s flop house, all with a technical, modern twist.

The W Hotel is part of the 1.5 million square-foot (139,354 sm) mixed-use Lincoln Square Expansion project in Bellevue’s Eastside community. The 14-story, 245-room hotel sits atop four floors of upscale retail, and 231 luxury residences rise above the W Hotel in a single 42-story tower.

Project Features

  • 245 rooms (25 guest suites)
  • “Extreme Wow” (Presidential) Suite
  • Living Room gathering space
  • Speakeasy
  • Bar and DJ booth/billiard room
  • Outdoor terrace
  • Library
  • Meeting space
  • Six floors of parking
  • Elevated pedestrian bridges


  • 2018 Illumination Award of Merit, Illumination Engineering Society
  • 2018 Mixed-Use Development of the Year, NAIOP Washington State Chapter