Culture

Celebrating Seattle: The Edgewater Hotel

Photo by Wendi Dunlap.
Photos by Wendi Dunlap.

“Yes.” He smiles and delights in his pause before the next sentence. “It’s true.”

That’s Mr. Dave Cocks, Managing Director of Seattle’s Edgewater Hotel (formerly the Edgewater Inn), with a nod towards a picture of Jimmy Page. More specifically, a picture of Jimmy Page on the wall on the Edgewater’s main floor, alongside photos of the Osmonds, Stevie Wonder, Roy Orbison, and others.

edge4And Mr. Cocks refers to, for anyone not in the know, to the notorious incident in which Led Zeppelin, including of course Jimmy Page, made creative use of one groupie and one mud shark caught from fishing out the suite’s window, one night in 1969. Of course, this incident may or may not have involved the band Vanilla Fudge, the Zeppelin road manager, Richard Cole, and/or a Yelloweye Rockfish as opposed to a mud shark. It may have also involved young women placed in a bathtub in close proximity to live octopi.

I did not, in all honesty, inquire of Mr. Cocks about the octopi angle. But Mr. Cocks knows a thing or two about hotel management. Sometimes it’s better to let the legend be printed. To let the legend breathe.

edge2The Edgewater, located at Seattle’s Pier 67, is the over-water hotel in Seattle (zoning laws changed shortly after it opened), and boasts 223 rooms including two specialty suites: the Penthouse Suite, with its 1000 square feet and views of the Olympic Mountains and Elliott Bay, and also the Beatles Suite, smaller at 750 square feet, but, you can lay your head where the Fab Four laid theirs. They fished out their window, too. (No record of mud shark abuse.)

The Six Seven cocktail bar and restaurant is wide-open, with plenty of glass letting in the sunlight off the water, as I slide glass-side and sea-side with my Diet Coke. I watch a strange form under the water, wavering as each wave laps over it. It must be just under the surface, unless of course it’s just a reflection off the water.

But it seems to have shape, mass.

Mr. Cocks leads my photographer and me on a guided tour of the Edgewater’s various ins and outs, the décor an intriguing blend of the nature-centric and the matter-of-factly bizarre. The tree branches hanging out of the walls all over the main floor, have mechanical joints. Bright, shiny, mechanical joints. In the restroom, the water pours out of small sluice gates in the place of spigots.

The Egewater’s done an enviable job of staying up-to-date, and on its own terms, chic, since it was built for the 1962 World’s Fair in Seattle. It lives up to the finer points of its reputation.

But somehow I can’t stop thinking of that strange thing under the waves.

And the mud shark.