Along with Christmas, Hanukkah and the New Year, comes the hustle and bustle of the season. There are presents to buy, cookies to bake, gifts to wrap and a slew of activities that can be hard to take time out of your busy schedule to relax and enjoy. If this sounds all too familiar, consider taking a holiday staycation at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue. From a spectacular parade to a magical ice arena to a dazzling light display, the city pulls out all the stops during the holiday season. And the best part? A staycation will force you to be in the moment with your kids, enjoying the best of what Bellevue has to offer. So pack your bags and read on for 10 reasons you need to plan a staycation at Bellevue’s premier hotel this holiday season.
1. Location, Location, Location! Sure, it would be far more dramatic to go somewhere outside of the city you live in, but it would also be more painful, considering you have kids who start asking the “are we there yets” as soon as you reach the end of your driveway. Located just a hop, skip and a jump over the bridge, the Hyatt Regency Bellevue is a four-diamond hotel that is centrally located in downtown Bellevue, on the corner of Bellevue Way and 8th St., and directly across from The Bellevue Collection where holiday magic abounds this time of year. The hotel is also just a short walk from the newly renovated Bellevue Downtown Park and the Bellevue Magic Ice Arena (more on that below) and nestled among a plethora of family-friendly eateries, retail shops and entertainment galore.
2. Rooms to Fit Every Size Family. The Hyatt Regency Bellevue offers modern rooms to fit every size family. Whether you’re looking for a cozy room with a view of Bellevue’s skyline or Lake Washington or a suite with separate living and dining areas and floor-to-ceiling windows, the Hyatt offers a variety of accommodations. Upgrade to a Regency Club® room and enjoy extras like plush robes, turndown service and exclusive access to the Regency Club® lounge on the 23rd floor where your kids will love noshing on hors d’oeuvres, desserts and continental breakfast! Psst…don’t forget to bring along those cute Hanna Andersson holiday jammies you bought for everyone in your crew, and make this the comfiest staycation ever!
3. Kid-Friendly Amenities. The Bellevue Grand Hyatt totally gets kids and has designed their hotel with them in mind. In addition to complimentary family movie nights every Friday, the hotel boasts a kids’ concierge (to help make the littlest of guests feel welcome), a new game room, an updated indoor pool—complete with pool noodles, balls, kickboards and munchkin-sized goggles (just in case you forgot to pack them)—and two 55-inch interactive touchscreen coffee tables in the lobby with games and entertainment to keep kids of all ages entertained. Psst…during the holiday season, everyone will receive candy canes at check-in and from December 14–25, guests will be treated like the North Pole’s finest with the opportunity to win prizes at check-in (think: complimentary in-room movies, Premium WiFi and parking, discounted breakfast and more). The hotel will also offer a complimentary hot cocoa bar on December 15 to make this holiday staycation even sweeter!
4. A Holiday Parade Like No Other! Each night from the day after Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve, four city blocks of downtown Bellevue are turned into a winter wonderland known as Snowflake Lane. Grab a curbside spot on the sidewalks between Bellevue Square and Lincoln Square from N.E. 4th to N.E. 8th Streets and watch as a cast of holiday characters and dancers make their way down the parade route accompanied by marching toy soldiers, exhilarating holiday music, dazzling lights, animated snow characters, faux snow showers and even Santa Claus. Psst…this is a rain or shine event, so remember to pack your woolies and your rain coat, just in case the Bellevue skies are unforgiving on the night of your visit. And if you’re looking for a less crowded spot to see the show, start scouting out a curbside spot near Lincoln Square at least 30 minutes before showtime.
photo: The Bellevue Collection
5. A Magical Ice Skating Rink Within Walking Distance. Bellevue’s ice arena is back and in full effect at Downtown Bellevue Park (just a short walk from the hotel). Boasting our region’s largest open-air holiday ice rink, this awesome arena is covered and open for skating rain or shine. With skate rentals, concessions, rockin’ holiday tunes from STAR 101.5 and a variety of special events throughout the season, including learn to skate nights, free lessons, family skate times, private parties, Stroller Skate Thursdays and Free Skate Mondays, this is the place to practice your triple toe loop during your holiday staycation. The arena is open through Jan. 15, 2018. Check the website for times. Psst…round out your skating experience with plenty of play time at the park’s newly improved (and totally awesome!) playground located right next to the skating rink.
photo: Bellevue Magic Ice Arena
6. Santa Sightings, Musical Performances and Holiday Decorations. Oh My! If your kids are hoping to share their Christmas wish lists with the big guy in red during your staycation, Santa can be found at his beautiful workshop inside Bellevue Square. Check the website, so you know when you can find him there (he does break to feed his reindeer) and be sure to give him a big ol’ wave when he passes by the hotel during the nightly Snowflake Lane parade. If holiday tunes are your family’s jam, take in festive entertainment from various school choirs and vocal ensembles at Bellevue Square’s Center Court through Dec. 15. Show times start at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and on select weekdays at 5 p.m. And if it’s holiday décor you’re hoping to find, you won’t have to look far. The Hyatt Regency Bellevue goes all out during the holiday season. From its grand Christmas tree in the lobby (which doubles as the perfect backdrop for a holiday card pic of the kids or a family selfie) to its plethora of holiday decorations and lights around hotel, you and your kid crew will be dazzled around every corner.
7. Gingerbread House Workshops. For kids who love candy and love to get creative, KidsQuest Children’s Museum and the Hyatt Regency Bellevue team up every year during the holiday season for their annual Gingerbread Workshops. During a two-hour workshop, you and your kids can work together to decorate a super-sweet gingerbread house. The best part? All the materials are provided, including the ginormous candy buffets that would make Willy Wonka’s head spin, and KidsQuest cleans up the mess. At the end of the workshop, everyone can take home their mantle-worthy house to display throughout the season. Psst…these workshops fill up fast (like super-duper fast), so if you’re thinking about saving this staycation until next year, start looking for registration info on the KidsQuest website in early October.
8. A Dazzling Garden Display with Serious Holiday Wattage! For those families who love holiday lights, Bellevue’s Botanical Garden (just a short jaunt from the Hyatt) is home to over half a million twinkly, sparking, wow-worthy lights. Bundle up your crew of elves and head over to Garden d’Lights to see whimsical shapes of plants, flowers, birds, animals and cascading waterfalls set amid the natural beauty of Bellevue’s Botanical Garden. In addition to the lights, families can enjoy musical performances on select nights (check the website for the complete schedule) along with warm beverages and snacks in the Education Center. Psst…purchase your tickets online and avoid the long lines at the gate or take advantage of the free entrance nights: Nov 27, 28, 29 & 30 and Dec 4, 5, 6 & 7. Garden d’Lights is open daily (including holidays) through December 31 from 4:30 p.m.-9 p.m.
photo: Bellevue Botanical Garden
9. Kid-friendly Eats. Within Bellevue’s Hyatt Regency you will find several kid-friendly dining options to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. Eques, a modern décor breakfast restaurant, is open from 6:30 a.m.-10 a.m. (until noon on weekends) and serves an amazing buffet with all your fave breakfast foods along with specialty dishes for kids (think: Unicorn Waffles complete with strawberry syrup, whipped cream and sprinkles). For lunch and dinner options, the variety is stunning. Inside the hotel you have an old-school classic, 13 Coins. With huge dark booths, it’s open 24 hours and has a great kid’s menu. If you’re feeling fancy, Daniel’s Broiler is located on the 21st floor and is known for its scrumptious steaks or head to Din Tai Fung and introduce your kid crew to dim sum. Psst…for quick and easy grab-and-go options, Fonte’s Coffee Roaster, Needs Deli or Tully’s Coffee are all within the hotel compound. Beyond the hotel’s walls, there’s a plethora of kid-friendly faves, including Red Robin and Maggiano’s Little Italy along with other family hot spots like Palomino , Cactus Southwest Kitchen & Bar, Tavern Hall and the Nordstrom Marketplace Café (inside the mall). Wild Ginger (now located three blocks south of the Hyatt on Bellevue Way) and McCormick & Schmick’s are also great options. Or go big and head to VIVO 53 to indulge in a wood oven pizza followed by an extreme sundae slathered with candy, brownies, cookies, whipped cream, chocolate and more!
10. Premier Shopping & Entertainment. Located just an elevator and skybridge walk away from the Hyatt Regency is where you will find The Bellevue Collection made up of Bellevue Square, Lincoln Square and Bellevue Place. From kids’ apparel to home furnishings to handmade gifts and jewelry, this convenient and super kid-friendly shopping plaza is where you will find more than 250 retailers, including dozens of new ones just recently added. After you shop ‘til you drop, take advantage of the entertainment options that the Bellevue Collection has to offer. See a holiday movie in a state-of-the-art cinema, throw a few strikes or enjoy the latest video games at Lucky Strike or take the kiddies to Kid’s Cove, a fun maritime-themed play area inside Bellevue Square, to work off the holiday crazies.
Good to Know: Book a Shop & Stay Holiday Package now through January 8, 2018, and receive a $50 gift card to The Bellevue Collection for each night of your stay along with an extended checkout time, premium internet and complimentary parking on the weekends.
Where is your family’s favorite place to take a holiday staycation? Tell us in the comments below.
— Kristina Moy (all photos courtesy of the writer unless otherwise noted)
This trip was paid for by the Hyatt Regency Bellevue, but all opinions expressed here belong to the writer.