Seattle | Proposals In The Chinese Room


Wishing for a harmonious marriage in the Chinese Room

While I am sorting through my pictures from the trip to Israel I thought I would share with you pictures from my time in Seattle. Having spent a few days in Seattle I managed to visit the city's main observation towers; the Space Needle, Columbia Centre Sky Deck and the viewing deck of the Smith Tower. I left this place last although the building was right next to my hotel. From what I had read about it, it offered up a lot more charm, with open air views of Seattle. This was by far my favourite building in the city. There is something about it. Modern design considering its been standing for over a 100 years. Built in 1914, at one point the tallest building in the whole of the united states. Also the oldest skyscraper in Seattle but you couldn't tell just by looking at it. Entering the building slowly starts to unravel the old charm within. You are immediately birthed in all that is golden brass.

The 42-story tower has an air of elgance and class as you walk in. The brass elevator cabs still holding on to its vintage style look and still manned by an operator. Stepping out of the elevator(that's lifts for us Londoners) you are immediately inside the Chinese Room. As a gift to Lyman Cornelius Smith, original owner of the building, the Empress of China gifted to Smith the decorating of this room. As you walk in the walls are decorated in flowery wall cover with red over lay, of course the colour red is part of the Chinese traditional culture. The room also features 776 opulent hand-carved wooden ceiling made with semi-precious porcelain dics, beautiful and ornately craved blackwood love seats and chairs including 17th century art. Another item in the room that drawers people to the tower is the 300-year old Wishing Chair with carvings of a dragon and phoenix which in Chinese culture relate to harmonious marriage. Legend has it that if a single woman so sits on the chair and sincerely wishes to be married shall wed within a year. Smith's daughter herself was married in this room so I don't know whether the legend is true or whether its a gimmick to promote the wedding functions that are regularly held in this room. Well if you do manage to wed within a year after planting one's derrière on the wishing chair then please drop a cynic a line or two.

After marvelling at the décor of the Chinese room, stepping outside onto the viewing deck you can circle the entire building(image above - viewing deck at the very top before the triangular windows) and catch a glimpse of the Space Needle that strategically peers through the buildings down town. Circling round to the opposite side you stand face to face with Mount Rainier, the extravagant and expansive million dollar stadiums, cris-crossing highways synonymous with USA road infrastructure.

Comparing the 3 observation decks(read my post on the others here) I would say Colombia center offers by far the best values for money. At $12.50 you get 360 views, free internet, peaceful viewing without the touristy hassle. Second is Smith Tower, again with 360 view, less touristy with a bit more historical charm and warmth to it . Also cannot beat the price of $7.50. Third is the Space Needle. Longish queues, expensive at $22 with no other real benefit apart from the views seen through somewhat caged-in feel to the viewing deck. You don't get much for $22 other than the pleasure of 40-second flight 184 meters above sea level.

The door Gods, a Chinese decoration placed on each side of an entry to a temple, home, business, which is believed to keep evil spirits from entering. The custom dates back to the Tang Dynasty, whose founder Emperor Tang Taizong honored two of his most loyal generals  - Qin Shubao and Yuchi Gong - by having their painted portraits hung on his front door.

Mount Rainier in its majestic form. 
So have you been to Seattle? Have you had the pleasure of visiting the Chinese room yet?




Travel Tuesday

41 comments:

  1. A real contrast of cultures here - looks like a fascinating place to visit.

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    1. Definitely. I am sure you would enjoy it if you do visit.

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  2. I love the photo of Mt Rainier, I'd never heard of that mountain before!

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    1. It definitely is a sight. You cannot miss it when in Seattle.

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  3. Hi Bianca! Useful info about the differences between the three observation decks. Will keep that in mind when I visit Seattle. And love the story about the Chinese empress' gifts to Mr. Smith!

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    1. Thank you Manouk. Glad you liked the post. I am sure you will enjoy Seattle if you do visit.

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  4. They have all kinds of Wishing Chairs in their culture...I remember sitting on one of those in Hong Kong, I think it was for a good boyfriend...doesn´t look it helped much ;)

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    1. Haha. I could definitely use a working wishing chair :D

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  5. These photos are incredible - love them. Not sure about the chair's powers, but would absolutely love to go to Seattle and if I do, will take your advice on board!

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    1. Awesome. Do let me know when you visit.

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  6. I wish I had a wishing chair and I wish it worked! :D And if I go to Seattle I'll read your post again for recommendations.

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    1. Me too! If only these bloody legends worked :P

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  7. Your pictures are really lovely! Brings back memories, I think I've been in this room a looong time ago when I was a little kid but haven't been to the Smith Tower in forever. Yeah, the Space Needle is overrated and I'm saying this as someone who has lived in Seattle their whole life so maybe it's just not a big deal to me haha but it has gotten way more expensive to go to the top than when I went years and years ago.

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    1. Thanks Sammi, I guess the more popular the city gets the more expensive certain attractions get without offering up too much for the experience.

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  8. Wow, great place. Mount Rainier looks amazing. I would love to climb is one day. By the way, I'm a fellow rock climber!

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    1. Hey there climber! I know its so beautiful and you will be very tempted to climb it when in Seattle. You just need the time to get there and for the climb as well :D Do let me know when you manage it.

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  9. The photos of the landscape are spectacular, iv never been to Seattle but would love to go just to stay awake all night and say I had been sleepless in Seattle lol

    Gem

    ButtonsBlog

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    1. Haha, I was so jet lagged when I arrived that I just sank into my bed and snorred into the following day so I already lost my chances of a Sleepless in Seattle moment. The city is really beautiful that you could easily stay up all night :)

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  10. I love the ornate decoration of the elevator hallway - reminds me of so many NYC building lobbies. I haven't been to Seattle since I was very young, but I am hearing so many great things about the city. Beautiful shot of Mt. Rainier, too!

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  11. Your photos are incredible, love the decor of the chinese room, the sculptures, furniture, paintings and all. ...that shot of Mt Rainier, you've captured the mountain in all its glory.

    Rachel@safari254

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  12. Dang, these photos are making me homesick! Beautiful. I myself have never been to the top of the Smith Tower but can't beat the views from Columbia tower-- my high school graduating class had our graduation party there and the views of he sunrise from the top in the morning is one of my favorite memories.. I am partial to a dinner at the Space Needle restaurant for special occasions... can't beat 360 rotating scenery for your dining experience.

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    1. Oh wow. It must have been some graduation party. When you go back home at least there is something to see and do that you havent done before. I am sure you will enjoy your visit at the Smith Tower.

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  13. That's such an unusual contrast of cultures to see the Chinese decoration in a high rise block! I really enjoyed seeing around it, glad you saw my tweet which alerted you to the linkup!

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  14. Beautiful photos! Alex and I are going to be visiting Seattle in less than a month and are looking for places to visit, the Chinese Room will be going on the list thanks to you!

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    1. Awesome! I am sure you will enjoy it.

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  15. Such a beautiful space inside - I absolutely love the ceiling!
    Claire xx | somewhere... beyond the sea

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  16. Beautiful photos! I've been to Seattle a few time but I haven't heard of Smith Tower. We always make it on top of the Space Needle. What a real gem inside the tower. That ceiling is amazing with such amazing details. I don't think my Seattle friends even know about this room. What a find!

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    1. Well next time you visit your friends introduce them to the Smith Tower :D

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  17. Wow! You would not expect that interior from the outside would you? Gorgeous detail! :)

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    1. It really is. I didn't expect that at all as well.

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  18. These are absolutely stunning photos - I have a special place in my heart for oriental decor.

    x Michelle | thefeatherden.net

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  19. I went to Seattle years and years ago but never heard of the Smith Tower or the Chinese Room. It seems that the Space Needle gets all the attention, but from the looks of your pictures, the Smith Tower is well worth a visit.

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    1. I know and for $22 you get more at other places but it is the Space Needle and if its the first visit in the city its something that I guess people feel the need to do. Just along as they dont miss out on the other gems in the city.

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  20. I love that wishing chair - I want a go!! Hope it works :)

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    1. Hahaha...let me know if it works for you because I will be on the first flight back to Seattle ;)

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  21. Loving the photos! So vibrant and colorful!

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