Although it may not be fair, it can be said that Tacoma has long battled bias as the industrial, smoggy city 35 miles south of Seattle. However, in recent years, the South Sound has been gritting its teeth to get recognition for its exploding exposure to the humanities—from poignant museums and gentrified commercial areas to blue-ribbon eateries, noteworthy cocktail bars and a growing number of breweries that are building up the credentials the town deserves.

Tourist accommodations are still slightly stunted, however, in a prime location to it all is the Hotel Murano. The independently-owned and -operated boutique hotel was the first in Tacoma to receive a four-star rating from Forbes magazine and also sports nods from Condé Nast Traveler, the Hotel Murano puts its point on the arts.

Visual Arts: Just blocks from the Tacoma Art Museum, Children’s Museum of Tacoma, the Washington State History Museum, the Broadway Center for Performing Arts and the Museum of Glass, the Hotel Murano also has its own anthology to arts with “The Collection.”

The exhibit begins at the hotel’s front entrance with “Orizon,” the 104-foot tall, large-scale glass piece by Greek artist Costas Varotsos and carries on throughout the hotel with the work from more than 45 international glass artists. A tribute to Tacoma’s reputation as a epicenter of American glass art, “The Collection” pushes beyond the sculptures and uses the hotel as a fully functioning, educational gallery for guests and sightseers alike, and includes docent-led tours.

Liquid Arts: No need to leave the contemporary and chic digs of the Hotel Murano to select a sipper—the Lobby Bar is front and (mostly) center in (you guessed it) the lobby. Order off the list of house cocktails or indulge in celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Museum of Glass with the “Glass Lady” cocktail package. Available exclusively in the Lobby Bar and priced at $29, the Glass Lady includes one of the signature cocktails made with Glass Vodka from Seattle’s Glass Distillery, along with a souvenir glass hand-painted by the hotel’s resident artist, Carolyn Osborne of Creative Forces and a $2 donation to the Museum of Glass.

Wanting to get tipsy outside of the cozy accommodations? A number of breweries are within walking distance of the hotel, including the Harmon Brewing Co. Tap Room (sit on the patio under the lights) and the shuttered coffee shop-based Tacoma Brewing Company (try the spiked ginger beer), or take a quick ride up to the Hilltop Kitchen for a handcrafted cocktail (order anything with mezcal or let the bartender decide for you), served smart in a coup.

Culinary Arts: Also playing coy with the monikers, the hotel’s restaurant, BITE, provides diners with a four-floor eating feature that sits above the in-house glass museum. Lead by Tacoma native and internationally experienced executive chef Matt Stickle, BITE sources much of its seasonal produce from the Tacoma Farmers Market in the form of three meals and happy hour daily. What’s on the menu for BITE? An upcoming wine dinner on Wednesday, Jan. 29, with Walla Walla pioneers, Woodward Canyon Winery. Chef Stickle teamed up with the winery’s owner, Rick Small, to compile a five course prixe fixe menu expertly paired with the wines. The wine dinner is priced at $75 per person or $140 per couple, excluding tax and gratuity. For reservations, guests can call (253) 591-4163.

Needing to stretch your legs? Try dining at MARROW, the co-owned, co-collaborated and co-menued restaurant of chef Kyle Wnuk and libation nut Jaime Kay Jones—the bill of fare is half vegetarian, half meat-heavy. It’s a seriously genius concept.

Less artistic hotel necessities: If you aren’t already convinced this Tacoma hotel is the real deal, then the rooms will make certain you are sold. First of all, they have pet-friendly rooms. Secondly, iPod docks are in every guest room, flat screen hi-def televisions are tucked against the wall, wi-fi is abundant free of charge and “spiritual” and pillow menus are offered. In the King patron suite where some might choose to lay their heads, there is also a jacuzzi tub, a separate sitting area with a couches and an even more secluded dining area equipped with 180-dgrees of the Tacoma skyline.

There’s a “Help Me” button on the phone that dials directly to the front desk, for God’s sake. Just book the room.

Hotel Murano Tacoma || 1320 Broadway, Tacoma, WA || (253) 238-8000 || hotelmuranotacoma.com 

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