Hotel decor stamped with tribal identity

TULALIP — Distinctive tribal decor, starting with towering story poles in the lobby, helps to set the tone at the new Tulalip hotel.

It’s one of the features that make it different than any other hotel in the area.

“It’s hip and contemporary, but it has that tribal influence,” said Ken Kettler, president of Tulalip Resort Casino, who explained that much thought went into the hotel’s style.

The Tulalip hotel can claim a lot of “first” or “largest” titles in Snohomish County. It’s the first hotel aimed squarely at attracting the high-end luxury hotel guest. It’s the largest hotel in the county, with 370 rooms. The eight-story Holiday Inn in Everett previously held that title with 243 rooms.

But the hotel’s look, both inside and out, really sets it apart.

Designed for the luxury guest market, the hotel features plenty of muted lighting and rich colors in its decor. But in trying to accomplish that feel, the Tulalip Tribes also wanted to incorporate its identity.

For example, red and black, traditional tribal colors, can be found everywhere. A huge glass mosaic serves as a colorful background to the check-in desk.

And few other hotels aiming for a four-star feel feature two-story tall carved poles in the front lobby and a traditional canoe on a fountain out front.

“The welcome figures, the art, they remind you you’re in a Tulalip hotel,” said Marco Baumann, the hotel’s general manager, adding he thinks designers put a great deal of thought into both tribal decor and guest comfort. “Our guests tell us it feels different than other hotels they’ve been in.”

The differences go beyond the mix of modern and tribal decor. The hotel’s smallest rooms are about 500 square feet, noticeably larger than basic rooms at downtown Seattle’s swankiest inns. The spa facilities claim to be among the state’s largest.

Between the spa and the facility’s huge convention and meeting rooms, the swimming pool atrium features a cascading waterfall, along with a looming view of the hotel tower through the glass ceiling.

Another special feature of the hotel: Virtually all the art and other items in the hotel are available for purchase.

Baumann said that the hotel also has worked hard to attract and train a professionally minded staff to complement the luxurious surroundings. So far, he said, many guests seem impressed by the combination.

“It’s a really, really nice feeling to hear the amount of positive feedback we’re getting,” he said.

Reporter Eric Fetters: 425-339-3453 or

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