I am a business traveler, traveling Monday through Thursday, for most of my professional life. I've seen hundreds of hotel rooms and dozens of hotels, and was compelled to actually write a review of a hotel (for the first time ever!) because of my experience at the Hotel Murano.
The Hotel: In a word - stunning. And gorgeous. And unique. And the ultimate showcase of local and international artists. The decor is in stark contrast to the vast majority of hotels in which I've stayed, and rivals the decor that W hotels are so famous for. Each floor features a different glass artist, and the meeting rooms, hallways, lobby and hotel rooms are littered with gorgeous treasures and artifacts from varying artists. The rooms themselves are unique, and offer a much appreciated pop of colour in an otherwise bland world of business travel.
The hotel is in a prime location, within walking distance of all of Tacoma's little treasures - AMAZING museums, shopping, galleries and restaurants/bars are within blocks.
The Staff: Outstanding. From front desk, to managers, to cleaning staff, to restaurant servers and bartenders, to the gift shop, and the bell staff - everyone is friendly, professional, and willing to go the extra mile. The last time I received service from a staff that was this knowledgeable and friendly was when I visited Wisconsin over a year ago! :)
The Gift Shop: Called "Creative Forces Gifts & Sundries", this gift shop alone is worth a visit, even if you are not staying at the hotel. Run by a local artist, she has assembled an incredibly beautiful and unique collection of treasures made by other local artists. I visited all of the local museums in the months I spent in Tacoma for work, and the museum gift shops/other local shops pale in comparison to this one. Hands down, Creative Forces has 1) the best collection of local art (not just glass art!), and 2) is the best hotel gift shop I've ever visited, and 3) the owner is an artist herself. Her appreciation and understanding of the craft is evident - go pay her a visit!
The Restaurant: Surprisingly inspired, with attention to detail and a focus on serving what's local and in season. I was pleasantly surprised by the flavour and creativity of the menu. Though the menu is a tad on the expensive side, the food is consistently good, and the restaurant does offer a cosy private lounge and/or a view of Mt. Rainier.
All in, the Hotel Murano is particularly memorable (to be honest? Likely the best) hotel experience I've had. Period. The combination of service, decor, and people makes it stand out among the blur and fog of years of business travel. It really is a gem.