You guys, Christmas is NEXT WEEK! How did that happen?? Cue the to-do lists and wish lists, stress and FOMO. To help you have the best holiday yet, What’s Up NW turned to W Bellevue’s Insider, Julia Amodt, for her top seasonal tips for those living in or visiting the Puget Sound region.

Julia Amodt (Photo Credit: Lauren Wilks Photography)

As the Insider for W Bellevue, Julia makes it her mission to keep guests informed on what’s new and next in Bellevue and the surrounding area. She’s a local expert on where to shop, visit, eat and drink. And, speaking of places, be sure to add W Bellevue to your list of destinations this month. Decked in modern, chic holiday cheer, W Bellevue is the perfect place to sneak away from the Snowflake Lane crowd and sip a seasonal cocktail on their open-air porch next to a roaring fire.

Tell us about you, what was life like growing up in Bellevue?
It was pretty quiet but I have a fond memory of summers—they were perfection! Having access to outdoor spots like Lake Washington make up some of my favorite memories.

What brought you to W Bellevue?
I wanted a change of pace. I was working from home as a lifestyle blogger and needed to be socialized. This is the perfect job for that and I’m happy I fell into it. It’s a great mixture of knowing the local area and sharing food/fashion/insider tips that I was already sharing on my blog.

What do you love the most about working at W Bellevue?
That it is so much fun! Every day is different and love that I get to wear so many hats. From hanging out & talking to guests to creating partnerships with local companies to attending meetings with the operational team—I get to have my hand in so many areas of running a hotel.

What are some stories you have about guest reactions to recommendations you have made?
My favorite is when a guest asks for a recommendation then comes back to stay with us down the road and seeks me out for another recommendation. I know I did my job well because they’re trusting me to give them an amazing experience.

Are there any local charities that are near and dear to your heart and why?
Thrift Culture Thrift Shop benefiting Bellevue Lifespring; I love the work they’re doing helping children in poverty through the proceeds they raise in the thrift store across the street from W Bellevue within Bellevue Square.

What are you most excited about for 2018?
Decorate my new apartment—yes, adulating is the thing I’m most excited to conquer in 2018. Professionally I’m excited to grow & learn with W Bellevue as it turns a year old in June.


Where to go to see the holiday classics on the big screen:
We have a brand new 21+ cinema, Cinemark Reserve, that opened right across from W Bellevue so I say bring your besties, order a couple cocktails, and laugh your way through ‘Bad Moms.’

When you need a break from all the holiday overindulgence?
Pop by Jujubeet or Juice & Glow downtown Bellevue to grab a fresh pressed juice. It’ll help give you a healthy burst of energy before you dive right back in to those holiday treats.

(Photo Credit: Jujubeet)

Get into the spirit of giving – Ways to give back this year:
Oxfam has a great section of their site dedicated to giving gifts. You can gift things like a goat, a pig, books for kids, and water purifiers. But you know you want to give someone a goat.

Catch a show:
Obviously, The Nutcracker at the Pacific Northwest Ballet. It’s always gorgeous and magical.

Best cocktail or holiday drink:
While I’m good with a couple bottles of bubbly, I’d do a twist on a mimosa by adding clementine juice and a touch of limoncello. Gotta brighten up those gray winter days!

Favorite local stores to check off your holiday gift list:
Aritzia is my go-to for luxe essentials; think a cream blouse for Mom. Also, Fireworks has the funniest retro style socks for stocking stuffers with phrases like, “Carpe The F*** Out Of This Diem.”

Get outside with a PNW adventure:
Ice Skating at the Winterfest Ice Rink in Seattle Center.

Escape the city for a day – Best day trip:
Take the train up to the Bavarian town of Leavenworth for snow and Christmas lights! There are Christmas carols heard throughout the town, St Nick in the gazebo, and the Lighting Ceremony on Saturday and Sunday evenings.

(Photo Credit: Visit Leavenworth)

Your Xmas lights and décor bucket list:
Head over to the Bellevue Botanical Gardens for the annual Garden d’Lights. Bundle up and wander through the gardens, lit by over half a million lights, with your significant other and a cup of hot chocolate.

Most Instagramable spots:
Post up by the fireplace with an Irish coffee at W Bellevue.

Your most unusual/favorite locally-inspired tradition:
Tree cutting! Take your friends up to one of the tree farms in Snohomish and walk around the property until you find the perfect tree. Bonus: go to a place that has free hot apple cider.

When you need a break from it all…Best place to get pampered:
Book a massage at Yuan Spa and spend the rest of the day enjoying their hydrotherapy circuit which includes a hot pool, cold salt water pool, steam room with salt scrub bar, and sauna.

(Photo Credit: Yuan Spa)

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