Normally, when we take a vacation or staycation it’s with the intention of relaxing. But if you’re really in the spooky season mood or mindset, you might want something a little more… stimulating. And that’s just what you might get if you’re lucky enough to catch a glimpse of Hotel Sorrento’s permanent guest.

Even if you haven’t stayed at Hotel Sorrento, you probably know where it is. Its early 1890s ‘Italian oasis’ design is hard to ignore as a defining feature of Seattle’s First Hill. What’s equally as hard to ignore are some of the accounts of the hotel’s most famous guest, Alice B. Toklas. Don’t know her? Let’s get into some details.

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To start, Toklas never actually stayed at the hotel as far as anyone knows. Instead, she lived in a home near the hotel during the 1890s while she was studying music at the University of Washington. From there she moved to San Francisco and Paris, but she certainly left a lasting impression on Seattle…

Toklas was a member of the Parisian avant-garde, but in a unique way as she was American. She was also the life partner of famed American writer Gertrude Stein. Eventually, the two would host some of the world’s leading minds at gatherings in Paris, with frequent guests including Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, among others.

Alice B. Toklas is also loosely considered the inventor of the pot brownie. ‘Inventor’ may be a stretch, as it’s more likely that she introduced the concept of the pot brownie to American home cooks through her “Haschich Fudge” recipe in her book, The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook.


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Her recipe certainly has not left society just like her spirit hasn’t left the world. If you stay at the Hotel Sorrento and wander the 4th floor you might just bump into her apparition. Apparently, room 408 is her favorite but don’t go with the expectation of getting any brownies.

Beyond being one of the most haunted hotels in the city, The Sorrento is a truly stunning place to enjoy a staycay. Choose from smaller rooms or rent out a whole suite depending on your needs. You can also enjoy their restaurant, bar, and fireside room that all have many elements of the hotel’s old-world charm.

You can learn more and book a stay by clicking here.