Bellevue offers a bevy of pleasures including retail, leisure, relaxation, and dining in a high-tech setting

Ten miles east of Seattle, the high-tech hub known as Bellevue, Washington has transformed King County’s Eastside, with Microsoft as the city’s largest employer. A flurry of recent development has taken Bellevue from Seattle bedroom community to sophisticated destination offering a host of leisure and recreational pursuits.

Whether you’re looking for a weekend of shopping with the girls, a guys’ golfing trip or couple’s getaway, Bellevue’s extensive selection of restaurants, shops and activities promises to please.

Bellevue Shopping

Bellevue’s two major shopping centres are within a short stroll of one-another. The Shops at Bravern, an upscale open-air village anchored by Neiman Marcus, features only the most luxurious of brands including Hermès, Jimmy Choo, and Louis Vuitton. Trophy, Seattle’s finest cupcake bakery, also has a shop at Bravern, and its salted caramel cupcake is reason alone to visit the village.

The Bellevue Collection, which is about a five-minute walk from Bravern, includes a mix of large retailers (Nordstrom, Macy’s, Crate & Barrel), over 200 specialty stores, and a diverse selection of popular restaurants. When the sun is shining, head to the shops on Bellevue’s Main Street, just south of Bellevue Park. The street’s old-fashioned lampposts and quaint shops, boutiques and cafés offer a glimpse of pre-Microsoft Bellevue.

Golfing in Bellevue

Enjoy the panoramic views at the Golf Club at Newcastle (Image: Bellevue Tourism)

The Golf Club at Newcastle is Bellevue’s premier public course. Panoramic views of Lake Washington, Mt. Rainier, the Olympic and Cascade Mountains and the Seattle skyline are showcased throughout the 36-hole championship course.

Pre- and post-game brews and bites can be enjoyed at either of the club’s two restaurants. The Calcutta Grill & Pub, which boasts the Best Happy Hour in Town and a patio with views of Seattle and the Puget Sound, serves a Pacific Northwest grill menu and classic pub fare.

For a more casual meal try the Wooly Toad; with its cozy lounge atmosphere, billiards tables, and impressive line-up of single malt scotches, it’s a great way to end a day on the greens.

Tee times at Newcastle must be secured a week in advance and range from $65-$170 (including cart) depending on the day, time and course booked.

Spa Services

Nothing beats a relaxing visit to the spa. Try the Chinese Body Scrub at Yuan Spa fora proper head-to-toe treatment (Image: Yuan Spa)

An afternoon at the spa is a welcome addition to any getaway itinerary. Yuan Spa is a full-service day spa offering a varied menu that includes traditional Chinese therapies.

The most unique treatment at Yuan is the Chinese Body Scrub, which uses traditional Asian Mitts for a head to toe exfoliation, followed by a soothing moisturizer application and hair wash. Couples can also book the spa suite and choose from a Yuan Traditional (signature blend of Chinese Tuina Acupressure, Thai Stretching, and Lomi Lomi massage), Swedish or Deep Tissue massage.

All treatments include the use of the spa’s hydrotherapy area, complete with whirlpools, saunas and steam room. Yuan Spa is open until 10 pm, so your pampering need not interfere with your shopping.

Dining in Bellevue

The trendy Lot No.3 serves delicious food across the spectrum (Image: Curt Woodhall, Arrivals)

Happy Hour and vacations go hand-in-hand, and Lot No. 3 in Bellevue is just the place to grab a bite. House favourites are the Duck Confit and PB&J&B (peanut butter, berry jam & bacon) sliders for $3 each. Wine by the glass, draft beer, and well drinks are also $2 off.

Western Washington’s iconic Chef John Howie has two exceptional upscale restaurants in Bellevue – the ZAGAT award-winning Seastar Restaurant & Raw Bar, and the John Howie Steakhouse. Even the most discerning of sushi aficionados will be impressed with the quality and assortment offered at the Raw Bar. Salmon and ahi poke, scallop ceviche, mussel crudo and shucked oysters with caviar, crème-fraiche, and chives are just a few of the seafood choices available.

With some of the world’s best steaks on the menu, John Howie Steak is equally as impressive for meat lovers. Choose from hand-cut, 28-, 35- or 42-day custom aged American, Australian and Japanese Wagyu beef, as well as seafood, poultry and lamb.

Where to Stay

This stunning lobby at the upscale Hyatt Regency Bellevue gives a glimpse of the beautiful hotel setting [Curt Woodhall, Arrivals]

Hyatt Regency Bellevue, located directly across from the Bellevue Collection, is offering its Canadian neighbours a Shop-and-Save package through December 2013.

All two-night stays, with proof of Canadian residency, include a $50 gift certificate to the shops and restaurants at Bellevue Collection, $25 Shell gas card, and free wireless Internet and self-parking. Guests also have complimentary access to the 7,000 square foot fitness centre and 25-metre indoor lap pool.

In addition to the Hyatt’s breakfast restaurant Eques, which serves both an a la carte menu and full-breakfast buffet, there are three other on-property restaurants to choose from. Room rates start at $169 USD per night.

Mhairri Woodhall is a travel writer at Arrivals Travel.