Spend colder, darker days cozied up in the mountains or savoring fresh-air adventures near the water
It’s easy to get accustomed to the lodge life in Washington State, where the towering evergreens and misty mountain-and-lake views feel custom-made for cold month stays. At the time of year when the sun’s daily appearance is often short-lived, warm venues welcome guests to cozy up next to roaring fireplaces and outdoor fire pits.
Around the state, you’ll find accommodations ranging from modernized (a Tri-Cities wine country escape at The Lodge at Columbia Point) to charmingly rustic (Olympic National Park’s nature-based adventures anchored around venues like Lake Quinault Lodge, built in 1926). Though the list goes on, here are a few of our recently tested, most loved spots.
Alderbrook Resort & Spa
You’ll want to meet Alderbrook’s feline mascots, often found wandering around the quaint lobby area (currently partially under construction) — Photo courtesy of Alderbrook Resort & Spa
Less than a two-hour drive from Seattle, propped on the edge of the Hood Canal, a nature-filled retreat beckons. Seals slide along the steely waters of the Alderbrook dock, playing a game of “Go Fish” with dive-bombing seagulls. As you sit on the swaying dock just minutes after arrival, you already feel transported to a more tranquil world. Waves lap below your feet; the sounds of laughter around a bonfire bounce your way from the lodge’s waterfront lawn.
This Union, Washington property proves a restful getaway in any season, yet chilly weather offers even more reason to simply savor downtime in comfortable lodge rooms or snug cottages that feature fireplaces and beautiful sea life-inspired creations by local artist Harro.
Slow mornings are best spent watching the fog roll in while sipping coffee and savoring a breakfast feast at the on-site restaurant. Try the veggie scramble, Hood Canal hash with crispy fried oysters or the yogurt with housemade walnut granola and fresh fruit.
Alderbrook guests can purchase s’mores packages to be enjoyed while using outdoor fire pits — Photo courtesy of Alderbrook Resort & Spa
If feeling active, spend the day wandering among the pines on private forested trails, pick up local goods from Union City Market (the resort’s working marina located two miles down the road), arrange an Alderbrook kayak rental or take a dip in the resort’s indoor saltwater pool that’s enhanced by dreamy mountain views. (A rainstorm drumming against the pool building’s peaked roof brings unexpected joy.)
To fully unwind, relish spa services that play off your natural surroundings, from “Seaweed Surrender” wraps to healing hot stone massages.
Seasonal Alderbrook packages range from the festive NW Christmas tradition to Fido on the Fjord, ideal for guests not wanting to leave furry friends behind. Head back to the restaurant at dinnertime, where the local bounty shines in such items as the clam chowder, grand Marnier prawns, bone-in chicken breast with foraged mushrooms and seared halibut or King Salmon, served with black lentils, artichoke hearts, charred corn, piquillo peppers and brown butter and carrot puree.
On the way back to your accommodations, you may just get lured to the side of a perfect abandoned wood fire, crackling under a mighty night sky.
The lodge at Suncadia Resort offers striking views from its restaurant, communal spaces and guest rooms — Photo courtesy of Suncadia Resort
A mountain escape awaits just over the pass on I-90, 80 miles east of Seattle, at Cle Elum resort Suncadia. (Wintertime drives may require tire chains; carefully check forecasts for weather and road conditions ahead of time.) The resort’s annual Winterfest lasts through January 2, packed full of holiday celebrations (like deliveries from Santa’s Elves) and winter recreation, from sleigh rides, cross-county skiing and snow mobile tours to ice skating, axe throwing, snow bowling and snowshoe and brew tours.
Set on 6,400 stunning acres of forested land on the sunny eastern slopes of Washington’s Cascade Range, the property welcomes you to its grand, Northwest-style lodge. Settle into a spacious lodge room with sweeping panoramic views, or stay in a nearby townhome that boasts a full kitchen, fireplace and charming personal touches that make you question how you’ll ever leave this new home.
Up your morning heart rate by walking dozens of stairs that lead from the lodge down to a riverside path, afterward rewarding yourself with inspiring views and breakfast at Portals, one of several on-site eateries. Pair warm carafes of coffee with the steel cut oatmeal, smoked salmon hash or breakfast sandwiches featuring additions like candied bacon, Beecher’s cheese, maple syrup and cocoa dust.
Outdoor enthusiasts find adventure at every turn, along 40-plus miles of hiking and biking trails and on three championship golf courses. Those seeking rest may book healing treatments at the Glade Spring Spa, where the building’s LEED Silver Certification confirms the venue’s environmental awareness. After enjoying a decadent massage or facial, stay in sync with the natural surroundings by basking in the outdoor sauna and heated mineral baths.
At Alderbrook, Glade Spring Spa highlights include outdoor mineral baths and a sauna — Photo courtesy of Alderbrook Resort & Spa
For a nearby field trip, leave time to explore charming, historic Roslyn – once the filming site for exterior scenes on TV show “Northern Exposure.” Get lost inside Basecamp Book & Bites, the perfect place to eat lunch or stock up on locally-sourced gifts, pick up a coffee or sweet treat (like Filipino specialty halo-halo) from Lemon Thyme Macarons and pop next door into the teeny, aromatic HQ of of Roslyn Soap Co.
For a memorable pub experience, enjoy a meal or regional pint at Brick Saloon, Washington’s oldest continuously operating bar (established in 1889).
As the sun begins to slink behind the mountains, and deer and elk emerge for dusk-hour strolls, head back to a fireside table at Portals. Standout dinner dishes include the crispy cauliflower, arugula and tatsoi salad; Stovehouse BLTA; and seared seabass with shrimp risotto and seasonal veggies.
Those who fall in love with the Suncadia lifestyle might consider becoming part of the property’s Tumble Creek, a gated neighborhood that offers indulgent amenities and a communal hub called The Great House. Here members hit balls on the outdoor course or inside with the TrackMan 4 Golf Simulator, play duckpin bowling and join social activities designed for the entire family. Or grab an intimate dinner in an exclusive dining room.
Willows Lodge places guests near Woodinville wine tasting magic, and within walking distance of 35-plus tasting rooms — Photo courtesy of Jeff Caven
Twenty miles from Seattle, this luxury inn is nestled into the hub of Woodinville Wine Country. Situated on five landscaped acres that border the Sammamish River, the Northwest-style lodge is within walking distance of more than 35 tasting rooms like Delille Cellars, Sparkman and, by early fall 2022, a brand-new tasting space for Mark Ryan Winery, Long Shadows Vintners, Fidélitas and Latta Wines.
A 1,500-year-old cedar greets you outside the lodge’s main doors; once you step in and away from the elements, inviting employees greet you by name, a fire crackles beyond the hearth and hot apple cider (or a splash of welcome wine) initiate your arrival with a celebratory air. Throughout the property, artwork showcases talented local artists, with Northwest Coast Native American art taking center stage; at the front desk, pick up a guide to the nature- and animal-inspired pieces beautifying the property at every turn.
Luxurious rooms seem to proactively attend to every need, thanks to stone-trimmed gas fireplaces, oversized soaking tubs, Italian Frette linens, complimentary Wi-Fi and Nespresso machines.
Couples wanting to fully indulge can book the Do Not Disturb Package, which comes with a DIY bath-and-bubbles amenity (Molton Brown bubble bath, Saltworks premium Epsom bath crystals, rose petals, Fran’s Chocolates, a bottle of Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Champagne and flameless candles), as well as a $100 dining credit to be used at award-winning Barking Frog, the Fireside Lounge or for in-room dining. (The Elfin’ Good Time is a festive and playful holiday-time package option, too.)
Executive Chef Bobby Moore and team prepare sensational seasonal dishes at Barking Frog — Photo courtesy of Willows Lodge
Although you’ve not traveled far from the bustle of Seattle city life, it takes no time to sink into pampered, self-care mode at Willows, thanks to the 24/7 fitness room, a sauna, enticing outdoor jacuzzi, massage therapy and spa treatments. Additional amenities include bike rentals and concierge services.
At mealtime, walk just across the way to Barking Frog, a warm space with exposed beams, wood tones and circular seating around a central fireplace. Longtime Executive Chef Bobby Moore’s menu beautifully showcases relationships with local farmers and foragers. Don’t miss the mussels with coconut curry, bok choy and grilled naan, the sensational scallops and black cod or the egg yolk ravioli and house sausage (a perpetual crowd favorite). For your finale, we suggest the spiced dark chocolate ganache-beet chocolate cake.
For a very special occasion, dedicate many hours to savoring the extensive tasting menu offered next door at The Herbfarm.
Salish Lodge proves a great jumping-off point for nearby hikes and outdoor adventures — Photo courtesy of Salish Lodge & Spa
Salish Lodge & Spa is a scenic 30-minute drive from Seattle, bringing you to a rustic-chic lodge that melds Old World ambiance and modern elegance. Get out to enjoy the surrounding nature, whether hiking near the rushing 270-foot-tall Snoqualmie Falls or while trying activities like fly fishing and snowshoeing. Head to nearby North Bend for a slice of Twede’s Café cherry pie (of “Twin Peaks” fame).
Back at the cozy venue, dine on award-winning Northwest cuisine while enjoying romantic views of the falls. Take advantage of special seasonal feasts as well as holiday menus, and be sure to try honey from Salish’s on-site apiary.
Dreamy services at the spa help promote ultimate relaxation, and festive lodging packages include offerings like “Holiday Traditions” (with perks like Salish wine, $50 dining credit and movie voucher). Then there’s “Comfort and Joy,” a hygge-filled experience that includes an in-room cocktail-making kit, keepsake ornament, peppermint foot scrub, fuzzy slippers and 15% off shopping at The Country Store.
Cedarbrook Lodge is an ideal home base in which to stay just before or after a long flight — Photo courtesy of Cedarbrook Lodge
Stay within minutes of Sea-Tac airport at Cedarbrook Lodge, a Seattle Southside property that’s tucked onto 18 acres of naturally restored wetlands. All Cedarbrook visits are enhanced by a complimentary airport shuttle, homey guest rooms, Northwest-inspired breakfasts, snacks found in airy living rooms and access to an outdoor hot tub.
Copperleaf Restaurant serves delicious, seasonal fare that’s been locally sourced (with many ingredients grown in the garden out back), and the lodge’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint is evidenced by such efforts as on-site composting and a reclamation pond.
Cedarbrook’s Copperleaf Restaurant and Bar serves seasonally-driven Northwest fare — Photo courtesy of Cedarbrook Lodge
Travelers will love the Park & Fly package, allowing you to sleep in a Simmons® Beautyrest Black Georgetown Plush Pillow Top bed, before leaving your car at the lodge and hopping on the free airport shuttle. While the first night of parking is included, each additional day costs just $15. (The hotel will even charge the car for guests who have gone super-green.)
Holiday spa specials are another lovely way to pamper yourself or someone you love; book an Energizing Gemstone Facial, Warming Botanical Massage Enhancement or Pomegranate Spice Pedicure to brighten the season even further. Happy lodging!