By Elisabeth Schyberg
For the Kid At Heart
These are not the tree houses of your youth. At Tree House Point in Issaquah, master tree house builder and dreamer Pete Nelson has created a truly magical place in the woods where kids at heart will be excited to stay. His sturdy tree houses have electricity, leather chairs, comfy beds and best of all, bird’s-eye views — literally. Each tree house is unique and your stay includes access to beautiful trails, sparkling stars and hot coffee and breakfast in the morning.
Alderbrook Resort and Spa is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, a testament to its lasting popularity. Located on stunning Hood Canal, Alderbrook provides guests with the best of the region’s comforts, from local food and wine to accommodations inspired by the views of the Northwest found right outside your window. With a marina, spa and a variety of accommodations, Alderbrook’s amenities will have you coming back year after year to make this place your go-to retreat. Some rooms are pet-friendly!
The Resort at Port Ludlow condenses the best of the Northwest into one deluxe destination. It offers ways for everyone to escape from the city, from the marina to the golf course to the award-winning dining. It’s simply gorgeous.
For a true getaway, discover the antique charm of the Lake Quinault Lodge deep in the Olympic National Park. The homey lodge preserves its original 1920s atmosphere, even eliminating TVs from some rooms, to guarantee that your stay will feel like a retreat from the pace of modern life. Whether you take in the views of the rainforest from your room or venture into it for hiking, you can unwind by a fireplace and enjoy delicious comfort food in the dining room. It was featured in PBS’s “Great Lodges of National Parks” series.
For the History Lover
You can stay the night in a majestic castle turned bed-and-breakfast. Thornewood Castle in Lakewood, on the shores of American Lake, was constructed a century ago by Chester Thorne, one of the original founders of the Port of Tacoma. It was a gift for his bride. He actually bought the 400-year-old manor from England and had it dismantled and shipped here to be reconstructed. The 27,000-square-foot castle has 54 rooms and sits on 3 acres, which include a sunken English garden. It was the scene of Stephen King’s mini-series, “Rose Red.” Some believe this B&B is haunted. One thing is for sure, there’s nothing else like it.
For a Change in Scenery
Everything you could ever want from a vacation comes together at Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum. (Plus, this time of year you’ll probably experience snow!) Lodging options range from a luxurious state park-inspired lodge to private rental homes or condos. There is no shortage of activities for friends or families, since the 6,400-acre resort has hiking, biking, golf, boating, rock climbing, horseback riding, fishing, and much more. As if that isn’t enough, indoor attractions include a spa, shops and restaurants, outdoor ice skating in winter and a swimming and fitness center. Check out the nearby historic town of Roslyn — home to the old hit TV show, “Twin Peaks.”
For an Island Adventure
If you’re looking to really get lost with your love and in the beauty of the Northwest, San Juan Island holds two resorts not to be missed: Snug Harbor Resort and Lakedale Resort at Three Lakes. With its brand new waterfront cabins, Snug Harbor gives guests the chance to experience the abundance of the sea through complimentary kayaks and canoes as well as a private marina. A few miles in between Friday Harbor and Roche Harbor, Lakedale Resort has a wide variety of lodging, from a hotel to canvas tents for glamping starting in May, to log cabins, traditional camping and an awesome Airstream. Friday Harbor also offers a quaint downtown area for local art, retail and dining options, too.
Or take a bit more of a trip to the Cave B Estate Winery and Resort for all the rugged beauty Eastern Washington offers. With its proximity to the Gorge Amphitheater, you can easily fill a weekend with good music followed by local wine from the estate if you time it right. Some of the accommodations are traditional resort rooms, but for a slightly more posh camping experience, you can stay in Cave B’s unique desert yurts when the weather warms up, a sort of glorified round tent with a private bathroom and a king bed. Amenities include a spa and restaurant as well as a stunning outdoor pool perched on the edge of a cliff, with a view of the Columbia River.
A cozy, rustic getaway, Leavenworth’s Pine River Ranch is just removed enough from the bustling tourist town to make you feel like you’re in your own world. The B&B spot caters to couples, including with a homemade breakfast in bed with the stay. As an added bonus, Stevens Pass Ski Area is only 20 miles away, making this an ideal location for the winter months. Sleeping Lady in Leavenworth is also an amazing place for couples — check out its Sleigh Ride package and glide across the snowy meadows with your honey and warm up afterward in front of a crackling fire.
For Your Inner Artist
Located in the heart of downtown Tacoma, Hotel Murano’s sleek aesthetic will have you inspired to explore the wealth of art The City of Destiny offers. After a day spent wandering around the Chihuly Glass Bridge, the Museum of Glass or the Grand Cinema, all within close walking distance, you’ll be ready for Hotel Murano’s award-winning Savi Day Spa. Grab a meal at Bite, the in-house restaurant and bar.
For Hopeless Romantics
Look no further than Woodinville’s Willows Lodge, in the center of the wine country. Designed with couples in mind, the decadent lodge boasts 5 acres of romantic gardens to get lost in, a world-class restaurant experience, wine-tasting packages at nearby vineyards and an “ahh”-inducing spa. And the rooms are simply divine.
For The Storm Watchers
Hit the ocean with Westport Beach Escapes. It will lead you to privately-owned oceanfront vacation homes and condominiums that are ideal for holing up in to watch the rain blow sideways. Cook a big pot of clam chowder in a gourmet kitchen and cuddle by the fire. Grab a bottle of wine from nearby Westport Winery for a perfect winter escape.
Let the sparkling atmosphere of any of the award-winning Bellevue-area hotels take over your senses, providing the perfect backdrop to a weekend of pampering. The sleek, modern décor of the Hyatt Regency Bellevue, Westin Bellevue and Hotel Bellevue will have you ready to experience the attractions of the city as you treat yourself to the plethora of shopping, dining and entertainment nearby. Stop by boutique nail salon Julep for manicures or relax with a facial at the Red Door Spa or Skoah.
For the Lucky Ones
Bet on a good time at an area casino and resort. There are a lot of them. Clearwater Casino Resort in Suquamish has comfortable beds and a spa. At Quinault Beach Resort and Casino near Ocean Shores, enjoy the view and the amazing dining. At Tulalip Resort Casino near Marysville, enjoy gaming, dining and nearby shopping. Maybe you’ll win big, or at least have a great time trying.
For The Foodies
The Kirkland Woodmark Hotel’s Bin on the Lake gives you the chance to taste the flavors and the spirits of the Northwest in a modern, upscale restaurant and bar. The Mediterranean influence of the cuisine as well as the restaurant’s signature wine list and cocktails ensure that the spot will become your go-to for innovative dishes paired with thoughtful drinks.
The award-winning Trellis Restaurant at the Heathman Hotel in Kirkland should be on any local foodie’s list. Their commitment to farm fresh, seasonal and local products is reflected in the constant variety of their menus. From the wine list to the dessert menu, every dish at Trellis is inspired by and infused with the flavors and philosophies of the local wine and farm country. An unforgettable farm-to-table dining experience awaits you at Trellis. They also offer private dining options for a more personal affair.
The artisan ambiance of Cedarbrook Lodge’s Copperleaf Restaurant & Bar carries over into their handcrafted cuisine. Many dishes feature produce from their on-site garden, and a local emphasis can be found in every aspect of the restaurant. The best of the Northwest’s flavors and produce are carefully incorporated into the menu at Copperleaf, guaranteeing that your palate will be satisfied.
Don’t be fooled by Salish Lodge & Spa’s simply-named The Dining Room and The Attic: these two restaurants have menus to match the fanciest. Although the spectacular setting of the Snoqualmie Falls might make you want to stay outside all night, the exquisite food and wine at the lodge is a draw in itself. Traditional comfort foods meet the local aesthetic of the Northwest in The Dining Room. Head to The Attic for a more casual meal.
For the Family
Throw on the swimsuits and head to Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound to relive sunny summer memories at the expansive, heated indoor water park. Endless fun awaits you and your children, whether you spend all day splashing in the waves or contending in the live-action adventure games. Group story time and a variety of dining options ensure your stay at Great Wolf Lodge will be a memorable one for you and your kids.
For the Music Lovers
Modern is the word at Seattle’s posh Hotel Max, where the city’s urban vibes and rich music history come together. For true music aficionados, stay on the Sub Pop floor, where each room is dedicated to the local indie label’s most well-known artists. While the city has a wealth of music to keep you busy during your stay, be sure not to miss the Experience Music Project at the Seattle Center, and check out the Seattle Theatre Group’s website for upcoming bands and plays. And for a classic, eat at the Hard Rock Café to round out your musical experience in Seattle.
For The Skiers
Just an hour and a half from Tacoma, Crystal Mountain is the go-to ski resort for those looking to get in a solid day of powder without having to take an extended trip. If you are looking to stay overnight, however, Crystal offers a variety of cabins, condos and lodges for rent. A fun bonus at Crystal is the Mt. Rainier Gondola, which gives passengers the chance to see stunning high-altitude views and takes you to Summit House, where you can dine in the sky.
Although a bit farther away, B.C.’s Whistler Blackcomb is the skiing destination for the Northwest. This resort has everything: heli-skiing, two new lifts opening this season, more than 200 runs between the two mountains and a multitude of activities like snowmobiling, zip-lining and backcountry tours. In the Whistler Village you will find even more to do, from shopping and spas to restaurants and bars galore, guaranteeing that the trek across the border will be well worth your while.
Or head south to Sunriver Resort, voted one of the Top 50 Ski Resort Hotels in North America by Conde Nast Traveler. Mount Bachelor is about 20 minutes from the resort and promises a lot of that dry powder skiers crave. Stay at the resort and also enjoy one-horse open sleigh rides (ah, are you hearing music, too?), and nearby sledding, tubing, snowshoeing, dog-sledding, cross country skiing and more. Truly a winter wonderland in Central Oregon — close enough to the South Sound and amazing enough to travel for to make our list!
From top to bottom photos courtesy Rodrigo DeMedeiros; Wayne Robinson; Hotel Murano; Casey Klein, Great Wolf Resorts