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Salish Lodge & Spa
6501 Railroad Ave.
Snoqualmie, WA 98065
800-272-5474, 425-888-2556

Comfort in the Cascades
Nature and Nurture in the Pacific Northwest

Perched at the edge of a tumbling cascade

One of the qualities that sets Seattle apart from most major U.S. cities is the natural beauty of its setting. Neighborhoods wind around a bay, sound and lakes, and if you drive less than an hour from downtown, you can find yourself in the San Juan Islands, Mount Rainier National Park or Woodinville Wine Country. For those seeking more than a day trip, inns, cabins and luxury hotels sprout among the evergreens. Among our favorites: Salish Lodge & Spa.

In harmony with its Northwest surroundings, the lodge sits in the foothills of the Cascades, thirty miles east of Seattle. Embraced by Douglas fir, western hemlock, Sitka spruce and the steep slope of Little Si Mountain (popular with local hikers), it is best known for its proximity to the 268-foot Snoqualmie Falls. More than just a natural wonder, the falls are the site of the Snoqualmie Tribe’s creation myth, as well as a source of the spiritual mood that permeates the area. The lodge perches at the edge of it, and those rooms gazing over the tumbling water are restorative, especially if you leave your balcony door open to listen to its thunder at night.

Cozy Guestrooms
Bedside Fireplaces

Although Salish Lodge & Spa is luxurious, with its tastefully opulent Craftsman design, this is no white-glove-treatment crash pad. It’s comfortable, thanks to cozy public spaces and the unpretentious personalities of its homegrown talent, beginning with General Manager, Sam Johnson. The lodge also appeals for its sense of history. Those fans (mainly Japanese tourists, these days) who know it only as a setting for the cult TV show, "Twin Peaks," might be surprised to learn that: A) the interior is not a cauldron of kitsch, and B) the property is a local institution, dating back to 1916 when it was built as an eight-room inn. As the last stop for travelers heading over Snoqualmie Pass to Ellensburg, it served a hearty breakfast that is now a tradition. The breakfast still includes the lodge’s famous steel-cut oatmeal, but certain flavors have been refined: vanilla-infused whipped cream for your coffee and fireweed honey from Redmond for the buttermilk biscuits.

Seasonal Menu
Dining Room

Today, all that remains from the original structure is part of the fireplace in The Dining Room. Salish Lodge & Spa has been completely rebuilt around the old plan, stair-stepped into the hill so that you enter on the third floor. Attention to quality and craftsmanship are evident throughout; floors are made from Montana slate, and wood detailing comes from straight-grain natural fir, free of knots. The abundant use of wood serves as a kind of aromatherapy, as well as integrating the indoor and outdoor worlds. The 91 accommodations, which include four suites, feature bedside wood-burning fireplaces, feather beds, two-person whirlpool tubs and balconies or window seats. Décor in both guestrooms and public spaces is equally respectful of the area’s history and culture: vintage photos, native weavings, copper chandeliers and lots of fresh flowers. Come in the spring and you’ll find bouquets of tulips everywhere.

Stunning Setting
Cascade Views

Under the care of executive chef Roy Breiman, the reputation of The Dining Room has shifted from being a one-off for special occasions to a favorite haunt for gourmet nights out. We like the way the market fresh, seasonal menu relies on the bounty of the region, incorporating Pacific Coast seafood, Olympic Range huckleberries, produce from Full Circle organic farm and wines from the Okanogan and Willamette Valleys. We recommend reserving a table in one of the private alcoves.

Along with the Dining Room, a fabulous spa contributes to the destination value of the lodge, with its soothing blend of Japanese and Northwest styles. This is also a popular venue for conference-goers. Five meeting rooms (all with fireplaces) attract T-shirt wearing executives from Microsoft, Nike and other area companies. The Adventure Center is available for both individuals and corporate groups, to arrange fly fishing, biking, hiking and exclusive access to Snoqualmie Ridge Golf Club; there are great views of the lodge from the twelfth tee. In addition, the Falls Terrace hosts its share of small weddings, particularly second weddings.

When asked about the unique allure of the lodge, spa director Joan Southon goes straight to the source. "When you walk to the bottom of the falls," she says," "you feel how sacred the area is." We agree: The Snoqualmie Falls have a mystical effect on the Salish Lodge & Spa. But while nature provides the captivating environment, credit must also be given to nurture, which ensures that guests find refuge in this divine place.

Going to Washington? Check out our guide.

(Updated: 06/27/08 HC)

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