In emotionally trying times, nothing assuages the spirit better than getting away for a weekend — and Alderbrook Resort & Spa is exactly the kind of place to do it.
The elegant lodge-style escape has stood the test of time for over 100 years. Founded in 1913, it began as a collection of cabins and teepees and slowly evolved to what it is today: a classic yet comfortable destination hotel catering to Seattle, Portland and beyond. From Seattle, it’s a quick ferry ride plus an hour’s drive through quaint towns along wooded roadways to little Union, Washington. There, Alderbrook is picture-perfectly situated on the southern bank of Hood Canal, a stunningly beautiful fjord carved by glaciers about 13 millenia ago and backed by the snowcapped peaks of the Olympic Mountain range.
Checking into your room feels like coming home to a cozy lake house; simple yet significant touches like a wool blanket, a small skipping stone for you to test out on the canal and a complimentary sketchbook and pencils spark creativity and nurture a meditative state of mind. The Keurig machine in the room makes morning coffee effortless, and honor bar snacks are set out in a cute “Canal Bucket” tin pail. Opt for a canal-view room to ensure access to a window seat and deck looking out across the water to the mountains (though you’ll see plenty of the same from the restaurant or while wandering the grounds, too). Take it one step further by settling into one of the cottages, 15 of them with two bedrooms and a singular cabin with one bedroom, serving as private beach getaways with water-facing patios, fully-equipped kitchens and spacious quarters.
Looking for an excuse to make the trip? You’ll find plenty. For one thing, April is Oyster Month, and Chef Josh Delgado enjoys taking guests down to the canal’s shore, hoisting a collection of oysters onto the dock and shucking them before everyone’s eyes every afternoon of the month. There’s also a Canal Cookout on the third Thursday of every month, a waterfront pop-up that makes room for experimentation with unique cooking methods and hard-to-get ingredients. Of course, the restaurant itself provides a perfectly good reason for a visit, assuming mouthwatering preparations of ultra-fresh seafood accentuated by locally foraged ingredients are your kind of thing.
The drinks follow suit; you’ll find plenty of local Northwest bottlings betwixt the further-flung reds and whites on the wine list. Then again, there’s also something to be said for switching out the fruit for an imaginative whiskey cocktail pairing here — perhaps the Three Shores Manhattan, featuring spirits from Alderbrook’s partner Seattle-based distillery Oola, or the sweet and savory bacon-washed Maple Old Fashioned.
When you’re done wining and dining, unwind even further by the waterfront glass-walled pool, slip into the steamy sauna, enjoy a game of backgammon by the soaring entryway fireplace or simply walk down to the dock and watch the moon rise over the smoothly rippling water. There are few better places to do it. And whether it’s a spa weekend with the girls or a secret getaway with your sweetheart, sometimes you just need to treat yourself.