The luxurious Salish Lodge & Spa is situated atop Snoqualmie Falls on land that is a sacred site for the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe about 30 minutes from Seattle. Ownership has changed hands over the years since the first inn was built in 1916. It is now owned by the Snoqualmie who purchased the property, which includes 45 acres of the tribe’s traditional territory, the Salish Lodge & Spa, and the land surrounding Snoqualmie Falls. The iconic indulgent resort is a definite win for a romantic getaway.
The Salish Lodge is just a short drive from Interstate 90 but feels worlds away from the hustle and bustle of Seattle. The charming small towns of Snoqualmie and North Bend are nearby with cute main streets filled with shops and cafes. If you are a fan of Twin Peaks, the David Lynch TV mystery series, you may recognize the lodge where exterior scenes were shot for the show.
Thank you to Green Rubino and the Salish Lodge for hosting me on a press trip.
There are so many reasons to love this iconic resort.
1. Snoqualmie Falls
You could not have picked a more romantic site for a luxury resort. The property overlooks the spectacular 268-foot Snoqualmie Falls which has an impressive water flow year-round. It is one of Washington’s most popular attractions and sees more than 1.5 million visitors each year. Before checking into the Salish Lodge, head to the Lower Park, a short hike to the base of the falls.
The Lower Park has a nice parking area, restrooms, and a beautifully maintained trail that takes you on a boardwalk following the Snoqualmie River past the hydroelectric plant to the base of the falls. The trail is fairly easy but there are a number of stairs, so it is not ADA accessible. Snoqualmie Falls is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a “Significant Cultural Site” within the United States. It received this designation due to its importance to the Snoqualmie people. You can read this and more on the interpretive signs along the trail.
From the Salish Lodge, you can access the walking paths that lead to the upper overlooks and stunning views of Snoqualmie Falls. The best part about staying at the lodge is the park closes at dusk and the crowds go home. Guests of the resort have access to the overlooks and the falls are illuminated at night. It is just stunning. The rushing water roaring over the falls and glittering like diamonds in the night sky is magical. If you are lucky enough to have a clear night and a full moon, it provides a lovely backdrop for the falls.
2. The Country Breakfast
Guests have enjoyed this breakfast feast for over 100 years and the lodge is famed for it. It is served until 1:00 p.m. and includes a Baker’s Basket of fresh pastries, old-fashioned steel-cut oats, lemon ricotta pancakes, three free range eggs any style, smoked bacon, ham steak, apple pork sausage, hashed Yukon potatoes, and a choice of juice, coffee, or tea. The showstopper is the “Honey from Heaven” service, a Salish Lodge tradition, where honey from the resort’s hives is poured from high above your plate onto buttery house-made biscuits.
3. Club 268
If you book a Spa Level River View guestroom it includes access to Club 268. It is named after the 268-foot Snoqualmie Falls and is the ultimate Salish Lodge experience. Rooms have beautiful views of the Snoqualmie River, and you are on the same floor as the spa. The pampering begins when you arrive in your room to a welcome amenity of rich chocolate truffles and other gifts. In your spa-themed shower, enjoy a body scrub, whipped body butter, and a eucalyptus shower spray for the ultimate relaxation. With easy access to the spa, you can enjoy the upper spa soaking pools throughout your stay as well as the sauna, steam rooms, and relaxation space.
Just next to the front desk is the Club 268 lounge, which you will have access to throughout your stay. Each evening from 5:30–6:00 p.m., sip a specialty cocktail of the day or a local Washington wine while you nibble on appetizers. The lounge has comfortable seating with a large screen TV and a wood-burning fireplace. Snacks are available throughout the day with a variety of beverages. In the morning, a light continental breakfast is served.
4. The Spa
The Spa at the Salish Lodge is the epitome of respite from the stress of life. From the time you enter the relaxation area, you immediately begin to relax. Cedar and eucalyptus aromatherapy scents the air with soothing music playing in the background. Conde Nast Traveler named it one of the “Top 50 Hotel Spas in the United States” and it is easy to see why. Treatments revolve around a Pacific Northwest theme using fresh herbs from the onsite garden as well as honey from the lodge’s apiary.
After your treatment, plan to spend some time relaxing in the spa’s facilities starting with time in the steam room or sauna and then a dip in the soaking pools. Follow with a rainfall shower and then enjoy a cup of tea in the relaxation room.
For a truly indulgent experience, book the Salish Signature Package which includes a 1-night stay, two 50-minute individual Salish Signature spa treatments of your choice, a $150 dining credit in the dining room, the four-course country breakfast for two, a bottle of Salish Lodge & Spa Brut, and a keepsake Salish picture frame in your room. Pricey, but so worth the splurge.
5. The Bees
In 2011, in response to the losses in the bee population, a national crisis and threat to the nation’s agriculture, the Salish Lodge & Spa acted. The company joined with Washington native Daniel Sullivan, an apiary expert who is known as the “Beeman.” He initially installed four hives with 120,000 bees, but more honey was needed, so a year later, the number of hives grew to 12. The Italian honey bees produce pounds of organic honey that you can find as ingredients on the restaurant menus, in the spa treatments, or in the gift shop. The unseasonably warm weather this spring resulted in an early harvest in June. This honey has a beautiful amber color with an orange blossom/citrus finish on the tongue. It really is good.
6. The Dining Room
I knew this was going to be an outstanding meal from the moment our server Jarred brought out the bread service with an outstanding presentation. The typical olive oil and herbs were taken to a whole new level with a plate drizzled with balsamic vinegar, seasonings, and a candle in the center made of olive and coconut oils which melted to create a dipping sauce for the bread. It just added to the magical atmosphere of the restaurant with its gorgeous, warm décor and views of the Snoqualmie River. For starters, my husband had a deconstructed Romaine Caesar salad with harissa chickpeas, preserved lemon, parmesan, black garlic dressing, and Dijon croutons, while I tried the carrot and sweet potato soup with smoked crème Fraiche, honey, and crunchy seeds from the “Honey Month Tasting Menu.” I liked the option to order items from this special menu ala carte.
My husband and I opted to try the special that evening of the Chateaubriand for Two. We debated because we each like a different temperature for our steaks. No worries, Jarred said the chef could prepare the 17-ounce center-cut filet mignon of 28-day dry-aged Washington Angus beef from St. Helens Ranch in two portions so we could each have it cooked the way we liked. Again, a show-stopping presentation as Jarred prepared a sauce tableside. He sautéed shallots in olive oil before flaming the skillet with brandy and finishing the sauce with butter prior to plating our meals. The skillet steamed up, emitting the aroma throughout the restaurant and adding to the sensory experience. For the two included sides, we opted for the Northwest Grits & Cheese Curds with Salish honey, roasted corn, and chives, and the seared summer beans with country ham, pickled cipollini onion, and cornbread croutons; truly a divine meal. In hindsight, we would have passed on the starters due to the large portions of the entrée, but we took home the extra for another meal.
Not far from the Salish Lodge and Spa is darling historic Snoqualmie. Just one walkable main street, the town is a fun destination to while away a few hours. There are sidewalk cafes, cute shops, and the Northwest Railroad Museum to explore. You can book a train ride with the museum, climbing aboard historic passenger cars either at the North Bend or Snoqualmie depots. The 2-hour round-trip train ride travels west to the top of Snoqualmie Falls stopping at the crest for a view of the lower river valley, and you can see the top one-third of the falls. On the return trip, there is a 30-minute stopover to visit the Train Shed Exhibit Hall before heading back to the depots.