Outside of Washington State residents, not many people have heard of Woodinville, a small suburb approximately 25 minutes North of Seattle. But one of the Pacific Northwest’s best kept secrets is quickly being discovered by anyone looking for a spectacular weekend getaway where great wine, terrific food and absolute relaxation is the objective.
Willows Lodge has firmly entrenched itself as THE place to stay in Woodinville and for very good reason. A member of the Preferred Hotel Group®, it has been recognized multiple times by both Condé Nast Traveler and Travel & Leisure as one of the very best hotels in the United States. The moment you pull into the driveway you’ll understand why. The property sits alongside the Sammamish River on five beautiful acres of natural landscape filled with tranquil gardens, soothing water features and serene sitting areas perfect for enjoying a quiet moment to yourself.
From the large 1,500 year old burnt out “Willows Snag” standing guard in the centre of the driveway serving as a dramatic homage to the history of the area, to the Douglas Firs present throughout the Lodge’s structured beams, the owners have managed to successfully combine rustic agrarianism with sophisticated elegance resulting in a truly exceptional five star atmosphere.
The overall sense of down-to-earth charm is personified in each and every team member at Willows Lodge from the bellman, front desk staff, and concierge, to the room attendants and wait staff in the lobby bar. Their genuine warmth and friendliness extends well beyond the standard perfunctory greetings into enjoyable conversations filled with recommendations to ensure you have the best experience possible both at the Lodge and within the surrounding area.
As you enter the front doors of the lodge the first thing you’ll notice is the large stone fireplace separating the lobby from the Fireside bar. The comfortable soft leather armchairs invite you to stay for a while, and many do, along with their morning coffee and the local newspaper. As you sit by the fire sipping your complimentary glass of wine provided at check-in, your eyes will likely survey the spacious ceilings and wooden staircase leading to the 2nd floor where you’ll be intrigued by the stunning Northwest Native art hanging above. Take a closer look and you’ll see that the owners are in fact fine connoisseurs of Northwest Art affirmed by the Bill Reid and Robertson Davies pieces adorning the hallways.
If the grounds and overall feel haven’t relaxed you quite enough yet, the Spa at Willows Lodge awaits with a full list of services for the face and body and a soothing dip in the outdoor hydrotherapy pool.
Once settled in, you’ll be hard pressed to leave the comfort of your room even with some of the best Washington wine tasting rooms within walking distance from the Lodge. Apart from the soft towels, plush bathrobes, and luxury bed linens that you would expect from a five star accommodation, each of the 84 rooms feature their own fireplace, large soaker tub and private balcony or patio. The Lodge is even dog-friendly as our furry travel companion Tabitha recently found out. The Willows Very Important Pet program (WVIP) provides a large doggie bed (complete with turndown service of course!) food & water bowls, treats, City & Dog Magazine and an in-room menu of food prepared exclusively by Dining Dog Café.
Dining options for human guests are a little more diverse with the Barking Frog Restaurant located adjacent to the main building featuring critically acclaimed Executive Chef Bobby Moore and an equally impressive wine list and menu highlighting the best the region has to offer. In keeping with the high standards set by the Lodge, the room maintains a casual but elegant ambience focused around the circular table complete with a fireplace as its centerpiece. The Barking Frog also provides the menu at the Fireside Lobby Bar so if you haven’t managed to leave the leather armchair by the fire yet, fear not, you can enjoy their amazing menu without having to step foot out of the Lodge. Fireside is definitely the place to be on Friday and Saturday nights as tourists and locals alike gather to hear live music featuring top quality acoustic performances by The Side Project and Robbie Christmas.
For a true dining experience, the Triple-A 5-Diamond award winning Herbfarm Restaurant also calls the Willows Lodge property home. Open Thursday through Sunday for one seating per night, their themed food/wine pairings are simply unparalleled (featured in an earlier blog post here).
So on your next trip to Washington wine country, check into Willows Lodge, enjoy a glass of the area’s finest by the fire and relax. You’ll really have no choice, nor will you want one.