Just 30 minutes from Seattle, Willows Lodge makes a charming romantic retreat from the city. The rustic-modern hotel is nestled among picturesque wineries in Woodinville wine country, home to more than 140 wineries, wine bars & tasting rooms, including Chateau Ste. Michelle, just a 10-minute walk away. But Willows Lodge isn’t only for oenophiles. The hotel, located on five landscaped acres along the Sammamish River, features scenic grounds, a posh spa, and Barking Frog, one of the region’s best bistros.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Serene and secluded, Willows Lodge is not an ideal option for young children. It's rare to see any.
Spacious rooms and suites embrace classic Pacific Northwest style with warm wood furnishings and stone-trimmed fireplaces; subtle accents in grape and cherry hues nod to wine country. Luxurious rooms and suites, which both come in Nice, Nicer, and Nicest versions, feature unique touches like tables made from reclaimed slate pool tables and soaking tubs tucked behind slatted-wood screens, as well as a private patio or balcony, some with garden views.
Large bathrooms feature an attractive design, with slate floors, white tile, and warm wood trim. Upscale accents include Dornbracht bathroom fixtures, a Mexican marble sink, and beautifully scented toiletries by Molton Brown. But the pièce de résistance? A deep soaking tub for two in every room; a pass-through with a sliding screen for privacy looks out on the flat-screen TV and fireplace. In the hotel’s nicer rooms, the tub is jetted.
Rustic old-growth Douglas fir timbers and a massive stone fireplace complement refined ash woodwork and modern furniture in the lobby, which features a comfortable seating area. Soaring ceilings highlight the luxury lodge’s traditional architecture, a perfect fit for the Woodinville area, where the wealthy once built their country homes. Artwork by Northwest Coast Native Americans hangs in the hotel’s public spaces.
A heated relaxation pool is hidden away in a beautiful Japanese-inspired courtyard garden by the spa.
The attractive spa is routinely named one of the city's best, featuring Carita facials and a full line of Decleor plant-based skincare. Signature body treatments tap the natural health properties of locally harvested ingredients, including local salt, lavender, and honey. For a special treat, choose a massage for two in an outdoor cabana with private garden or an indoor treatment room with a fireplace.
The hotel's fitness center includes Precor cardiovascular equipment, balance balls, and free weights
Rustic yet elegant, the locally famous Barking Frog restaurant is well worth a visit. The gastropub, which serves French-inflected seasonal Pacific Northwest fare in a lovely setting replete with a fireplace and fine china and glassware, takes its name from the frogs that regularly crop up as a symbol in regional Native American storytelling (look for the sculpture by Haida artist Robert Davidson in the entry). The food, service, and ambiance at Barking Frog are excellent.
The indoor-outdoor Fireside Lounge, adjacent to the hotel lobby, is a laid-back spot to enjoy a cocktail or glass of wine while listening to live music.
Oenophiles who plan to spend time tasting wine should consider purchasing a Passport to Woodinville Wine Country. The $75 pass offers complimentary wine tasting at more than 60 participating wineries. Passes typically sell out in advance and can be purchased online.
Many Woodinville visitors use a shuttle or chartered limo to tour area wineries. To reach Seattle by bus from Woodinville, a one-way ride takes about an hour, so it’s doable, though not an ideal option. The physically fit and outdoor-inclined can cycle from Seattle to Woodinville on a scenic 30-mile stretch of the Burke-Gilman Trail. Otherwise, a car is your best bet if you plan to stay outside Seattle.
On the Willows Lodge property, the internationally renowned and award-winning Herbfarm (1-minute walk) serves a nine-course dinner, accompanied by wine pairings, that celebrates the region’s seasonal bounty at its peak. Make your reservations well in advance, as the Herbfarm is deservedly considered one of the best places to dine in the Puget Sound. Woodinville has other choices, as well, including Italianissimo Ristorante and Purple Café and Wine Bar (a short 8-minute drive from the hotel).
Woodinville is for wine lovers, that’s for sure, and you’ll find plenty of options, from major producers like Chateau Ste. Michelle (9-minute walk), which has extensive grounds and a summer concert series, to the small and large tasting rooms dotting the area. Whiskey aficionados should stop by Woodinville Whiskey (5-minute walk), which crafts fine bourbon and rye whiskey on-site, and Red Hook Ale Brewery, which is right next door to Willows Lodge.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Staying in Seattle proper has plenty of perks, but the lovely Willows Lodge, just 30 minutes away, offers an entirely different kind of experience. A treat for romance seekers, spa lovers, foodies, and oenophiles, the secluded hotel is a perfect bookend for a city visit. During the summer season, outdoor concerts and activities in the area sweeten the deal.