Out west, everything is huge. The oysters? Like saucers. King crab legs? Long as your arm. The amenities at the Salish Lodge — a 45-minute drive from Seattle, and a recent much-needed pit stop before dropping off my daughter Lucy at college 2,700 miles from our Brooklyn Heights home — are no different. From the jumbo-size beds and Jacuzzi tubs to endless forest views, this hotel goes big. But the property’s most prominent feature is undoubtedly the adjacent Snoqualmie Falls, whose 270-foot drop dwarfs Niagara by over 100 feet.
As soon as we – my husband, Lucy, older daughter Maggie, and I — arrived, we headed toward the falls, wending our way to the bottom through a mile of forest and snacking on wild blackberries along the way. En route, we spotted a storybook’s worth of native fauna: jumping fish, dozens of ducks, and lazily circling raptors above the treetops—but sadly, no bear or Sasquatch sightings.
Back at the lodge, we partook in all the creature comforts the hotel has to offer, beginning with breakfast of eggs Benedict with crab and salmon instead of ham (Predictably, the portions were gigantic). To top it off, our server drizzled a perfect “waterfall” of honey — harvested from Salish’s own hives — onto hot, buttery biscuits.
Next on the agenda: the spa, which channels the surrounding great outdoors with its woody scent and locally sourced, ingredient-rich treatments. Maggie got the honey and oatmeal facial (using more Salish-sourced sweetener). Lucy chose the antioxidant-filled “Damn Good Coffee” facial– named after the catchphrase of Kyle MacLachlan’s character in Twin Peaks, which was filmed at the lodge – and chased it with a body rub infused with local Rainier and Bing cherries. Between treatments, the fam gathered under a mini-waterfall in one of the spa’s two hot mineral baths.
After pausing for complimentary strawberry smoothies, we moved on to the massage rooms, where I unwove tension I didn’t know I had (the “tranquility” massage with lavender aromatherapy is as knot-melting as it sounds). As I listened to the roaring falls right outside the room, I felt my travel-induced kinks disperse, and even the anxiety of leaving my daughter thousands of miles from home lessen.
In our blissed-out post-spa state, we had dinner at Salish’s Dining Room, showcasing hearty Northwest cuisine. My husband and Maggie shared a 28-ounce, 28-day-aged porterhouse with horseradish crème fraîche dipping sauce. Lucy started with sweet corn and crab bisque before moving onto (enormous) sea scallops with peach compote and seared bacon. With trout on my mind since our hike to the river, I ordered a subtle and delicious grilled whole fish stuffed with (yet more) crab.
As hummingbirds sipped nectar in the nasturtium outside our window, we toasted (with Salish’s private label Chardonnay and Merlot) to our perfect day, to Lucy’s last days of childhood, and to the great, big west.