Alaska/Horizon Air Magazine
Salish Lodge and Spa
by Michelle Andrus Dill
“Lobster bisque with tarragon creme: Incredible.”
“Artisan foie gras ‘float’ with truffle-potato mousseline: Amazing.”
“Seared, plum-marinated Kobe-beef tenderloin over currant-pecan bread pudding: Outstanding.”
As my husband, Michael, and I enjoy the pinewood fire in our room at Salish Lodge and Spa, we happily review what we had for dinner the night before via the six-course Grand Tasting Menu. We feel like Edmond Dantes exulting over his new found treasure in The Count of Monte Cristo, except we’re reveling in a sparkling culinary memory.
The Tasting Menu–whose beautifully presented dishes can be paired with any of the 1,850 selections in Salish’s “Wine Bible”–is reinvented each season under the expert direction of executive chef Roy Breiman, who has cooked for top restaurants in France and who in November served a “Best Hotel Chefs of America” dinner at New York’s [James] Beard House.
“Exquisite food and great service definitely make you feel like you’ve escaped the ordinary and achieved the extraordinary.” I note to Michael as he adjusts the fire. “No wonder six couples are celebrating their anniversaries here this weekend.”
Salish Lodge, which dates back to 1916, is located just a half hour east of Seattle and sits on a cliff overlooking 268-foot Snoqualmie Falls–100 feet higher than Niagara Falls. The lodge has always been famous for its hospitality and hearty country breakfasts, but after it was remodeled in 1988 and expanded to 66,000 square feet of warm, wood-beamed luxury, it also gained renown as a romantic retreat.
Over the past few years, the 89-room lodge has partnered with other companies to complement romance and pampering with excursions such as golfing, hiking, mountain biking, snowshoeing, bald eagle viewing, skiing, tubing, snow mobiling, whitewater rafting and fly-fishing.
Fly-fishing is the activity Michael’s keen on, so after we enjoy the country breakfast, we meet Dave McCoy, owner of Emerald Water Anglers, who drives us, and his Koffler driftboat, to a spot just 10 minutes away on the woodsy Snoqualmie River. Several kinds of trout bite here spring through fall, and steelhead are found fall and winter. We practice casting under Dave’s patient direction, and faster than I can hum Song of the Fishes, Michael has a bite. Then, after we stop a couple of miles from our put-in to drop anchor and wade in the 2-foot water, Michael brings in a nice rainbow. Before to long, I catch and release a 10 inch whitefish, and over the next hour, we each get more than 15 bites.
When Dave calls that lunch–freshly barbecued salmon–is ready, we see that he’s set up folding chairs and a table in a shallow spot in the middle of the river, creating novel and truly alfresco dining.
After Dave drops us off back at the lodge, I get to experience river rocks in a different way, at the spa, where a therapists’s sweeping strokes with warm stones soothe my fatigued muscles. The spa experience is so wonderful, I decide to also enjoy the spa amenity in our room. As I open our French dorrs to get the rull effect of water roaring over the falls, Michael fills the two-person Sanijet Pipeless Whirlpool Spa and Bath, which is designed to be expecially hygienic.
Michael thinks the tub’s best feature, however, is the control panel. There are buttons to push for targeted water massage; for linear, random or aerobic pulsing; and for color-changing chromotherapy lights.
Salish spent $650,000 this year to become the first hotel in the world to provide the special tub in every room. That kind of attention to detail has led to the lodge’s multiyear presence on the Conde Nast Traveler and Travel and Leisure lists of the world’s best places to stay. Now it’s on my list, too. Winter room rates start at $250.