NW Getaway: Alderbrook Resort and Spa
On the eastern edge of the Olympic Peninsula, a short two-hour drive from Vancouver, lies Alderbrook Resort and Spa, on the shores of Hood Canal, part of the larger Puget Sound waterway system. Not to be confused with Alderbrook Park in Brush Prairie, Alderbrook Resort is a full service hotel and spa, with no shortage of on-site and regional recreational activities. The property also holds a special connection to the local land, water and ecosystem, and a long history of providing both commerce and respite to the region just north of Olympia.
The resort started out as a collection of cottages, built on the beach in 1913, designed as a getaway from Seattle. At that time, visitors arrived by boat—a two-day ride by sailboat, and a full day ride by motorboat from Seattle in the watercraft of the day—since there were no highways by which to access the rural wooded location. Pleasant, flat water due to wind protection from the mountains and less rainfall than other parts of the peninsula made the trip well worth making. At the same time, the nearby Skokomish River Delta on Hood Canal functioned as a popular logging hub from which to ship wood harvested from what is now the protected Olympic National Forest out to anywhere in the world, since the glacier-carved canal (650 feet deep in some places) eventually flows out to the Salish Sea and the Pacific Ocean.
Over the years, as roads improved land access to the resort, it grew to meet demand. A lobby and guest rooms to compliment the vacation cottages were built in the 1960s, and 40 years later, in 2006, a much larger expansion provided the resort with a grander lodge-style lobby, even more guest rooms, an indoor pool, a spa and fitness center, ballrooms, and meeting rooms. The original cottages have been continuously maintained and still make up an important part of the resort, lying just adjacent to the main building in a village-type layout. A paved path circles the perimeter of the central cottage lawn that includes a gazebo, firepit, volleyball and badminton net, games such as croquet, and more. Inside, each cottage features 2 bedrooms, pull out couches, and a full kitchen. All of the cottage porches face inward toward that central lawn, allowing kids to play freely outside, under parents’ watchful eyes.
With the most recent main lodge renovations in 2006, great care was taken to maintain the style of the historic, and still fully functioning, portions of the property and to mirror the surrounding environment. In today’s main lobby, grand Douglas fir pillars connect to crossbeams intended to mimic the abundant evergreens that surround the property, and large windows expose the majestic Olympic Mountain Range just across the narrow canal.
The rest of the resort also flows with the natural environment.
Lady Alderbrook, the resort’s cruise boat with a capacity of 80 passengers, specializes in private meetings, parties and weddings, and occasionally also offers public tours.