The cozy Willows Lodge lobby makes a grand first impression — Photo courtesy of Willows Lodge
Spending time in Seattle can be so sensational that it's sometimes hard to tear oneself away. But then you learn that nearby destinations can be equally alluring, offering a whole new spin on Pacific Northwest splendor. In nearby Woodinville, for example, Willows Lodge has a strong pull that draws loyal fans time and again.
This intimate, welcoming, Northwest-style lodge, located deep in the heart of wine country, features 84 luxury guest rooms, a full-service spa and high-tech-equipped meeting space. Think roaring fireplaces and dazzling fire pits; yes, now this is reason enough to head east for a Woodinville vacation (or staycation).
Patrons come for the thriving culinary scene, too; Executive Chef Bobby Moore’s "American regional cuisine" at Barking Frog reflects the seasonal and organic produce found in Puget Sound, and the delectable and innovate dishes get paired with an extensive list of regional wines.
Willows Lodge is also home to Fireside, a casual space tucked behind the lobby. (The outdoor patio overlooks the serene surrounding landscape.)
And if you've come really wanting to indulge, The Herbfarm Restaurant, an internationally renowned venue that's been awarded AAA's Five Diamond Award, is a must-try. Here, you'll enjoy "a unique multi-course dining experience rich in the beauty, heritage and food bounty of the Pacific Northwest."
Fire pits create a magical ambiance on the back patio — Photo courtesy of Willows Lodge
This winter, for the the sixth year, Willows Lodge gears up its signature Holiday Boot Camp, a weekly series of cooking, baking and cocktailing classes, all aimed to help novices navigate the challenges of holiday entertaining.
Held at Fireside the first three Wednesdays in December (at 5:30 p.m.), these complimentary classes include sample bites or sips plus printed recipes that guests can take home. These events begin at 5:30 p.m., but early arrival is strongly encouraged, as seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Enjoy Holiday Party Apps and Bubbles with Executive Chef Bobby Moore from Barking Frog on Dec. 3; Holiday Desserts with Pastry Chef Matt Kelley on Dec. 10; and Holiday Cocktails on Dec. 17, during which Wine Director Anthony Berkau and Cocktail Director Court Knoop whip up a few of the lodge’s favorite holiday cocktails and winter warming drinks.
Another big Willows draw happens to be its highly praised spa, and new treatments this season give even more reason to treat oneself. There's the Perfect Sandlimming Treatment, a 90-minute deep massage with essential oils designed to "trim, sculpt and detox" and "to increase circulation, encourage drainage and provide targeted slimming to key areas of your body."
Other options include the 60-minute Perfect Legs Treatment and the 45-minute Honey and Lavender Body Treatment.
What to do in Woodinville outside of Willows? The options are endless. Some of our top picks include going for a easy paced, flat bike ride along the Sammamish River Trail, followed by a scrumptious breakfast at The Commons, a friendly, airy spot that serves flaky biscuit sandwiches and scrambles chock-full of local seafood.
Imbibe on delicious varietals at Betz Family Winery, Fidelitas Wines and DeLille Cellars, or check out an entirely different scene by heading to the funky Warehouse District. Here, highlights range from Estefe to Refuge & Prospect, a hipster-tainted tasting room where the owners are charmingly authentic, and the funky space proves the perfect space in which to sip tasty (and affordable!) blends.
Feeling overwhelmed by the wine options? No problem. Head to nearby Redhook Brewery or Woodinville Whiskey Co. Before leaving town, consider indulging in a top-notch dining adventure in nearby Kirkland at Café Juanita. Believe us: You'll be glad you did.