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Spend the Night Next to Stunning Waterfalls at This Washington Lodge — Named One of the Best in the Western U.S. by T+L Readers

Travel + Leisure 9/20/2022 Staff Author

Salish Lodge & Spa in Washington is a Pacific Northwest gem.

Courtesy of Salish Lodge and Spa © Provided by Travel + Leisure Courtesy of Salish Lodge and Spa

The Pacific Northwest is known for its extraordinary scenery. From the Cascade mountain range to acres of vineyards and orchards to countless waterfalls, there’s a beautiful view no matter where you turn. One of the most quintessential vantage points in the state? Washington’s well-known waterfall: Snoqualmie Falls.

Snoqualmie Falls, located 30 minutes east of Seattle, is a popular destination for both locals and travelers. The falls of the Snoqualmie River rush, rumble, and tumble over a 268-foot drop. And while it’s certainly possible to enjoy a day trip to take in the scenery at this easily accessible spot, a visit is made all the more magical by spending the night at Salish Lodge & Spa, tucked right on the edge of the falls and named one of the best resorts in the Western United States inTravel + Leisure’s 2022 World's Best Awards.

The lodge, previously known as the Snoqualmie Falls Lodge, opened in 1916 as an eight-room inn. And though the property ran in a smaller capacity more than 100 years ago, it was a welcome spot for weary travelers who had just made the trek over the Snoqualmie mountain pass or for those who needed to stop and fuel up with a hearty breakfast before making the journey. In 1988, a remodel transformed the property into Salish Lodge & Spa, expanding it to 86 rooms. In 2019, the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe purchased the lodge to return the sacred land to the Snoqualmie people and work to protect the area. This purchase put a halt on any potential future development around the property, keeping the main focus on historical integrity and celebrating the natural beauty and peace that can be found at the falls.

Courtesy of Salish Lodge and Spa © Provided by Travel + Leisure Courtesy of Salish Lodge and Spa

Upon arriving during a recent trip, I was greeted by a friendly valet team. Parking can fill up quickly for visitors to Snoqualmie Falls, especially on weekends and during the summer. However, lodge guests can use complimentary valet to easily secure a spot. The lobby is small yet welcoming, with warm wood tones and a stone fireplace with cozy lounge chairs in front. This space immediately set the tone for the rest of my stay.

As I walked into my room, I was met with a modern-meets-rustic style (picture a neutral color scheme with warm accents and pops of burnt orange, copper, and leather, as well as Pacific Northwest-inspired details such as a live edge wood coffee table and a glowing gas fireplace).

Salish does have an on-site spa, but the lodge also offers in-room treatments, and the modern bathroom — with sleek gray tiling and black detailing — is certainly set up for that experience. To top it off, my oversized soaking tub featured a wooden tray with bath salts.

Before taking off to explore the property, I decided to sit and enjoy the sounds of the river and falls from the patio off of my room. I ordered room service for an early dinner and enjoyed an excellent ground tenderloin burger, along with a side of grilled corn off the cob made with Salish honey and a glass of the lodge’s private label dry honey hard cider.

While visiting the upper viewpoint of Snoqualmie Falls is magical on its own, those looking for a short hike and additional waterfall views can head down a 1.4-mile round-trip trail to the bottom of the falls. Following the route lined with lush, old-growth trees, hikers will end up in a lower parking lot with access to a wooden path and observation deck. Another path from the parking lot provides river access, so you can sit with a picnic or splash in the water on a hot day. I took in the view from the platform deck just as golden hour began, and then started the trek back up the path to catch the sunset over the falls.

On the way back to my room, I snagged a packet of house-made trail mix from a basket near the elevator — a welcome treat after the hike. And upon walking into my room, I was greeted with the gas fireplace on my patio already lit, creating the perfect ambience to wind down for the evening. Each patio features cozy seating and a fireplace, which is lit every night at 8 p.m. Before tucking into bed, I soaked in every moment of the oversized bathtub.

Courtesy of Salish Lodge and Spa © Provided by Travel + Leisure Courtesy of Salish Lodge and Spa Courtesy of Salish Lodge and Spa © Provided by Travel + Leisure Courtesy of Salish Lodge and Spa

The next morning, I couldn’t wait to have breakfast in the dining room. The property offers small plates and shareable dishes for a late afternoon or evening bite in The Attic, an upstairs lounge with an incredible view. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served in the dining room downstairs, with several tables nestled up against large picture windows for admiring the view of the falls, river, and carved gorge below.

Because I arrived just as the dining room was opening for the day, it was easy to snag the best seat in the house. My table was located in a small, private room that protruded from the lodge, giving me a closer view of the falls. My server greeted me with a cup of coffee and asked if I was interested in the lodge’s signature Honey From Heaven experience, a long-standing tradition that’s been running for more than a century. With a name and history like that, I knew I had to see what it was all about.

Courtesy of Salish Lodge and Spa © Provided by Travel + Leisure Courtesy of Salish Lodge and Spa

To kick off breakfast, my server brought me a fresh biscuit, along with a plate of honey butter and jam. I was instructed to slice my biscuit, add my favorite toppings, and leave it face up on my plate. From several feet above me, close to the ceiling, he then poured right onto the biscuit. The fresh honey (from on-site bees) plunged in a steady stream down to the small plate, topping the biscuit. As I sat and enjoyed my biscuit, along with fresh French press coffee, I found peace while staring out the window at the breathtaking view. I finished my cup of coffee with whipped cream and chocolate curls and savored my Greek yogurt with fresh fruit and honey granola.

Salish Lodge welcomes travelers from all over the world, but it also plays host to on-site honeybees. The insects have called this place home since 2011, when beekeeper and apiary expert Daniel Sullivan partnered with the lodge to help combat the national bee crisis. And these happy bees certainly seem to produce a lot of delicious honey.

Courtesy of Salish Lodge and Spa © Provided by Travel + Leisure Courtesy of Salish Lodge and Spa

The honey is jarred and sold in the gift shop, but it’s also used in a variety of food and beverage offerings at the property. Fresh honey is utilized in spiced honey French toast, as well as in an omelet served with a smoked honey aioli. It’s also employed in a number of cocktails, lunch and dinner plates, desserts, and the lodge’s dry honey cider. And, of course, I had those same bees to thank for the honey on my morning biscuit.

Full from breakfast, I took another walk around the grounds and over to the viewing deck of the falls. It was so special to wake up and marvel at the view alone for a few minutes before the area got busy. It allowed me to reflect on why the Snoqualmie tribe finds this land so peaceful and sacred, and the importance of the lodge’s historical integrity. It’s a property that has served travelers in Washington for more than 100 years, with comfortable beds, fresh, hearty meals that highlight the bounty of the region, and remarkable views, making it a must-visit spot for those who want a taste of what the Northwest is all about. 

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