Some things get better with age. Like a fine wine, well-preserved and cared for, Alderbrook Resort & Spa continues to develop into an increasingly more attractive destination each year. From its early beginnings in 1913, when guests stayed in framed tents, until today where the resort features 77 luxury guest rooms and 16 private one and two-bedroom cottages, the staff throughout the years has worked to preserve a spirit and philosophy of putting guests first and helping them create heartwarming memories.
The Culture | Kathryn Kamin, Director of Marketing at the resort, says, “There are brick and mortar destinations everywhere with fascinating places to visit including amazing boutique resorts and hotels, but that can only go so far. Our strength is flexibility, and we are incredibly accommodating.” General Manager Shaun Tucker says, “We have a willingness to say ‘why not’ to almost any request. We have a ‘yes we can’ attitude because it is all about the people. We want guests to be happy, so we focus a lot on the culture here.”
The resort rests on the south shore of Hood Canal overlooking the magnificent Olympic Mountains less than a three-hour drive from Portland, Oregon, and under two hours from Seattle, Washington. Kathryn says, “We really are not that far from Seattle or Portland, but it feels like we are.”
The Heart | The property has changed hands many times over the last century; but when Clara Eastwood and Eloise Flagg (known as the “Alderbrook Girls”) purchased the resort in 1925, the heart of the resort was born. The Girls created a spirit of retreat and restoration, a place where people could get away from everyday life and experience everything that the Pacific Northwest had to offer.
The Activities | Situated near water and wilderness, guests can relax on the beach and take a dip in the waterway or independently explore and hike part or all of the five miles of forested trails on the property. Whether a guest wants to play a game of volleyball with friends or family, sit by one of the mesmerizing firesides, or participate in organized activities, there is something for everyone.
The resort offers some unique options—guests can forage and cook with the Executive Chef Ben Jones or join the moonlight yoga class offered on the lawn during the warmer months. Sketching classes, kid’s watercolor painting, geocaching and numerous other opportunities are available throughout the year.
Amenities at the resort include a saltwater pool, spa, event space, checkerboard tent for events, volleyball net, the Xbox game room, and multiple fire pits around the property. Boat rentals are available in the summer along with numerous other types of water toys, which are fun for the young and old. For those that prefer playing on the green instead of the water, there are several golf courses nearby. The “Lady Alderbrook,” the resort’s private cruise ship, accommodates up to 80 guests for private dinner party cruises on the canal.
The Guests | Alderbrook is the perfect destination for corporate meetings, weddings, family reunions, or just an escape from the routine. Shaun says, “The resort is a place where people have the opportunity to disconnect from their phone and daily routines, or a place where they can connect with the people they care about. They can even spend time with a good book as there are not a lot of distractions.” Whether guests choose to arrive by boat, car, or seaplane, the resort can accommodate arrivals from each mode of transportation.
In September 2002 the resort shut down for one and a half years for a complete remodel, and in January 2018 guest room amenities were refreshed. All rooms include premium linens, and some feature soaking tubs or fireplaces. Shaun commented that the rooms are finely furnished but not so stuffy that you have to worry if you have a little sand on your feet when you lie down on the bed for a short nap.
The Spa | The world-class, full-service spa is exactly that. When visiting the resort last fall, I began my treatment by unwinding for a few minutes in the relaxation room. After that short time, my masseuse guided me into my treatment room. The spa offers a variety of treatments including facials, massages, scrubs, and wraps. I chose the relaxation massage, which is a classic massage designed to loosen tense muscles and increase circulation by using long gentle strokes. As I relinquished my body to the skillful hands of my masseuse, I found that my cares quickly drifted away along with the tension and knots that I once held so securely. After a glorious hour of personal pampering, I returned to my room and dressed for dinner.
The Restaurant | My husband Steve accompanied me. We enjoyed the short walk from our two-bedroom cottage on the waterfront, passing the tranquil brook running through the property on our way to The Restaurant at Alderbrook Restaurant. We chatted while we excitedly anticipated being wined and dined at dinner. The restaurant boasts a history where their executive chefs have repeatedly incorporated local ingredients. Whether it is foraging in the woods for mushrooms, gathering oysters and clams from near the dock, or collecting salicornia, a succulent commonly referred to as sea asparagus from the brook, onsite ingredients have played a robust long-term role in cuisine served at the restaurant.
In March 2018 Chef Ben Jones joined the staff as the new Executive Chef at The Restaurant at Alderbrook. Chef Jones continues the tradition left by Chef Josh Delgado in fostering relationships with local farmers and purveyors and by securing the freshest and best ingredients that the area has to offer to use in his dishes.
During our dinner, I enjoyed superbly prepared seared duck breast with compressed grapes, and braised farm greens. Steve savored the perfectly seasoned Double R Ranch ribeye with fingerling potatoes, wild mushrooms, and a Blue Ox whiskey cream with demi Cabernet. The Blue Ox whiskey is the resort’s signature brand. We finished dinner with a chocolate Napoleon with hazelnut meringue and a lemon semolina cake.
The Legacy | The Alderbrook is the perfect place to retreat from everyday life. I can’t imagine how thrilled and excited the Alderbrook Girls would be to see how the resort has flourished over the years and how the spirit of renewal and adventure they created is still alive and thriving today.
| Photos courtesy of The Alderbrook Resort & Spa.