Willows Lodge is an older guard eco-friendly hotel with spa and gardens and trails and ropes course located in Woodinville, a small town that’s rather far away from Seattle. But it’s not out in the deep woods that coat the Pacific Northwest in perpetual green, either. It turns out that Woodinville is a small but active wine and beer-making town. The Redhook Brewery sits right next door to Willows–it’s an easy walk to take the brewery tour or to eat at the adjoining brew-pub. I don’t like beer, so this made a poor selling point for me personally. I found the nearby wineries much more interesting.
Finding my way to Willows Lodge was a job of work. My GPS didn’t take the roundabouts into account. Nor were the street names accurate. Sigh. Once I made it to the parking lot, I got confused about what was the Lodge lobby and what were the two restaurants across the entry road. I ended up parked ‘way at the back of the lot, from which I had to hoof it up to the lobby. Should’ve gone with the valet service. Live and learn.
Rooms don’t open up at Willows Lodge until 4pm, and they’re serious about that. Not great for early arrivals. To offset the inconvenience, the lobby leads to a comfy lounge with deep upholstered chairs and a fireplace. I hung out there for over an hour in relative comfort. In the evening, this space becomes part of the hotel bar’s seating. Just outside, a garden shines green and gorgeous. Tables and chairs out there are also available for early arrivers or late leavers. Provided that it’s not raining, of course.
Desk service was excellent; bell service was superior. My bell guy showed me how to work everything in the room, warned me that the TV might be wonky (which was true, more on that later), and promised to bring me some lavender bubble bath later. Which he did.
My room had all the elements I’ve come to expect from an upper tier resort, plus a few bonus bennies that made me especially happy.
The usual: A spacious space surrounding a comfortable Cal King bed made up with shining white scent-free linens. Mini-bar and snack foods available any time in the room (for a fee, of course). Room service starting early and running late–but not 24 hour. Several local tourist magazines. A comfy reading chair with appropriate lighting. A nice view out into the gardens and beyond. An oversized bathroom with classy amenities including a hair dryer, cotton balls and swabs, and all the toiletries I could want.
Good extras: Ear plugs. (You laugh, but a set of free ear plugs if I’d forgotten mine would be worth their weight in gold.) Furniture set up so that eating room service at the table was comfortable and convenient. Oversized spa bathtub looked out over the main room, so I could watch TV or chat with my fiancé while splashing in my bubble bath if I wanted to. Separate shower had temperature control for the water. Turns out I like my shower at about 107 degrees F.
As mentioned, two high-end restaurants sit across the street from the Willows Lodge. The Barking Frog provides room service to the hotel. The Herbfarm Restaurant is a separate entity–expect to need reservations at either restaurant on Fri and Sat nights.
The on-site spa offers the usual array of body and facial treatments. I went for the Jet-Lag Massage–a combination of Swedish and other styles that concentrates on relaxation and release of toxins. Though my massage therapist was achingly young and definitely new to the spa, she did a good job with this style of treatment. I left feeling loose and relaxed, and better able to tolerate the plane flight later that night.
The gardens surrounding the Lodge include pretty paths that encourage gentle walking. Willows provides umbrellas for walkers determined to stroll despite western Washington’s endless rains. Beyond the gardens, one of the area’s major multi-use paths, the Burke-Gilman Sammamish Trail stretches all the way down to Seattle proper. Bikers, skaters, runners, and walkers all share the paved path, which looked pretty level and followed a nice mid-sized waterway where I saw it.
Pain Travel Problem Areas
Beware of the Spa Building–there’s no elevator, so I had to climb stairs to my second-floor room. It was a darn good room, and I was in decent shape, so I dealt with it. If I’d been feeling worse, I would have asked to change rooms. Other buildings have elevator access to the second floor guest rooms.
My TV had issues. They fixed them. Not a big deal for me, but could be for some travelers.
Willows Lodge ain’t cheap. Expect to pay $250-$500 per room per night.
The Bottom Line
Willows Lodge has a nice setup for travelers with pain. Comfortable beds, good food available in-room, good bathing facilities, spa services available, and comfortable seating in common areas all add up to an A- grade from me.