Looking for a Luxury Getaway? Look Local!

Is the January rain making you think its time for a change of pace?

Having thoughts about a luxurious weekend for a bit of body and soul pampering?

Or are you already thinking Valentine’s Day?

Whatever the reason; if you are thinking luxury - think local.

Maybe you want waterfront, something with the flavor of a lakefront home, where you can laze away a few hours just staring at Lake Washington or take a stroll along a dock not far from your digs?  Then think Woodmark Hotel, Yacht Club and Spa, at Carillon Point on LakeWashington Blvd.

With a majority of the 100 guest rooms (21 are suites) having either unobstructed lake or mountain views you might be tempted to never leave the room, but if you didn’t; you’d miss a lot. There’s a full service spa just off the lobby, The Northwest Face Spa, which offers a full menu of traditional spa services and special skin treatments.   Or you could schedule a cruise on the lake aboard the vintage Chris Craft, The Woodmark II.  And it will be impossible to walk through the lobby and not spend a bit of time with the hotel’s official greeter, Woody, the year-old Labradoodle.

There are two on site restaurants, The Beach Café that offers deck seating (in good weather) only footsteps from the lake and great views from its indoor tables any season and Bin on the Lake in its new location (above The Beach Café) and featuring the culinary creations of new Chef de Cuisine, R. Paul Hyman.  It was standing room only on a recent visit to its Happy Hour (daily from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.) They also have Happy Hour from 9 p.m. to closing.

Just south of the hotel, Le Grand Bistro Americain, (425-828-7778) is offering some of the most authentic French bistro fare that we’ve had since eating in Paris.

Room rates start at $155 a night this winter.  If you can’t swing an overnight stay, drop by some evening and try out the new fire pit on the hotel’s water-front yard.  You’ll likely be unable to resist making s’mores and sipping adult beverages at this perfect spot for watching a sunset.

If you just need a quick getaway -- even for a few hours -- consider attending one of the hotel’s Words@TheWoodmark. These free events are open to hotel guests and the general public. Space is extremely limited.  Reservations for two upcoming sessions are required and can be made by calling 425.827.1986 or rsvp@thewoodmark.com.

Friday, February 4, 2011; 6-7:30 p.m.

  • Anne Byrn, award-winning food writer and author of The Cake Mix Doctor, Chocolate from the Cake Mix Doctor and The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten Free

Monday, February 28, 2011; 6-7:30 p.m.

  • Joseph C. Piscatella, president of the Institute for Fitness and Health, Inc., consultant on major wellness projects for Fortune 500 companies, the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force; and author of Prevent, Halt & Reverse Heart Disease: 109 Things You Can Do

Just down the road a couple of miles, in the heart of downtown Kirkland, you can find your self in the lap of luxury at The Heathman Hotel, now in its third year of operation. If you are thinking it sounds like the one in Portland, you are correct.  It’s a sister hotel to the one in Oregon.

Pampering for local residents – those living in Kirkland, Bellevue and Redmond – who spend the night here begins as you leave home.  You don’t even need to bother about getting yourself to the hotel because they will provide complimentary pickup at you up at your home and drive you to the hotel in their luxury hybrid SUV.  As a hotel guest, that same hybrid will provide shuttle service to nearby shopping and entertainment spots that might call out as part of your luxury getaway.  (Keep in mind you need to reserve the service in advance – and it is subject to availability).

The Heathman, at 220 Kirkland Avenue, is an easy two-block walk from Marina Park and is even closer to the Kirkland Performance Center, so you might check out the upcoming KPC events schedule (www.kpcenter.org) then book yourself a getaway that allows for a stroll along the lake, followed by an evening at the theatre and a stay at the hotel. Winter rates at this 4-diamond luxury boutique hotel start at $149.

No trip to the Heathman is complete without a visit to Trellis its on-site restaurant where Chef Brian Scheehser creates a ‘farm to table’ dining experience by using herbs and vegetables from his own 10-acre sustainable farm in Woodinville.  Trellis also has a daily Happy Hour from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. that, like Bin’s, is hugely popular.

The hotel, with 91 guest rooms (15 of which are suites) offers guests an on-site fitness center.  If that’s not enough exercise, the hotel has a supply of bikes and bike helmets that can be reserved and used during your stay.

If you can’t fit in an overnight stay, but want some pampering, treat yourself to a visit to the hotel’s luxury day spa, Penterra, its entrance is just off the lobby.

By the way, that luxury hybrid SUV will pick you up and take you home if you live within five miles of the hotel and want to come in for either dinner at Trellis or a spa treatment. (Again, the SUV service is first-come, first-served and subject to availability).

If you know you want luxury, but can’t figure out how you want to package it, don’t worry; both hotels offer a variety of getaway packages that will pamper the winter doldrums right out of you.  Check out their websites:  The Heathman Hotel, www.heathmankirkland.com or The Woodmark, www.thewoodmark.com for details.