When we planned our trip to Sun Mountain Lodge, we had anticipated arriving in the Winthrop area much earlier in the day. As it happens, our sight-seeing adventures on our drive from Seattle had us stopping along the way FAR more frequently than we'd expected. We saw some spectacular scenery, to be sure (the breathtaking Washington Pass Lookout area is not to be missed!) - but unfortunately, we didn't arrive at SML until almost 6 p.m. - at least in time to catch an absolutely spectacular sunset on the 360 degree mountain views that surrounded us.
I'll be honest - while I expected SML to be a nice place, as evidenced in a few promotional videos we'd watched prior to our trip, I did not expect to be as blown away as I was. Speaking purely about the aesthetics of the facility itself - this is a beautiful and substantial lodge, with a warm and welcoming lobby - rough hewn log walls, and a stunning 2-3 storey picture window looking out on a glorious view of the surrounding rolling hills and mountains beyond.
Our room was housed in the "Gardner Lodging" building, a two-storey building separate from the main lodge - we were given a room near the end of the row on the 2nd level. On opening the door to our room I believe I actually let out a little gasp of delight - spacious, warm, and welcoming, with soothing classical music playing quietly on the stereo ( a lovely touch!) The windows ran almost the full width of the room, looking out onto a private balcony, which in turn looked out at nothing but nature - again, those gorgeous rolling hills and mountains, dotted with aspen (birch?) trees. Our room also included a stone gas fireplace, a comfortable sofa (that I believe could be used as extra bedding), robes, a beautifully appointed bathroom with fluffy white towels, and perhaps the most comfortable bed I've ever slept in. Again, the decor was rustic and charming - bent willow furniture and planked barn-board walls...heaven!!
Having been on the road all day we were famished - so after a quick run around the property to take some photos as the sun sank slowly in the west, we headed to the bar and grill (the more casual restaurant) for some grub. Again, we were not to be disappointed! Another beautiful and appropriately appointed facility, again with gorgeous views (which could be enjoyed on an outdoor patio/balcony, although we opted to eat indoors). The light on the distant mountains continued to paint the landscape in varying hues of cowboy pastels as we enjoyed a MOST delicious meal that included a stellar mini-tureen of chicken-curry soup (a house specialty and favourite apparently, and easy to see why!) It truly was the perfect place to unwind after a long day on the road.
After dinner we retired back to our room, where it dawned on me that there was no TV!! YES!! A true place to discard all the trappings and habits of city life, and place the focus on your family (or each other, as the case may be) and just UNWIND. It had been a long day of travel and sightseeing - I must admit I drifted off to sleep within minutes of my head hitting the ever-so-fluffy pillow.
The next morning we awoke early to photograph the sunrise - and were delighted to find we were accompanied by a few families of deer! Yes, it just kept getting better. They were obviously rather used to being around people as they were totally unfazed by our presence - and I suspect they're a regular fixture on the property - but to us "cityfolk", it was a delightful treat to greet the new day in the presence of these gentle and graceful creatures.
After our wonderful morning photo safari, it was unfortunately time for us to pack up and head out on the road again, as our schedule was taking us out to the Oregon coast (pretty much another full day's drive). We opted to eat breakfast in the charming town of Winthrop - which itself is a must see - the entire town is styled in old west architecture, right down to the boardwalk sidewalks - even chain stores such as Ace Hardware sport an old west facade!
I suppose I knew when we booked it that one night at Sun Mountain Lodge simply would not be enough - the moment we started to climb the long and winding road through the beautiful hills that led to it, I immediately regretted our decision not to stay longer - but with only a week's holiday and a tight and fairly inflexible schedule, we had to settle for one night only at this stunning resort. Still, I'd rather have had just a taste of what it has to offer than never to have visited at all - and you can be SURE a return visit is now on our to-do list. Even one more night would have been ideal (and currently their website is advertising 3rd nights are free!), to perhaps experience the "cowboy dinner" they offer, which involves a horseback ride through the hills to an authentic western BBQ dinner.
If this lengthy and enthusiastic review for basically what amounts to only hours spent at this resort doesn't convince you it's worth a visit, then I guess I haven't made my point :) - but truly, I really can't stress enough just how much we enjoyed our brief stay at Sun Mountain Lodge. If you must have TV in your room then maybe it's not the place for you - but if you want to get away from it all and experience stunning mountain views, fresh air, wildlife, endless hiking trails, peace and quiet, delicious food, and beyond comfortable accommodations, for what I believe to be a very reasonable price, then do look into Sun Mountain Lodge if you're planning a visit to this part of the world. It truly was one of the highlights of our trip to the Pacific Northwest.
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Priceline, Hotels.com, Booking.com and Travelocity.ca so you can book your Sun Mountain Lodge reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Sun Mountain Hotel Winthrop
- Sun Mountain Resort
- Sun Mountain Winthrop