SPA REVIEWS: Washington State's Salish Spa

Courtesy Salish Lodge & Spa

Nature’s Own

Salish highlights its connection to nature to great effect. Perhaps the most unique—and fun—offering on its spa menu is the Herb and Honey Scrub Bar (50 min./$125), which uses honey from the lodge’s own organic herb farm and apiary. Since May of 2011, the on-site bee farm has been producing honey that’s as locavore-friendly as it gets. In fact, honey’s roots run deep in this nearly 100-year-old lodge’s history—the restaurant has been serving its signature “Honey from the Sky” dish for decades.

It started shortly after the lodge, built in 1916, became a favorite rest stop for those journeying through the nearby mountain pass. Travelers stopped in to fill up on the lodge’s rib-sticking country breakfasts and witness waitresses performing a crowd-pleasing trick: drizzling honey onto customers’ biscuits from above their heads. In recent years, “Honey from the Sky” was renamed “Honey from Heaven,” and the lodge’s management began looking for more local ways to procure the key ingredient. An apiary, just across a wooden bridge on a hill near the lodge, was the logical answer. “We realized we had the space [for the scrub bar],” Salish general manager Rod Lapasin says. “It just made sense.”

Today, the local beekeeper extracts the apiary’s honey as it’s produced, bottles it and hands it over to the lodge. Spa technicians at Salish take these jars of pure honey and hand mix it with other ingredients using a mortar and pestle to create irresistible treatment preparations. Since Salish has stepped in, honey production at the apiary has swelled from 600 pounds in its first year to 2,000 pounds in 2012, according to Lapasin. In fact, Lapasin hopes to soon have enough surplus honey to take the Salish brand into retail gift shops beyond the lodge’s own.

For the moment, though, the bees keep both the lodge restaurant and the spa amply supplied with the sweet stuff. And it’s an environmental boon as well, helping to contribute to the bee population that keeps the Northwest’s natural cycles humming. “It’s good for everyone,” Lapasin says. “The more places that do this kind of thing, the better off we all are.”

The spa’s honey-based scrubs have become among its most popular treatments. “People really love the fact that it comes from right here,” Lapasin says. Management does, too—they delight in noting the different “vintages” as bees change their diets through the season, from sweet flowers to more “intense” pine flavors that aren’t so great for eating. Luckily, the spa is there to soak up the less-tasty sap for body treatments. (And no, Lapasin has never been stung; the beekeeping contractor handles the insects.)

To customize their scrub, guests choose from among chamomile, rosemary, lavender, basil, lemon verbena, sage and mint—all harvested from the herb garden where the bees frolic—which a technician then mixes with honey as well as some salt or sugar for exfoliation. (Each guest gets a sample of her unique scrub to take home with her, plus a recipe in case she wants to reproduce it on her own.) Those feeling less creative can just opt for the delicious Honey and Oatmeal Body Scrub (50 min./$115), or a refreshing Rosemary Mint Scrub (50-80 min./$115-$125), also locally sourced.

Other Salish treatments boasting a distinctively regional flavor include Green Tea and Northwest Seaweed Salt Glow (50 min./$115); Northwest Coffee Exfoliation (50 min./$125); Wildflower Hill Lavender Massage (50 min./$125); and Heated River Rock Massage (50-80 min./$125-$220). And, after having been sidelined due to a construction project last year, this March an old favorite will make a comeback: a couples’ Outdoor Moonlight Massage and Hidden Terrace Dinner (time/price TBA), which takes place right atop the falls.