SPA REVIEWS: Washington State's Salish Spa

Courtesy Salish Lodge & Spa

The Salish Lodge & Spa, tucked into the lush forests and rolling terrain of Snoqualmie, Washington, is poised atop one heck of a waterfall. The building—which appears deceptively small due to several levels that dip below the façade toward the falls—is all white trim and French windows. You might recognize it from old episodes of Twin Peaks, ABC-TV’s 1990 cult drama; otherwise, the structure itself is unassuming, unmemorable.

But unless they’re among those Twin Peaks groupies who make regular pilgrimages to the site, adventure-seekers aren’t there for the building. They’re there for the falls, which spritz visitors with a perpetual mist well before they can even see them, lending many a 50-degree-crisp, sunny fall day an eerie feel, and the air a perpetually clean scent. The water plunges 268 feet, with enough power to provide electricity to 16,000 area homes and enough force to deliver a real-life version of that rushing-water sound often duplicated on spa soundtracks. Especially when the weather’s clear, tourists are almost always strolling the nearby walkway, snapping pictures and gaping at the falls. Though the facility is situated just 30 miles east of Seattle, the only civilization in sight is a nearby National Park building, and the only sound, plummeting water.

These days, guests are also there for the spa. Perched on the lodge’s third floor, its small reception area, trimmed with hardwood molding and paved with slate flooring, leads to a comfy relaxation room with a crackling fireplace, a eucalyptus steam room, and a quiet hallway lined with treatment rooms. Seattle Magazine and Conde Nast Traveler have both recognized Salish’s spa for its particularly cozy environment. What’s more, its awe-inspiring setting and natural, often local ingredients, “reflect the calm, contemplative environment of the Pacific Northwest,” as the facility’s website states.

And that’s what distinguishes Salish from its Northwest region competitors: an emphasis on the region’s natural resources, as opposed to the big-city life in neighboring Seattle. “There are many beautiful spas in the area, no doubt,” says Melanie Silver, the spa’s director of rooms. “But with most, you drive there, go into a building, come out awhile later and the experience is over. Here, you have the beautiful drive in, you see the falls and then you come into this warm setting in the lodge. The experience we create gives guests a memory to take home. We have a rainbow every day.” —Jennifer Keishin Armstrong