Relaxing weekend for one in or near Seattle?
December 1, 2008 6:53 PM   Subscribe

Relaxing weekend for a solo woman in or near Seattle?

I'm a burnt-out mom in need of a vacation. I'm thinking of treating myself to a night or two away from my darling family (they don't know this, thus the anonymity). I live in Seattle. Where should I go? What should I do?

I'll be alone, so "romantic getaway" trips aren't appealing. I like walking, I like good food, I like spa stuff like massages, I like hotels with room service and bathrobes and clean rooms, I like movies. I don't like shopping or scented candles or horses. I'm not interested in Victoria (too romantic getaway-ish). Too much free time makes me nervous, so I'd like some structure or activities.

This would be sometime this January, probably, on a weekend.
posted by anonymous to Travel & Transportation around Seattle, WA (10 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
If you can get down to Tacoma, I cannot recommend the absolutely AMAZING Olympus Day Spa in Tacoma. It's a Korean spa that offers an amazing experience where you can lounge in tubs, lay on heated floors, hang out and rejuvenate, and be scrubbed to the nines by badass Korean beauty magicians who will make you feel like a queen. We got a package with an hour-long body scrub, a day pass to the spa, and a moisture treatment thingy for $150, but you can just get a day pass and probably enjoy yourself quite thoroughly. So worth the car rental and the drive.
posted by mynameisluka at 7:31 PM on December 1, 2008

There's also a version of Olympus Day Spa in Lynnwood, which is SUPER-deluxe - not that the one in Tacoma isn't great, but the Lynnwood one was built after they had experience dealing with non-Asian folks. I lived in Seattle for a very long time and EVERY time I go there, I make time for this place, because there is nothing quite like it out East (there are jiljimbang, but for families, not just for women).

What about Breitenbush Hot Springs? That was my go-to place for a very long time. There's structure - hot springs, yoga, massages, three meals a day - but there's also a lot of time to think and have some QUIET.

I also heard about Sacred Groves recently, on Bainbridge but don't know anything else about it.

What about a day in Vancouver? Tons of shopping, good museums, great food.
posted by micawber at 8:04 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

It's a Korean spa that offers an amazing experience where you can lounge in tubs, lay on heated floors, hang out and rejuvenate, and be scrubbed to the nines by badass Korean beauty magicians who will make you feel like a queen.

(NB: you must do all of this 100% nude. Hence, not for everyone. Like, for example, me.)

Cannon Beach is always lovely, if you like the drive, and you can walk all day on the beach and get massages and stuff at any of the nice boutique-y resorts.
posted by tristeza at 8:20 PM on December 1, 2008

(This spring) - how about a weekend in the North Cascades? Last year I did Diablo Downtime at the North Cascades Institute. My mind and spirit were revived by writing, walks in the woods and yoga sessions, and my body was nourished by fabulous organic locally grown food. The North Cascades Institute is located right on Diablo Lake with splendid glaciers nearby. A perfect weekend!
posted by seawallrunner at 8:23 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

My favorite near-Seattle-but-away-from-it-all getaway is the Willows Lodge in Woodinville. The rooms are spectacular, the main lodge area is wonderfully cozy, they have a small spa and there's good food and drink to be had. It's right on the Sammamish River Trail and you can rent a bike or walk for several miles on it. You'll pass many good wineries along your way and most are open for tasting on weekend afternoons.

Salish Lodge is another option. It's near Snoqualmie Falls, so you have options for getting out and walking around. Roads and trails might be rougher up there if it's snowy though. I haven't stayed there myself but their spa looks fabulous.
posted by rhiannon at 8:36 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

A friend of mine swears by the Watergrass Day Spa in La Conner WA (home of the tulip festival in May)
posted by seawallrunner at 8:53 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

The Olympus Spa is GREAT, but honestly, it's much more fun with a friend or friends.

My suggestion: Take the train from Seattle to Vancouver, spend a night or two there and take the train home. If you live north or east of Seattle, it might be easier to catch the train in Edmonds. The station is a tiny little building all by itself, lots of parking, about a block from the ferry terminal; much easier to deal with than the downtown station.

The train ride itself is beautiful; it mostly runs along the water, so get a seat on the left side of the car (facing the engine) on the way north. Hopefully you have a passport; the border crossing is incredibly easy, but a passport makes it even easier. The station in Vancouver is within walking distance of Chinatown, and cabs and busses are frequent and available.

Check online for hotel specials. The Vancouver tourist board offers some, and many of the hotels have individual deals. You can get anything from a huge luxury hotel with spa to a tiny boutique getaway. There are museums, bookstores, wonderful movie theaters, possibly the most beautiful city in the world to walk around in -- and no horses. Or stay in, order room service and watch a pay-per-view movie. And remember: all prices are Canadian, so check the exchange rate. Things aren't quite as expensive as they may seem.

Getting away from your family is a great gift to yourself and to them. There used to be a convent at Dash Point in Tacoma that was dedicated to just that idea. It was for mothers to come and stay for a long weekend, walk in the gardens, look at the water, nap, eat good food and not talk to anyone. It was considered God's Work to provide this for women, of all religions. (Sadly, it closed because there weren't enough new nuns to keep it going. So now we have to provide that for ourselves.)

I hope you do this, and have a wonderful time.
posted by kestralwing at 4:25 AM on December 2, 2008

A couple of further comments: I just reread your post and noticed the "free time makes me nervous" caveat. Certainly if you get a spa package at a hotel your time will be somewhat structured. And you could make a list of museums, gardens, movie theaters to go to each day; checking them off might be enough structure.

But do let yourself just lounge a little. You might be surprised how much you like it.

And a warning about Breitenbush: I've had two friends go there in the last couple of years, and they were both VERY disappointed. One of them had been before and loved it, but they both said it was dirty and disorganized and not worth the trip. The last report was about a year ago, so things may have improved, but you might want to be careful.

And a final suggestion -- I LOVE getting away, can you tell? If you have the money and the time, check out Hollyhock in British Columbia. They have all kinds of classes, bodywork, structure, nice people, absolutely wonderful food. The best way to get there from Seattle is a float plane from Lake Union.
posted by kestralwing at 4:32 AM on December 2, 2008

Theo Chocolate give daily tours of their factory in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle. You learn a bit about the chocolate making process, a bit about the history of chocolate, and you eat a ton of really good chocolate. As it says on that page, you should make a reservation.

As for movies, you should check out the Northwest Film Forum or some of the small weird theaters like the Grand Illusion or the gigantic curved screens of the Cinerama (read, especially, about "the Cinerama experience").

And the last time I was in Seattle (a few months ago), I stayed at Pensione Nichols, which my girlfriend's English step-dad has sworn by for the past 15 or 20 years (it feels like an English bed and breakfast, he says.) It's so laid-back, despite being the middle of everything (a block from the Pike Street Market, for instance), and the breakfast is great, and the staff are so friendly. It's a really relaxing place to stay, though there's no room service and the rooms and (shared) bathrooms might not give you bathrobe experience you're looking for. Looking at the hotel's site just now, it looks as if National Geographic Traveler recently named the place a "Place of a Lifetime," whatever that's worth.
posted by msbrauer at 5:32 AM on December 2, 2008

maybe a little further away, but there is Sleeping Lady Retreat center near Leavenworth. I have not stayed there, but I have heard they are a very nice place and focus of green building and sustainability. The area is beautiful, with mountains and rivers nearby. There is no spa but they serve 3 meals a day. From there you could go on hikes or head into leavenworth, although maybe its a little to kitschy for your preferences. you could at least eat some good german food. there is walking/cross country ski trail along the river that runs through town. you could visit wineries and orchards slightly further afield, including wenatchee and cashmere. cashmere is also home to the aplets and cotlets factory which gives short tours.

also, maybe sol duc hotsprings on the olympic peninsula. again , haven't stayed there but i know the area is beautiful. also, great hikes really close to the hotel/resort.
posted by dahliachewswell at 10:29 AM on December 2, 2008

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