I think a facial actually changed my life. File that under, “Words I Never Thought I Would Say”.
When Cassandra graciously asked me to visit Alderbrook Resort and Spa on a weekend getaway in her place, I admittedly didn't know how wonderfully restful the trip would turn out to be. I managed to squeeze it in, between two back-to-back, high stress business trips in Spokane and Portland, during my busiest time of year as a photographer.
Needless to say, staying at a resort on the picturesque Hood Canal literally couldn’t have come at a better time.
As a freelance photographer and 24/7 lady boss, running myself ragged has become an inevitable part of my daily routine. While I'm not usually one to make new year’s resolutions, I did decide to challenge myself in 2017 to make self-care as much a priority as the countless deadlines that tend to run my life.
I owe that change in perspective to the realization that taking my own health and wellness seriously will make me a better collaborator to my clients, a better peer to my colleagues, and a better partner to my husband… and also to Jennifer, the Head Esthetician at the Alderbrook Spa. I was sooo relaxed after my 90 minute custom massage and facial, I felt like I had just woken up from taking a million blissful naps. That woman has the hands of an angel and subsequently changed my life in 1.5 hours. I’m serious…she really is that good!
Though it has been tough to try to narrow down my incredibly relaxing three day stay to a few highlights to share with you all, I’m going to attempt to do Alderbrook justice and give it my best shot!
A little bit about the Resort: Established in 1913, the Alderbrook Resort and Spa possesses a rich history in Pacific Northwest-centric hospitality, with an up-close and personal view of the Olympic mountain range as it sits nestled on its own private beach on the shores of the Hood Canal. A perfectly situated “meet-you-halfway” point between Seattle and Portland, the resort’s storybook grounds and 88 emerald-hued acres are well worth the short journey.
The Restaurant at Alderbrook: I am a huge Chef’s Table fan, so when I found out Chef Josh Delgado was too, AND that his approach to food was very much inspired by the show’s stories, I knew I was in for a treat. Under his vision, the restaurant has developed its own “Shore to Table” sourcing practice, harvesting oysters and clams for guest’s meals from the resort's very own beach! The rest of the kitchen’s menu is sourced locally from neighboring fishermen on the Hood Canal and Puget Sound and various farms in the PNW who they've developed strong relationships with. Not to mention, foraged items from the resort’s lush grounds (think wild herbs, juicy berries, and earthy chanterelle mushrooms!).
Personally, my two absolute favorite meals during my stay were the Steak Wagu (still think about you sometimes, girl), and the salmon bagel platter for brunch that was dressed with lox so silky, it’s criminal.
Alderbrook Spa: So, you’ve already read my raving review about the Spa’s Head Esthetician, Jennifer “Angel Hands”, and the 90 minute custom facial with her that changed my life. On top of Jennifer’s incredible skills, the spa also features a fantastic and hospitable staff, a glass enclosed saltwater pool that enjoys mountain range views as you swim, a dry sauna and steam room, a full fitness center, and a menu of services and signature treatments that will make you feel so good you will never want to leave. A portion of signature treatments are also part of their couple’s retreat packages, like the Alderbrook Signature Massage for Two, perfect for honeymoons, anniversaries, and Valentine’s Day. *nudge nudge*
Ashley, the wonderful Spa Director, has made sure that every experience is restful and therapeutic with no detail overlooked. They have also intentionally stocked the spa with products that are paraben-free and from companies that use ethically and environmentally friendly practices. Plus, everything smells really good. Some of my favorite services from my day at the spa that I HIGHLY recommend are the Alderbrook Custom 90 Minute Facial (obviously), the Hot Oil Scalp Treatment with Wild Lime Oil (the feeling of someone playing with your hair x 10000), Hand and Foot Pampering (Eco-fin and luxurious), Seasonal Body Scrub (for that just exfoliated glow), and last but not least, the 90- Minute Relaxation Massage (to reach maximum bliss levels).
I am seriously contemplating making a spa day at Alderbrook a mandatory part of my seasonal wellness routine. These ladies do such fantastic work!
Resort Activities: While at the resort, there definitely wasn’t a shortage of activities to pass the time and maximize the natural beauty the grounds had to offer. I had a very centering time my first afternoon engaging in the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku (forest bathing) on a guided, meditative hike around the property following one of the resort’s many marked trails. I would also definitely recommend a dreamy sunset dinner cruise aboard the Lady Alderbrook during your stay! No better way to enjoy the Hood Canal than to set sail on it.
The second day with started off with a Sunrise Yoga class, led by Michelle of Joonbug Yoga. I’m not typically a morning person, but I found myself pretty inspired greeting the day this way, and really benefitted from putting forward an attitude of mindfulness before the day began. Michelle is such a calming presence, and a wonderful teacher, and luckily she leads classes at
Alderbrook on Mondays and Fridays every week.
On our last morning, we had the chance to paint on the waterfront in the French practice of En Plein Air, led by fine artist Robert Kamin, an activity that is complementary to all hotel guests. It was really refreshing to have the opportunity to slow down and capture the landscape with paint and a brush rather than obsess over how to perfectly render it using a camera. Judging by the caliber of my finished painting, though, I’d have to stay I should stick to taking pictures for a living.
Throughout my visit it was really the people at Alderbrook who make it such a warm and welcoming place. Besides those who I’ve already mentioned, Kathryn, the Marketing Director, made Alderbrook truly feel like home for those three days with her generosity of spirit and delightful sense of humor. And of course, this fantastic trip wouldn’t have been possible without Shaun, the attentive and knowledgeable General Manager.
With such a generous and affable team running the show, it’s no wonder the Alderbrook is such an enchanting place. By the end of putting this piece together, I’ve already pulled up my calendar to book my next getaway to the resort! I’ve heard it’s just the most romantic spot for a Valentine’s Day trip - especially if it’s snowy. I guess I’ll just to have to find out for myself!