All Aboard the Woodmark

Getting away on Lake Washington

By: Marty Wentzel

On the morning of our Lake Washington boat tour, the fog was so thick I could hardly see the water from our lake-view suite. “Don’t worry, it’ll lift soon,” assured the hotel’s concierge. Sure enough, by the time we stepped out onto the dock fronting the property, the skies had cleared and the water sparkled with promise.
I can’t guarantee that your clients will have equal luck with the weather, but one thing is for certain: If they stay at the 100-room Woodmark Hotel, they can take a free, two-hour spin around the lake on a sleek, 1956 28-foot Chris Craft.

The hotel purchased the six-passenger Woodmark II in October 2003, and by the end of that year, it launched complimentary tours of Lake Washington for guests.
“Our overall objective with the boat tours has been to increase the occupancy demand for our weekend leisure business,” explained Woodmark Hotel director of sales Annette Seats. “We have a strong corporate base during the week, so we are focusing on promoting the hotel for weekend getaways during which you can stay, dine, unwind and go out on the lake.”

The boat ride is just one of many delights of the Woodmark, a mere 15 minutes east of Seattle. In its Aveda spa, my daughter luxuriated in a pedicure, I relaxed during a facial and my husband experienced, what he called, one of the best massages of his life. We worked up a sweat in the adjacent fitness center, whose facilities are gratis for guests, and we strolled along the lakeside walkway, enlivened by a series of picturesque parks.

From the big picture windows in our suite, we gazed out at magnificent sunsets over the water, with the Olympic Mountains in the distance. I checked e-mails courtesy of free in-room high-speed Internet access, while my daughter got a kick out of having three televisions to choose from. In Waters Bistro, the Woodmark’s casually elegant dining room, we indulged in entrees like grilled swordfish with pineapple mustard relish, and smoked wild salmon fillet. I’ve already made a mental note to revisit the resort come summer, when guests can dine on a terrace overlooking the lake. If we weren’t so full, we would have stayed up until 11 p.m. for the nightly two-hour snack session called Raid the Pantry, luring night owls to Waters for free sandwiches, soup, chips, desserts and juice.

After our Woodmark sojourn ended, I kept coming back to images of the boat ride. We drifted past dozens of elaborate waterfront homes, including Bill Gates’ jaw-dropping 60,000-square-foot mansion. We spotted diving birds and regal herons around the Washington Arboretum, and we studied the dramatic architecture of the University of Washington’s football stadium. We scanned classic houseboats until we discovered the floating home made famous in the movie “Sleepless in Seattle,” and we drank in dramatic views of the Seattle skyline as seaplanes took off nearby.

Captain Rob Renshaw did his part to make the ride memorable, sharing facts about the area and pointing out landmarks. Born and raised in Kirkland, Renshaw is the perfect guy for the job. He grew up around boats, and he takes loving care of the mahogany craft when he’s not leading a tour. He can even take clients out on the Woodmark II for special occasions like marriage proposals and weddings, complete with a gourmet picnic, champagne and a professional violinist. Travel agents can line up customized cruises for their clients by booking one of three commissionable packages, including hotel accommodations.

The hotel can arrange kayak expeditions departing directly from the property’s pier. But don’t let your clients miss out on an aquatic excursion on the Woodmark II. It’s a memory that won’t fade quickly, especially when the sun is shining.


Woodmark Hotel on Lake Washington
1200 Carillon Point
Kirkland, WA 98033

Nightly rack rates are $225 creek view, $255 marina view, $280 lake view and $295 lake view premier. Suites range from $340-$1,800 per night.
Clients looking for a relaxing weekend getaway can book the Spa Retreat package, providing a welcome gift, fresh fruit, sparkling water and a $125 spa credit. Rates range from $299-$449 per night.
The hotel’s PJ in Your PJs package comes with a $125 spa credit, his-and-her pajamas, chocolate truffles and a bottle of Perrier Jouet.
Commission: 10 percent.