Secluded Retreat

Resort Semiahmoo offers cozy yet classy accommodations for families

By: Marty Wentzel

BLAINE, Wash. As we drove the last mile to Resort Semiahmoo along a deserted two-lane split, my family and I wondered what awaited us at the end of the road. It didn’t take us long to find out we were in for a treat.

The dominant manmade feature on an 1,100-acre natural wildlife preserve, Resort Semiahmoo is located on the Puget Sound Coastline of Northwestern Washington, 100 miles north of Seattle and one mile across the water from White Rock, British Columbia. A salmon-packing cannery operated here from the late 1800s until the 1970s. We got a wonderful sense of the area’s history as we strolled past pilings of the old pier and perused historic photos lining the hotel’s walls.

But Resort Semiahmoo is anything but old. The AAA Four-Diamond property features 198 guest rooms with such modern amenities as Internet access and two-line cordless phones. It just completed a $5 million renovation.

Now the resort feels like the quintessential Pacific Northwest getaway warm, welcoming and classy without being stuffy. We were even allowed to bring our dog, which cost only $50 for the entire stay.

Weather dictates activities at the resort. On sunny days, guests head outside for tennis, sailing, kayaking and whale watching on Semiahmoo Bay. The marina rents rollerblades and bikes, and you can play volleyball and croquet on the lawn by the beach. If you want to venture off-property, the staff will arrange rafting in the summer and skiing in the winter.

But even in the fall, when the weather tends to be foggy, we found the natural setting to be enchanting. As we walked along the bike path, we saw an eagle perched in a lone tree. During our stroll along the docks we caught the eye of a harbor seal. After our walk we warmed up inside while playing board games. Before long we were settled in the Seaview Lobby for a game of checkers by the fire.

The spa includes a workout area, an indoor-outdoor pool and a Jacuzzi. Massage therapists offered a long menu of treatments.

Evenings at the resort bring friendly gatherings such as guitar sing-a-longs in the lobby and free family movies with popcorn in the theater. Packers restaurant, notable for its central wooden bar and 15-foot-high oceanview windows, serves pub fare and local microbrews, while the more formal Stars restaurant presents fish and meat entrees and regional wines.

By the end of our visit, we agreed that Resort Semiahmoo had everything we needed for a memorable weekend with the family.