Suncadia on the Horizon

When completed, the new resort will be an all-season destination

By: Marty Wentzel

Travel agents are always on the lookout for new and reliable destinations. In the Pacific Northwest, they need look no further than Suncadia Resort. Just 80 miles from downtown Seattle, its proximity to a major metropolitan area makes it perfect for short-term trips, and a good choice for clients who want to spend more time on vacation and less time in the car.

Agents should put Suncadia on their radar for several reasons. Consider the scope of the resort: When the $1 billion destination is completed in 2013, it will boast not only accommodations, but a mixed-use village with shops and restaurants, three golf courses, a 10,000-square-foot spa, fitness center, pool and 2½-acre lake. Recreation is another key selling point. Clients can go golfing, fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking and hiking in the warm months, and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, ice-skating and sleigh-riding in the winter. Nearby recreation includes downhill skiing, snowmobiling and winery tours.

“By promoting the all-season appeal, we stand apart from our competitors,” said Suncadia regional sales and marketing director Jack Schmidt. “We’re focusing across the board to build a legacy product, so that clients will keep coming back from one generation to the next.”

The resort’s two visitor accommodations share a sense of rustic elegance, paying tribute to the beauty of their surroundings. But while the charm of the existing 18-room Inn at Suncadia lies in its intimacy, the 254-unit Lodge at Suncadia opening next spring has been positioned as a gathering place, the heart of the overall community. The inn caters to couples and small executive retreats, while the lodge’s demographics are travelers in their mid- to late-40s traveling with their families.

The only Washington state hotel situated directly on a golf course, the Inn at Suncadia perches on the 18th hole, where elk are often spotted grazing in the early morning. Its two-story lobby lounge is flanked by a cozy bar on one side and stone fireplace on the other, and all of its rooms feature fireplaces, built-in bookcases, down comforters and rocking chairs on the decks. The Lodge at Suncadia, meanwhile, promises a 75-seat restaurant overlooking the Cle Elum River, rooms with full kitchens, 13 spa units with cedar hot tubs on their decks and a mud room where clients can store their sports gear and access the hotel post-workout without walking through the lobby.

Suncadia is reaching out to travel agents through traditional methods like direct mail and e-mail, and it’s working with Destination Hotels and Resorts to focus on building its business. Schmidt estimates that 60 percent of the resort’s annual business will come from groups, although summer months will draw mostly leisure travelers, particularly families.

Suncadia is focusing heavily on clients from Seattle, followed by other Pacific Northwest cities, but California factors prominently in Schmidt’s game plan, as do travelers from across the U.S.

“When we ask travel agents what makes them tick, they say it’s providing their clients with the real deal,” he said. “Suncadia has that wow factor, which is a big plus. We’re not just putting up another property. We’re telling a broad market that Suncadia exists, and it’s worth a visit.”


Suncadia Resort

Managed by Destination Hotels and Resorts, Suncadia is located 80 miles east of Seattle, on the sunny side of the mountains.

The 18-room Inn at Suncadia, open since July 2005, lists nightly rates from $225-$355. Its romance package includes champagne, sparkling cider or wine upon arrival; dinner for two at the inn’s Gas Lamp Grille; and turndown with chocolate strawberries and long-stem roses (from $335 per night; not available on weekends through September).

The six-story Lodge at Suncadia opens April 2008. Projected rates range from $125-$450 per night.

Commission: 10 percent

Adventure Travel JDS Africa Middle East JDS Destinations