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The San Juan Islands offer an escape that feels like a world away from the mainland, but this archipelago sits just off the west coast of Washington State. To make the most unforgettable experience, consider a stay at one of these fabulous hotels and resorts.
At Friday Harbor House, a small inn on a prominent bluff in the town of Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, guests enjoy beautiful water views, a fireplace, and an oversized whirlpool bath along with the chance to dine on meals featuring farm-fresh produce and herbs from the property’s garden. There’s no need to bring a car either, as you can simply ride the ferry to the island and walk the two blocks to get there. You’ll be steps away from downtown, with its outstanding art galleries, museums, and boutiques. Kayak rentals are available for getting out on the water where you can paddle and watch for orca whales, seals, sea lions, otters, porpoise, bald eagles, and more.
One of the best couples resorts in the United States, Roche Harbor Resort is a historic, sprawling property set along the north end of San Juan Island at the edge of the Salish Sea. It hosts a wide range of accommodations, from historic hotel rooms to contemporary condos. Especially popular for weddings, with ceremonies frequently held in its Lady of Good Voyage Chapel on the hill or in the magnificently landscaped Sunken Garden. The Hotel de Haro hosts rooms that are filled with notable antiques, including the claw-foot bathtub where actor John Wayne even enjoyed a soak, while the luxurious McMillin House and Quarryman Hall suites boast heated bathroom floors, fireplaces, and panoramic water views from a private veranda.
Listed on the National Historic Register, the historic 1909 Moran Mansion is the centerpiece for Rosario Resort, set on 40 acres along the glistening shores of Cascade Bay on Orcas Island. It’s managed to retain its original Mission-style furniture and a multitude of beautiful antiques like the Aeolian organ with nearly 2,000 pipes that’s used for concerts in the music room. The Mansion hosts waterfront dining in The Mansion Restaurant with seasonal menus featuring dishes that include local produce, meats and seafood whenever possible. A full-service spa offers fitness classes and a variety of relaxation and rejuvenation treatments, along with an outdoor pool, whirlpool, and sauna. There are spacious rooms and suites on the waterfront, all offering awe-inspiring water views and lavish amenities like fireplaces and balconies.
Snug Harbor Resort is a popular cottage resort and marina on the northwest side of San Juan Island. It offers spacious units with tall windows that overlook the Mitchell Bay, private decks, gas fireplaces, full kitchens, and high ceilings. Guests enjoy complimentary use of kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards for getting out on the water, as well as bikes for exploring the island itself. The property also hosts Mitchell Bay Coffee, which serves a variety of coffee beverages, local pastries, waffles, soups, and more.
West Beach Resort is ideal for families, including those with want to bring their pet. It features cabins and cottages that sleep four to six guests, all of which include kitchens, and sits along a half-mile dog-friendly beach. RV and tent camping, as well as a number of tent cabins, are available too. The marina offers boat, kayak, and canoe rentals and guests can also take advantage of a kids’ activities program, bonfire, hot tub, whale watching trips, fishing, crabbing, and more. A convenience store and espresso bar with a good selection of groceries, beer, wine, and Lopez Island Creamery ice cream is also located onsite.
The Tucker House Inn offers a convenient location just steps from the Friday Harbor ferry, providing easy access to whale watching excursions, beaches, kayaking, restaurants, galleries and more. The historic 1898 property is made up of a labyrinth of Victorian buildings and three cottages with a variety of upscale amenities, like the Goose in the Pond Cottage, a stand-alone studio cottage with a cathedral ceiling and skylight, remote-controlled gas fireplace, king feather top bed, and kitchenette, while split doors open to a grassy lawn, weeping willow and shade gardens. Guests can also look forward to a range of personalized services, sumptuous breakfasts with local ingredients, and even picnic lunches to enjoy while exploring the island.
Willows Inn is the place to go for foodies who also want to enjoy a tranquil escape. The inn is considered a “gastronomic retreat”. The 15-room inn sits on Lummi Island, considered one of the best-kept secrets in the San Juans. Half rural, half mountainous, you’ll find peaceful beaches and country roads that stretch for well over 18 miles, making it an ideal destination for walking, biking, and bird watching. Willows hosts its own farm, pastures for a flock of more than 100 lambs, and a welcoming, knowledgeable staff who happily guide guests to the best the area has to offer. To add to the relaxing feel of the inn and the island, guests can enjoy a variety of massage treatments on site too, including Swedish, deep tissue, relaxation, hot stone, and Lomi Lomi techniques that utilize high-quality certified organic products.