Rustic Luxury at Lakedale Resort, San Juan Islands

great room at lakedale resort friday harbor

It’s rare that I think a hotel offers something for everyone, but in the case of Lakedale Resort, in Washington State’s San Juan Islands, it’s a surprisingly accurate assessment.

Like rustic luxury? Stay in the main lodge. Like a little more privacy and self-sufficiency, while still enjoying luxury? Stay in one of the log cabins? Like a glamping experience? Stay in one of the upscale canvas cabins, many of which are large enough to accommodate a family. Like a retro experience? Stay in the fully-kitted classic Airstream trailer. Like to stay in your own trailer or camper? There are RV pads with hook-ups available. Like your experience rustic and outdoors? There are camping sites available. And if you like to try new and unusual experiences, the upscale yurts, complete with bathrooms and all sorts of luxury amenities, will be available soon.

With 82-acres on San Juan Island (the biggest in the archipelago), Lakedale Resort has room to spread out and create niche accommodations for everyone who wants to experience the natural beauty of the island.

The Lodge and hotel, where we stayed, is set on Neva Lake and combines a Pacific Northwest rustic decor and casual wilderness vibe with a luxury retreat. Located about five miles from the ferry terminal in downtown Friday Harbor, Lakedale Resort is close to shopping, restaurants, and entertainment, yet it’s a world away in terms of privacy and romantic comfort.

Walking into the Lodge feels like going to camp – if camp was for adults only, had complimentary wi-fi, and wine.

Our luxury queen room had a view of Neva Lake, one of three spring water lakes on the property, with a balcony that offered plenty of room for two people to sit and relax. I enjoyed the gas fireplace, both for its warmth and ambiance, as well as the jetted tub. Coffee and tea were located in the wet bar area, along with a refrigerator, so we picked up snacks and wine to enjoy in the room, one of our favorite things to do on a getaway.

The great room off the lobby lives up to its name – it really is great. On one wall you’ll find a selection of DVDs, find something you like and enjoy it in your room. A gift shop featuring local artisan crafts is located off the lobby. There is an honor bar that features a selection of Pacific Northwest wines (fill out the form with what you’ve taken and it will be added to your bill), and throughout the day you can help yourself to special treats. A favorite during our stay was the rich chewy brownies with a hint of coconut.

Although there isn’t a restaurant on the property, breakfast is included with all stays at the Lodge, and it includes both a buffet and made to order egg selections. The offerings vary, but you’ll most likely see specialty granola, yogurt, oatmeal, cereal, fresh fruit, bread and pastries, homemade jam, a daily egg dish, and an assortment of beverages. Food was fresh and delicious, replenished appropriately, and offered a good selection of healthy choices and decadent indulgences.

If you want to cook during your stay, there are barbecue pits outside the lodge (and the cabins have fully equipped kitchens), or you can make the drive into Friday Harbor where you’ll find a number of restaurants and bars. We did a combination of both, enjoying a couple of meals in town and picked up food to enjoy at the Lodge for others. During peak season, May-October, Lakedale’s General Store is open and also offers snacks, beverages, along with picnic items like fresh sandwiches and salads.

 

Depending on the time of year you visit, you can take advantage of a number of outdoor activities offered at the resort. From games of bocce ball and horseshoes to swimming and boating, there’s plenty to keep you busy. For a slower pace, enjoy birdwatching or relaxing on the spacious deck. The lake is stocked with wide-mouth bass and trout, so grab a fishing pole (you can get a license onsite) and try your luck. During the summer, family-specific activities are offered that include outdoor recreation, crafts, and cooking. Information and signups are handles at the General Store.

The resort is family and pet-friendly, although not allowed in rooms in the Lodge (all guests at the Lodge must be over 16 years of age). Kids and pets are welcome at the log cabins and other accommodations.

We spent a day driving around the island with tips and recommendations from the resort staff. We enjoyed a rugged coastal drive that would be perfect for whale watching (we were a little ahead of the season), as well as more forested areas that were great for nature watching. A bald eagle landed next to our car and we watched him tackle some food and we often saw deer in the trees along the side of the road. There was even a camel!

What we liked most about Lakedale Resort was its friendly wilderness feel. It’s not without a few quirks, however. Cell phone reception was non-existent at the hotel (via AT&T), and it’s spotty over much of the island. The phones in the rooms are VoIP and the wi-fi signal is strong, so it’s easy to keep in touch if you need to. It’s just easy to forget when you’re out for a walk that you can’t do a quick Google search on your phone to find out about that flower you came across.

Also, this is an island accessed only by air or sea. There are two small airports on the island – Friday Harbor Airport is the main part of the island and Roche Harbor Airport to the note. If you’re coming by pleasure boat, there are moorage options around the island. But for most of, we’ll be arriving via the Washington State Ferry system out of Anacortes. Not every sailing includes San Juan Island, and the schedule varies between the seasons, so check the schedule for a crossing that includes Friday Harbor (some sailings stop at multiple islands). During the summer, ferry reservations should be considered required as waiting times can be several hours.

Lakedale Resort is located on San Juan Island at 4313 Roche Harbor Road, Friday Harbor, Washington.

Rates vary widely and start about $185/night at the lodge, including breakfast.Breakfast is included and parking is free. Expect to pay more during the peak summer months, and if you want to plan your visit then, advance planning is strongly advised. Inquire further for rates for the log cabins, yurts, canvas cabins, RV pads, and camping sites.

Check for all San Juan Island hotels at Trivago.

The author received a complimentary stay at the Lakedale Resort.

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