Close to Schweitzer Ski Resort and nestled in the mountains of northern Idaho, Talus Rock Retreat is a surprisingly plush Sandpoint Idaho bed and breakfast. It provides a more personal alternative to the typical ski lodges and chain hotels in the region.
Talus Rock Retreat is the brainchild of Heather Mehra-Pedersen, a hard-working mother who turned a marketing degree into a dozen jobs and entrepreneurial projects before building this luxury lodge in the Idaho panhandle. It has been open since 2008, a year-round retreat in the mountains with a changing view outside the picture windows.
You enter into the heart of the property when coming in the front door. A large bar serves as the check-in spot, the place where you find breakfast goodies in the morning, coffee service, and a place to belly up to after serving yourself from the honor bar. You’ll likely be drawn past it to the wall of glass, however, where you can see a pond, trees, mountains, and whichever birds are enjoying the season.
Inside there’s a fireplace that will be crackling in the cold months and comfortable chairs you can settle into with a game, a book, or a glass of wine with a view.
The owners are a well-traveled family and it shows in the carefully selected objects decorating the various rooms. Items from Southeast Asia, Mexico, and Africa provide something interesting to see around each turn. Some interesting eBay and antique store items also have a prominent place, including an 1859 Steinway piano and a painted wood carousel pony on a high beam in the great room.
The giant reclaimed fir beams, local stone, and colorful stained glass window over the stairway create a great mountain lodge atmosphere with an international twist.
Talus Rock Retreat Activities
Depending on the time of year, staffers may set up a fire pit, a guided hike, or ice skating on the pond. My main regret about my stay at this Sandpoint bed and breakfast is that I didn’t get to enjoy the large hot tub just outside the lobby lounge. My small group skied all day and then went out to dinner at Trinity at City Beach Restaurant, so there was no time to soak before bed.
If you want to get your body moving, there are plenty of options in the area besides the big ski mountain. Around 30 acres of woodland surround the property for an easy hike or snowshoe walk in the winter. The trail through it all is great for families too, with 27 activity centers along the way. Lots of other options are close by on the same road, including trails of 1 to 10 miles, plus a 200-acre forest with cleared mountain bike trails. In boating months, there’s plenty to do on Idaho’s largest and deepest body of water: Lake Pend Oreille.
During ski season, Schweitzer Mountain Resort is one of the largest in Idaho and provides 92 named runs to choose from.
Sandpoint Bed and Breakfast Rooms
The six rooms and suites at Talus Rock Retreat are all different and are far from boring. They are also a reflection of the owner’s travel history and creativity. My stay was in the Rio Room, with its high ceilings, sofa, table with two chairs, and a comfortable king bed with a memory foam mattress. The inviting bathroom with a tub has stone tiles and a hand-crafted copper sink in the bath.
One room is decorated with more than 200 colorful Talavera tiles from Mexico, another displays items brought back from trips to the Serengeti region of Africa.
The Syringa Suite is like a small apartment, one with its own entrance. It has a full kitchen, a wraparound deck, and a sofa bed that makes it a good choice for families.
The most romantic room for couples, the one that usually ends up as the wedding couple’s suite, is the Arbor Room. It is named after the giant polished tree trunk with two branches of it hosting his and hers showers. Beside that is a large jetted whirlpool tub. Look up and there’s a huge octagonal ceiling made of copper. Step outside and there’s a private deck to enjoy with robes on and coffee in hand.
All rooms are set up as places you can retreat to when desired, with their own coffee pots and mini-fridges. There’s a strong internet connection if you need to check in on work.
Drinking and Dining at Talus Rock
Whatever you decide to do, you’ll start the day with a great breakfast, often with some items procured from the on-site organic garden. Fresh-baked bread and pastries join a few hot items, yogurt, cereal, fruit, and juice. Eggs are from the farm chickens, who also devour some of the kitchen scraps.
While the staffers can arrange meals with advance notice and they frequently host weddings and events, this is primarily a bed and breakfast retreat. If you want another meal on site, the best bet is to splurge for the seven-course private chef service dinner where a local restaurant chef is all yours for a memorable two-hour private serving.
Book a Stay at Talus Rock Retreat, a Sandpoint ID Bed & Breakfast
While Talus Rock is very popular for weddings and small groups in warm months, it is the top luxury lodging choice near Schweitzer ski mountain for those who want some personal attention and personality in their hotel.
Book direct with the property if it’s more than two of you to be sure you get what you need taken care of, or to take advantage of one or their spa and romance package add-ons. (Bonus points–this is one of the most thorough hotel websites I have seen in a long time, so you’ll really know what you’re getting.)
Talus Rock Retreat is also listed online at Hotels.com. Staying here does more than support a local family business: the owners are very involved in a long list of international and local charities and put a portion of their profits into helping others, all detailed on their site and the helpful info book in the lobby. The family has a few dogs and this is a pet-friendly property.
Editor Tim Leffel spent one night at Talus Rock while on a press trip in the state that was sponsored by Ski Idaho. As always, all opinions are his own. All photos by Leffel except the exterior summer shot courtesy of the inn.