My husband and I needed a vacation.
Since the twins were born back in April 2010 we had yet to spend even one night without them. When I would head out for a press trip alone, my husband was always there. One of us tucked them in every night. But after four years we NEEDED to take a little time to ourselves. To relax and unwind. We did it at Semiahmoo Resort up in Blaine, Washington.
Blaine sits just below the Canadian border – if you have ever driven to Vancouver, BC, you probably drove right through Blaine. Semiahmoo Resort sits on a spit in Drayton Harbor right along the Pacific Ocean. It’s beautiful. Quiet, relaxing, amazing.
I was invited to spend a couple of days at the newly remodeled resort and sample the new Pierside Kitchen, take in a massage at The Spa, and enjoy some drinks at Packers Oyster Bar, all in the newly remodeled resort. The hotel has 212 rooms, most looking west so guests can catch the evening sun as it sets.
Fun fact: Semiahmoo Resort was actually closed down in 2012 with no plans to reopen, then purchased by Wright Hotels Group in Seattle. Wright Hotels started renovations and 2 months later reopened the resort. More upgrades were made through the 2013-2014 winter season and were officially completed, including the Pierside Kitchen and Packers Oyster Bar.
When we got to the resort on the evening of August 24th, we were greeted by the absolute sweetest front desk receptionist. Sarah was personable, friendly, and really made us feel like we were not only guests, but friends of the resort. She has a way of disarming customers with her charm – a definite asset to any customer service experience. Sarah was there during our stay and every time we or another customer talked to her, she was always warm and inviting when she responded.
Dinner was at Pierside Kitchen. The entire restaurant is open and airy – large windows, white-washed walls, and modern decor with a nautical flair. I found out later that the space was originally a storage space. The choice to make this a restaurant was a perfect one!
Christopher – the assistant manager of the restaurant – personally served us a 7 course meal. He paired each dish perfectly with a wine or cocktail. Our evening started with Oysters in a Halfshell. I had never tried oysters – and now I think I am smitten.
As the evening went on, Christopher brought out dishes such as beef carpaccio, fresh garden greens, Seared Tuna, and gourmet desserts. He was incredibly friendly, knowledgable, and professional. He talked about the history of the resort and the head chef (Eric Truglas). We learned that the chef’s garden was utilized for our buttery greens and just about everything served was from local sources. To me this was such a great touch – being in Portland, using local foods is something that many restaurants do and it’s nice to see that trend take off in other areas of the country. It really does make a difference in both the taste and the community.
I also learned that Pastry Chef Kristie George is brilliant. At 22 years old she has mastered the art of passion in her foods. One of the dishes we enjoyed was a specialty – Citrus Cremeaux with Fennel Ice Cream. It was refreshing and innovative. You can taste the attention given to all of the dishes at Pierside Kitchen – even the next morning at breakfast. I had a Brioche French Toast that was to die for.
Christopher’s knowledge on the dishes, the wines, and the restaurant was impeccable. It was truly a treat to be served by him.
Packer’s Oyster Bar was where I sat to relax with a cocktail. While at Semiahmoo Resort I was introduced to the signature drinks – all named for Tom Waits songs (like Hoist that Rag!) and were designed and perfected there. There are no other drinks quite like them – the layers of flavors in each that I had was refreshing and different.
I mentioned that I got to get a full body massage while there. It was actually a couple’s massage, so my husband got one too. I have gotten massages before, but not recently. The Spa was inviting and had amenities to make you feel comfortable, like large showers, soft robes, and of course a friendly staff. For the remainder of the day my mind kept floating back to that massage and how relaxing it was.
The rooms were large and spacious – I had already mentioned that most of them faced west for optimum sunset viewing, but one thing I didn’t mention is how amazingly comfortable the bed was. Sealy Memory Foam mattresses that I just sunk into made me fall asleep quickly and wake up the next morning relaxed and happy, ready to start the day.
Assistant Manager to the Resort Ousmane Diop gave us a private tour of the resort’s HUGE gym – complete with a running track, several machines, and open until 10pm for both guests of the resort and locals. You can tell Ousmane was passionate about the resort and his role there. That’s one thing I need to mention – EVERY single employee I encountered was incredibly invested in their work there. There was a sense of ownership – a sense of pride in what they did and being a part of Semiahmoo Resort. They truly enjoyed their job.
All in all I had an amazing few days at Semiahmoo. My husband and I came back to our children (who stayed at their auntie’s) refreshed, relaxed, and happy. And although we went as a couple, Semiahmoo has some great activities for families too – The Semiahmoo Children’s Sea Club is one that I know my children would enjoy. There are also water sports from the adjacent Paddles & Pedals – in fact Josh and I took advantage of our location and did a little kayaking.
If you are planning a relaxing vacation – or maybe thinking about heading to Canada – I would highly recommend staying at Semiahmoo Resort. You won’t be disappointed!