After a two-hour drive north from Seattle my car emerges from a cloak of trees to behold Semiahmoo Peninsula. I can’t help but hold my breath for a moment, smile and roll down the passenger window so Jake, my doberman-boxer mix, can also take in the astonishing view. The pale yellow Semiahmoo Resort awaits us at the end of the long curving road, surrounded by serene water.
As we approach the lobby I take in the crisp air. The bellman opens the door for us and I feel like royalty for a mere second as he welcomes us to the AAA four diamond resort. In the next second Jake’s excitement overtakes him and he sprints forward, immediately jumping up to peek over the reception desk. Having wrapped my hand around his leash, as any dog trainer would tell you not to do, I am yanked along in a decidedly ungraceful way.
Sensing my need for help, a Semiahmoo employee offers to hold Jake’s leash as I check in. I take a moment to observe the lobby. The main entryway is framed by curved staircases and a subdued color scheme of browns, light yellows and greens, which gives the resort rustic undertones. Despite the grand size of the room, the décor, along with the quietness that envelops the entire property, make me instantly realize that I have officially escaped city life, and I immediately feel at ease in the cozy atmosphere.
Jake and I are escorted to our pet-friendly room, which Semiahmoo ingeniously placed on the ground floor to make it convenient to get furry friends easily to the outdoors when necessary. There is a plush king-sized bed for me and a smaller luxuriously soft dog bed nearby for Jake. I open up the provided doggie amenity bag, which includes a few locally bought chews and a cornmeal dog bone, and award one to Jake as he sits patiently, tail wagging.
After we’re settled, Jake and I take off to explore the grounds. Along with countless indoor nooks with overstuffed chairs to relax in, there are benches and rocking chairs outside so that everyone can enjoy the red and orange hues that fill the sky at sunrise and sunset.
During our jaunt I peer through the windows of Semiahmoo’s restaurants. Pristine white linens and perfectly adorned tables fill the Stars fine dining restaurant where Executive Chef, Andy Dixon, and Stars’ lead cook, Darwin Bierschenk, whip up mouth-watering cuisine such as the 12 ounce Ribeye steak, which is rubbed with a spice mix, topped with a Washington cabernet sauce and flame grilled to order. Our photographer, J. Nichole Smith, is lucky enough to snag this meal for herself. Semiahmoo also offers Sunday breakfast in the Pierside room and oceanfront casual dining and spirits in Packer’s Lounge, where I stop in for a seafood-packed Cobb salad with lemon vinaigrette dressing.
Later on, Jake and I gear up for a long walk on the miles of walking trails that extend throughout Semiahmoo and into the surrounding 1,100 acres of wildlife preserve. We stumble upon numerous rabbits and dozens of types of birds, including a bald eagle. Jake, having never met such wildlife before, spends most of his time eyeing the animals good-naturedly, trying to figure out how he can get close enough to play without scaring them off. Needless to say, none of the little rabbits want to stick around long enough to find out what an over-active, fifty-five pound dog wants.
We continue on our walk and into a waterside, grass clearing. Two other dogs, one of which looks like she could be Jake’s sister, are already running through the field. Jake sits and looks at me with eyes that could only be asking, “Can I get off my leash and go play, please?” I quickly survey the area and decided that, since Semiahmoo is so secluded, he would be safe to play. I unclasp him and Jake shoots off to make friends. I chat with the other dog owners as we watch our canines chase each other in circles until the sun begins to go down.
That night Jake and I stay cozy with our fireplace blazing in our water-view room, perusing the room service menu and on-demand movie selections until finally curling up with a book. With so many in-room amenities I can easily see why some guests would never want to leave the comforts of the resort. My room has a fridge, an honor bar, complimentary toiletries, and a micro-fiber robe, to name a few items. Also, just a few steps away guests can choose from dozens of tranquil and rejuvenating treatments from the European inspired spa. I love to indulge in the heated stone therapy massage and the spa pedicure.
While the ladies are at the spa, guys can check out one of Semiahmoo’s award winning golf courses, Semiahmoo Golf and Country Club or the Loomis Trail Golf Club. Both are 18-hole courses and include a driving range, putting and chopping areas. Or, families can choose to stay low-key with one of the board games, cards, beach toys or croquet games that are available at the bell desk.
For those 21 and over, there is also the option of escaping to a wine tasting at Mount Baker Vineyards and Winery, which is about a 40 minute drive from the resort.
The next morning, Jake and I awake to birds chirping and take another walk along Semiahmoo’s beautiful walking and hiking trails. Afterwards we head to the Gift Shop Café. I order my usual, a soy chai latte, and am surprised to hear the barista ask if my pup would like a cappuccino. “I don’t think he needs caffeine like I do,” I laugh. The barista smiled, then came around the corner and stooped down to give Jake a proper hello before clarifying that a doggie cappuccino was actually only a little bit of steamed milk. “Animals go crazy for them,” she says. The barista quickly whips up our morning drinks and Jake and I head out to the waterfront to sip, and lick up, our drinks before having to leave the tranquil oasis of Semiahmoo Resort.
Gear up for Semiahmoo at the CityDog Shop
9565 Semiahmoo Parkway
Blaine, Wash. 98230
800.770.7992 for reservations
Off-season rates start at $79. High-season (June-August) rates start at $99. Pet Fee, $50.
Mount Baker Vineyards and Winery
4298 Mount Baker Highway
Everson, Wash. 98247