Enjoy Oregon’s wild coastline from the comfort of a beachside sanctuary, says LYNN ELSEY.
Oregon’s stunning, dramatic coastline is a big drawcard for most visitors to America’s Pacific Northwest. From windswept sand dunes to redwood-lined cliffs perched above pounding surf, the coast seems straight out of a dramatic novel – it’s the perfect setting for a brooding TV crime series.
Fortunately, this scenic coast also provides mile after mile of beautiful beaches, delicious seafood and places to shelter from the elements when storms arise. The ideal place to experience it all is Salishan Resort, just north of Cape Foulweather, where the forest meets the water at Gleneden Beach.
A night or two at Salishan’s refined rustic sanctuary is an ideal way to embrace this beautiful but rugged slice of the world – without sacrificing any creature comforts. The resort reflects its Pacific Northwest surroundings throughout, with lots of timber features and an earthy colour palette. It also proudly features the work of regional artists, mainly Oregon-based, with more than 500 original drawings, prints and watercolours displayed around the resort and in the guest rooms.
Speaking of which, the resort’s 205 rooms, each with a stone fireplace, are spread around the more than 100-hectare property. Each comes equipped with a lovely view, whether it’s of the surrounding forests, the bay or the golf course.
The vaulted ceiling in my Premier Bay Room makes the enormous space seem even bigger. Two large windows overlooking the forest create a sense of being in a private residence rather than a hotel room. At the far end, floor- to-ceiling windows look out onto a private wooden deck, complete with enticing rocking chairs and a view of the bay beyond. Along with a king-size bed, there is a sofa, side chair, and a small dining table and chairs. It would be extremely easy to stay cocooned in the room, with just a warming fire and a glass of Oregonian pinot noir for company.
On a cool, slightly rainy afternoon, the lobby’s open fireplaces and large wingback chairs are another temptation to stay indoors. The formal dining room – a polished, upholstered affair – also invites me to stay inside until the morning. Still, the outdoors awaits.
Up near the top of the resort, Salishan’s indoor tennis arena is a great weather-neutral option for Serena Williams wannabes. Additional exercise options include an indoor pool and full fitness centre with sauna.
Instead, I head down to the beach. The golf course, which runs from the top of the property to the ocean, is a major drawcard for the resort. Its spectacular setting, punctuated with the sound of waves crashing on the beach, immediately propels me into “I really need to learn to golf” mode. The 18- hole course also comes with top environmental credentials, certified by the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program.
A big plus of staying at the resort is having access to the adjacent private, gated community and scenic, seemingly endless deserted beach – the antithesis of Sydney’s packed, noisy summertime beach experience. It’s the type of place that prompts dreams of a holiday home across the Pacific.
The jewel in the Salishan crown is the spa. It was designed to embrace the local elements, featuring soothing stonework and dark timber finishes. After a soothing treatment, the indoor infinity pool – fronted by floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Siletz River – is nearly impossible to leave. The spa’s Hearth Room, with more of those enormous windows and a warming open fire, is further enticement to stay.
During the day, the resort’s dining options include a casual restaurant and grill at the golf clubhouse. When evening descends, the formal dining room or the Attic – a lounge with casual fare and live music on weekends – provide welcoming respite from whatever Mother Nature has in store outside.
Salishan allows guests to experience the grandeur of the Oregon coast without any sacrifices. It’s no surprise Condé Nast Traveler rated it the third best resort in the Pacific Northwest, and Travel + Leisure magazine featured it on the list of “10 Best Resort Hotels in the West” for 2017.
Originally published in the July 2018 edition of the NSW Law Society Journal.