If you want to make the party better, make the dance floor smaller,” says Johannes Ariens, as he surveys Loge Westport, a rundown motel on the Washington coast he reimagined as a surfer-friendly hotel. Indeed the property isn’t very big for what it holds: hotel rooms, hostel beds, campsite and van hookups, fire pits, an outdoor kitchen, and a stage. Oh, and a cafe and bar. But that helps make it more community than hotel. And now that he’s birthed Loge Westport, Ariens kicked off a Leavenworth outpost this winter.
Gritty Westport isn’t an obvious location for a hip destination. The 2,000-person fishing village barely has a downtown, and the best food is at a joint called Aloha Alabama (both the brisket and poke are quite tasty). What it does have is Seattle’s closest surf beach, with waves that serve beginners to experts. Ariens, a regular surfer, had a vision for what he calls Loge (pronounced like lodge) Camps: “recreation-driven hospitality,” quirky but outdoorsy.
Ariens, raised on the Olympic Peninsula, fueled interest through Kickstarter, which helped fund the 2017 overhaul of a bleak Westport motel; it blossomed into an Instagram-ready destination in a few months. Ariens’s background in construction and design coupled with his hobby running a ski patrol at Snoqualmie Pass, are what inspired his Loge vision—a place that makes guests interact while it serves their adventurous hobbies.
In Westport that means a wet-suit drying room with automatic humidity sensors, a dog- and-gear-washing station, and a rental shop stocked with surfboards, bikes, and wet suits from Evo.
Loge Leavenworth, a series of cabins on the Wenatchee River that Ariens and his team acquired in November, has in-room boot dryers and a transceiver park for practicing avalanche rescue skills. Ariens is eyeing a Snoqualmie Pass location for mountain bike demos and a PCT through-hiker restock station.
In its first summer, Westport Loge’s stage hosted free movies and concerts every weekend. Both properties have fire pits—everyone gets their own s’mores kit but has to share the actual flames. Ariens says the forced socializing is a success: “If that weekend’s band had an acoustic guitar, there was a 100 percent chance that there’d be someone noodling on a guitar around the fire after the show. Every time.”