CRisp sheets on a bed you didn’t have to make yourself. Tiny shampoos and a spotless bathroom mirror. Room service. What makes a good hotel might be contained within the self-sustaining universe of the hotel room. Or maybe it’s what’s just outside: immediate access to a new city, or broad views of an empty landscape. The promise of nothing to do but be on vacation.
In compiling a list of our favorite hotels, we went outside greater Seattle (sorry, Bellevue) and stuck to properties that had a central identity—so no one-off cabin rentals or condos. It wasn’t easy to narrow down Washington’s wide spread of lodges and inns, historic properties and luxury resorts, but these are our 15 favorites…plus five more we couldn’t leave off.
The exposed log walls and low ceilings may give Whidbey Island’s 1907-built lodge the faint air of a pirate ship run aground, but a 2018 revamp hauled the old hotel into the present. Cabins named for Filson and Glasswing offer the chance to overnight in a showroom for chic local design brands.
Modern when it opened in 1914—a central vacuum, even air conditioning—downtown Spokane’s grande dame hotel lends the city gravitas with its Spanish- and Venetian-inspired interiors. The famed Circus Room on the seventh floor is especially trapped in amber, but every bed is an imposing four-poster. Whimsy goes way back: More than a century ago, a tradesman carved “Will you marry me?” into the ornate mezzanine ceiling.
The deluxe spa hotel located in the middle of the Bavarian wonderland manages to be both walkable to dozens of restaurants while still quietly secluded on the Wenatchee River. So serene it’s practically an Enya song, Posthotel doesn’t make a big show out of what it doesn’t have—even though the lack defines the experience: no kids, and no booze. Rooms are a gleaming white, crowned by marble soaking tubs, but giant saltwater pools and a buffet of saunas are the biggest draw.
The star of Twin Peaks is the only hotel to land on both this list and our best staycation spots, but for good reason. With a spa big enough to qualify as a destination and fireplaces in every room, the inn atop Snoqualmie Falls straddles the line between quick getaway and legitimate escape.
Built on a Methow Valley ranch that dates back to the 1940s, the imposing structure of logs with a giant stone fireplace in the lobby. A pizzeria and pub, open seasonally, is more of an activity center for the hotel, with a firepit and swimming pool on either side. In winter, the mountain lodge opens directly to the largest network of groomed cross-country trails in the country.
No one else has capitalized on the grandeur of the dry Central Washington shrublands, where sagebrush and vineyards tumble down to the Columbia River, but fortunately the resort stacks lodge, standalone villas, and sturdy yurts into one property. Though the Gorge Amphitheatre serves as a strange next-door neighbor to a luxe spa, the dramatic topography manages to largely mask the sights and sounds in favor of big views.
Behold, the two words that strike terror into the heart of luxury purists: shared bathrooms. But when Seattle restaurateur Heather Earnhardt relocated the dreamy fried chicken and fluffy biscuits of the Wandering Goose to a rural peninsula on Willapa Bay, she cranked the relevancy on the state’s oldest hotel. Everything is delightfully not slick, from eccentric antique decor to how the walls creak when a storm rolls in from the ocean.
Named for the islands near Venice known for their glass traditions, the lobby of the Tacoma tower bursts with remarkable art—natural for a property a few blocks from the Museum of Glass and its live glassblowing. As conference attendees and urban tourists filter by the lobby bar, the industrial-chic downtown unfurls just outside. The energy is palpable, and the combination of Dale Chihuly tentacles, a Chuck Close portrait, and other statement sculptures rivals most of the state's best art museums.
Open only half the year, the historic national park inn at the meadows of Paradise almost manages to pull attention from the hulking, snowy volcano above it. While rooms under the steep roof offer little luxury, the two-story lobby and twin wood-burning fireplaces make it feel like vacationing in an Ansel Adams photograph.
For a resort so old its first guests arrived by canoe, the hotel at the crook of Hood Canal stays relevant with regular updates, including a recent three-year renovation and an expanded spa. The restaurant is bringing back individual bubble-tent tables outdoors for winter, and pets are so welcome that dogs have their own room service menu.
Only in the San Juan Islands can a hotel feel isolated in the middle of town. While the main building gives classic vibes with a farmhouse shape and wrought-iron beds, the blocky Water’s Edge Suites across the street points its modern coastal aesthetic straight toward one of Orcas Island’s scenic bays.
First a historic schoolhouse, then a windsurfer’s hostel, now finally a minimalist spa; from a small town on the Columbia River Gorge, this hotel manages to blend the fun of a school gym turned social room with an angular arrangement of mod cabins around soaking pools.
Every room, each tucked into a converted farm building outside Walla Walla, boasts a patio or balcony, ideally suited for cracking open the wine made by Abeja Winery. About five miles outside Walla Walla, the hotel manages to surround itself with only empty, rolling fields, the Blue Mountains visible in the far distance. At night the tasting room serves five- and seven-course tasting menus paired, naturally, with wine.
Reworking a motel into a hip boutique property may not be a novel move, but downtown Walla Walla’s version does more than throw an Instagram filter over an old building. Though rooms are small, quirky murals and bright furnishings are a constant reminder not to take travel too seriously, while the central location is a significant bonus on wine-tasting trips.
The name of the woodsy retreat outside Leavenworth refers to a peak, not an actual slumbering woman, but the resort nevertheless nails the big comfy bed thing. The clusters of rooms and rocky soaking pool feel secluded, yet the hotel holds close to the community and landscape—it’s owned by the nonprofit Icicle Fund and supports local events.