To me, the most deliciously exciting and romantic time is a cabin or treehouse in the woods with a fire. Add in a sauna and a locavore restaurant and I’m in heaven. Sounds like a great daydream, huh? Bet you didn’t know places like this actually exist.
I’ve spent some time hunting down eco-spas, sustainable retreats and rustic bed and breakfasts over the years while living in San Francisco and Seattle, trying to find a quiet place to escape with a sweetheart. What do I look for? I’m happy to trade in-room bathrooms for secluded cabin privacy, or electricity for woodstoves and the complete lack of televisions. A lot of the places I’ve found have a central bathing and sauna/hot tub area instead of showers and toilet in your room. Sound like inconvenience? Try wandering in your robe and bare feed down a wooded, misty path at 4am and seeing a herd of deer bounding away. Give me the inconvenience any day. Give me all of it.
Special note: check with each place to see what their winter hours and amenities are. On one hand most places will have discount prices because February is solidly in their off-season, but Valentine’s could be a time when they book up quickly, so don’t wait too long.
Retreats near San Francisco
The Stanford Inn on the Mendocino Coast
A lovely wood-cabin-style “anti” bed and breakfast. Organic, vegetarian, local-food restaurant on location, canoe rentals, massages, swimming pool and hot tub. Pro: all rooms have wood-burning fireplaces. Con: all rooms also have telephones and TVs (blegh).
Costanoa Eco Adventure Resort on Highway 1 south of San Francisco
Ahhhh my favorite. I truly love this place and wish I lived closer to it. They offer rooms in their main lodge as well as private cabins along protected marshland coast. Organic, local seafood restaurant, outdoor hot tub, massages and sauna, the cabins come equipped with robes, fireplaces and Bose sound systems but no TVs. My kind of place. I love their 15% discount for people who arrive using sustainable transportation: bicycle, kayak, or alternative fuel vehicle.
Retreats near Seattle
Treehouse Point Bed & Breakfast in Issaquah, WA
I’m dying to stay at this amazing place with 4 adorable rustic wooden treehouses with woodstoves and gogeous views. They also boast rooms in their main lodge. Breakfast is a simple self-serve continental style but they’re quite close to a number of Issaquah restaurants and can provide recommendations. They host the International Treehouse Symposium every other year, as well as the occasional concert.
Doe Bay Retreat on Orcas Island, WA
A whole variety of rustic woodstove-equipped cabins that sleep anywhere from 2-18 people, plus yurts and a hostel. Clothing-optional soaking tubs and sauna. Not as luxurious as I prefer, but it seems charming.
Deep Forest Cabins at Mount Rainier
This time of year, you’re in for a snowy retreat in these luxurious wood cabins bordering Mount Rainier National Park, most with their own private outdoor hot tub. A romantic skiing weekend, perhaps?
And something to save for spring…
Kw’o:kw’e:hala Tiny Eco Resort near Vancouver, BC
This little resort has 3 cabins and a yurt, sauna, chef services for every meal, and is truly secluded in some awe-inspiring Canadian wilderness. My boyfriend and I tried to reserve a cabin last year but we were too early; they open when it warms up, in April or May.
Know of any secret eco-retreats I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments and I’ll add it!
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