From the moment we stepped foot into Willows Lodge, we were instantly treated as part of the family. The lobby was beautifuly decorated with comfortable lounge chairs, lots of reclaimed timber, tea and coffee facilities, and a warming fireplace. The lovely Lia at reception greeted us with a big smile and calming nature, interested to hear about where we were from, and what brought us to Woodinville - such a nice personal touch to our check-in process. Despite our early arrival, Lia made an effort to find us a room that was ready for us prior to standard check-in time, and even gave us an option as to whether we preferred front garden, or patio views from our balcony. We were given lots of information about the facilities of Willows Lodge, and where we could access / find these (of course, “where is the hot-tub located?” was one of Mish’s first questions after our long 12 hour drive from Canada!), as well as being told about the happy hours in the bar.. all the important things, it was as though Lia had known us forever!
After kindly offering to assist us with our bags, we were given our keys for the next two nights and shown to our room, being strongly encouraged to call or visit reception with any questions or requests that we may have during our stay. We entered our spacious room which was filled with lots of natural light and thoughtful touches.. but most of all, we were impressed with the design and layout of the space. The large bathroom included a full length mirror, vanity, grand shower, and two-person soaking tub, which then looked out to the bedroom and balcony. This meant that you were more than able to enjoy a movie on TV or the outside views, from the comfort of your hot bath! Or alternatively, close the dividing wooden blind for ultimate privacy.
The bedroom and living area was again a very spacious one, a king sized bed, a lounge-chair, fireplace area, desk/dining table with chairs, a stocked fridge and mini bar, and tea and coffee making facilities.
The balcony was equipped with two chairs and a table, overlooking the gorgeous green gardens of Willows Lodge, perfect for peacefully enjoying a glass of Woodinville red wine at sunset! With wet weather, we spent the afternoon relaxing in our warm room with a cup of hot tea - such a wonderful way to wind-down after a busy last few days in the mountains of Canada.
We were lucky enough to have a booking at the Barking Frog Restaurant, which is literally across the driveway from the Willows Lodge entrance. We walked in to what felt like a modernised 15th century restaurant, a seperate bar area, lots of dark timber furnishings, an open fireplace for people to gather around, lots of wine lining the restaurant, and helpful staff in every which direction.
As soon as we were shown to our table, we were greeted by the friendly Casey who advised us that he would be our waiter for the night. Casey had a such a fun personality, and you could tell from the onset that he was incredibly passionate about the food and wine that he was serving to his customers at the Barking Frog. Casey enquired about our wine preferences, and we let him know that we love a great Pinot Noir. Casey provided us with lots of information about the types of wine that are made here in Woodinville, as well as the Pinot Noir that comes from the Oregon wine region - he did a wonderful job in finding us a perfect bottle to enjoy with our meal.
We were also stoked to have the opportunity to meet with the Chef de Cuisine, Chris Smith, prior to ordering our meals. Chris explained to us that the menu at Barking Frog changes seasonally, and that he is heavily involved with putting together what is in each meal, and the design of the plate. We let Chris know that we were pretty keen to try a little bit of everything while we were dining, and he offered to put together a tasting plate meal, where we would have a number of different smaller courses throughout the night - even accommodating for Mish who is a vegetarian!
Our appetiser arrived, an assortment of freshly baked bread with a lavender-honey butter, and an hors d'oeuvre of cucumber, watermelon, blue cheese, & garnish - what a delicious little starter! From here, the good food just kept on rolling.. ! Gourmet green salads, melt-in-your-mouth meats, creamy pasta dishes, fresh fish garnished to perfection, mouth-watering deserts and desert wine, and coffee. See more photos below!
We couldn’t have been more impressed with the service that we received from Casey, and also the amount of care and detail that went into the food preparation, and most of all, how incredibly tasty, well-portitoned, delicious, and different each dish was, walking away very content and full. As Casey learnt that we were photography-lovers, after our meal he offered to take us inside the gorgeous cellar - thousands of beautiful wine bottles lined the walls and ceiling, we sure were careful to not do any expensive damage in this room!
After dinner we returned back to our room where “turn-down” service had occurred while we were out. Relaxing music was playing, the lights had been dimmed, our towels, tea and coffee re-stocked, and two little chocolate frogs were sitting on our bed for us - again, just further little touches that make you feel so wonderfully at home at Willows Lodge.
The following morning we returned to Barking Frog restaurant where we enjoyed another delicious meal - this time, breakfast! Again the food and service did not disappoint - for anyone visiting Willows Lodge, you MUST ensure that you visit the Barking Frog during your stay at least once! And it will probably then be more than once after you get a tasting for it - the restaurant can get pretty busy for dinner so make sure that you organise yourself a reservation in advance!
If you are at Willows Lodge for an extra couple of days, another great dining option is Fireside, which can be found on the ground level inside the lodging. With daily happy hour specials and regular live music, you can’t go wrong with dining and wining at Fireside as an alternative to Willows Lodge. Both restaurants are also open to the public, the more the merrier!
Later in the day, we were lucky to meet with the lovely Anne for lunch and a few wines in Woodinville. Anne, also known on Instagram as @hiptravelmama is a fellow travel blogger who we arranged to catch-up with to talk all things travel, adventures, blogging, and wine in Woodinville of course! Anne took us to a couple of her favourite wineries in Woodinville, which are now our favourites too! Check out our seperate blog post about our afternoon in Woodinville - link here!
After making new friends, eating wonderful food, learning lots about the history of Woodinville and exploring some incredibly beautiful wineries, (all whilst drinking delicious wine of course), we returned back to Willows Lodge to put our feet up and enjoy the outdoor jacuzzi & steam room, followed by some in-room dinner - because why would you want to leave the gorgeous Willows Lodge rooms if you don’t really really have to!?
The following day the sun was slightly shining, so we decided to make the most of the great weather and spend some time in the five acres of beautifully manicured gardens on the Willows Lodge property. It was here that we were introduced to the cuties Borridge & Basil, the two friendly resident Vietnamese pot-belly pigs who are lucky enough to wake up at Willows Lodge every single day!
With blooming tulips, herb gardens, water features, and nothing but brilliant green gardens, it was so relaxing to take a stroll just outside of the lodging and appreciate the different types of colourful flora that surrounded. Another wonderful thing that Willows Lodge offer is free bike hire to their guests, meaning that you can explore the surrounding region of Woodinville wineries and the nearby river trail on wheels!
Come the following morning, we were pretty sad to leave the wonderful Willow’s Lodge - all of the staff that we had met during our stay had been extremely friendly, personable, and helpful. We were lucky enough to see the lovely Lia at reception once again who arranged a late check-out for us & bid our farewells.
Thank you Willows Lodge for being such an incredible home away from home, and a perfect home base for exploring the gorgeous region of Woodinville. For anyone organising a trip to either Woodinville or Seattle, do yourself a wonderful favour and make sure that you organise a couple of night here at Willows Lodge - you will not be disappointed.. and if you need anymore convincing, then just check-out the rest of our photo gallery below to see why! We hope to be back one day with our pup, as Willows Lodge is also dog-friendly so you don’t have to feel guilty about leaving your pet at home while you’re enjoying a romantic weekend away!
To organise your own reservation, visit their website at www.willowslodge.com - here you will find lots of information about the different rooms on offer and the romantic getaway & wedding packages available for purchase. There is also further information about the Willows Lodge Spa which is found in the lodging, but available for the public to make appointments here also.