by Joanna Nesbit
If you stay at the Olympic Lodge on the east side of Port Angeles, you’re just a few minutes’ drive from downtown attractions. What you get in return is a spacious room in a quiet location that backs up against a sloped, conifer-dotted golf course with views of the snow-capped Olympic Mountains. Although Olympic Lodge is situated just off the town’s main thoroughfare (Highway 101) in a commercial area, this local hotel offers anything but a generic experience.
To start, the local staff is friendly and knowledgeable, ready to offer recommendations and insider tips to visitors. Additionally, the lobby, restaurant and pool face the scenery behind the hotel — the golf course and mountains — and this orientation gives visitors the effect of tranquil privacy, as well as a flavor of what makes the area uniquely Olympic.
The Northwest-themed lobby is particularly welcoming with oversized leather sofas and chairs, coffee tables, and a large fireplace that burns real logs (winter is cozy here). You’ll appreciate the woodwork and box-beam ceiling that, to our family, felt like a nod to the beautiful historic lodges in the Olympic National Park.
Beyond the floor-to-ceiling lobby windows, Northwest-designed alpine rock gardens feature several fountains and other trickling waterways, as well as rocky hardscape lined with native plants, such as vine maple, ferns, and weeping cedar. Take a stroll around the property to admire the landscaping.
An added bonus for families is the outdoor heated pool and hot tub, available year-round. Additionally, Olympic Lodge offers a full service breakfast restaurant and comfortable rooms containing recent updates. The adjacent golf course is open to the public, too.
Our Editor Loves
- Outdoor heated pool and hot tub
- Quiet location facing a beautiful golf course
- Spacious rooms
- All Inclusive Rates
- Water Sports
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
We booked a room with two queen beds on the third floor (three floors to the hotel) facing the street and parking lot. It's the most economical room, but feels just as quiet as its counterpart, a room with two queen beds and a view of the golf course. Although the street-side rooms don't claim to offer a view, you can see the Strait of Juan de Fuca from here.
The rooms contain two queen beds topped with fluffy white duvets and bed scarves -- new in December 2013 -- as well as a flat-screen HDTV's, a solid-wood armoire with a microwave and mini-fridge, a small table with two chairs, and a desk table with an office chair. All rooms contain 2013 updates, including the TV's, new HD channels and HBO, iPod-docking alarm clocks designed with a phone-charging port, single-cup coffee pot, ice carafes, amenity trays and armoires. The closet located next to the bathroom holds an ironing board, iron and hairdryer. You'll appreciate the extra sink and mirror across from the closet. The full bathroom with a tub and shower features modern tile work and granite countertops with Bath & Body Rain Kissed Leaves shampoo and conditioner.
Other room options include King Rooms with a view, with a king-sized bed and armchair and ottoman, and King Rooms with a patio or two Queen Rooms with a patio. The ground-floor patio rooms allow quick access to the pool without going through the lobby, as well as the opportunity to relax outdoors in a small patio space -- where kids can explore the rock gardens along a paved pathway. The Executive King is a roomier option for families, featuring a king-sized bed and sleeper sofa, available on the third floor with views or on the ground floor with a patio. It doesn't cost much more than a regular patio room. For even more space, the hotel also offers connecting rooms with queen and queen or king and queen configurations, as well as ADA-compliant units. Cribs are available upon request.
Take note of the gorgeous photography in your room and around the hotel. The nature photographs are the work of local artist Ross Hamilton, who has been photographing the Olympic region for 40 years. The waterfalls, rain forest trails and mountain views will give you a taste of what you can experience in Olympic National Park.
Olympic Lodge staff recommend making July or August reservations at least three months in advance, as the hotel is popular during the summer season and the region hosts a variety of festivals, including Sequim's popular Lavender Weekend in July. The shoulder and winter season are more forgiving, but consider booking a month ahead just in case.
Great place to stay if you are taking the ferry to Victoria. We drive down to Oregon from Victoria several times a year. We had always stayed at another location extremely close to the ferry but oafter the last time we decided no more. It was expensive and kind of dirty feeling. My husband and I looked for another location and Olympic Lodge was great. It is now our go to place to stay - its clean, very nice staff and great breakfast.
Positives: Facility is very nice and well kept, beds are very comfortable and soup/breakfast is a huge bonus.
Negatives: Housekeeping. My room had food in the fridge from the previous occupants and when I took a shower my first night, a washcloth that had hung on the shower rod from the previous occupant fell down into my shower. Super gross. Tissue dispenser was left empty as well.
During any season, families will love Olympic Lodge's outdoor pool and hot tub located just off the lobby, where they can pick up pool towels from a basket. The pool depth ranges from 3 to 5 feet, and the patio area is equipped with tables, chairs, and lounge chairs with views of firs, cedars and the Olympic Mountains. The pool is open year-round from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. for all guests, and adults only from 9 to 10 p.m. Keep in mind, kids under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
Olympic Lodge offers a full-service Breakfast Bistro (not complimentary) with a kid's menu, open from 6 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Although the restaurant will tentatively start renovations (which will include a more intimate setting with Northwest-inspired decor) in October 2014, the menu will remain similar to when our family ate here, which is good news, because it's one of the best places in Port Angeles to breakfast. The Breakfast Bistro offers hearty fare with a focus on fresh, local and organic ingredients. Try the Olympic Breakfast, with eggs any style, country potatoes and toast, or the Heart 'O the Hills Scramble. Whipped cream-covered crepes were a hit with our kids. You can also order pancakes, French toast, oatmeal, bagels and lox or smoked salmon, and quiche. The kid's menu is available to children and anyone with a smaller appetite, offering pancakes, French toast, a mini-Olympic Breakfast, hot and cold cereal or fresh fruit. High chairs are available, as are crayons and paper. Be sure to double check restaurant hours once the renovation is complete.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
On weeknights from October 13 to May 15, Olympic Lodge provides complimentary evening snacks of fresh-baked cookies and house-made soup. Wi-Fi is complimentary throughout the property and parking is free. The hotel also offers unlimited free parking at the Port Angeles ferry dock for foot passengers departing to Victoria, Canada.
The Art of Smart Timing
Except for the mountainous Hurricane Ridge area, Olympic National Park's temperatures are relatively mild year-round, and any season can be a good time to visit for lowland exploration, but keep in mind that clouds and rain can roll in at any point, even in August.
August and September are the driest months, but summer temperatures rarely exceed 75 degrees. We have visited in all seasons, and the upside of the off-season is fewer visitors, but we do love the summer sunshine. However, it's important to carry a rainshell and fleece even at that time of year.
Port Angeles gets less rain than the west part of the peninsula. It lies at the edge of the Olympic Peninsula's rain shadow, which results from a protective Olympic Mountain wall, while 25 minutes east, Sequim (pronounced Sqwim) resides solidly in the rain shadow. For comparison, Sequim receives 18 inches of rain per year, while Forks receives 120 inches.
To visit Hurricane Ridge, the best time to visit is summer and early fall for a better chance of clear days, spectacular views, and plenty of family-friendly hiking from the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center. In winter, Hurricane Ridge is open Friday through Sunday (weather permitting), and carrying chains are required from November to April, though you may not need to use them. The small, family-friendly Hurricane Ridge ski and snowboard area offers a rope tow, Poma lift (overhead T-bar), and terrain park for tubing, as well as snowshoeing and access to general snow play. The snackbar is only open Saturdays and Sundays. Ask Olympic Lodge staff about businesses that sell chains and offer refunds if returned unused.
Port Angeles is nearly 2.5 hours northwest of Seattle, and there are several ways to get there. The closest airport is Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, serviced by Alaska Airlines, Delta, Southwest, United and others.
By road (least time-consuming): From Sea-Tac, travel north via the Tacoma Narrows and Hood Canal bridges. Alternatively, from Olympia, travel north on Highway 101.
By Washington State ferry: From downtown Seattle, take the Bainbridge Island ferry, or from Edmonds, just north of Seattle, the Edmonds-Kingston ferry. Keep in mind that Washington ferries are popular during summer months.
From the north: Try Whidbey Island's Coupeville-Port Townsend ferry. This boat is smaller than the Seattle-area ferries and takes reservations with a deposit. Reservations are recommended, especially during summer months. We have taken this ferry many times, and we reserve year-round.
For Mom and Dad
Try the Nextdoor Gastro Pub for lunch or dinner and a full range of craft ales and specialty cocktails. Bella Italia, made famous in Stephenie Myer's Twilight series, offers a more intimate experience with delicious Italian fare and fine wine. And don't forget the Olympic Lodge hot tub is all yours from 9 to 10 p.m. There's also an adult-only fitness center onsite with cardio training equipment, open 24 hours.