There’s not much to do in Port Ludlow in the wintertime. The town is little more than a crossroads with a gas station and a mini mart. Port Townsend has more to offer, if you like twee little shops and antiquing and cafes—which, I confess, I do, but only in small amounts. There’s some nice hiking/biking/boating activities if the weather is more cooperative, but when we stopped over, the weather hovered somewhere between biting and bitter cold with the smell of snow in the air. It’s weather for doing nothing, for reading and gazing out the window, for napping and snacking. And while yes, a person can do that stuff at home, sometimes it’s nice to fall asleep while reading your book somewhere else. I said “Yes, absolutely,” to the invitation to the Inn.
The Inn sits on the site of a former sawmill; it’s all marina and second homes now. There’s a strip of gray sandy beach and a totem pole that tells the history of the site. There’s a golf course—I’m not a golfer, I can tell you nothing about it—and two restaurants, the Harbormaster above the marina (closed for the season) and Fireside, in the Inn on the main floor.
The Inn is a three story building in an odd pinkish color, it’s a bit of an odd fit for the site, but the views are rather nice. We had a queen suite, and it was, well, lovely. Really. The bathtub was situated such that you could sit in the tub and watch the sun go down (which I did), and hey, how’s this for a nice touch; the coffee the hotel provided was freshly ground and pretty good, plus, there was real creamer in the fridge. (I HATE powdered creamer. HATE it.) There were bathrobes hanging in the closet—a thing I never require but always enjoy—and yes, there was WiFi. Everything was comfortable; it really was a perfect spot for a lazy winter afternoon.
We had our meals in the Fireside restaurant downstairs. For dinner, we went with seafood, of course. We started with the tuna and salmon carpacccio—it was first rate, served with capers, red onions, some kind of mustard, maybe? Delish. We had salmon (again) and halibut for our entrees. The halibut was perfect, served with roasted potatoes and fresh tomatoes. (An odd choice since they’re so not in season, but still very good.) J’s salmon was, I thought, a little overcooked, but still nice, served on risotto. I had a glass of wine—the 14 Hands Riesling—and it was oh so delicious. The entrees run in the mid $20 to low $30 range, the starters about half that, and the servings are generous. So generous, in fact, that we had to pass on dessert, though I really did not want to. I just couldn’t do it.
Our breakfast was disappointing. This was surprising, considering how nice our dinner was. My oatmeal was undercooked, J felt a little let down when his “baker’s basket” included only one muffin, and the coffee we made ourselves in our room was better than that served at our table. It’s too bad; we’d had such a nice meal the night before that our expectations were quite high. And we’d ordered such simple items that it seemed odd they weren’t done well. A bad morning in the kitchen, maybe?
Breakfast aside, we were so comfortable and it was so peaceful that yes, I would go back. The Inn makes a perfect—romantic even—winter getaway. The staff in the restaurant and at the desk were friendly and easy-going, and it’s just far away enough from Seattle to feel like an escape.
- Here’s the Resort at Port Ludlow site.
- There are some winter specials here—you’ll need to enter your dates to see the room rates.
- There are some reviews of the Inn and the Resort on TripAdvisor.
Sidebar: There’s one other thing I’d mention about the resort—they charge a $10 resort fee. I object to these in principal at any hotel; it’s never clear what they cover, there’s no way to confirm or deny that you’ve used the services or not, and they’re seldom optional. As such, they should be included in the room rate. I always ask what the fee covers when I check in and if I’m not going to be using those services, I ask that the fee be removed. No kidding.
Port Ludlow does disclose this fee when you use their online booking service.