A Taste for the Ocean ~ The Inn at Langley
Years ago, the master of American architecture Frank Lloyd Wright said, “Give me the luxuries of life and I will willingly do without the necessities.” Had Wright experienced the romantic charm and contemporary ambience of Washington State’s Inn at Langley, his observations would have only been confirmed.
The award-winning Inn at Langley is set amidst the fresh ocean air and scenic splendor of the Pacific Northwest, perched on the shoreline of pastoral Whidbey Island. The inn is a relaxing three-hour drive south of Vancouver, British Columbia, or a one-hour hop, skip and jump (literally) from Seattle via the Mukilteo-Clinton ferry. It’s a wonderfully relaxing environment complete with picturesque small towns, meandering roads, sprawling landscapes of forest and farmland, and ocean glimpses when you least expect them
Nestled on the shore, the Inn at Langley and its 26 protected rooms afford an eagle’s-eye view of the coastline. Guests enjoy a well-appointed nest of down duvets, whirl-bath jetted tubs, flat-screen televisions and wood-burning fireplaces, making the experience feel as comfortable as a second home.
From humble beginnings as a blackberry patch, the resort’s owners, Paul and Pam Schell, created the Inn at Langley in 1989. Nine years later, spa cottages and the charming Spa Essencia were added. Today the Inn at Langley is one of the most awarded resorts in the Pacific Northwest. In 2006, the inn received top awards from Travel & Leisure, CondÃ© Nast Traveler and Washington Wine and an Extraordinary rating (the highest in the Pacific Northwest) from ZAGAT.
Spa Essencia is operated by Dana Consuelo Smith. With only three treatment rooms, the spa is quaint, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in professional services and a location literally at the water’s edge. I enjoyed the spa’s private steam room before experiencing the Retreat & Transform spa ritual, a relaxing and luxurious escape. I was in the care of Andrea, a former spa owner from Juneau, Alaska. My treatment began with a 45-minute full-body Swedish massage, followed by an Aromawrap with my choice of essential oil. Icing the cake (or my face, in this case) was an Essencia Face Treatment Massage, which left me relaxed and totally refreshed. At the end of the treatment, Andrea provided me with my own personal skin care receipt: a list of all the elements and ingredients of my treatment, including cleanser, toner, calming seaweed mask, fortifier and moisturizer. I was also impressed to find an email automatically sent to me at the conclusion of my visit, asking my opinion and requesting any suggestions for improvement.
Spa Essencia was a wonderful aperitif to the main event of the evening, chef Matt Costello’s Dining Experience. Each Friday, Saturday and Sunday, as well as Thursdays mid-June through August, chef Costello welcomes guests for an incredible six-course culinary and wine experience in the expansive dining room, which also happens to be his kitchen. Costello offers personal insight into how courses are developed and their ingredients chosen, often through unique knowledge or relationships that have been fostered with members of Whidbey Island’s farming and cottage industries. Although the food is the feature, the accompanying wine selections from around the world that complement each course should not be missed.
In the morning, the Inn at Langley offers its guests a wonderful homemade breakfast buffet. Guests can either dine in or take a tray back to their room. We did the latter, and with a view of the mist rising off the ocean, a warm fire and the delicious breakfast, it was a moment reminiscent of a Christmas morning.
I’ve been fortunate to have lived by the ocean in the Pacific Northwest for almost 20 years. I never grow tired of it. The region is full of new discoveries, both natural and manmade. The Inn at Langley and Spa Essencia offer the best of both.
Inn at Langley, Spa Essancia
Things to know before you go:
Whidbey Island is accessible from Mukilteo, south of Everett, via Washington State Ferries to Clinton: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/
Visitors from the north can access Whidbey Island via Highway 20 westbound at Exit 230 at Burlington. This route takes travelers over a dramatic bridge over spectacular Deception Pass, one of Washington state’s gems. http://www.deceptionpassfoundation.org/
Canada/United States border news and updates are available at: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic/border/
Craig Oliver, Spas of America