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Urban Oasis: Cedarbrook

Situated on eighteen lush acres of natural wetlands, Cedarbrook Lodge provides an urban oasis with the ambiance of a discreet hideaway.
Written by Deanna Duff | Photography by Jamie Pflughoeft | Click on images to enlarge
Cedarbrook Lodge is a dog-friendly urban oasis in SeaTac, Washington, situated on 18 acres, ten of which are restored wetlands. With its lush grounds, walking trails and on-site gardens which supply the award-winning Copperleaf restaurant, it is a sanctuary for busy travelers and their canine companions.

“We’re all really big dog people here,” says Roy Breiman, Cedarbrook’s culinary director. Breiman’s own family includes a golden retriever who is often included in vacations. Breiman understands firsthand that dogs are an essential part of the family.

Guests traveling with dogs can expect an enthusiastic welcome from the minute they arrive. Parking valets warmly greet fellow dog lovers and share local pet picks. “I had a Labradoodle and loved taking her for walks around Green Lake,” offers one attendant before zipping away to park.

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Cedarbrook is located less than a five-minute drive from SeaTac Airport and is convenient for both layover stays and extended visits. Formerly a lavish training center for the Washington Mutual company, the Wright Hotel Company purchased the property and opened Cedarbrook to the public in September 2009.

Even though the hustle and bustle of International Boulevard is only a few blocks away, Cedarbrook is serene. It is situated near residential neighborhoods and numerous parks, Bow Lake (5040 S. 178th St.) and Angle Lake (19408 International Blvd), which are within walking distance and ideal for a dog’s day out. For particularly free-spirited dogs, Grandview Off-Leash Dog Park is an easy, 10-minute drive from Cedarbrook (3600 S. 228th St.).  

Guests enter and are embraced by the naturalness of the architecture. The lobby overlooks the Copperleaf restaurant, which is anchored by magnificent, vaulted ceilings. Exposed wood creates an earthy elegance, and floor-to-ceiling windows allow natural light to pour through the building. Cedarbrook feels as though it is lit from within.

“The building itself really has a story and I think everybody feels a sense of that when they arrive,” says Breiman. “It’s a beautiful entry area that imparts a sense of wellness, calm and comfort.”

Cedarbrook has 104 guest rooms split between two buildings, the Dogwood and Spruce. The rooms all have scenic views and, on a clear day, the mountaintops frame the skyline thanks to the signature, oversized windows. Room decor is a blend of crisp, white modernism combined with warm, wood accents and recessed lighting.

The parlor areas, located in each guest building, are a concept unique to Cedarbrook. These cozy common rooms are furnished with plush chairs and fireplaces, which make them idyllic for reading. The most enticing feature, however, is the fully-stocked kitchen. The refrigerator overflows with snacks such as fresh fruit, cheeses, soda and, best of all, an assortment of Häagen-Dazs ice cream. Perfect for late-night munching, the food is complimentary for guests. “There is a sense of exclusivity at Cedarbrook, but yet there is such a grounding sense of the quintessential Northwest, too. You don’t feel uptight when you stay here,” says Breiman.

Furry friends also feel at home the minute they walk through the doors. Dogs receive their own check-in amenities, which include toys, treats, food bowls and more. “We want dogs to think, ‘I want to go back there,’” says Breiman.

It is easy to nestle into the comfort of a guest room, but there is plenty else to experience at Cedarbrook. For working vacations, Cedarbrook has 18,000 square feet of meeting/convention space equipped with up-to-the-minute technology. Fitness-minded guests can enjoy the 1,200 square-foot, state-of-the-art workout area equipped with cardio and weight machines.

The lodge also hosts regular events such as TomatoFare West, a harvest festival featuring heirloom tomatoes. The first annual event was in 2010 and featured entertainment, agricultural education and local growers and chefs who created gourmet dishes. TomatoFare West is scheduled again for August 2012 and promises to be a juicy time. Cedarbrook is also planning to launch a summer jazz series in July 2012.

The grounds are always open for both two- and four-legged guests to enjoy. An outdoor patio overlooks a pond and richly-verdant lawn. Trails traverse the property, which dogs and their companions can explore. Garden beds occupy approximately a quarter of an acre and are home to ever-rotating crops of organic vegetables, fruits and herbs.

“It’s a great part of what we do. Everyone enjoys working on it and the team learns a lot about where food comes from. It’s an important commitment for us,” explains Breiman.

Depending on the season, guests might see carrots, beets, English peas, lettuce, tomatoes, mint, strawberries or a variety of other fresh goodies. A mushroom inoculation site is also nearby. Everything grown on location is used by Copperleaf restaurant.

Copperleaf is Cedarbrook’s crown jewel. Headed by Executive Chef Mark Bodinet, formerly of the famed French Laundry in California’s Napa Valley, Copperleaf has consistently won national acclaim for its regionally inspired cuisine. Their menus are planned by the seasons and, in addition to cultivating some of their own vegetables and herbs, almost all other ingredients are sourced from within 150-200 miles.

“We want the best to serve to our guests. We feel the best way to do that is to find it locally and search out people who’ve mastered their craft whether it’s a farmer, fisherman or rancher,” says Breiman. “It’s important to us to protect our sustainable food systems.”

Guests can look forward to a 2012 expansion of Copperleaf to accommodate more diners.

Impressively, the same level of detail is applied when catering to canines. Cedarbrook offers the Puppy’s Pantry menu, which can be ordered as room service. Dogs can select from dishes such as pasture-finished chicken with rice pilaf and summer vegetables, locally grown Carlton Farm roast pork shoulder with potatoes and spinach or hand-formed, kitchen-made pasta with garden vegetables and rabbit livers. Lucky dogs, indeed!

The attention to detail for all guests is the hallmark of Cedarbrook’s hospitality. Part of that is by welcoming the entire family—all ages, interests and with or without wet noses and tails.

“There is a sense of familiarity and comfort that comes with having your animals with you,” says Breiman. “It creates a sense of ease. Animals are truly blessings.”  

More Information
Cedarbrook Lodge
18525 36th Avenue South
Seattle, Wash.  98188
Telephone: 206.901.9628
Toll-free reservations:  877.515.2176
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