The holiday season brings activities galore, but sometimes it’s hard to take a break out of our busy schedules to truly relax and enjoy them. If you’re looking for a way to enjoy the best of what the season has to offer, consider a weekend getaway to Alderbrook Resort & Spa. Located just a Christmas tree’s throw away from Seattle on Hood Canal, the resort offers unique holiday activities, fab hotel amenities and a slowed-down pace. Still not convinced? Read on for a list of 10 reasons you need to pack your bags and head to Alderbrook.

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photo: Kristina Moy

1. Cocoa Cruises with Santa. During the month of December, you and your kid crew can cruise (literally) with Santa aboard the Lady Alderbrook. The 90-minute, private yacht cruises take place on Saturdays and Sundays and include a personal meet and greet with the big guy in red and one of his jolly elves, holiday caroling, story time with Santa and delish cocoa and cookies. While you sit back and enjoy the sights of Hood Canal, your kids can make unique Alderbrook-themed ornaments and color holiday pictures. Cruises are open to both hotel and non-hotel guests and take place Dec. 2-3, 9-10 & 17-18, 2016 from 1 p.m.-2:30 p.m. Psst! These cruises fill up fast, so book your tickets online or call 360-898-2145.picmonkey-collage_cocoa-cruise

photo: Kristina Moy

2. 10 Miles of Holiday Lights. Santa and Mrs. Claus ceremoniously kicked off a “Winter Wonderland” on Nov. 25 by flipping the switch on more than ten miles of lights adorning the resort, including a 35-foot holiday tree! Stroll through the property and admire the lights that can be found in every nook and cranny and don’t forget to look out on the water for two beautifully lit holiday displays.

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photo: Alderbrook Resort & Spa

3. Chef-Led Gingerbread House Classes. If you’ve been thinking about making gingerbread houses with your little elves, but the thought of all that frosting and those sticky fingers all over your kitchen make you cringe, you’ll be happy to hear that Alderbrook Resort & Spa offers private gingerbread house classes with the resort’s renowned pastry chef, Boyd Borland. The 60-minute classes, which are open to hotel guests on Saturdays and Sundays in December, include a gingerbread house for each participant, all the frosting and candy you’ll need to construct a sweet masterpiece and expert instruction from Chef Borland. Festive holiday music will play during your class (singing is encouraged!) and everyone can munch on delish holiday cookies prepared by Alderbrook’s chefs. The best part? Set-up and clean-up is included in the cost of the class which is the icing on the cake er house.picmonkey-collage_gingerbread-houses

photo: Kristina Moy

4. Complimentary Santa Pictures & Holiday Displays. Located in a cozy corner of the resort’s lobby is where you will find Santa and his beautiful set inspired by the national parks centennial. On Saturdays and Sundays, during the month of December, Santa will be taking Christmas wish lists from good little boys and girls as well posing for complimentary photos. In addition to a printed picture, families are encouraged to take their own photos, so don’t forget your camera or iPhone. Psst… put on your holiday duds and have Santa’s elf take your family’s pic, so you can cross that one off your holiday to-do list. Santa will be posing for pics from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Dec. 2-3, 9-10 & 17-18 & 24-25, 2016. Pictures are complimentary to hotel and non-hotel guests. If you happen to miss Santa, you’re more than welcome to pose in his shiny red sleigh, which is parked in the resort’s lobby, or hop on his ginormous rocking horse next to the beautifully decorated trees.

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photo: Kristina Moy

5. Union City Shopping Shuttles. If you still have holiday gifts to buy, jump on the Union City shopping shuttle which leaves the resort entrance every half hour between 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday and Sundays in December. The shuttle stops at the Union City Market and Cameo Boutique every half hour and will give you the opportunity to purchase unique artisan wares and explore the historic community of Union.

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photo: Alderbrook Resort & Spa

6. An Indoor Pool with a View. We know the first question your kids are going to ask when you tell them you’re headed to Alderbrook Resort & Spa. Is there a pool? And thankfully, you can say “yes.” Alderbrook’s indoor pool is open year-round, so if the wind is whipping through Hood Canal, your little water bugs can swim their little hearts out. The pool is open from 5 a.m.-9 p.m. for all ages (9 p.m. to midnight for adults), so if you’ve got a crew of early risers, you can burn off some of that morning steam in the pool house. Bonus: You can also order food from the restaurant in the pool house… including anything from the bar! Margaritas poolside, anyone?

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photo: Kristina Moy

7. A Spa to Relax and Rejuvenate Your Mind & Body. With all that running around, shopping and wrapping, the holiday season can really take a toll on a parent’s mind and body. If you’re hoping to seek some peace and tranquility on your weekend getaway, Alderbrook’s day spa is the place to soothe your tired feet and aching muscles. Surrounded by nature, the smell of cedars and evergreens and the sound of water splashing against the rocks, Alderbrook’s signature treatments and massages integrate heated basalt stones with aromatherapy, relaxation and deep tissue techniques to harmonize your mind, body and soul. A massage. A facial. The perfect bath. The Spa at Alderbrook offers a range of treatments to soothe your holiday cares away.

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photo: Alderbrook Resort & Spa

8. Award-Winning Dining. Whether you’re into fresh seafood or more traditional dishes like steak and fries or handmade ravioli, you’ll find a wide selection of rotating menu items at The Restaurant at Alderbrook. Each night, Alderbrook’s Executive Chef Josh Delgado prepares a menu that showcases local seafood harvested from Puget Sound and the Hood Canal with savory creations like tiny sweet oysters or Dungeness crab cakes. Fresh local lettuces and handcrafted artisanal cheeses are always on the menu alongside warm starters like Alderbrook’s oh-so delicious clam chowder. Kids will love choosing items off the kids’ menu and everyone’s eyes will light up when they catch a glimpse of the dessert menu. Cranberry cheesecake with a walnut crust, apple crostata with bourbon caramel and maple-walnut cake for mom and dad and Olympic Mountain ice cream for the kids. It doesn’t get any sweeter than this!

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photo: Kristina Moy

9. Over 3 Miles of Guest Trails to Explore. Kids of all ages will think the hiking trails at Alderbrook are awesome and with routes that loop back around, there are countless new ways to discover. Put on your sturdy shoes or rubber boots and let the older kids in your crew be the trail blazers, leading the fam through the woods. Younger kids will appreciate the smooth, wide trails that are perfect for little feet. Psst… be sure to bring your camera—there’s a great vantage point that’s screaming for you to take a family photo. Say cheese!

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photo: Kristina Moy

10. Spacious Cottages and Hotel Rooms. If you’re up for splurging or need a little more room, the cottages at Alderbrook are our first choice. Each cottage offers plenty of space to spread out, a cozy gas fireplace, a fully stocked kitchen and a covered patio. During the holiday season, each cottage is adorned with holiday lights and a Christmas tree in the living room. The cottages also surround a big green stretch of grass that’s perfect for romping around and complimentary outdoor lawn games can be found year-round. Rather go with a classic guestroom, hotel-style? Ask for a room with a deck or a room on the ground floor that opens up into the resort grounds. Either way, your kids are going to love sleeping in Alderbrook’s comfy beds and wearing cozy hotel robes after their showers.

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photo: Kristina Moy

Alderbrook Resort & Spa
10 E. Alderbrook Dr.
Union, Wa 98592
360-898-2200
Reservations: 360-898-2145
Online: alderbrookresort.com

Have you stayed at Alderbrook Resort & Spa during the holidays? Planning to go this year? Tell us in the Comments below.

— Kristina Moy

Note: This trip was paid for by Alderbrook Resort & Spa, but all opinions expressed here belong to the writer.