Perched over the winding Wenatchee River with a view of the Cascade Mountains, Leavenworth’s Posthotel & Spa upholds the town’s Bavarian charm in the most elegant way conceivable. While many nearby lodges celebrate German music and food, the Posthotel, with its spacious firelit rooms and gigantic marble bathtubs, strives to re-create the aesthetic of a slope-side sanitorium in the Alps: a place where the noise level is near negative (it caters to adults only), the food is pleasantly virtuous, and a well-designed pool and wellness area relaxes and rejuvenates even the most determined spa-doubter.
If you arrive too late to enjoy the nightly dessert buffet, you’re sure to wake up hungry. The hearty but healthful breakfast passes at a pleasurably leisurely pace. Afterward, go for a massage in the resort’s more formal spa, and you’ll more than likely achieve the jellylike state of bliss responsible for making the Posthotel so popular in its inaugural year. But really, you haven’t even begun. Descend a wide spiral staircase to that quiet wellness area, where you’ll alternate between the lavender and eucalyptus steam baths, decide which intricately designed dry sauna is your favorite, and walk through a series of hot and cold stepping pools reportedly designed (by a Bavarian, obviously) to cure tuberculosis. When you’ve finished, there’s a nap room, complete with individual beds and cozy chairs situated to offer a hypnotizing river view in the middle distance.
The unplugging is almost unintentional: There are no cell phones allowed, so you resolve not to think about work until you’ve had your dose of the pools. Then you notice that everyone seems to be migrating toward lunch in their soft white robes, so you don’t bother changing, either. Back in your room, sated, you have no choice but to make a beeline to the comfy couch, surround yourself in white linen and watch the Wenatchee River run by until the pools beckon again.
Posthotel & Spa, Leavenworth, 309 Eighth St.; 509.548.7678; from $365 (includes breakfast and lunch)
Rustic hewn-log beds in the cabins evoke a camping vibe at Sleeping Lady. Courtesy of Sleeping Lady
Another Sleeping Option
For outdoor enthusiasts ready for a vacation, nothing beats a night at Sleeping Lady, a resort just a few miles outside of Leavenworth that, in some ways, resembles a high-end camping experience without the tent. Designed with environmental stewardship in mind (such as a geothermal exchange system for heating and cooling), the family-friendly clusters of well-appointed individual cabins, decked out with hewn-log beds made up with luxe linens, create the perfect way to have a relaxing weekend without losing sight of nature. Wander through the property’s organic garden—also a great place to see birds and deer—then enjoy its harvest in the big dining hall before a hike in the Icicle Creek valley.
Sleeping Lady, Leavenworth, 7375 Icicle Road; 800.574.2123; from $252
Where to Eat
When Amber Tande and Colin Patterson opened Sutra in Wallingford, they showed Seattle that vegan food could be interesting, well thought out and delicious enough to induce deep cravings. When the restaurant lost its cozy home a few years ago, Tande and Patterson quietly moved to Leavenworth, opening a similar concept in an equally intimate house at the edge of town.
A porcini salad from Mana, a restaurant that serves an ever-changing eight-course meal. Photo by Claire Barboza
At Mana, the eight-course meals ($85) start in the same way that they did at Sutra—with the bang of a gong and a reminder from Patterson that as eaters, we have a responsibility to thank not just our farmers, but the earth that grows our food and the macro forces that keep us rooted in space. It’s hard to know whether the homily deserves a standing ovation or an eye roll, so internally, you can give it both—and then focus on choosing between the biodynamic wine pairings ($47) or matching herb-focused nonalcoholic drinks ($24).
While the ever-changing menu at Mana isn’t strictly vegan or even vegetarian, it leans away from animal products. Satisfying sourdough mung bean crêpes filled with lamb and draped in a chaat masala sauce aren’t quite a play on shawarma or falafel, but they’re reminiscent of both. Beet “pastrami” isn’t really anything like the beef version, but the thinly sliced smoky beets are fascinating.
At halftime, over a palate cleanser, diners receive a plate with some of the more unusual ingredients used for the meal: a pinch of urfa biber, say, lined up with a clove of black garlic and a pristine lime leaf. The remaining courses, which may include Patterson’s now-signature pine branch ice cream lollipop, all brim with playfulness.
Mana may become Leavenworth’s first real destination restaurant. The question is, how will diners mitigate the footprint they make driving from afar for food so carefully designed to have a low impact?
It seems somehow disappointing to recommend a Leavenworth sausage spot that’s actually an outpost of a Seattle meat mecca, but with great bratwurst platters, soft “haus-made” pretzels smeared with the Bavarian cheese-and-butter spread obatzda, and satisfying beef goulash, Rhein Haus is hard to beat. Stop by if your crew needs a big German bier and a view of Leavenworth’s main drag from the sprawling deck.
Mana, Leavenworth, 1033 Commercial St.; 509.548.1662
Rhein Haus, Leavenworth, 707 U.S. Hwy. 2, Unit F; 509.888.1568
The wine scene in Leavenworth has exploded in the last decade, but don’t limit yourself to the tasting rooms in town. Some of the best are just beyond Bavaria.
Icicle Ridge Winery: This Peshastin tasting room is housed in a giant log cabin hand-built by the original winemaker as the family home. Bring a picnic to eat on the lawn, but don’t forget to check out the taxidermy inside.
Peshastin, 8977 N Road; 509.548.7019
Eagle Creek Winery: Leavenworth’s oldest winery, Eagle Creek has a second, summer-only tasting room tucked into the woods. Here, you can sample wine with a winemaker, pick a bottle, then enjoy a mini fondue pot under the poplars on the porch. Send the kids to the tree house.
Leavenworth, 10037 Eagle Creek Road; 509.548.7059
’37 Cellars: While Frank Dechaine and Chuck Egner’s tasting room doubles as a recording studio, the space is really an homage to 1937 Martin guitars (hence the winery’s name), plus a collection of the instruments from Gibson, Steve Grimes and local luthiers. Settle in on the couch for tastings from unique single-varietal bottles and don’t be surprised when the bluegrass starts. Leavenworth; 509.548.8663; by appointment only
Bourdreaux Cellars: When Louisiana-born winemaker Rob Newsom built a winery off the grid (that is, by hand), people thought he was nuts. And Gary Figgins of Leonetti Cellars fame didn’t nickname him “Boudreaux” (after a crazy character from Cajun folklore) for nothing; Newsom makes wine his own way. Cross the hand-built bridge over Icicle Creek to the winery to learn why Newsom uses heavy French glass and longer corks from Lafite for his bottles, and why he hand-dips every gorgeous bottle in red wax.
Leavenworth; 509.548.5858; by appointment only