Semiahmoo Resort and Spa-24

A return to Blaine, Washington’s Semiahmoo Resort and Spa in autumn brings quiet, sunny days with beautiful foliage surrounding the property. We decided to head down at the end of a weekend for a start-of-the-week getaway.

Semiahmoo Resort and Spa-27 Semiahmoo Resort and Spa-1

Though the summer crowd’s dwindled, the atmosphere is still relaxed and friendly. We settled into a seaside room looking out at White Rock, BC. This resort’s a simple hour and a half drive from Vancouver, give or take a bit at Peach Arch border crossing.

Semiahmoo Resort and Spa-3
[Lobby seating near the library]

Semiahmoo is a AAA four-diamond hotel with 198 deluxe guest rooms including 28 suites. Rooms are well laid out with desk area, couch and table, comfortable beds and full bathrooms. You’ll find outlets and charging docks around the room in the ‘right spots’.

Semiahmoo Resort and Spa-13 Semiahmoo Resort and Spa-8

Windows open to allow that fresh, salty air to stream through for a great night’s rest.

Semiahmoo Resort and Spa-2

The family-friendly Semiahmoo also welcomes small to medium-sized dogs (in specially-designated rooms on the first floor of the resort, based on availability). All rooms have complimentary wifi.

Semiahmoo Resort and Spa-11

Their spa’s open with a full-service salon, massage rooms, esthetic suite and facial rooms, right next to the pool and hot tub. Since numerous weddings are hosted here on a year-round basis, the salon also offers bridal packages.

Semiahmoo Resort and Spa-14


After a dip in the pool and hot tub, enjoy a steam and sauna session (both men’s and women’s locker rooms include a steam room and sauna). Add indoor/outdoor tennis courts, indoor track, racquetball court and workout equipment to the mix and you’re set with fitness options here. We opted for a bike ride using Semiahmoo’s new guest bikes, taking in the scenic beauty surrounding the resort.

The resort’s just gotten a couple of cruisers for guest use.

Semiahmoo Resort and Spa-15

A nine-mile bike loop brings you around Drayton Harbor to enjoy windswept, driftwood-laden coastline and migratory seabirds. We cycled along Coast Millennium Trail within nearby Semiahmoo Park, getting our fix of sea air and scenic beauty before lunch.

If you’re into golf, two of the state’s best courses are located close by: Semiahmoo Golf and Country Club and Loomis Trail Golf Club.

Semiahmoo Resort and Spa-25

We relived summer by the campfire roasting marshmallows for s’mores. On a clear night with a full moon, we listened to the waves splash against the rocks, feeling miles away from the busy city pace just north across the border (or Seattle to our south).

Semiahmoo Resort and Spa-10


Lunch at Packers Oyster Bar means local seafood, burgers, steak sandwiches, salads, wood-fired pizzas and of course oysters on the half shell. If you’re lucky, the über-local Drayton Harbor Pacific oysters will be on the menu (Drayton Harbor’s a new oyster farm in the area, and has already gained a loyal following amongst chefs and residents alike). If you enjoy very creamy oysters, Drayton’s are just the ticket.

Semiahmoo Resort and Spa-16

An excellent variety of wines by the glass and bottle, Washington craft beer, bottled beers, cider and craft cocktails are all available — the entire back of the menu is devoted to libations. On our visit, six local beers were on tap along with a featured rotational draft (all $6/pint).

Semiahmoo Resort and Spa-21

We savoured Alaskan cod tacos served with Napa cabbage, cilantro sour cream, pineapple relish and tortilla chips, as well as a thick Ahi tuna steak on a toasted ciabatta with Chimichurri sauce, tomato, cole slaw and fries.

Semiahmoo Resort and Spa-22

An afternoon oyster shucking and wine pairing session brought us in contact with newly-minted Chef de Cuisine Andrew Tucker, who’s been on the team for two years. He served us Taylor Shellfish Farms’ Olympia, Kumamoto, Virginica and Shingoku oysters with some fine accompaniments, our favourite being the vinegar and shallot pearls, made in-house using molecular gastronomy.

Semiahmoo Resort and Spa-17
[Kumamoto oyster]

And the best for last: another couple of Drayton Harbors to round off the tasting. We learned that the Shingokus originated in Japan but are no longer grown there. They’re small, textured and salty, whereas the larger Virginicas are soft and creamy, likely resulting from warmer temperatures that give oysters their milky quality.

Vinegar/shallot pearls
[Housemade vinegar and shallot pearls for oyster enjoyment]

Olympia oysters are the only ones native to the Pacific Northwest and are small with a dense flavour.

With those beautiful bivalves came glasses of Chateau St. Michelle 2013 Sauvignon Blanc (bright, classic grapefruit flavour), Landmark Cellars’ 2012 Chardonnay and L’Ecole Chardonnay, all well-paired for oysters.

Semiahmoo Resort and Spa-4

Pierside Kitchen offers a commanding view of the harbour with many of the same dishes as its casual cousin next door. French-born Bruno Feldeisen (most recently at Four Seasons Vancouver) has just joined the team as executive chef, bringing nearly 30 years of culinary experience to Semiahmoo.

Bruno Feldeisen

Feldeisen oversees banquet and catering operations as well as daily culinary operations at Packers Oyster Bar and Pierside Kitchen, in addition to the Great Blue Heron Grill and Loomis Trail Bar & Grille, located at the resort’s two award-winning golf courses.

Semiahmoo Resort and Spa-9

Chef Feldeisen’s been honoured with Chocolatier Magazine’s Top Ten Pastry Chefs in America, and was nominated twice for the James Beard Outstanding Pastry Award in both 1997 and 1998.

Semiahmoo Resort and Spa-18

Our meal here was simply gorgeous, served in a relaxed atmosphere with a harbour view. I started with an heirloom tomato and watermelon salad, proscuitto chips, fresh buffalo mozzarella, white balsamic Ligurian olive oil and basil, artfully presented and big on flavour. My husband enjoyed a chilled jumbo prawn cocktail.

[Brioche and pecorino-crusted Pacific halibut crepinette]

The star of the show was the brioche and pecorino-crusted Pacific halibut crepinette, with spinach puree and seasonal vegetables. Rich and decadent, yet so light and delicate. This was enjoyed with the ‘dueling syrahs’, a fun experiment that brought two 3 oz. glasses of Syrah to the table, one from Washington, the other from France.

Semiahmoo Resort and Spa-19
[Double D Ranch steak, seasonal vegetables, bordelaise, baby cress]

We hands-down preferred The Pundit, a 2013 Columbia Valley wine created via a collaboration between Washington’s Chateau. St. Michelle and the Rhône’s Michel Gassier. It’s a deep-coloured wine with dark cherry, vanilla and cocoa at the nose and candied plum and vanilla mouth feel. This is a beautiful sipper that we hope to meet again.

Semiahmoo Resort and Spa-20

The finish to this fine meal was the Chocolate Royale with dark chocolate mousse, hazelnut crunch and ganache, finished with fine salt and caramel.

Semiahmoo Resort and Spa-7

The berry cobbler is melt-in-your-mouth smooth, enhanced with a scoop of house made vanilla ice cream. Pierside is worth the drive down. And if you’re here for breakfast, don’t miss Jenny’s insanely good fruit-topped pancakes with honey butter and the most delicious maple syrup we’ve ever tasted.

Semiahmoo Resort and Spa-26 Semiahmoo Resort and Spa-23

Getting Here

Across the Peach Arch border, follow the road into Blaine, continuing out of the small town towards Drayton Road, leading to Drayton Harbour Road. You’ll soon come over the Semiahmoo Parkway, a long spit that continues along a tree-lined road until you reach the very end. Semiahmoo Resort and Spa is located at 9565 Semiahmoo Parkway in Blaine, Washington.

Semiahmoo Resort and Spa-12

Our stay and meals were compliments of Semiahmoo Resort and Spa. Opinions, as always, are our own.

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.