January 19 2019
With beautiful coastline, windswept sand dunes, and a love of outdoor recreation, Oregon has long been a surprising hotbed for destination golf resorts boasting standout courses. Today the most famous is golf-centric Bandon Dunes, developer Mike Keiser's monument to great course design, which deservedly draws golfing purists like moths to a flame. But long before Bandon, there were serval other major golf resorts here, all of which have far more well-rounded non-golf offerings.
John Gray was the developer who put Oregon golf on the map, building three vacation-worthy resorts here, Sunriver, Skamania and more than 50 years ago, his very first, Salishan Spa and Golf Resort. Located two hours from Portland on the central Oregon coast, Salishan was where it all started, and after a few changes in ownership, it has been under new management for the last year and half and is experiencing a major rebirth that golfing - and non-golfing travelers - might want to keep on their radar. Especially if they love food.
The resort recently completed a multi-million-dollar renovation, and last fall the new management company, Crescent Hotels & Resorts, hired GM Steven Hurst from what is arguably Oregon's most revered luxury property, the Allison Inn, a wine country property famous for its culinary offerings. Hurst is bringing that sensibility to Salishan, where new dining and culinary experiences have just launched and will continue to debut this year, along with heavily renovated guest rooms (205), public areas and upscaled service. One thing has not changed: Salishan continues its longstanding commitment to artwork, with paintings, sculptures and creative installations throughout indoor spaces and around the 250-acre park-like resort property. In addition, more than 500 original drawings, prints and watercolors adorn guest rooms.
Just seven weeks ago, Salishan opened its newest restaurant, Samphire, featuring coastal range cuisine with locally sourced ingredients reflecting the rich bounty of the region's ocean, mountains and neighboring valleys. Executive Chef Andrew Garrison said (via release): "We are using the freshest ingredients picked at their peak to allow the natural flavors to come through in every dish." For months prior to opening, Chef Garrison meticulously sourced local providers for farm foods, fish, cheese and more. "Right now, we've selected a few partners to work with but will continue to grow our list of local purveyors as we continue to discover the best that the region has to offer." For example, Oregon's acclaimed wine making industry is most famed for Pinot Noir, which Samphire pairs with locally sourced Oregon Lamb topped with a Pinot Noir jus.
Salishan's commitment to the food and wine side of the operation also includes revamped menus and offerings at the resort's three exiting restaurants, The Sun Room, Attic Lounge and The Grill. When not eating, guests can enjoy other activities, including the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary certified waterfront golf course, high-end spa, tennis center, pool and fitness center.
In what must be a good omen for the new management, Salishan will also be among the very first spots in North America from which to witness the huge 2017 solar eclipse on August 21 (Read more about this historic solar event and viewing opportunities here). While many top viewing spots elsewhere are already sold out, the resort still has some availability on its Solar Eclipse lodging package, as well as an optional VIP experience. The package includes a pair of viewing glasses and accommodations with rates beginning at $499 per night (minimum two-night stay). The VIP viewing experience takes place at the end of the Salishan Spit, the darkest part of the property, and features Adirondack chair seating with blankets, mimosas served in commemorative champagne glasses, coffee and transportation. The VIP experience is available for an additional $100 per person.
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Photo: Oregon's coast is home to several great golf courses and resorts. Salishan started the trend and more than 50 years later, is being reborn.