A Surfer Renovates a Washington State Hotel to Resemble a Camp for Adults

Photos by Garret Van Swearingen

Avid surfer Johannes Ariens felt pulled to the rugged coastline of Westport, Washington, but he loves more than a perfect wave: he's into beautiful design, too. So when a tired motel from the 1960s washed up in the area, he bought it last fall with the surf culture of Montauk and Tofino in mind. Ariens wanted a place where fish out of water — from fellow surfers to commercial fishermen — could intertwine with vagabonding visitors and local loggers at a hideaway that comes across as an adult summer camp. "We completely gutted the place," he noted, and he raised more than $30,000 in a Kickstarter campaign to outfit the renovation's campsites and 40 rooms with a bright, fun-loving aesthetic. Now, the Loge at the Sands is a simple getaway with some seriously cool perks: surfers can come for the currents but stay for fire pits, a performance stage, and sleeping quarters that are as outdoorsy or cozy as they please. And just because the hotel's sensibilities seem very of-the-moment doesn't mean that all of the original style is gone. Ariens wanted to hold on to the past where he could, and the layout of the locale is still very much a throwback to its roots. "We're running with the midcentury vibe, and that's really fortunate because that's what the property is," he said.

front door
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credit: Garret Van Swearingen

Sky-blue doors mark each room's entrance, and the many surfboards propped up on light wood walls are for rent. A funky orange side chair nods to the hotel's fun-loving atmosphere.

guest room
credit: Garret Van Swearingen

Surf-themed art in the rooms was created by John Holm, and can be purchased. "We're treating the whole property as somewhat of a gallery so you don't have the same art in every room," Ariens noted. A striped throw blanket brings texture to an otherwise simple aesthetic on the bed.

guest room
credit: Garret Van Swearingen

Pops of color in the orange chairs and blue surfboards-turned-headboards give the bedrooms personality. Portland-based designer Paula Anast worked on the interiors to make each room feel happy and calm.

guest room
credit: Garret Van Swearingen

A covered stage in the hotel's same light-wood motif is primed for hosting musicians and outdoor films.

fire pit
credit: Garret Van Swearingen

Rustic fire pits overlook the stage for a camp-like atmosphere.