A Hotel on an Island in Washington State May Be the Perfect Place to Unplug

Photos by Andrew Giammarco

Twenty-one years ago, Jena Thornton left the familiar high-rises of Chicago for the dream of living in the rugged Pacific Northwest.

Once she arrived, her steady dream turned into a passionate vision: she wanted to own a hotel on one of Washington's wild islands, and she refused to let that idea slip away. Her husband, Scott Shapiro, had real estate development experience, so they seemed like the perfect team. And when a site opened up on a speck of dry land an hour from Seattle in 2011, the two claimed it for themselves. Then, they spent the next four years constructing the Lodges of Vashon with SHW, which is set on an isle of the same name.

Sixteen pre-fab structures by Champion Commercial comprise a majority of the hotel, and they were built in Idaho and transferred to the site. "[Pre-fab] was something my husband and I always wanted to do," Thornton noted. The rooms have a minimalist look of warm grays and soft whites, which speaks to Shapiro's experience with luxury buildings, but they still feel simple enough for the surroundings. Thornton describes her property as a haven of "modern, fresh Scandinavian-designed cabins," which are positioned around communal spaces so that guests and visitors are encouraged to mingle. After all, that was a part of Thornton's vision, too.

"We really try to engage the local community," Thornton said.

exterior
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credit: Andrew Giammarco

Outdoor living is in abundance at the lodge. In this area, a see-through fireplace and string lights overhead are paired with sheepskin throws and bamboo chairs. It's all meant to foster a sense of community on the grounds.

communal space
credit: Andrew Giammarco

Wide-plank flooring and Bacco chairs around a dining table cultivate a familial atmosphere in the "Public House," where guests can prepare snacks in a communal kitchen. It is one of two common spaces at the lodge.

interior of lodge
credit: Andrew Giammarco

The guest rooms have ivory linens and unfinished wood furnishings that offer a contrast to accent wall shades that vary from midnight blue, gray, and soft black.

interior of lodge
credit: Andrew Giammarco

Each room is set inside its own pre-fab structure, and is minimally decorated. Some accessories, like the antlers, were collected on the island. Tom Kush, a local on the island, provided custom woodwork for the rooms.

bath
credit: Andrew Giammarco

Half of the lodges have indoor-outdoor showers to help with removing sand when guests return from the beach.