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(Image: The Lodge at St. Edward State Park)

Abandoned seminary reopens in St. Edward State Park, as luxury hotel & spa

Surrounded by lush forest, The Lodge at St. Edward State Park is an elegant, historic retreat located in Kenmore, just a short drive from Seattle.

"You walk through the front door and it's just a special feeling. You feel like you're somewhere away from it all," said Jenne Oxford, General Manager.

Originally built in 1931, The Lodge is housed in what was a seminary, a school that prepared students to become priests. After sitting empty for decades, it has been painstakingly restored to showcase the building's grandeur, while adding a few modern touches.

"As much of the original items were kept as possible. Every window, every tile on the roof, every piece of baseboard," explained Oxford. "The thought that went into trying to keep as much of the original integrity of the building and just capture that, making it into something beautiful and new is definitely the most important part."

The former dorms have been transformed into guest rooms featuring design elements inspired by The Lodge's history. While downstairs, adjacent to the lobby, visitors will find the stunning gallery corridor.

"It's all Pacific Northwest artists [displayed] here," said Oxford. "The art will rotate so it won't necessarily all be the same. We'll see pieces come and go throughout the seasons and hopefully get to feature some really unique Pacific Northwest artists who haven't had the opportunity to be displayed before."

Guests don't have to leave the property to enjoy a delicious meal or perfectly prepared cocktail. The culinary program at The Lodge is led by James Beard Award-winning chef Jason Wilson.

"I hope that people can experience a sense of comfort and home. Ultimately, that's what we're looking to provide, great hospitality," explained Wilson.

Visitors have three different dining options to choose from. What was once the seminary's barbershop is now Tonsorium Bar, with a speakeasy vibe and decor that includes relics from the building's past. Near the lobby, the Heritage Bar is a warm, inviting spot for classic cocktails and American-style bar food. While Cedar + Elm is The Lodge's centerpiece restaurant.

"[At Cedar + Elm] we're really inspired by both the sense of place, being in the Pacific Northwest and this region, but even more so for me as the chef, it's inside the park and this building that was the seminary," said Wilson. "We use our chef's garden in-season and then a lot of really great relationships I've fostered over the years with farmers, growers, ranchers and fishers. Ultimately, we've created a really approachable sense of food that's focused on being delicious and resonating with the Pacific Northwest."

Whether you're stopping in for just a few hours, or staying for a few days, The Lodge at St. Edward State Park is a lovely spot to relax, unwind or celebrate life's most special milestones with the ones you love.