A Tulalip Surprise

[trip style = weekend getaway + spa + budget conscious]

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Whether Tulalip {pronounced too-leh-lip} is your road trip's first note, crescendo or finale, everyone seems to find an excuse to stop at the Seattle Premium Outlets. And then, just past Restoration Hardware, you spot a hotel. Like you, I've always wondered what's inside. Recently my curiosity was cured when I was invited to stay at the 370-room Tulalip Resort. Not only did I learn the hotel has been at capacity every weekend since they've opened---a first indication they are doing something right---but also experienced a few "aha" moments worth sharing.

What Might Surprise You About Tulalip Resort {& Casino} The Designation I never would have guessed that a hotel just off the highway would be an AAA Four Diamond property. Surprise, it is, and lives up to the designation.

The Food I've heard through friends and contacts that Tulalip's exec chefs rock it on the foodie front. I'd have to concur after sampling dishes like soy-marinated salmon skewers, polenta fries dipped in red pepper aioli, volcano seared ahi tuna and baby arugula and red pear salad. {Trip Styler Tip :: Go for the gold and eat the resort's fine dining restaurant, Tulalip Bay. Make sure to defer to Tommy, resident (and really nice) sommelier, for your wine pairings.}

The Spa Built with meandering walkways, birch trees and river rocks mimicking a babbling brook, the 14,000sf T Spa is buffet-big with an amuse-bouche feel. Flickering candles, local music and color therapy reset your mind, while treatments transport you to another place. {Trip Styler Tip :: For an excellent massage, request Shannon, who gave me the best back treatment I've had in a long time.}

The Art From the hotel's custom-designed carpets to the lobby's 25ft hand-carved, red cedar house poles, Coast Salish art adorns every inch of available space. And in a nod to the Tulalip tribe's heritage, each piece tells a story. Showcasing 95% local art, think of the hotel like an art gallery, sans white walls and minimalism. {Trip Styler Tip :: Put on your "eagle eyes" and look left, right, up and down at the standout art that blends into the colorful decor.}

The Rooms An extension of the hotel's design aesthetic, 500sf rooms are very well-appointed with splurge-y features like: terrycloth-lined Japanese silk bath robes; glass-enclosed spa showers with triple shower heads; make-up removal wipes {in addition to wash clothes}, included bottled water and a coffee center with all the regular accompaniments including honey pearls.

Rates from $150/night include parking and wifi.

[photos by @tripstyler]