Every couple could use a romance recharge, especially if you can't remember the last time you spent time together without the kids. Or perhaps you are expecting your first child and want to get in one last weekend "babymoon." Whether you can get away for the whole weekend or just a few hours, here are some nearby oases -- heavenly places you can go to relax and reconnect.

Located less than an hour from Seattle, the Salish Lodge and Spa is tucked away above the sacred and beautiful Snoqualmie Falls. When you arrive, the complimentary valet service will whisk your car away. Now you've left your parental cares behind and are free to be lovers again. When you enter your exquisite wood- and copper-accented room, with its wood-burning fireplace, oversized whirlpool tub and king-size feather bed, you may not want to leave. But the warm waters of the spa's therapeutic pools await you. So throw on a bathing suit and one of your room's comfy oversized robes and trot down to the spa, located on the fourth floor of the lodge.

Once there you'll be given a tour of pool area, the steam room and the dry sauna. The spa is a quiet zone -- no talking above a whisper and no cell phones. You could easily spend an hour or more relaxing in the warm waters of the two pools. The views make the spa feel like a well-appointed tree house for adults. For a truly divine afternoon, book a hot stone massage or one of the spa's signature facials before you arrive. The spa even offers special massages for pregnant moms and "treatments for two" packages.

If lounging in the spa is not your partner's thing, consider booking him or her an afternoon adventure through the hotel's adventure center. He or she can play golf, go fly fishing with a guide, or enjoy a hike while you are blissed out in the spa.

Several other Puget Sound area hotels offer "stay and spa" options, including the luxurious Alexis in downtown Seattle, where you can treat yourself to some pampering and then head out for holiday shopping. The Alexis offers treatments in the Etherea Salon Spa; or, for a special treat, book an in-room massage or facial through the hotel's concierge.

The Willows Lodge and Spa, located in Woodinville's Sammamish River Valley, offers a highly-popular "Do Not Disturb" package, which includes a romantic drawn bubble bath with floating rose petals. Willows also offers a unique riverside experience for couples, who can enjoy treatments together in a garden cabana in summer or a cozy lodge suite in winter.

The beautiful Woodmark Hotel and Spa in Kirkland is the only hotel located right on Lake Washington. Its newly-renovated rooms feature views of the water, and the spa offers the latest treatments in skin care. Hotel guests can take a complimentary spin around the lake in the hotel's boat, a 1956 26-ft Chris-Craft called the Woodmark II. The boat's captain offers hotel guests a "lifestyles of the rich and famous"-style tour of the area's waterfront homes.

If you and your spouse could use some soaking and pampering, but are on a budget or only have time for a quick escape, don't despair. For $60, a couple can retreat to Banya 5, a Russian-style spa in downtown Seattle, located on 9th Avenue near Denny Park. Banya offers a family-friendly environment -- kids are welcome at any time. You can sweat out your stress together in a sauna and follow up with a plunge in a cold pool. Repeat the cycle until you feel relaxed, and then put on a robe and hang out. If you want to splurge a little, Banya 5 offers services including massage and a signature salt scrub. Check the schedule on Banya's website for "co-ed" days, and make sure to bring shower slippers, a bathing suit and a robe.

For the adventurous, or those who are nostalgic for the wilder days of their youth, check out Tubs in Seattle's U-District. For less than $40 an hour, a couple can enjoy a private Tubs suite, which features a spa with hydro-therapy jets, a state-of-the-art stereo system and a Swedish-style dry-heat sauna.

Eric Wollan, a manager at Tubs, says "Each spa room is completely detailed after each use. The water is tested for chlorine and pH and adjusted accordingly. If the spa for any reason does not meet our exceptionally high standard, it is drained immediately. Fresh linens are stocked in each room after every use."

Iced beverages are available with room service, and Tubs is open from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. -- so if you live or work near the U-district, you might consider offering your spouse a different kind of "hot lunch."

Kathleen F. Miller is a Sammamish-based freelance writer and mother of two.


  • Salish Lodge and Spa
    6501 Railroad Avenue SE
    Snoqualmie, WA 98065
    425-888-2556 or 1-800-272-5474
    Check the Web site for monthly spa specials
  • Alexis Hotel
    1007 First Ave.
    Seattle, WA 98104
    206-624-4844 or 1-888-850-1155
  • Etherea Salon and Spa at the Alexis
  • Willows Lodge and Spa
    14580 NE 145 Street
    Woodinville, WA 98072
    1-877-424-3930 (lodge)
    425-424-2900 (spa)
    Check the Web site for monthly spa specials
  • Woodmark Hotel
    1200 Carillon Point
    Kirkland, WA 98033
    425 822-3700 (hotel)
    425-803-9000 (spa)
    Check the Web site for monthly spa specials
  • Banya 5
    217 9th Ave. North
    Seattle, WA 98109
  • Tubs Seattle
    NE 50th and Roosevelt Way NE
    Seattle, WA 98105

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