Lincoln City's Coho Oceanfront Lodge invites Portlanders to enjoy a spectacular getaway
-- 06/05/2010

Lincoln City Hotels Oregon Fire Pits
Sometimes blustery, other times sun drenched, and always glorious, the Oregon Coast is one of the most popular escapes for Portlanders who want a delicious change of scenery.

Just a two-hour drive through Oregon's famed wine country, Lincoln City, Ore., is a captivating destination for families and lovers who want to share some time laughing on the beach, poking their fingers in tide pools and trying to harness wind-bucking kites.

Upon arrival, there's no need to settle for a weather-beaten cabin with a fierce draft and a sandy floor – although there's plenty of those. I checked in to the newly renovated Coho Oceanfront Lodge, a perfect hybrid of family-friendly lodging and a quiet, intimate hideaway for couples set on a romantic cliff.

The Coho's recent multimillion-dollar construction and renovation project expanded the oceanfront property to 65 suites and rooms – 14 of them in a brand new south wing, which is relegated to adults. The latter features whirlpool bathtubs with shutters that open to reveal views of the surf. Other amenities include gas fireplaces, luxury linens, plush beds, spa robes, 32-inch HDTVs and, for those who can't quite get all the way away: Wi-Fi throughout the property.

Its other sections offer spacious, family vacation rooms, including pet-friendly rooms on the first floor. Some suites in the two renovated buildings have wood bunk beds, electronic game stations and child-size red furniture, while parents have their own, adjacent rooms. Some rooms have dishes and appliances for dining in, and binoculars in all the rooms for spying on gulls.

Family SuiteCoho Oceanfront suite - Deston Nokes

Other amenities include:
  • Indoor heated swimming pool, Jacuzzi and sauna
  • Fitness room with cardio machines
  • In-room massages (additional charge)
  • Complimentary continental breakfast
  • Wine social on Friday evenings
  • Freshly baked cookies
  • Smoke-free environment
Knowing what guests want has been a Lee family badge of honor for 30 years. Rob Lee came to the coast when he was five, and grew up exploring the tide pools for fun. The Lee family of Wilsonville, Ore., has owned and managed The Coho Oceanfront Lodge ever since.

"Everyone in town knew my dad, Young Lee, because he would spend hours a day, sweeping the entire block," Lee said. "Even when he visits today, he'll pick up a broom and start sweeping."

The Coho also has a concierge service, and is particularly adept at recommending nearby trails, restaurants and evening fun. But if folks want to stay in, its lobby has plenty of games, an expansive DVD collection and a complimentary continental breakfast daily.

"We even have sand pails and kites to borrow," said Rob Lee, the director of operations at The Coho Oceanfront Lodge. "We try to ensure that the only thing our guests have to worry about is where to have dinner."

The Blackfish CafeAn absolute "must" for dining is the nearby Blackfish Café, located at 2733 NW Hwy. 101 in Lincoln City. Owner and chef Rob Pounding serves simple-but-succulent dishes that blend fresh ingredients from local fisherman and gardeners. Before starting his own restaurant in 1999, Pounding was the executive chef of the toney Salishan Lodge for 14 years, winning top national culinary awards.

I ordered the skillet-roasted "ocean trolled" Chinook salmon, basted with a fennel lime butter, and Oregon blue cheese potatoes – a dish so good, I had to force myself to eat something else the following night. Our dessert, the Blackfish Ding Dong with mixed berry sauce and whipped cream, was so delicious, my date and I clattered spoons in a battle to ensure that the other didn't consume more than their half. Trust me: get your own.

The Blackfish Café's efforts have not gone unnoticed, garnering positive coverage in the pages of Sunset, Esquire, Via, Travel & Leisure, NW Palate and the Oregonian. However, despite its outstanding fare, this past year's economy was a tough storm to weather.

"Our philosophy was that we would not raise our prices," said co-owner Mary Pounding. "It has been tough, but we're seeing things pick up compared to last year."

The Blackfish Café gets its bread from its own, nearby Rockfish Bakery (located at 3026 NE Hwy. 101), which bakes everything from burger buns to mouth-watering focaccia. It also boasts the world's best cinnamon rolls. Naturally, I had to get one to go. I needed a snack for the quick drive home.

Coho Oceanfront Lodge rates during May range from $96 for an oceanfront studio, to $156 for an oceanfront suite midweek. Rates vary by room, day and season. The Coho guarantees that every hotel reservation booked on its website will have the lowest rate available on the Internet.

About the author:
Deston Nokes wrote a new iPhone app: PORTLAND ESSENTIALS. It highlights the best things to see, do and eat in Portland. With 249 entries and more than 1,951 photos, it's a delicious resource for those who live here, and for those coming to visit. Entries are listed by category and each links to a Web site and phone number. It includes cost and operating-hour information. Best of all, each has its own GPS to guide you right to the door. This new application is for sale on iTunes for only $2.99.

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