Have you ever wanted to go back to summer camp? Or perhaps you want to experience it because you didn’t get a chance to when you were younger? Wish no more! The Suncadia Resort is all of that and more. It is a family-friendly resort that has nearly all of the offerings of a typical summer camp.
Suncadia Resort is located in the eastern foothills of the Cascade Mountains, in Cle Elum, Washington. It took me about an hour and 45 minutes to drive there from Seattle Airport. Google Maps said it would take about 1.5 hours, but I drove it at the beginning of Labor Day weekend, so there was a bit of traffic getting out of town. The resort is about an hour west from Yakima, but the flight options are much more limited in comparison to Sea-Tac.
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Lodging at Suncadia Resort
There are several options to choose from to stay at Suncadia. There’s the Inn, the Lodge, and condos of varying sizes. It is a standard room which I was able to book using World of Hyatt points. Suncadia is a Category 5, so it is 17,000 points off-peak, 20,000 standard rate, or 23,000 peak. Somehow, surprisingly, it wasn’t peak pricing when I made the reservation. At some point afterwards, it did show that it was peak pricing.
The Lodge has a beautiful view of the mountains. It has around 250 rooms and suites. I stayed at the Inn which has a wonderful view of one of two golf courses. I booked a “king room with golf view”.The Inn, as far as I can tell, only has a few corner suites, and maybe 7-9 regular rooms. They are all on the second floor. The property had zero vacancy leading up to my stay. I pretty much knew that I wouldn’t get any upgrade weeks before my stay.
The Inn at Suncadia Resort
Despite that, I was expecting a bit more. The type of room I got was exactly what I booked. I always tell people that you should book the room you want. Don’t expect to be upgraded to it. I arrived at around 3:30PM, and my room wasn’t ready yet. Check in is at 4:00 but I would think they would prioritize cleaning the room a Globalist is expected to be in. Since it is a resort, 4 PM check out isn’t guaranteed for Globalists, so I doubt it was still occupied. All things considered, it wasn’t a big deal and I didn’t have to wait as long as expected.
The room seemed a little dated and in need of some minor repair. It may have just been the room I got. Given that they had just finished cleaning, I feel like they should have been proactive in telling me about the issues – especially with a section of baseboard lying on the floor. It wouldn’t have looked very good on them if they had told me, but it was definitely worse that they hadn’t.
Other than that, the room is very comfortable. I was able to sleep well, which doesn’t happen too often in hotels. The room was spacious, so two people can comfortably stay in the room and not feel like they’re on top of each other all the time.
The balcony was also very nice to sit on in the afternoon. At that time, the sun was behind the building. Unfortunately, the morning sun was a bit too bright for me to enjoy.
Activities at Suncadia Resort
There are a ton of activities at Suncadia Resort. So many, in fact, there is a full 26 page magazine that has all of the activities! I’m sure I won’t be able to cover them all. To be honest, I didn’t have enough time to try many of them.
There are two 18 hole golf courses on the resort. They are called the Prospector and Rope Rider Golf Courses. Both of them are full length golf courses with multiple tees to suit your skill level. Tee times cannot be made online for only one person, so I had to call to make them. It was a bit tricky to get a hold of someone at the golf course. Eventually, I called the main operator and had them transfer me. I was told Rope Rider is more family friendly as it has fewer forced carries. Ultimately, I decided to play both courses in the afternoons that I was there. What I wasn’t told was that the wind can pick up in the afternoon.
My first round was at the Prospector Golf Course. It was particularly windy, but it seemed like it wasn’t a crosswind on very many of the holes. Despite the wind, it was a lot of fun playing the course. Tee times are spaced out every 10 minutes, which allows for a quicker pace.
The scenery was absolutely amazing, which made up for the tricky greens. I think I three-putted every hole, and lost nearly a dozen golf balls (though that isn’t unusual for me).
The Rope Rider Golf Course isn’t as difficult, but isn’t quite as scenic. It is slightly more expensive, which I found odd. The holes are just as long, so don’t feel like it is an inferior golf course! The greens aren’t as tricky, and I managed to play some of the best golf in my life.
I should also add that the golf carts were some of the best that I have ever experienced. All of them had GPS with a touchscreen that gave very detailed information of every hole. I think there were also some proximity sensors throughout the course and surrounding areas. The cart directs you to the next hole, and warns of any hazards. It was very accurate. I had nearly driven down a very steep hill when it alerted me and actually prevented me from going down the hill!
There are two pools at Suncadia. One is walking distance from the Inn and the Lodge. Actually there is an outdoor and indoor pool. It is part of the fitness center which has locker rooms, showers, and a sauna.
The other pool is at the Nelson Farm, which is a 10 minute drive from the Lodge. The pool here is zero entry, and has a splash pad and small lazy river.
There are around 12 miles of hiking trails at Suncadia Resort. They range in difficulty, but as far as I can tell, none of them are strenuous. Some of the trails are paved mixed use. It is recommended to not hike solo because of the wildlife (e.g. bears). There weren’t that many other people hiking so I thought it was best not to go on a solo hike. I’m not even sure I would know what to do if I encountered a bear! The resort does offer guided hikes, but I also didn’t have time for a long hike.
Aside from the pool, there are a number of activities that are reminiscent of summer camp. YOu will find things like archery, axe throwing, arts and crafts, and Friday night movies. Unfortunately, nearly everything except the pool and movies are an extra cost starting at $20 per person. The Nelson Farm, including the pool, is open from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend, and most activities require a reservation.
There is a wide variety of things that are rentable by the day. Anything from bicycles to telescopes can be rented starting at $20 per day. There are way too many to list here. They take up two full pages in the activities magazine.
Restaurants and Dining at Suncadia
I had dinner both nights and breakfast each morning I stayed at Suncadia. Everything I had was very good. The food was seriously one of the best things about my stay. The staff never asked if I was charging it to my room. They would just deliver the check assuming I was paying with cash or card. I prefer to charge meals to my room so I get points for it on top of the credit card points I get when I pay. It also keeps all of the expenses in one place. It was almost never an issue charging emails to my room. The only time I wasn’t able to was at Swiftwater Winery. Apparently, it isn’t affiliated with the resort and is the only establishment on property where this is the case. One thing that I did notice, however, was that service wasn’t particularly quick. I don’t know if this is because it’s a resort or if it’s just generally slow. Everyone was nice and friendly, but there just wasn’t a sense of urgency.
The Stovehouse is the restaurant/bar that is on the first floor of the Inn. There aren’t a ton of options on the menu, but there still seemed to be something for everyone. For dinner, I had a steak salad. At first I thought there wasn’t enough dressing. I decided to try it to be sure, and to my surprise, it had a ton of flavor. I sent my girlfriend a picture of my empty plate and jokingly said I didn’t like it. If it weren’t for the knife and fork, it may have been mistaken for a clean plate!
Breakfast was also good, though not quite as good as dinner the night before. The Stovehouse is only open for breakfast on the weekends. I got the chilaquiles. It was tasty, but I was expecting it to be a bit bigger for some reason.
There is also a full bar at The Stovehouse. They have a good selection of beer & wine, and your standard liquors. I found the price to be quite reasonable considering it’s at a resort. My dinner and drink was about $35.
The main restaurant inside The Lodge is called Portals. It is open all day. I went there for breakfast the second morning I was staying at Suncadia. I’ll save the issues I had for later in this article. I ordered coffee, orange juice, and huevos rancheros. I had no problem with the coffee and orange juice, but my eggs were overcooked. The view was among the best part though.
Other Dining Options
The Stovehouse and Portals are not the only two options for food at Suncadia. The Nelson Farm pool has a restaurant that serves casual American food poolside, including cocktails, beer and wine. There is also a casual bar and coffee shop in the Lodge. During the summer months, they have a food truck at the main pool area.
When it comes down to it, I am slightly surprised it is a Category 5. One factor that goes into categorization is how popular it is. Suncadia Resort is very popular, mainly due to its proximity to Seattle. It’s an easy getaway. It just isn’t quite nice enough. I say that because of the maintenance issues I had. The thing is that it can’t go down to a Category 4. People would be able to use their Category 1-4 free night certificates, which are fairly common in the World of Hyatt loyalty program. If Suncadia were to go down a category, I can see availability be more scarce than it already is and/or the hotel play games with availability (for example, requiring multiple night stays).
Unfortunately, I can’t say all good things about it. As I mentioned, my room had several maintenance issues. I was also given bad information about breakfast. At check in, I was told that the Stovehouse would be open for brunch on Monday (which was Labor Day). It was really nice to be able to walk downstairs and have breakfast. Only it wasn’t open. I went over to Portals, which is the only place open for breakfast. When I got there, I was told it was reservations only and I could only get food to go. If I wasn’t misinformed about Stovehouse and/or told I would need to go to Portals, that would have been acceptable and I would have made one. I explained the situation, including mentioning my status – which I hate doing. The hostess again said I could get something to go and she won’t charge me. That does me no good; my Globalist status gets me free breakfast. I reiterated my status and said it would be free anyway. After talking to a server, I was able to get a table. After being seated, I did notice there were several empty tables, so maybe they were just short staffed. I ordered everything as quickly as I could and thought it would be quick. The server came back a good amount of time later, and asked if I was still waiting for my food. Considering the utensils were still wrapped in the cloth napkin and no plate in front of me, I found it to be an odd question.
Between the maintenance and breakfast issues, I went to the front desk to let them know about everything. I am very understanding, sometimes overly understanding, about some issues. I would have likely been able to overlook the maintenance, but the miscommunication about breakfast pushed me over the edge. I was going to let it go with a “we’re sorry that happened”. Instead, I was offered a resort credit. Late checkout was unavailable for me and I still needed to pack my bags, which didn’t give me a lot of time so I accepted the resort credit.
While I’m glad I spent a weekend at Suncadia, I wish I had more time there. Yes, there were issues, but nothing that was truly detrimental to my stay. The customer service was better than acceptable, but could use a little polishing. If I had more time, it would have allowed me to explore more of the property and enjoy more of the amenities. If I had the opportunity (and reason) to go again, I absolutely would. Perhaps next time, I’ll try to stay at the Lodge instead.