One of the best things about the chill of winter is the warmth of a roaring fire. Northwest venues are particularly adept at creating spaces where guests can gather and collaborate around a stunning fireplace that is as much a work of art as it is a necessity. Here are some of our favorites.
The historic Heathman Hotel in Portland boasts one of the city’s most luxurious fireplaces. But what else would you expect from a high-end, historic hotel built in the 1920s? Located in the library, the dramatic fireplace is original to the hotel and is clad in white handcrafted artisan tile and underscored by herringbone wood flooring and comfortable seating.
In addition to serving as an inviting space to relax and read, the 1,060-square-foot library functions as a gathering place of inspiration, knowledge and celebration. It was designed in a warm palette with a sophisticated residential feel inspired by the city itself and the way resi- dents live today. The space features more than 3,000 books, each signed by their authors, who include Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize winners, U.S. Poet Laureates and a former U.S. president. The 151-room Heathman Hotel has 3,800 square feet of meeting space and can accommodate up to 200 guests for meetings, conferences and social gatherings.
Whistler Convention Centre
Whistler, British Columbia
The Whistler Convention Centre’s fireplace draws your eye as soon as you walk through the door. Located in the center’s grand foyer, the fireplace stands 40-feet tall and is a Rumford design: shallow and angled to radiate heat more efficiently. It’s perfect for winter meet- ings in this mountain town. The rocks surrounding the fireplace are all locally sourced from the region. The design is a perfect fit for the ski-chalet feel of the 6,500-square-foot room, which also boasts large wood beams and ample natural light. The foyer can accom- modate 800 people for a standing reception.
The Whistler Conference Centre is undergoing a renovation this winter and will reopen mid-March. The redesign will include upgrades to lighting, acoustical treatments, floor and wall coverings, furnishings and artwork. The conference center offers more than 40,000 square feet of versatile meeting space with the ability to host a wide variety of con- ferences and events.
Skamania Lodge’s 85-foot tall, 500,000-pound river-rock fireplace greets visitors as they enter the lodge. Made from rock sourced from a local tributary, it’s a fitting tribute to the 175 acres of wilderness the lodge is set on. The blacksmith work on the piece was done by Darryl Nelson from Fire Mountain Forge. If sitting around the fire inside is too “tame” for you, the lodge has several outdoor fire pits for guests to gather around and enjoy s’mores or a glass of wine.
Overlooking the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, the 258-room lodge’s décor features wood tones and stony tex- tures, giving it an upscale feel without being stuffy. Lounging areas offer floor-to-ceiling windows, and throughout the lodge is a collection of original works by Native American and regional artists.
Skamania Lodge has 22,000 square feet of conference space including 23 meeting rooms, exhibit space and banquet facilities. Its Riverview Pavilion offers 2,500 square feet of covered outdoor space.
Sun Valley, Idaho
Imagine warming yourself around the same fireplace that author Ernest Hemingway used to relax by to converse with local residents. That’s exactly the experience to be had at Sun Valley’s Sawtooth Club. Fellow author Hunter S. Thompson once wrote of the venue, “[Hemingway] could sit in The Sawtooth Club and talk with men who felt the same way he did about life, even if they were not so articulate. In this congenial atmosphere he felt he could get away from the pressures of a world gone mad and ‘write truly’ about life as he had in the past.”
Many of the dishes at the historic and popular bar and café are cooked over a mesquite wood fire, and the bar menu includes a selection of handcrafted cocktails and approxi- mately 20 wine and 10 craft beer options. The venue offers a number of spaces for private parties, including the second-floor outdoor terrace, an upstairs dining room and a mezzanine. Or the entire dining room can be reserved for up to 150 people.