Coeur d'Alene Resort . . . the experience

Article by: Billy Satterfield

INTRODUCTION

Idaho is a beautiful state top to bottom, no doubt about it. But it is the panhandle portion of the Gem State that would secure Idaho a place in the finals of a Miss America pageant among the states. From the evergreen trees blanketing the jagged mountains to the sparkling waters of Lake Coeur d'Alene, Northern Idaho is easier on the eyes than Marilyn Monroe. How beautiful is Coeur d'Alene? Attractive enough that National Geographic named the lake one of the five most beautiful alpine lakes in world. The Coeur d'Alene Resort took advantage of Mother Nature's work by building a five star resort on the lake shores that includes a world class spa, wedding/meeting facilities, lake cruises, elegant rooms, nearly a dozen dining options, and one of the finest conditioned golf courses you'll ever have the opportunity to play.

GOLF

Few things are more iconic in the golf world than Coeur d'Alene's floating green. The beauty, challenge and unique factor are unparalleled. Most golf course designs feature a combination of grass, water, sand, and foliage (trees, bushes, etc.). I've seen black sand, red sand, orange sand, and of course white sand. I’ve seen ponds, lakes, rivers, streams, and oceans. I've seen towering pines, majestic oaks, weeping willows, prickly cactus, and gorse bushes. But Coeur d’Alene is the only course on the planet that features a floating green. I've played numerous island greens, but Coeur d'Alene is the only course that requires a boat to get to the green and offers you a certificate of completion for scoring par or better. If you hit an 8-iron on Monday, don’t automatically pull that trusty club out on Tuesday since the floating green changes yardages daily due to the underwater cable pulley system. If you want a challenge come in the fall when the water level at the lake is lower and the green is pushed further away from shore; up to 220 yards away from the tips.

The famous floating green at Coeur d'Alene Resort
14th Hole at Coeur d'Alene Resort (203 yard Par 3)

The floating green is far from the only highlight during your round at Coeur d'Alene, in fact the entire collection of par threes are noteworthy enough to grace the cover of a magazine. About ten years ago the green site of the short 5th hole was dynamited out to unveil an improved view of the lake in the background. What the resort didn't expect to find were the large rock formations found 20 feet below the surface which were exposed and now beautifully frame the 3-leaf clover shaped green. A huge bunker surrounds the putting surface and this hole now rivals the famous 14th green as the most photographed hole on the course. You'll also get the chance to play a par three along the shores of Lake Coeur d'Alene, one the drops approximately 50 feet down the to the green perched above the lake and surrounded by 80 foot pines, and finally a 250 yard one-shotter with water coming into play up the left side and around the back of the green.

The redesigned 5th hole . . . a beauty
5th Hole at Coeur d'Alene Resort (143 yard Par 3)

The best way to get ready for your round is to make a trip to the driving range where a stack of floating golf balls will be awaiting you. The specially designed balls are hit into the lake where their buoyant properties kick in and float on the surface until they are gathered later in the day. It is a unique feature that I've only seen at courses in the Pacific Northwest and is an enjoyable way to kick start a round at a fun course. If you are at all like me, you'll also likely have a few muscles in your neck and back that aren't agreeable to 120 mph swings in the morning. Coeur d'Alene once again has you covered with the complimentary professional masseuse awaiting you on the back of the driving range. Relax face forward in the specially designed chair for 5-10 minutes and you will quickly run out excuses for a first tee mulligan.

After a player has enjoyed the Coeur d'Alene experience, the feedback I hear encompass the same three things every time; impeccable conditioning, first class service, and gorgeous surroundings. The fairways and greens are all bent grass; the Cadillac of golf turfs that make the fairway look like your municipal course's greens. With a forecaddie there to help fill divots, rake bunkers, and fix ball marks, the course receives the additional attention beyond the wonderful job the maintenance crew does to create one of the finest playing surfaces you'll ever experience. From the moment you park your car and are greeted by the staff, taking care of the patrons is clearly Coeur d'Alene Resort's highest priority. Lastly, the surroundings are spectacular. The combination of green grass, sparkling blue water, beach white sand, and towering trees in a Pacific Northwest setting is truly something to behold.

11th green at CDA Resort
11th Hole at Coeur d'Alene Resort (538 yard Par 5)

LODGING

A multi-million dollar renovation was unveiled on Leap Day 2012 and introduced to the public a redesigned main floor/lobby, restaurant, outdoor patio, meeting spaces, fitness center, spa, and guest rooms. The chic new look boasts a 32 foot Koi fish aquarium, imported Brazilian granite countertops, and attractive new art. The inviting Whispers lounge located on the main floor sports a classy new contemporary look and water cascade sign. On the opposite end of the building are the meeting facilities that include over 32,000 square feet of space dedicated to use for conferences, presentations, and exhibits. How impressive are the facilities? Impressive enough that corporate outings represent over 50% of the resort’s total business.

The Lake Tower rooms rise above the marina and deliver mesmerizing views across Lake Coeur d'Alene which can be enjoyed from inside the room while gazing through the floor-to-ceiling windows or while relaxing on the private balcony. The sunken living area and optional gas burning fireplace provide an additional element of class and relaxation to a room that delivers quality at every turn. The European inspired bathroom features double vanities with granite countertops, a spacious shower, and a separate bathtub while the bedroom boasts a flat screen TV and the option of one bed or two. While getting a good nights rest is often a challenge when you are on the road, that isn't going to be a problem staying at the resort. Each bed combines a pillow top mattress with quality linens and down pillows which equates to a comfy stay each and every night.

If views of the lake aren't your thing, you may find yourself in the Park Tower or North Wing. The Park Tower delivers with city and mountain views and rooms with Italian furnishings. A work desk and high speed internet combine for the perfect solution to accomplish some work while away from your home and office. The most affordable rooms at the resort are found in the recently renovated North Wing. The North Wing represents the location of the original rooms at the resort when it first opened in 1986. If you are looking to save on your room and splurge elsewhere at the resort, then the North Wing is calling your name.

Coeur d'Alene Resort
Coeur d'Alene Resort

RESTAURANTS

From a 5 star restaurant with a lake view to good ol' room service, Coeur d’Alene Resort offers a dozen different ways to dine during your stay. Beverly's is the flagship restaurant at the resort and offers an intimate dining setting with views from the 7th floor, a million dollar wine selection, and some of the best food in the entire Northwest. I ordered the black sesame seed encrusted Ahi Tuna that is flown in from Hawaii and served with wasabi aioli. Each morsel of the perfectly prepared meal was effortless to eat and ideally flavored. I was also treated to a bite of my buddy's New York Strip Loin which ignited a party in my mouth with extraordinary flavors ranging from hand-cut beef, to the cabernet reduction, to the locally harvested mushrooms; my mouth was enjoying an evening in culinary heaven. Dinner was capped off with a crème brulee topped with a thin caramelized crust and served with fresh fruit. It was a light and refreshing way to conclude an extraordinary dining experience.

If a more casual or family oriented dining experience is what you are looking for, then the newly renovated and expanded Dockside Restaurant located on the main floor of the resort is the perfect place to grab a menu and enjoy the water edge setting. As you are escorted to your table, your eye will be drawn to the nearly 20 foot long salad bar that offers fresh greens, an assortment of fruits, and a collection of sides. The lunch and dinner menu offer an array of American inspired cuisine ranging from sandwiches and burgers to seafood and steak. However if you are like my wife, the calling card day or night is breakfast food. One taste of the huckleberry pancakes or the fluffy and satisfying omelets will impressive the toughest of critics, but if was the out-of-this-world Dockside Signature French Toast that blew my mind. Three thick slices of Challah bread is crusted with a sweet orange batter and Frosted Flakes before being grilled and served with whipped butter and maple syrup. The crunchy outside combined with the gooey inside delivered an textural experience I'd never had for breakfast before and the flavor was outstanding. I would have ordered a second round each morning, but the hearty portions are enough to satisfy well into the lunch hour.

A tradition since opening in 1986, Dockside offers one of the most extensive Sunday Brunch experiences offered in the country. If you can't find something you want to eat at the brunch, then you are on a diet that I want nothing to do with . . . ever! Dockside's spread includes a crepe station, omelet station, sushi station, seafood station, french toast station, and the salad bar. But that is not all. A wide assortment of imported and domestic cheeses, melons and berries, tropical fruits, eggs benedict, au gratin potatoes, bacon, sausage, carved ham, baron of beef, and the widest assortment of pastries my eyes and stomach have ever been treated to. Wrap things up at the homemade ice cream bar and you'll conclude a meal that you won't soon forget.

In addition to Bevelry's and Dockside, the resort includes a variety of other dining options that are found at the shopping center across the street from the resort, at the golf course, and at other nearby locations. From the international flare offered at the Bonsai Bistro and Tito's Italian Grill, to seafood and steak at Cedars Floating Restaurant and the Beachouse Bar and Grill, you are going to be assured of two things at each destination; quality food and impeccable service.

Coeur d'Alene Resort
Dockside Restaurant at Coeur d'Alene Resort

SPA

No one has ever described me as a metrosexual; I'm definitely a guy's guy. I like BBQ wings, Rocky movies, and always have at least one TV in the house tuned to ESPN. I shave mirror-less in the shower, wear ties I've owned for 20 years, and buy my dress shirts from TJ Maxx and Costco. I've never had a manicure, pedicure, or spent time in a spa. So embarking into Coeur d'Alene Resort's luxurious 15,000 square foot spa was unchartered territory for me. A two-story waterfall flows along the top floor and cascades to the lobby below, instantly eliminating stress and relaxing your body and mind. After being guided upstairs, the staff provides you with a robe and sandals to change into at your personal locker located inside the dressing room. An exquisite Quiet Room featuring an elegant fireplace and a wall of windows overlooking the lake awaits you as you prepare for your treatment. As you relax on the seating lining the Quiet Room, you are treated to a variety of dried fruit, ice water kissed with cucumber, and an unobscured view of the stars through the glass ceiling above.

Just when you think the experience couldn't get any better, your personal masseuse arrives and escorts you to one of the 21 treatment rooms or eight manicure/pedicure stations. Prior to arriving at the resort, I scheduled the Oh! Stone and Sports Fusion Massage hoping it would be the perfect answer for my muscles after a full day on the golf course. The Oh! prefix is the PERFECT prelude to describing that treatment because that was exactly my reaction throughout the massage . . . Oh that feels good! I've received numerous massages over the years, but this experience was the most intimate connection between mind and body I have ever had. The last time I felt that comfortable and relaxed was probably as a one-month old lying on my mother while drool dripped out the side of my mouth. Any built up stress was whisked away with each pass my masseuse made with the hot, smooth stones across my back, legs, and muscles. Lying naked on a table while a complete stranger caresses your body can naturally cause some feelings of insecurity. Perhaps you are self conscious about the size of your love handles or maybe your hairy back is screaming for some manscaping. Trust me though, with the professionalism your masseuse conducts themselves with, the intimacy of the room, and the gentleness of the music, all of your anxieties will melt away.

Following your treatment, you are lead back to the Quiet Room and are offered a glass of water or champagne, whatever you prefer. As my buddy and I lay in the Quiet Room snacking on dried apricots and sipping water, we discussed how incredibly relaxed and good we felt. Having played sports my whole life, I've learned how to live with a certain amount of pain and discomfort in my day-to-day life. Sitting in the Quiet Room that day I felt nothing; and nothing feels pretty darn good! To cap things off, it was time to experience the Swiss inspired Pure Essence Shower. Your robe is placed in a warming drawer and 19 shower heads await you in the SilverTAG designed hydrotherapy room. You can select from four different preprogrammed treatments depending on whether you are searching for relaxation or rejuvenation. Showerheads are programmed to spray at various amounts of pressure and temperatures throughout the treatment to accomplish the therapy your body needs. The five minute hydrotherapy is the perfect way to finish your day at the spa.

This may sound crazy given how much of a golf nut I am, but my trip to the spa was the most memorable portion of an unparalleled experience at the resort. Maybe Coeur d'Alene will make a metrosexual out of me after all.

Spa at Coeur d'Alene Resort
Spa at Coeur d'Alene Resort

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