Owner of Snug Harbor Resort, Friday Harbor, Wash.
In 2015, Snug Harbor Resort completed the last phase of its complete renovation. Located in pristine Mitchell Bay, on the south end of Mosquito Pass, Snug Harbor Resort is a place to appreciate nature and the great outdoors, and its marina offers 63 slips ranging from 22 to 60 feet. Currently, the resort is working on receiving the permits to rebuild and update the marina. The owners, Erik and Tamara Nelson, hope to start that construction in the fall of 2016.
Sea: If someone hasn’t been to the resort in a few years, what are a couple of the new features sure to make an impression?
Nelson: Between 2012 and 2015, the entire resort was rebuilt. Everything is new: new accommodations, new landscaping, and the resort as a whole has a renewed soul and character. When we redesigned the resort, we wanted a “wow factor,” and that’s something I think we’ve accomplished. There’s really nothing else quite like it. It’s the whole package when you arrive that you’ll notice first.
What makes your resort a destination within itself?
All of the cabins are situated on a five-acre waterfront parcel with a beautiful marina. Guests can use the kayaks and canoes or just enjoy the docks and the nature Snug Harbor is surrounded by.
What is the atmosphere of the resort? What type of guest stays there?
We see a lot of families in the summertime and more couples and groups of friends in the winter. Because Mitchell Bay is the backdrop, there is a very peaceful and idyllic atmosphere. Guests tend to congregate together and interact, because everyone is outdoors enjoying the grounds. We have guests that come from all walks of life and from all corners of the world.
What made you decide to move away from the original idea of a fractional ownership model to a resort that boaters will enjoy?
It’s always been a nightly rental resort, and we ended up continuing this wellproven operation.
What is a must-do when visiting Snug Harbor?
A quiet morning on the waterfront with your favorite morning beverage is a must-do. When the sun rises and the animals begin to stir, well, it’s something very special.
What authentic local experiences will guests have access to?
The most popular attraction are the magnificent orca whales. Whale tours leave from our marina, but boaters will want to call in advance for a reservation. There are also plenty of hiking trails. Young Hill near American Camp is a nice low-impact hike with an amazing view of Mitchell Bay and the surrounding islands. There are two historic national parks: British Camp is nearby and American Camp is on the other side of the island.
Tell us more about the ecological renovations you made to the resort.
We have a few different renovations that we did as part of the overall construction. For one, the entire resort’s water supply comes from a reverse osmosis water system (desalination processing). We’re not using any water from the island aquifer; the resort is actually adding to it. On-demand hot-water systems throughout the resort replace wasteful hot-water tanks. We have a collection system for natural ground water we store in a 4,500- gallon tank to use for all our landscape irrigation.
Will boaters need to make reservations?
Reservations are recommended because many of the slips are on annual moorage with island residents. It’s best to reach the marina via phone at (360) 378-4762.