Motels, originally known as “motor hotels,” don’t have the best rep. They’re presumed cheap and sleazy—the kind of place you stay out of necessity, not desire. LOGE (pronounced “lodge”) is changing that, one rundown roadhouse at a time.
LOGE’s business plan is, at least on paper, a brilliant one: purchase old-school, derelict motels in rad locations, renovate them, and convert them into outdoor adventure hubs. The fledgling enterprise currently own properties in Leavenworth and Westport, Washington; Bend, Oregon; Mt. Shasta, California; and Breckenridge, Colorado—all locales known primarily for their proximity to outdoor recreation. We recently had a chance to visit LOGE Westport for a few days of surfing and to get a feel for life at the motel-turned-basecamp. Read on for our first impression.
A sleepy fishing town on the coast of Washington, Westport is perched on the tip of the southern peninsula that separates Grays Harbor from the Pacific. The town is somewhat shabby, its buildings battered by salt, rain, and fog, but it has two things going for it: seafood and surf. If you don’t like either, we recommend you skip Westport and check out LOGE’s Leavenworth property instead.
Commercial fishing operations abound in Westport, and their freshly caught quarry is shared with a number of solid seafood restaurants. Merino’s Seafood Market and Cannery is a favorite, both for flavorful classics and beyond reasonable prices: go for the clam chowder poutine, fish and chips, and dollar-a-piece oyster shooters.
It’s the surf, though, that encouraged LOGE to purchase a neglected motel off Montesano Street, just a few minutes away from some of Washington’s best breaks. In the summer, beach breaks at Westhaven State Park, Westport Light State Park, and further south of town are the ticket—they might not always be pretty, but they’re usually surfable. When swell, tide, and wind do cooperate, waves can be first-class. The South Jetty is the most famous and best of these spots, as the jetty offers some wind protection and shape to the waves, but it’s also the most localized. If you’re a beginner or even an intermediate, best to stick to the southerly beach breaks.
On the other side of the peninsula are The Groins, a series of small jetties that, when conditions align and bigger swell is on the menu, delivers clean, point break style surf. Proximity to rocks and surprisingly powerful tides and currents make this zone best-suited to advanced surfers when surf is pumping.
When it comes to lodging in Westport, LOGE has several options available. Clean, cozy hotel rooms are the priciest avenue, although they’re still quite reasonably priced. These are our first recommendations for the visiting surfer, especially if gnarly weather is in the forecast, as they have their own bathrooms and showers. Room configurations include single and double queens, single and double fulls, and a few rooms with sleeper sofas for groups of three to five.
For the self-sufficient crowd, there are rustic campsites, covered campsites with power, and RV sites as well. We stayed in a covered campsite and appreciated the large awning when rain rolled in. Our one complaint? For campers, showers are coin-operated. This wouldn’t have been a big deal, but we didn’t happen to have quarters upon our arrival. If you’re camping, don’t make the same mistake.
That said, the best aspects of LOGE Westport are the community amenities that are available to everyone, no matter where you stay. There’s a coffee shop and cafe in the front of the complex for pre-surf espressos and post-surf breakfast burritos. If you prefer to cook your own meals, there’s an outdoor kitchen—with a Traeger Grill—and an indoor kitchen, both free to guests. The indoor kitchen is located in a community room that also houses bathrooms, a huge flatscreen, a comfortable lounge area, and a bright, clean workspace perfect for digital nomads. Our surf trip was mid-week, so we were getting in morning sessions then heading back to the LOGE to work. Between quick Wi-Fi, multiple desks, and the spacious lounge area, we were impressed and highly endorse this setup for anyone who has to crank out work on the road.
Our favorite LOGE amenities, though, were all surf-related. Attached to the coffee shop is a surf shop, where you can pick up wax and other odds and ends. If you’re looking to rent, LOGE has a fleet of soft tops as well as a few performance shapes from locally based board builder Lib Tech and a couple of other shapers. We brought shortboards for our trip but ended up renting 7’ and 7’6” Lib Tech Pick Up Sticks, as waves were small during our three-day stay. There’s plenty of rack space for your personal boards, too. And if you don’t have wetsuits, booties, and gloves, LOGE has you covered with rentals.
Speaking of which, few things are worse than waking up in the dark only to shiver your way into a rank, freezing wetsuit. LOGE’s wetsuit rinse station and wetsuit drying room offer a solution to this classic PNW problem: simply wash, hang, and label your wetsuit, booties, and gloves. By morning, they’ll be dry-ish—maybe damp—but much cleaner and more comfortable than the alternative. This single amenity made camping at LOGE worth the premium compared to cheaper, state-run campsites. Throw in the WiFi, chill spaces, and indoor and outdoor kitchens, and it’s a no-brainer: LOGE is the way to go.
There were additional amenities that we didn’t get to experience due to weather and COVID—fire pits, yard games, a stage for outdoor concerts, and a projector for movie nights. But while the pandemic has certainly reduced the community activities, you can tell that community is what this place is all about. We’ve stayed at a myriad of hotels over the years, and many look down upon the traveling surfer, the sunburned miscreant who hauls scuffed surfboard bags and cares more about wave forecasts than social pretense. Few welcome the thrifty wave chaser—particularly in colder climates—like LOGE Westport, a motel unlike most and undoubtedly the basecamp for our next surf mission to Washington’s endlessly alluring coastline.