If you haven’t heard of the Loge Camps hospitality group, don’t feel alone. A year ago, it existed only on paper. Two years ago, it wasn’t even a dream.
Conceived by Cale Genenbacher and Johannes Ariens, who grew up in greater Seattle, skiing and surfing, the company reimagines aging properties and transforms them into spaces that can accommodate a wide variety of lodging preferences — from motel rooms to hostel bunks, campsites to RV sites.
By design, Loge clients are largely outdoors lovers, like the Loge Camps founders. They are skiers and surfers, hikers and bikers.
The first three Loge Camps are in Washington state. First was a surf lodge in Westport that opened last June. Second and third were mountain getaways in Leavenworth and Snoqualmie Pass.
Loge Camps in Oregon
Now in development is the Loge Entrada, on Century Drive in Bend, Oregon.
The renovation of the former 79-room Entrada Lodge was announced at an April 14 Apres Kickoff Party. It was also a fundraiser for the Central Oregon Trail Alliance (COTA), a nonprofit group committed to building and maintaining trails for hikers, runners and mountain bikers.
“Two cities in the country — Bend and Boulder (Colorado) — are synonymous with outdoor adventure,” said Genenbacher. “So we have pretty ambitious plans for the Bend property.”
Surf at The Sands
I’m fortunate to have stayed in both the Westport and Leavenworth properties in 2017.
Westport had been a 1950s motor inn called The Sands, a retro-style hotel that was one step from demolition. Loge Camps reinvented it as a surfer- (and dog-) friendly lodge with multiple accommodation types — motel rooms, hostel bunks, RV spaces and tent sites, both upscale and primitive.
RV and tent plots surround a grassy lawn backed by a stage where Northwest bands perform on a weekly basis through the high season, and where movies can also be shown. An outdoor barbecue area frames its west end. Bunk rooms open into a common den and kitchen area that is shared with motel guests, should they choose to join the party.
In the heart of the property, a casual bar and café feature beers from 10 Barrel, one of several companies with whom Loge has partnered. It adjoins a storage area where surfboards, stand-up paddleboards and bicycles are available for rent, with the support of EVO, an online retailer of sporting goods and apparel. The EVO amenities include overnight drying for wetsuits.
“I see us more in the outdoor recreation industry than in the hospitality industry,” said Ariens. “What we’re doing here aligns with our client base: They are coming to town to surf and fish, and in doing so, they are supporting other businesses.”
In Leavenworth, Loge Camps took over a hidden village of rustic motel rooms beneath the Highway 2 bridge at the east end of the famously Bavarian tourist town. The company has updated the individual units, with decks hanging over Wenatchee River whitewater, and renovated a former residence as a hostel-style accommodation. RV pads and a family picnic area are being cleared.
As on the coast, there are equipment rental facilities. Leavenworth also has a shop that will tune skis and bikes overnight. And there’s a place for backcountry adventurers to brush up on their avalanche preparedness skills, important should they venture into the nearby Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
The Pass Life Lofts at Snoqualmie Pass, just east of Seattle, is a work in progress. Modern, three- and four-bedroom lofts are available as ski-in, ski out vacation rentals in winter, and as base camps for backpacking and other escapades in summer. A restaurant and brewpub are next door. “We want to do something bigger at Snoqualmie,” said Genenbacher, who himself lives nearby.
Loge Camps’ Bend venture has me especially excited, and not just because the group is in my hometown. I anticipate Loge Camps becoming a major player not only for budget-minded and environmentally astute outdoors lovers, but in the life of the Central Oregon community.
As indicated by its partnership with COTA, Loge Entrada will not be an insular community. It will actually encourage bicyclists, hikers and trail runners to come through the property to access the extensive (and nationally renowned) Phil’s Trail system.
By end of summer, when renovations are complete, a bar and café will be operating and an outdoor stage will offer live music on weekends. The company plans to “reinvigorate” the swimming pool and add an outdoor rock-climbing area. An EVO demo center will have ski and snowboard rentals available for winter trips to Mount Bachelor, the Northwest’s premier winter resort, just an 18-minute drive from the Loge Entrada. In summer, it will offer cruiser bikes that guests can take into downtown Bend, perhaps an 18-minute pedal.
“We have a vision for the property,” Genenbacher said, “but we want to adjust things on the fly and bring our guests on the journey with us. What our guests want is what matters. We will continue to add amenities and create the vibe that we’re looking for.”
“A perfect fit”
Loge Entrada is already taking summer lodging reservations, with motel-room prices starting at $105 a night. “We won’t close,” Genenbacher said. “We’re not going to rip out all 79 rooms at one time. With the rooms in five separate buildings, we can minimize the impact on guests of our renovation.”
The hostel unit will be ready by late July, he said, with bunks in the $45 to $55 range. Outdoor kitchens, including barbecue grills, should be “up and running” by then. As soon as zoning and design approval have come from local city and county officials, work can begin on an area for RV and camp sites.
Once work in Bend is completed, Loge Camps will cast its eyes further south — to Mount Shasta, California. On April 1, the group closed on the purchase of the Finlandia Lodge, on the south side of the mountain town with New Age sensibilities. “It’s a perfect fit for where we’re going,” Genenbacher said.
“But we’ll hold Shasta in the back pocket for now. We’re really focused on Bend. Until we’re getting five-star guest reviews here, we won’t look to the next thing.”