The Methow Valley is as picturesque as any in the world. Nestled in a high pocket of the North Cascades of Washington State, the valley is all forests and flower fields, ravines and rivers, snow peaks and sunshine1. And it’s all crisscrossed by biking, hiking and running paths — and by one of the longest cross country skiing trails in the world.
Until recently, one of the few blights on the Methow Valley was a particularly unattractive RV park northwest of the town of Winthrop. Happily, the Winnebagos there have given way to a wild meadow that’s mostly untouched except for the unusual, low-impact accommodations offered by Rolling Huts. It is a fantastically cool place to stay.
The “huts” in the name is a misnomer. The six structures that comprise the Rolling Huts resort are more like a Scandinavian minimalist’s dream of a mobile home. Each one is rather small — a bit smaller than a typical mobile home — and are constructed from steel and wood and glass. Somehow, the architects of the Rolling Huts (Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig Architects) make that seemingly out-of-place combination of materials work. The steel gives this sense that you are inside something sturdy. And wood provides a sense of nature. The glass puts the emphasis where it belongs: the view of the beautiful natural surroundings of the Methow Valley.
In fact, we would declare the Rolling Huts to be the world’s second landscape hotel if the accommodations were luxurious enough to qualify as a “hotel.” Instead, guests get a prototypical glamping experience2. There are no en-suite bathrooms — each “hut” has a portable toilet out back and a water spigot outside. Each is devoid of electronics save for a microwave, small fridge and lamps. Each is also devoid of furniture, at least in the traditional sense. In their place are cushions and modular platforms that can be rearranged to form a bed or a couch or whatever. Check out the photo:
Despite these elements of “roughing it,” the huts are complete comfortable. A fireplace keeps them cozy. A nearby farmhouse has full bathrooms and showers. There’s also free wifi!
[ ALSO ON SCS: A Review of the Treehouse Point Treehouse Hotel ]
Each hut is on wheels, and none are connected to water or sewer lines, and so they could theoretically be rolled around. The wheels, though, are more of an artistic way to keep the floor of the huts above the environmentally-sensitive meadow. Not that you’d want to move them anywhere anyway. The six huts are perfectly placed, close to each other but with an unobstructed view of the mountains. Sitting out on a hut’s porch, perhaps sipping a glass of wine, is bliss.
There’s a restaurant on site at the Rolling Huts, Kelly’s at Wesola Polana. The proprietors also run a farmhouse inn and the nearby Methow Tents, a campground with safari-style caravan tents. For information on local activities, check out the excellent Winthrop tourist info website.
1 Methow Valley gets an average of 307 of sunshine days per year. Seattle, by contrast, averages 55.
2 Glamping = glamorous camping. Basically a more upscale, more comfortable version of regular tent camping. Check out our travel blog’s review of glamping products and locations for more.
Planning your Rolling Huts and Methow Valley trip
How much: $135 per night, with a $10 surcharge on holidays.
Getting there: Weather permitting, Winthrop is about a four hour drive from Seattle or Spokane. Snow often close Highway 20, requiring traveler to take detour that adds another hour to the drive. Check here for current conditions.
If you go: Though towels, sheets and pillows are provided, you much bring your own sleeping bag or blankets. See the Rolling Huts website for more info.
When: Open year round.
Family friendly? Absolutely. Kids love the adventure of the Rolling Huts. Though there’s not much there specifically for kids to do (except for running around in the meadow) so bring your own bikes, games and other fun.
For your bookshelf: The Methow Valley: Between Home and Heaven
Photos of the Rolling Huts
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