Loge at the Sands in Westport set for Memorial Weekend opener

Geared toward surfers, offers a variety of lodging options for beach visitors

If you live in Washington and love to surf, your options are pretty limited. Fortunately for Grays Harbor surfers, the best spot, in terms of consistently surfable waves, is just down the road in Westport.

There are a few surf shops in town, but not really a lodging facility geared toward surfers. That is set to change when Loge at the Sands opens Memorial Day weekend.

“From Olympia, Seattle, Tacoma, the closest place to go surfing in Washington is Westport,” said Johannes Ariens, who started the idea of a surfer-friendly facility with a Kickstarter campaign and is now in the process of updating the old Sands Motel and RV Park into the type of place surfers of all ages and skill levels can gather and have easy access to the consistent waves that beat against the jetty at Westhaven State Park.

“Even surfers farther north will have an easier time than they would getting to the west side of Vancouver Island, and here there is always surf,” said Ariens. “There can be some good surf off Neah Bay, but it’s really hit or miss.”

The final round of permits for the Loge at the Sands came through just weeks ago, and anyone traveling past the old Sands has no doubt noticed the bustle of activity, with workers gutting and now in the process of updating the electrical systems and everything else it takes to get the old Westport mainstay back up and running.

The name “Loge,” (pronounced lōZH), by the way, is the Dutch word for lodge; Ariens, who is a product of the Olympic Peninsula and has been surfing Westport for some time, holds dual citizenship with the Netherlands.

He said the Sands location, on Montesano Street, the main drag leading to Westport and less than a mile past Ocosta High School when you’re heading into town, was attractive for a number of reasons. For one thing, it’s just a couple miles from the surfing beaches.

“I was looking for two or three years and the Sands had come on and off the market a few times,” Ariens said. “I was looking for something to be utilized by a wider scope of people, not just a campground and not just a hotel, more like a hybrid.” Ariens was looking for a location with multiple options that could attract people coming to Westport to fish, hike, or just enjoy what the town has to offer.

The upper property will retain a similar look, with the cabins that can house up to six people at a time. On the entry side of the facility there will be a larger building to include a lounge with television and games, a laundry facility and bunk rooms. The bunk rooms offer a hostel-type feel and are the least expensive option for staying indoors. Queen rooms that can hold four to six run about $140-$170 a night; a bunk in the hostel-like bunkhouse will run between $45 and $50.

“There will be a café and bar, not a full restaurant and no hard liquor, but beer and wine,” said Ariens.

The lower property, not visible from the main road into town, will have a mix of covered tent sites, RV spots with hookups, an outdoor kitchen and hot showers. RV spots can start at around $55 per night; covered camp sites with hookups run around $50 and rustic camp sites with no hookups are around $40 a night. In the same area will be an outdoor stage, where a number of events are planned throughout the season, and fire pits.

“We are doing live music every weekend from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day,” said Ariens. There will also be a coldwater surfing film festival later in the season, he said. “There are a lot of festivals and events in Westport that time of year; we’re trying to avoid conflicting with other events.” Some of these events will be open to the public at no charge. To keep up on events, look to the Loge’s Pinterest page, @logecamps.

There are other surfer-specific features that will appeal to more than just the people staying at the resort. Ariens will have surfboard storage areas and wetsuit drying facilities that can be used by anyone who pays for access.

That’s another fairly unique aspect of the Loge. The bookings are all done online. You can book the type of lodging you want and also any equipment you may want, as well as access to the storage and drying facilities. After you book you’ll get a text message with an access code that will open the doors to any of the facilities for which you’ve signed up. You can also go to the shop section of the sight and select a month of use of the board storage and wetsuit drying for $25.

“We will have a performance demo center for surfboards,” said Ariens. “Instead of having regular rentals we’ll have a stack of surfboards that people can try out to find a good fit.” He says anyone requesting equipment when they register online is guaranteed that equipment will be there when they arrive.

Loge at the Sands is designed to have something of a bohemian feel to it. There will be staff on hand, but it is being built to allow guests to enjoy a fairly self-sufficient stay while having onsite access to most of what they require, all just a couple miles south of the most consistent surf in the region.