Sitting atop Snoqualmie Falls, overlooking the churning white water below, sits Salish Lodge and Spa, renowned for its majestic beauty and luxurious amenities — and easily recognizable from the opening credits of the early ’90s cult classic TV series Twin Peaks.
In October, the lodge, which had belonged to the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe for decades, was purchased by the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe. Though the property has changed hands, Director of Operations Alan Stephens and the rest of the team at Columbia Hospitality remain to run the day-to-day operations.
Stephens joined Columbia Hospitality in 2006 after years spent managing hotels and resorts from New York to Portugal. As an area manager, he also operates other properties in the company’s portfolio, including those in Friday Harbor; Ketchum, Idaho; Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; and Cannon Beach, Oregon.
“I’ve enjoyed seeing the world, seeing how it operates, and how hospitality operates in different environments,” Stephens said. “The other thing I’ve really enjoyed, now that I’m getting on in years, has been watching other people’s careers grow.”
Stephens said that the team he has cultivated is a key contributor to his success, which makes their blossoming careers all the more satisfying.
“We took a bartender, here at the lodge, and put her in charge of the entire food and beverage operation,” Stephens said with pride. “She went from a bartender to running over $10 million, and she’s been incredible. It’s stories like that which make this phase of my career so rewarding.”
Since graduating Washington State University with a degree in hotel and restaurant administration in 1999, Stephens has been ascending the ranks of the hospitality industry for more than two decades, and said he has no desire to stop now.
“I knew (when I was young) I wanted to do something in this industry, and I did picture myself standing in the lobby of my own hotel — or resort, or whatever it was — as the boss, as the general manager of that place,” Stephens said. “Call my childhood dreams lame, but this really has been a dream-recognizing job.”
Following photos courtesy Alan Stephens.
6 a.m. | Before heading into the office, I like to start my day off with a rigorous workout at home on my Peloton bike.
7 a.m. | I arrive at the office and start my day by getting coffee, then heading to the kitchen to meet with the morning crew to talk through the reservation counts for breakfast that morning.
8:30 a.m. | All the managers meet in my office for a team huddle. We review the groups in house that day, any special celebrations for arriving guests, and general preparations.
9 a.m. | I check the Club 268 lounge and ensure the continental breakfast is set up correctly.
10 a.m. | The Falls Terrace has been set for an outside group meeting later in the day. I assist with the final tweaks to the room before the group arrives.
11 a.m. | I frequently spend time on the front drive, greeting or helping guests when they arrive or depart from the Lodge. The arrival experience is crucial and sets the foundation for the rest of the stay.
Noon | Executive Chef Tristan and I review the preparation of one of the benedicts for its quality and presentation to ensure the consistency that Lodge guests expect.
1 p.m. | I check in on The Attic during the lunch rush hour.
2 p.m. | I perform room inspections with Jeff, the front office manager.
3 p.m. | We continue room inspections to ensure a clean, well-maintained guestroom is ready for the arrivals that day.
4:30 p.m. | The evening dining room team and I review menus, counts, and special occasion celebrations for guests dining that evening.
6 p.m. | I head home for the evening.