Monday, September 05, 2016

The Real Twin Peaks: The Great Northern Hotel

I'm saving perhaps the best for last - or at least the location I consider the most iconic of the show, as it closes both the credits sequence and opens many episodes, and it's probably the most picturesque of all Twin Peaks locations. This is the Great Northern Hotel, aka the real-life Salish Lodge & Spa in Snoqualmie, Washington. My wife and I stayed here one night during our visit.

No, this is not a still from the show - this is reality in 2016.

The Salish Lodge is a tourist attraction in its own right due to the Snoqualmie Falls it sits beside. In fact, while the hotel interior in the show always seems bustling, haven't you ever thought it odd how deserted the surrounding area is depicted as, and how nobody ever mentions the waterfall? Wouldn't you think that a waterfall like this would attract a bunch of people in and of itself? In fact, there are viewing platforms for the falls all down the cliffs here, and a giant parking lot for them with tourists running around all over the place.

While the show makes it look like this little parking lot in front is all the hotel needs, the overhead walkway my wife and I are standing on to take the photo above leads to the real hotel parking lot, which is far larger. The lot in front is strictly for valet parking. The waterfall and park have their own parking lot stretching to the south (to the right of the photo above). In other words, the whole area is basically one big parking lot.

In this scene, Audrey leaves the hotel and is immediately picked up by a waiting car.

I couldn't remember which specific door she walked out of but I knew it had to be in this area - luckily I got it in the shot!

In reality I believe this is just a door to the kitchen for the basic casual restaurant.

We had a lot of little Twin Peaks-like moments while we were in this hotel, like a large group of random kids yelling and screaming in the lobby for no reason, or the real estate conference going on in one of the banquet rooms, the attendees of which we called "the Norwegians".

That said, the interior and rooms do not look like the show - as you'd expect, since most of the show (including the pilot) was not actually filmed there.

Interestingly, though, our room did have a very similar layout to Dale Cooper's room.

Meta! Watching Twin Peaks at the Great Northern. (Kinda wish I'd gotten a shot on the iPad of the Great Northern to make it even more meta, but whatever.)

Overall it's a really nice hotel, and there is currently a Twin Peaks package called the "Great Northern Escape" available, so they don't shy away from their association with the show, but they don't do much to promote it either. Don't expect to find Twin Peaks merchandise in the gift shop nowadays (I've heard that you would have at one point).

Many of the lobby and conference room scenes in the pilot were actually filmed at the Kiana Lodge, which I posted about earlier and which served as the Blue Pine Lodge/Martell residence in the show.

For example, this great scene of the Great Northern's concierge area that established Audrey as a bad girl was filmed in this room at the Kiana Lodge:

The early scenes with the "real" Norwegians were also filmed here, although not in this specific room. (There's another adjacent to this with a similar style and artwork, but different ceiling.)

For the series after the pilot, the artwork and wood paneling was reproduced on a Los Angeles soundstage.

Well, that about wraps it up - I may just make one more post showing some more of the "town" that would make up Twin Peaks if it was more heavily featured on the show. (You see some of the towns of North Bend and Snoqualmie in the backgrounds of locations like the RR Diner and the giant log.) But this is the last real show location we visited. Hope you enjoyed seeing some of these and how they look today - hopefully we'll see some of them in the new episodes next year!

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About This Blog

This is increasingly not a blog about Alphabet City, New York. I used to live in the East Village and work on Avenue B, but I no longer do. Why don't I change the name if I'm writing about Japan and video games and guitars? Because New Yorkers are well-rounded people with varied interests, and mine have gone increasingly off the rails over the years. And I don't feel like changing the name. I do still write about New York City sometimes.


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