Looking down from the balcony of our room, I couldn’t help but marvel at the beautiful view and tranquility of the valley below. Kahneeta Resort is situated on the Warm Springs Native American Reservation and is surrounded by expansive grassy fields, red rock formations, and the crystal waters of the Deschutes River. If you’re looking for a place to get away from it all and yet still have a lot of fun activities for the entire family, Kahneeta is the place for you.
Distilled weekend was one of their special events, put together by their Sales and Marketing Manager, Cruz Bocanegra, who was our host for the special weekend. The event highlighted the delicious spirits of New Basin Distilling and the tasty ice cream of Sub Zero Ice Cream and Yogurt. Those partners, along with Kahneeta’s executive chef, Mike Pyell, provided us a fun filled and entertaining weekend I won’t soon forget. It also just happened to coincide with my birthday, so I, and two dear girlfriends celebrated in style and shared a lot of laughs.
Kahneeta is a great place for family reunions, corporate retreats, or a romantic getaway. Along with the hotel rooms, there are also tee-pees and campsites available for rent in the village. The resort has a fine dining restaurant as well as a casual grill where guests can play pool and listen to live music. They also have a large swimming pool, spa, gift shop, gym, and huge rock fireplace with a cozy fire in the lobby.
After checking in on Friday night, we relaxed for a bit and then enjoyed a delicious array of appetizers while sampling the various spirits of New Basin Distilling. On Saturday, our day began with spa treatments at Spa Wanapine. I had a facial, Susan had a body wrap and Yvonne had a full body massage. Each of us really enjoyed our treatments and wished we could have spent the whole day pampering ourselves. But alas, we had a full day of other fun activities planned. We then gorged ourselves on the resorts huge breakfast buffet and afterwards we all loaded into the shuttles and headed to New Basin in Madras. There, Rick Molitor, one of 5 owners of the Distillery, gave us a delightful tour and spoiled us with a buffet lunch and signature cocktails made from their vodka, gin and whiskey. It was fascinating to learn about the various ingredients, processing methods and government regulations for their spirits. I was also impressed with the beautiful copper equipment and old oak barrels used for aging the whiskey. New Basin is open to the public for sampling and tours, so I highly recommend dropping by and saying hello next time you’re in Madras.
Later in the day we were entertained by Fabiano and Eliana Lahdi, owners of Sub Zero Ice Cream, as they showed us how to make all sorts of ice cream and yogurt using liquid nitrogen and spirits from New Basin. We got to try salted caramel with whiskey and white Russian ice cream. It was really fun to watch them make it and the ice cream was some of the best I’ve ever had. We also watched a presentation by Kahneeta’s executive chef on the proper way to prepare a tenderloin by removing the excess fat and cutting it into individual portions. That night, we got to enjoy an extraordinary four course meal paired with signature cocktails from New Basin spirits. The cold smoked salmon toast points, and beef tenderloin in a barbecue whiskey glaze were particularly impressive and a great way to top off a perfect weekend.
Aside from Kahneeta’s special events, like “Beers and Barbecue” coming up this summer, there are tons of other fun activities. The casino down on the main road provides nonstop entertainment, or if you crave something a little quieter, horseback riding, fishing or hiking might be more your style. The community swimming pool has two water slides and there is also a miniature golf course as well as an 18-hole golf course just a couple miles away from the resort. Kahneeta has changed a lot over the years. In fact, they are currently renovating and updating their rooms. But one thing hasn’t changed, it is still a fun place to relax, connect with beauty of the central Oregon high desert, and pamper yourself.