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“Best spot in Northern California”

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The Harbor House Inn
Ranked #4 of 5 Elk B&B and Inns
Reviewed 20 September 2012

Best spot to stay in Northern CA bar none. Remote - but a short drive from Navarro and the North end of the Alexander Vally. Spectacular grounds with sensational views, and a winding path down to the ocean and tidal pool. Outstanding food and service. Rates are a true bargain, with dinner and breakfast included in the price. Guests are left to their own devices, with minimal greeting/supervision - as would be expected at a location like this. If you want brand new rooms and fixtures, go to a hotel. Of you want character, quality, and peacefulness, go to the Harbor House. You won't regret it. We have been four times and can't wait to go back.

Room Tip: Cottages are great. Spend the extra $$$; you won't be disappointed.
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  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Sak123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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4 - 10 of 43 reviews

Reviewed 2 January 2012

Stayed at the Harbor House Inn for New Years weekend. We were part of a group staying at the inn and celebrating our good friends 20th wedding anniversary. After reading reviews from other travelers who had stayed at the inn, this is my review.
The Inn is scheduled for renovations in 2012 and will be making improvements as well as much needed upgrades. My wife and myself had never stayed at Harbor House before and even without improvements we would be happy to stay again and again! Our stay was exceptional! The staff was exceptional, the Inn was spotless, the room we were in was so warm, inviting, cozy and beautifully decorated. The Inn overlooks the rocky rough northern Ca. coastline about a half hour south of Mendocino, Ca. and just as you are entering the small town of Elk, Ca. The grounds of the Inn are exceptionally well maintained and beautifully landscaped. The rear of the Inn overlooks the pacific ocean with lush walkways, assorted seating areas and pathways down to the sand and shoreline. The Inn consists of the main house and some cabins. I have read some negative feedback about the cabins and I'm here to tell you that the cabins I visited were just great! Sure, they are a bit rustic but give me a break, if you want to stay in a Marriott or a Holiday Inn Express, then don't stay here! If you want peace, solitude, beauty and great food, this is your stop. Further, the cabins are on the remodel list of renovations. Adam Ables is the executive chef. I have a friend who shall remain nameless, who owns and is the chef of an upscale, $$$$, restaurant in a very upscale area of Los Angeles that attracts many Hollywood actors and stars. Adam Ables can cook circles around my friend! Adams cooking is wonderful and the Harbor House Inn is lucky to have him onboard. The Inn is not cheap by any means but they doo have deals all the time and if you are a person that likes staying in B&B's, then I'm sure you are used to spending a few extra bucks to stay in a quality place. I could go on and talk about the beds, the pillows, the linens etc. which are all incredible, but I won't waste your time. All in all, we will definitely be back!

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with friends
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5  Thank VanNuys1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 November 2011

While we stayed in a different B&B in town of elk (LOVE this place -- beautiful, peaceful), Harbor House Chef Adam Ables (executive chef and new GM who will be supervising an amazing remodel of this lovely historic inn with simply the best beach front in town and stunning cliffs) took excellent care of us, and another couple on a sunday evening when the town can be slow and hard to find fine dining. BRAVO to chef adam for great fire in the great room to welcome us, perfect musical ambiance and accommodating a slight menu shift (leaving out an ingredient and modifying a course) to help all enjoy the amazing, warm, simple and very well composed meal. Bonus points for the surprise of fresh hot mini southern biscuits between courses to have a little fun and celebrate his roots from Mississippi and complement his 5 star experiences in Healdsburg and other wine country notable places before Harbor House. We will miss them while they remodel soon and will be delighted to either "get in under the wire" for another great meal soon, or be on the "grand reopening" list of big fans. Special thanks for the team at The Elk Cove Inn & Spa for the exceptionally well-informed referral -- it was the second night they told us where to dine and simply blew all the rest in town away.

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank spintheglobepartners
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 October 2011

We just left Harbor House--a two night stay. Excellent food by Adam. Outstanding views.
Main building seems in good repair. The four villas need major modernization, but they are still nice-- not luxurious. We did not expect luxurious.

Room Tip: The room in the main bldg facing the ocean is a good choice.
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  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled with family
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1  Thank farmernorm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 September 2011

We returned to Harbor House after spending a night there about 25 years ago. Not much has changed physically, the views are still spectacular, and the grounds are more lush than we remember. The facilities are scheduled for a renovation, in the next twelve months, with the cabins scheduled to be torn down and replaced and additional changes to be made to the dining room and kitchen. They are also evidently planning to add wireless Internet, because there is little if any cell service in Elk.

The two things we remember from our first trip and which Harbor House still excels at are food and service. Both of our breakfasts and dinners were excellent, each featuring locally grown or raised ingredients. We had brought a bottle of sparkling wine with us up from the wine country, and had taken an ice bucket back to the room to chill it. When Benita, the innkeeper, realized that we had not had the bottle the previous night, she refilled the ice bucket and left us two champagne flutes, so we could enjoy some chilled wine after returning from a day of touring the North Coast. The next morning we had to leave early, before the regular breakfast time to catch a plane back home. After giving the staff advance notice, the morning cook had a full breakfast ready for us, when we arrived at 7:45 and we made our 2pm flight out of SFO with time to spare.

It is not clear exactly when the renovations will take place, but I am sure that they will only enhance an already fantastic Inn experience.

Room Tip: Ocean view are worth the minor premium.
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  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank John S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 September 2011

We read all the reviews before we booked, but let me describe our experience - by far the worst of our entire vacation and the only part we totally regretted!
We are used to getting the service you pay for, but not here. Our hotel in Crescent City for $90/night FAR exceeded our experience at Harbor House Inn. Our stays in San Francisco and Portland also FAR exceeded our experience here.
We arrived at 4:30 to find a note telling us when to show up for dinner - nothing else. We found a binder in our room with some local brochures and a letter telling us how important the tip pool is for the Inn and a fancy envelope asking for more tips. (Duh. We travel a lot - we know how to tip when service earns it!)
We went to our cabin - Oceansong, per Adam's suggestion - and found that it tilted about 10% TOWARDS the water. Yikes. (The bathroom was really, really nice and oddly not slanted.) There was a really nice deck that was 'private' if and only if you pretended that the flimsy lattice wall really separated you from the next cabin. The couple in that cabin closed their door as soon as we arrived - because it wasn't private! On the plus side, the view from the deck and enormous windows was absolutely fantastic!
We arrived at dinner and were not greeted in any way. Several courses were GREAT (really, really great). One was just OK. Dessert was tasteless - neither of us finished it. (Honestly, that has NEVER happened before.) Dinner was 'valued at' $65pp - by them, not us. So we then were in a loop on how much to tip - we didn't think it was fair to be expected to tip 20% on $130 - when we had received maybe 12% service on a dinner that seemed more like a $40pp experience. But there were only 5 tables and bad training/supervision and mediocre food was not exactly her fault....but it was too intimate (we thought then)... so we opted for the 'high end'. By breakfast, we were too irritated by the entire experience to care any more!
We then noticed that there was no real common area indoors - no place to sit and have a cup of tea and talk or play a game of cards... everyone just sort of shuffled off to their charming, but small (and slanted?) sleeping quarters.
Note: the tilt was enough that we felt like we were rolling off the bed, but the bed and linens were otherwise really quite nice. This is important, because the highway is about 50 feet out the front door, so when loud cars went by you can shift 'uphill' on the bed and snuggle in to go back to sleep until the next one goes by.
We checked out the next morning after a barely adequate breakfast (runny eggs in one omelet - ingredients wrong in other) and weren't asked anything - just shown where to sign.
As we were checking out, we noticed a path down to the ocean and a cute deck.
Gosh. It would have been nice if someone had told us about them.

To sum it up: NO service, LOTS of requests for tips, FUNHOUSE construction, ACCEPTABLE food, GREAT views, LOUD road. Ick!

Room Tip: Maybe ask for a room in the main building?
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  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank David P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 May 2011

This is such a remarkable place! From first driving up along the coast to leaving a couple days later, we were amazed. The view from this secluded hotel is amazing, with a rocky cliff coastline, and the gardens are very well maintained, with many spots to sit and watch the waves. There is a little path down to the private beach that is fun to walk.
We drove a little further down the coast on one of our days there and saw a few of the surrounding towns and more coast line.
Our room, the Cypress, was huge and had the most comfortable bed! The room has a private patio overlooking the coast, and a fun claw footed tub.
Both breakfast and dinner were scrumptious. There are lots of choices every morning with lots of fresh fruit as well. Each of the four courses of dinner were beautifully prepared and very delicious.
This is definitely a place to go if you want to relax, unwind and do nothing, which everybody should do at some point in their life. No TV, no internet (while we were there), no busy tourist town, just yourselves, a beach and a beautiful hotel.

  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank LariJoy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Harbor House Inn

Address: 5600 S Hwy 1, Elk, CA 95432
Region: United States > California > Mendocino County > Elk
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 5 B&Bs / Inns in Elk
Price Range: £212 - £365 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 10
Also Known As:
The Harbor House Hotel Elk
The Harbor House Inn Elk, California

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