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“Expectations exceeded”

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Whale Watch Inn by the Sea
Ranked #1 of 7 Gualala B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Windsor, California
Level 6 Contributor
219 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
“Expectations exceeded”
Reviewed 14 February 2013

Having read about it for years, and driving by it for decades, we finally decided to to give the Whale Watch Inn a try. Wow! It's now my new favorite for accomodations on the Northern California coast.
Just past the town of, and with a view of, Anchor Bay, we spent the night in the Cliffside Room. Check-in was a breeze and included a welcoming glass of wine and a property tour. The "office" was like entering a calming, aromatherapy, spa and the low-playing music added to the ambience. Our room was on one the side of a communal area that was available for our use. With board games, a small library, a circular fireplace ready to light and a western wall of windows overlooking the sea, it added so much more to our experience. This is also the room where your complimentary breakfast is served. Breakfast...mmmm. As a Valentine's Day surprise, we were served fruit crepes, granola with fruit in yogurt, heart-shaped scones along with juice and coffe and - ta da! - a split of brut. How nice is that?!
This has just jumped to the top of my places to stay list. It's going to be hard to beat.

Room Tip: Don't expect cell coverage, or television or telephones - you won't get and, if you relax, y...
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  • Stayed February 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank katyscat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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168 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (35)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
california
Level 5 Contributor
42 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 January 2013

My husband and I stayed in the Swan Room this trip. It is a beautiful, quiet, peaceful room. The breakfasts were awesome!! If you are looking for someplace to get to get away from it all, this is your place!

Room Tip: The Swan room is a large, quiet room. The downside is it is further away from the ocean and nearer t...
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  • Stayed December 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank dbtravelor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chico, California
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 January 2013

Where do I begin? Its started with the reservation, I asked for a room and told them we had a 70lb dog. They thought the room i requested was to small for a large dog and offered an upgrade for the same price. When we arrived the late night innkeeper was more than helpful with getting us checked in and a glass of wine in hand before even showing us our room. Got to our room and the fire place was loaded and ready to light. Next morning great breakfast was served to our room. Left for the day to shop and hike and came back to cheese, crackers, salami and wine. What more can you ask for, you are treated like royalty. Great experience.

Room Tip: Anything on the second floor has better view or the largest rooms.
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  • Stayed January 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank Livindalife28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bay Area
Level 6 Contributor
133 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 November 2012

This is a great little inn to get away from it all. Getting there is a bit of a challenge, but once there, it is quiet and peaceful. There are no TV's or clocks at the hotel, and cell phone coverage is a bit spotty. There is wi-fi that is usually pretty good. Surprisingly, it is just a short drive to the Alexander Valley and a number of award winning wineries. The people in the hotel are very friendly and a very nice breakfast is included. The "Silver Mist" is an especially good room. There was a hot tub in our room.

  • Stayed November 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank 1CaliforniaBoy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sacramento, California
Level 6 Contributor
106 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 November 2012

We stayed in the Showcase Suite. A great room, with fireplace and a view you will not believe. I don't think you could find a better view for Northern California's rugged coastline. The coast here is majestic, with towering cliffs and big rocks in crashing surf. This room has two decks. It was very private with a view worthy of the name of the room. Breakfasts were very satisfying. The coffee is not what it could be - I like a heartier darker coffee than they brew. Room was very clean. Would definitely recommend it to anyone who has not been there. Very cordial and gracious service, and pet friendly. There is a beach available at the bottom of the cliff, down a staircase.

Room Tip: Showcase was large and had a great view, with wood burning fireplace. Right off the lobby, but priv...
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  • Stayed November 2012, travelled as a couple
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    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank SactoDiner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dallas, Texas
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 November 2012

We stayed in the Crystal Sea room for one night, and the ambience, service, and accommodations were well worth every penny. Tracy greeted us with a glass of red wine upon arrival, toured us through the property (showing us several of the unoccupied rooms for future stays), and answered all of our questions. We were very happy with the location and privacy of our room (in a separate building with one suite below), the quality of the towels and bath robes, the warmth of the fireplace and carpeting, and the overall decor of the room (no flowery patterns). The breakfast consisted of a frittata, fruit, juice and coffee/tea and was delicious. Although 3 other rooms were rented that evening, we didn't see a soul as we walked the beach and sat on the patio overlooking the ocean to watch the sunset. The landscaping is top notch and the grounds are well kept. We will definitely return to this beautiful place.

  • Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank texasmargie2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Montreal, Canada
Level 4 Contributor
32 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 October 2012

We stayed at the Whale Watch for two nights. It was probably once a five star B&B, now we rate it a four star (or slightly lower). To be more precise:

Setting: 5 Stars. Nestled on a cliff, overlooking the Mendocino Coast. Every room has a great view of the coast. You go to sleep and wake up with the sound of the waves. A delight.
Rooms: 3 Stars. Beautifully designed, with high ceilings, wood burning fireplaces (or stoves). But as many reviews have noted, the décor is 1980s, and some things in our room (such as the carpet and one of the sitting chairs) were clearly worn. Bed was OK but not all that comfortable. Our biggest pet peeve: the bedding would pass muster in an Econolodge but not in a hotel at this price point. Sheets and polyester comforters are low-end. Our pillows were soft and worn out. The night after we left the Whale Watch we stayed at America's Best Value hotel for less than $100 and the bedding was clearly nicer.
Breakfast: 4 Stars. Delivered hot to your room, on time. Nice. But (again) at this price point, it should be fresh squeezed orange juice, not supermarket brand quality. And a cappuccino option would be needed for us to get it to five starts.

So overall, this was a 4 star experience, below what we were expecting for what we paid.

A final (important) note on room location. When we first arrived at 3pm on a weekday, we checked into Crystal Sea. It was a nice room, one of the newer renovations. But it is located in a building about 30 feet from the road, so we found that we heard more car & truck noise than we did the roar of the sea. (This would probably also be true for Ocean Sunrise directly below). So we moved to the main building and stayed in a comparable suite and were much happier -- it is much quieter. So when you book, ask about how close your suite will be to the road. As trucks and Harleys can make a pretty big racket! And serenity is why you book at the Whale Watch.

Room Tip: A final (important) note on room location. When we first arrived at 3pm on a weekday, we checked int...
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  • Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank VT_Canadian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Whale Watch Inn by the Sea

Property: Whale Watch Inn by the Sea
Address: 35100 S Highway 1, Gualala, CA 95445-9589
Region: United States > California > Mendocino County > Gualala
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 7 B&Bs / Inns in Gualala
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Whale Watch Inn by the Sea 3.5*
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We have a motto here at the Whale Watch Inn and it is to provide you with "World Class service in a World Class setting." With 18 beautifully decorated guest rooms each with a dynamic view of the ocean, our rooms also all include a private deck and wood burning fireplace/furnace. Also included with your stay is a full breakfast, either delivered right to your room or buffet style in the Whale Room. We are committed to making your stay an out of this world experience by accommodating your needs, and paying attention to the details. We hope you will join us soon. The ocean is waiting! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Whale Watch Inn By The Sea Hotel Gualala

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