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Whale Watch Inn by the Sea
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Reviews (181)
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All reviewsprivate beachcliffside roombath suitecommon roomthe cliffcountry frenchlow tidewhale roomglass of winesaturday nightcommunity roomdelicious breakfastyour partnerglass beachkitchen areaeach morningget away
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Reviewed 12 April 2010

When my wife and I chose this hotel, we chose it for the view and the ambience. It said we would have classical music pumping through every room, champagne with breakfast, a skylight above the bed so we could see the stars at night and a private beach for only guests of the hotel. I read all the reviews before making the reservations, and the only review I read that was bad was bashing the décor. Yes, I agree, the decorations could be updated, but I didn’t have a problem with that. Yes, the tub and showers would do well to be resurfaced and painted, but I didn’t have a problem with that. And yes, the breakfast could have been better, but I have had worse, so I don’t have a problem with that either.
What I do have a problem with were the spiders that were on my bed when I came in and the cobwebs in the skylight, which was above my bed. I especially have a problem with the fact that when my wife went down to tell them about the spiders, the lady she spoke to went to the back and my wife could overhear the owner state “ Oh here we go again!” Now, I’m not sure she was stating that this happens more than it should, or she was used to people complaining and not wanting to fix it. When someone did come to fix the spider problem, they simply were going to change the sheets. That still wouldn’t fix the spiders hanging above the bed.
My wife wasn’t feeling comfortable and wanted to leave automatically, but I convinced here to ask if they had another room for us. They thankfully did, so I moved our bags over to the other room. The room was nice, as I said before, could use some work but I didn’t care about that. The fireplace and tub were great and my wife was satisfied with the room, though she still wanted to leave. We finally got situated and went out to enjoy the surrounding town of Anchor Bay. The people in the city, from the young clerk at the local grocery store to the waitress at the Redwood Grill, were so welcoming. I very much recommend, as long as you don’t stay at the Whale Watch Inn, to go to the Redwood Grill. The service was great and the food was amazing. Those who love food will be greatly surprised, and don’t let the look of the outer or inner area fool you, a great chef works there.
That night when we went back to our room, I was able to make a fire in a good size fireplace. The only thing the Whale Watch Inn was the wood they supplied for the fire. The first night was fine, and we spent the whole next day in Fort Bragg. If you decide to go to the Mendocino area, do not miss Fort Bragg. However, that night, with the smallest amount of wind gusting through the area, we heard all of it through a whistle in the windows and sliding glass door. It wasn’t enough to stop us from sleeping, but it was annoying. Later in the night, the light wind changed to a raining storm. And with that pick up of wind, came whistles to rival a whistling contest. We hardly slept two consistent hours through the entire night. In the morning, around 6, we simply woke up, got dressed, packed, and left. We didn’t want to wait for the breakfast, we simply gave our key to the cooks and left. We called at nine this morning and made sure they new we had checked out, since there wasn’t a hostess or anyone other than the cooks available.
After we left and were about to have lunch in San Francisco, I received a call from the owner stating that one of their robes was missing, and that if we wanted to keep it, we needed to pay. When I left, I looked upstairs where the shower and Jacuzzi were, and one robe, which wasn’t used, was still rolled up and in place. The other robe, which I used after my shower, was lying across the chair in front of the fireplace. When I told the owner it was there, she stated that I may have taken it by accident, but still had to pay. I assured here that I in fact did not have it. After I hung up, I went straight to my car, checked my entire luggage and was confirmed in my knowledge. I did not take the robe, and thank goodness I never used my credit card, for she would have definitely charged it and would have had no way but to go all the way back to show we didn’t have it.
Moreover, to top it all off, the private beach was only accessible during low tide, and took an experienced hiker to get down to. My wife was unable to even see the so-called beach that consisted of more rocks than sand.
Therefore, to recap, we were expecting elegance and grace; we received bugs and bad attitudes. We were expecting classical music in the room and champagne for breakfast, we received annoying whistles through the windows and orange juice for breakfast. Finally, we were expecting a private beach, and received a twisted ankle waiting to happen with no view. If you are deciding to go to the Mendocino area, I recommend the Albion River Inn. Had dinner there and received in the short time we were there the accommodations we were expecting at the Whale Watch Inn. Do not be fooled by the other reviews, I am not just one person bitter about a small defect. I am a man whose eighth anniversary was almost ruined by the Whale Watch Inns “False Advertisement”.

  • Stayed: April 2010, travelled as a couple
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10  Thank GO_Albion
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 December 2009

If you need a quiet, beautiful place for a get-away, this is it. The warm welcome by owner Kazie and her staff start the visit off right. Gorgeous grounds and amazing views of the ocean and rocky cliffs make the Whale Watch Inn worth the value. We loved every minute of our 2-day stay, and booked our next stay before leaving. We stayed in the Cliffside Room, and while very small, the fireplace and sounds of the ocean waves below make up for the size. Had delicious breakfasts both mornings, and the best hot chocolate I have ever had in my life. We sat in the lounge e for a full day, reading and enjoying the circular fireplace and sounds of the waves mixed with the rain. (Thanks for the extra firewood, Miguel!) Truly enchanting. Seems only nice people stay there, as we met lovely couples both mornings during breakfast. If you want to reconnect with natural beauty, calmness and serenity, this is it. Its rustic, authentic charm are the real thing. Truly lovely, and we can't wait to go back.

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank jsherm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 November 2009

Did you know that when seagulls rise on up-drafts from the beach below and are backlighted at sunset, there is a line of neon light outlning their wings and head?
And there's nothing like tai chi at down on the deck facing the east as the sun comes up over the hills, with the waves crashing below in the cove.

  • Stayed: October 2009, travelled on business
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1  Thank RuthHyndsWatercolors
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 September 2009

We called in to the inn without a reservation after a long day on the road. We were greeted with a welcoming, friendly smile by the duty manageress who, after confirming our room, sat us down with a glass of wine while she made some finishing touches to our room. Our room was the Rose Room, a room with a queen four poster bed, fireplace, bathroom with jacuzzi and a small deck. It was on the ground floor of the main building and because of the time of year (just after Labor Day) we were offered a reduced price for the room.
The inn has a great recreation room with wonderful views of the coast, tables, lounges, board games and Wi-Fi. There is also a great beach below, accessible by stairs.
In response to those poor reviews, yes, some of the decor is a bit tired and some items of furniture don't fit in, but this all adds to a feeling of homeliness which, along with the great attitude of the staff and owner and delicious hot breakfast brought to the room made it a perfect place to stay and encouraged us to stay an extra night. With some wonderful restaurants in the area to compliment the inn, I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone else.

  • Stayed: September 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank Bluey2901
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 September 2009

First, after having seen many, many places including Tahiti, Jamaica, Paris, Florence, and dozens of others, the Whale Watch Inn, with the people, the surrounding community, the great restaurants nearby, all taken together are just as enjoyable as any of those places for a weekend get-away. The Inn sits on a cliff high above a near-private beach, surrounded by redwoods. The view from the room is incredible, looking over the cliffs above the ocean. It’s a beautiful place made all the better by Kazie (she & Jim are the owners) and her team. Everyone, including the grounds crew, was extremely friendly and attentive. Kazie, Gretchen, and Monica work to make sure that your stay is relaxing and enjoyable, with special attention to detail. I mentioned that we were coming to celebrate our anniversary and when we arrived there was a chilled bottle of white wine, chocolate covered strawberries, and flowers for us. We were a little late getting there on a Friday night but Monica was waiting for us with a smile and took time to show us around and make sure we got settled-in. We had one of the rooms w/ a hot tub and with the fireplace inside; it just doesn’t get much better! The room was great – roomy, well appointed, and a very comfortable bed. For fun, the room has a guestbook in which people from all over shared their thoughts, feelings, and experiences (many very entertaining, some simply bizarre!). Breakfast every morning was delicious, and quite creative. Be prepared for an “unplug” experience though – no cell phone service, no TV (thank god!), no internet (double thank god!!). We celebrated our 27th anniversary in this perfect environment! We will definitely be back.

The close-by eateries are excellent. In Anchor Bay, about 5 minutes down the road, the Redwood Grill was terrific for dinner. The Mexican place was great for nachos and a margarita in the afternoon. And DO NOT MISS St. Orr’s for dinner down in Gualala!! And if you haven’t been and have a little extra time, go see Point Arena for fun.

So pack-up a couple of bottles of your favorite wine, bring a bottle of sparkling wine to make Mimosas for breakfast like we did, bring a good book, your favorite toys, and prepare to spend some of the best hours of your life decompressing and getting to know each other again. Like I said in the guestbook, re-learning to stop moving w/ jack hammer intensity and start moving with the rhythm of the waves that steeps through the air.

Kevin & Shari
San Rafael, CA

  • Stayed: July 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank sandkinca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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