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“Hummingbird Cottage not exactly hummin'”

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Bear Valley Cottage
Ranked #2 of 2 Olema B&B and Inns
Reviewed 7 December 2012

I secured the Hummingbird Cottage, a separate space adjacent to the main house, at the Bear Valley Inn for 4 women for early December. The cottage is centrally located to Pt. Reyes National Seashore and not far from the town of Pt. Reyes Station where there is a grocery, restaurants, boutique shops and a nice small town ambiance. Nothing of note in Olema. With that in mind, the accommodations for the price were a serious disappointment. I cannot emphasize more the need for a serious cleaning/dusting. Dishware was tacky to touch, lighting was dim, dish towels were dingy and stiff. Upon arriving we noted the chill damp in the cottage which was somewhat improved by getting the very inadequate heater going. Don't hope to take refuge by the fire in the main house, either, as you are limited to just your cottage space. Also, food was so-so. Nice that milk products were organic, homemade yougurt. But homemade granola seemed stale & fruit was past it's prime. Assistance from the one staff person, Sonja, was brusque and unhelpful, almost rude. Four women with wet towels yet no place to hang most of them, no hook in bath, sink outside bath serves as kitchen sink which makes it interesting when someone is washing dishes and someone wants to brush their teeth. Again, for $500 for two nights, I was very disappointed and embarrassed as I had gotten the location for our group. I ended up carrying most of the cost since it was so far from what we expected.

Room Tip: Rustic at best, dirty at least. Bring your own towels and books, DVDs, games. Stock up on food befor...
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  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled with friends
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2  Thank Knitrunr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bearvinn, Owner at Bear Valley Cottage, responded to this reviewResponded 11 January 2013

Olema is a very small place with population 50, located just two miles south of the town of Point Reyes Station. However in Olema there are six lodging properties and a public campground. We are located just one half mile from the headquarters for the Point Reyes National Seashore. There are two restaurants and a deli in Olema.

I recall that I contacted these guests as they were set to arrive just a day after several inches of rain fell after a big storm and there was a lot of local flooding. I wanted to be sure that they still wanted to come after the really bad weather and flooding. They said that they planned to come and hoped to see the sun. We make every effort to contact our guests to help ensure they will have an enjoyable visit.

A different person in the party made the booking at the inn than wrote the review.

There are two heaters in the cottage. In October we installed a second heater to ensure that there is adequate heat. The cottage is equipped with a kitchenette and there is one sink. We do not provide daily housekeeping in the cottage unless requested, but there is a note that states that if the guests need anything to let us know

I am sorry that our cottage was not adequate for these guests or meet their expectations. The rate on our cottage is in line with the lodging that we provide and the prices in Northern California are likely higher than in Kansas City

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20 - 26 of 73 reviews

Reviewed 4 July 2012

Overall, I had a good experience at the Bear Valley Inn. The main reason to come here is its proximity to Point Reyes National Seashore and the pristine, relaxed charm of the town of Olema.

Blink and you will miss the town of Olema. I say that in a positive way because it had a very peaceful, tranquil atmosphere. The Bear Valley Inn is within walking distance of the town's only deli and restaurant. It is a short drive to Point Reyes Station which has a post office and a variety of restaurants, a cute bakery, and various shops.

I arrived in the middle of the day which gave me a chance to glance into the unoccupied rooms. There are three rooms in the main house, and I was very lucky to have the Poppy Room. The bathrooms of the other two rooms were tiny, but the Poppy Room's bath was a true "room", being straight across the hall from the Poppy Room. If you don't want to cross into a hallway to get to a bathroom, this situation would not be to your liking, but I didn't mind, and I loved the size of it and its enamel claw footed bathtub, which was white on the inside and a bright orange on the exterior. Orange area rugs provided a colorful punch to the black and white tiles floor, and floral poppy curtains carried out the theme. The luxury of the tub more than made up for the tiniest corner sink I've ever seen.

The bed in the Poppy Room was quite firm and comfortable. The common area living room was cozy and charming in a grandmotherly kind of way. In fact, although Amanda, the owner is a young woman, "grandmotherly" is a word I would use to describe this experience. You don't expect perfection from your grandmother -- if there are dead flies in the light fixtures, a dead spider in the bathtub, a lack of fresh towels, no place to blow dry your hair, no evening or afternoon cookies/cheese/crackers/etc, you forgive your grandmother because she is probably tired or off playing cards at the senior center. The owners at the Bear Valley Inn work full time and apparently have meaningful recreational lives (cycling, etc), so the bed and breakfast is not their only focus. They are human, the people they employ act like employees and not hosts, and that is just the way it is. It doesn't mean that it is not worth going to visit.

Concerning the breakfast -- it was granola and yogurt with excellent muffins one day and excellent scones the next day. One the third day, a Monday, there was only granola and milk -- no yogurt, and no muffins/scones. When I asked Amanda if there was going to be any yogurt (or muffins/scones, for that matter), she cheerfully replied "Not on Mondays!"

Amanda is like the grandmother who is a little burned out, but still retains an essential core of kindness. She lent me a backpack during my stay and gave me some driving tips as I was leaving. We also comprised on a price differential due to a mistake in the original quoted rate.

I was happy with this experience, but would have been much more satisfied if the price had reflected the various drawbacks.

Room Tip: Loved the Poppy Room and its bath!
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  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled solo
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1  Thank JaneFairfax831
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 6 July 2012

The guest who wrote this review called several times to arrange a mid-day check-in, to check on directions and have her questions answered prior to coming to the Inn. We did our best to make sure that she had the correct information to get herself settled in and believe that she enjoyed her time at Point Reyes. We provided maps, guide books, trail recommendations and a backpack. The Bear Valley Inn is an affordable, centrally located place where you can stay to visit the area. There are inns in the area that serve afternoon cookies and have more elaborate amenities, and the price per night reflects the offerings in many cases. The Bear Valley Inn has three rooms in a farmhouse that was built in 1910. It is not a hotel. I have grey hair and occasionally can be spotted sporting an apron and I'm old enough to have grandchildren, but the "grandmother" thing is a first!

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Reviewed 18 May 2012

The interactions with the innkeepers were short, but friendly & helpful.
As experienced bed & breakfast users we were disappointed with the Bear Valley Inn. We’d booked it based on the great reviews, but we feel it lacks character, comfort & charm we’ve experienced in other B&Bs we‘ve stayed at over the past years. This place seems neglected and not quite clean. Breakfast consisted of coffee and some apples/bananas & store-bought granola, definitely not what one would expect from a B&B.
All in all, we rate this an average stay, we have experienced much better value for money in other places.

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank SweetCountryWoman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bearvinn, Owner at Bear Valley Cottage, responded to this reviewResponded 19 May 2012

Thank you for your review. The Bear Valley Inn is a good place to stay while visiting the Point Reyes Area. We have lots of maps, guidebooks and are happy to describe the trails and points of interest. The breakfast is simple and nutritious, the coffee is strong. There are as many different bed and breakfast experiences as there are people who own and operate them. The offerings at our inn seem to work for many visitors to the area, we are sorry that it was not what you were expecting.

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Reviewed 1 May 2012

Very comfortable place. Nice living room. Great location. Wireless internet.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank ReginaPhelps
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 March 2012

Very nice, cozy inn. Very friendly & helpful owners. Being served with a healthy breakfast was nice for a change :-). We would definitely go back. Also a great alternative to stay when visiting San Francisco.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Aleachi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 October 2011

I made a left turn off of Hwy 1 to get information on Point Reyes and there was the Bear Valley Inn. The perfect place to stop. Totally unexpected - what a find! Cute place. Drove into Pt. Reyes Station. Not much open by time I got there, but did pick up some Pt. Reyes Blue Cheese and Cracker and headed back to the B&B. Sat in the little garden under neath the apple tree and drank wine with the cheese and cracker and caught up w/my emails with their wi-fi. OMG – the Farm House Station restaurant, a walking block away from the B&B was awesome! DELICIOUS local oysters, peppery NE clam chowder and a molten lava cake that was all molten! Plus some TV for baseball games.

  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled solo
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2  Thank JewelsR33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 September 2011

We stayed here for one night and loved everything about this B & B!! It's only mins away from the town area and the visitor information center. The room and bathroom were spotless!! Our queen sized bed was extremely comfortable. No complaints about anything! Breakfast in the morning, was set just for us with a message from Amanda saying she'd back after her jog.

Pros: Location, service, comfort, cleanliness.
Cons: Not applicable because there were none!

  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Bella1021
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Bear Valley Cottage

Address: 88 Bear Valley Road, Olema, CA 94950 (Formerly Bear Valley Inn)
Region: United States > California > Marin County > Olema
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 B&Bs / Inns in Olema
Price Range: £87 - £139 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 1
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Thirty-five miles from San Francisco and fifty miles from Napa and wine country, this is a perfect launching spot for exploring the Point Reyes area. The charming cottage is surrounded by hundreds of miles of hiking, biking and horseback trails in Point Reyes National Seashore. ... more   less 

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