Based on the reviews here on Tripadvisor, we booked 3 nights at this property. I must admit we were very excited to be in a property right be the sea with tide pools teaming with life, right on the waterfront, a suite, in beautiful surroundings.... this was without doubt the worst stay on a trip that covered most of the california coastline and 7 other properties - and this was to be the best and most relaxed that we afforded ourselves on this trip. I could go on for ages about this property because it failed to live up to it's reputation self advertised or through reviews.
The drive there: we live on a mountain so mountain driving is a no-brainer to us. Wow. Bad! Very bad! 'move over for the crazy locals' were in the instructions - well, she wasn't wrong! We're used to this on the mountain where we live. If someone's behind, you pull over and let them pass. These young guys in pick up trucks just sat on our tail until there actually was somewhere to pull over, and fast!. Yes, it does twist and turn but it's a very steep downhill run into the cove. The brakes were smoking and shuddering... not comfortable at all. Another group of guests who arrived just after us were very shaken and said 'Never again, that was ghastly!" I agree..
We walked through the laundry area to the reception where a woman and small dog were seated. We were made to sign something that forbade smoking - "but we don't smoke", we said. "Then this will ensure you don't start!" was the answer. Hmmmm. Being on the road for days, I was keen to get some laundry done because it was the only chance with a few days in one place. Nope, nowhere there or in the Cove to do any laundry. No phones available, cell phones don't work and desperate to ring home, we found the one public phone that had glass busted out but it worked. The TV was iffy ("if you know someone who can get more cable here, let me know!") the fireplace kept blowing out ("it's the wind - I can't do anything about it"), the room was dirty: there was cereal on the floor and the windows (on which one relied for the view) were very dirty indeed. We found that instead of being cleaned, some girl with a baby on her back showed up at the door each morning asking if we needed anything. There were notes to say don't use the towels for this and that, coasters on ageing furniture and a note that said if you wanted any kitchen paper plates or plastic knives and forks to find them down in a crate behind a car in the garage but only take what you need. All a little unsettling in spite of a plastic rubber duck in the bathroom with a stick-on gold label with the Inns name as a welcoming and cute gesture. Quite a paradox. Kind of like saying have a good stay but on my terms...
Pets are not allowed on the property but on entering it after a walk I noticed that the owner's dog seems to have it's own toilet patch near the guests entrance. The droppings were considerable and that's ok but they should be moved more often. There was a book which I was surprised was left by the owner in the room that told of the story of Shelter Cove and what a sad tale it is. It explained without exactly saying just why some the houses look derelict, others abandoned and rotting, why they are built here and there in some random order or none at all, why the airstrip (no lights or fuel) is built between the houses. The boom, the bust...the losses. So sad it was palpable.
Not much sign of life here and I'm glad we brought our food but there was some action - my husband was set upon by two dogs roaming the beach with their wild looking owner who just ignored the situation. Speaking of the beach, there is very little, the kelp tips are major out in the water. The rocks below are gradually eroding the front of the Inn's property where the owner has not dropped any rocks or walled it to protect from strong waves nor is there a stairwell down to the beach. Should be interesting in years to come. It looks to me as if this is being marketed to the hilt and they are making the most of it while they can, for however long it lasts. Paint is peeling and the outdoor chairs are cheap. Not much money is being spent on it's upkeep but as I said, the only exceptional thing is the marketing of the place.
The rock pools revealed nothing but we did have an encounter with wildlife. A baby seal washed up on the beach where it was watched by 8 turkey vultures for two days. It's eyes had been pecked out and the little thing faced our room with it's sightless eyes the whole time. It was heart breaking to witness nature at work like this. We were very, very glad to leave.
All in all, it was less than satisfactory for many reasons (the seal aside!)and we certainly won't be back. I tell this story only to balance the review types here and to make others aware that what you see online may not be what you get.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Tides Inn of Shelter Cove is Northern California's own little piece of paradise. We are on the ocean; every room with an unbelievably beautiful ocean view. You can sit outside, watch the whales go by and catch a glimpse of the moms and their babies. We have a family of sea otters right outside your door; sometimes they appear to be playing just for you. The tide pools below are choke-full of sea life. Everywhere you look, there is the framing of a beautiful photograph. Bring your camera, binoculars, and a good book and relax with the surf pounding on the beach below you. We have deluxe standard rooms and one bedroom suites, some with fully appointed kitchens. All of our beds are triple-sheeted with plenty of pillows. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- The Tides Inn Of Shelter Cove Hotel Shelter Cove