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“Huge, huge disappointment”

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The Tides Inn of Shelter Cove
Ranked #3 of 3 Shelter Cove B&B and Inns
Reviewed 23 September 2012

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.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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10  Thank 20Nov13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Julia G, Manager at The Tides Inn of Shelter Cove, responded to this reviewResponded 10 March 2014

So sorry to read about your disappointment with both your trip to Shelter Cove and to the Inn. I just wanted to note that management changed not long after this posting back in 2012. There is no reason, any longer, for a guest to walk through the laundry area to approach the front desk as we have created a cozy lobby complete with fireplace, bookshelves (upon which sit books and dvds to borrow) and an ocean view. While we can't do anything about the twisty road to Shelter Cove, nor the occasional "smelliness" of black sand beach (about a mile from the beach that our Inn sits above), we can say that most of our guests believe accessibility to wildlife and the natural beauty of Shelter Cove to be well worth the drive. It sounds like you had a negative experience, but you would find us a much changed place were you to return.

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45 - 51 of 90 reviews

Reviewed 21 September 2012 via mobile

We were looking for a quiet, relaxing getaway for the weekend. The Tides Inn is definitely perfect for that.
Our room, as do all of the rooms, looked out over the ocean and tide pools. The welcome basket left for us had a variety of snacks, coffee and water. It was nice to have a fridge to put drinks and chill the bottles of local wine we purchased at the store on our way into town. The room was very clean and the bed comfortable.
Julie was kind enough to make dinner reservations for us right across the street. Dining options are pretty limited, but we were happy with the food and service provided there.

  • Stayed: September 2012
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Thank with5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 September 2012

Shelter Cove is a bit difficult to get to, but well worth it if you want a tranquil old California fishing village experience. The Tides Inn is right next to the tide pools which are wonderful to explore. We spent some time watching a large group of harbor seals sun themselves on the nearby rocks.

We stayed in room 5A, up a few stairs, with a lovely small balcony with a spectacular view. The room was really more like a small condo with an open floor plan with kitchen and living room with a floor to ceiling sliding glass door to the balcony. nicely set up dressing area and separate shower and toilet room. The bed was very comfortable with nice linens. We would highly recommend this place even though it's not overly fancy.

Room Tip: If stairs are not an issue, 5B might be a tiny bit more scenic, but we really enjoyed 5A.
  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank chicosmama
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 September 2012

I have never been to a more beautiful place in my life. Quiet, serene. This hotel was so sweet and right on the water. The staff was magnificent. Seals and sea lions were right in the water in front of the hotel. The hotel was so clean and well kept. Kirsten was there during our stay; she was so helpful and friendly. So relaxing. My only complaint-we didn't have more days to stay and enjoy the wonder all around us.

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled with family
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Thank Boydsonthego
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 September 2012

After a stressful drive on a switchback road we arrived to a beautiful cove and a warm welcome from Kiersten. Our room had a great view and was very comfortable. I loved the welcome basket. The sea lions were right outside lazing on the rocks and barking. A very relaxing stay. I wished we could stay longer.

Room Tip: I would suggest the top level rooms.
  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank poi_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 August 2012

My husband and I spent three peaceful, lovely nights celebrating our 30th! We were well taken care of. Julie had a bottle of cider and wine glasses, bubbles and glitter waiting at our dinner table upon our arrival.

Each night we went to sleep with the Pacific roaring outside our door! It is the first time in 20+ years that I have slept without ear plugs! It was a great white noise machine.

The room was very clean and had everything we needed. We did stop at Redway to pick up grocery before we left "civalization".

We hiked the Black Sand Beach in the King Range Wilderness and checked out the tide pools. If you are looking for action and nightlight this is NOT the place for you. If you want natural beauty and peace and serenity make the effort to go to Shelter Cove and the Tides Inn.

Room Tip: Third floor mini suite has a view to die for AND no one walks by your balcony...so you can leave the...
  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank MaggieMaySc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 August 2012

We arrived at sunset and found our room to be a quiet and cozy refuge from city stops. We had to leave the next morning, but had some time to walk the beach and visit the nearby lighthouse. Staff was very helpful and kind in giving us directions and suggestions for places to eat. We hope to stay longer next time. Lovely and peaceful place at the end of a long and winding road.

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Tenish
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Tides Inn of Shelter Cove

Address: 59 Surf Pt, Shelter Cove, CA 95589-9141
Phone Number:
Region: United States > California > Humboldt County > Shelter Cove
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 3 B&Bs / Inns in Shelter Cove
Price Range: £114 - £162 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 6
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

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