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“Inexpensive but too small”
Review of The Orca Inn

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The Orca Inn
Ranked #10 of 10 Hotels in Friday Harbor
Vero Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
111 reviews
91 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“Inexpensive but too small”
Reviewed 21 September 2013

This motel is basically a double wide trailer cut up into 10 rooms. For one person it is ok, but for two people you cannot walk around without bumping into your partner. The walls are paper thin and you can hear your neighbors talking, showering, etc. The hot water is limited and we ran out halfway through our shower.

The room does have good a/c, a small fridge and microwave, and TV.

The office opens at 8 am. The office staff/owners are very nice. They have coffee in the mornings.

We will not stay here again.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Georden7 W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
orcainn, Manager at The Orca Inn, responded to this review, 23 September 2013
We're sorry you didn't enjoy your stay with us.
We understand that our economy hotel isn't for everyone. You are absolutely right, our rooms are small, but that's how we're able to offer the best rate on the island.
We try very hard to let people know that our rooms are small - we even give the dimensions (11' x 14') on our website. We also have larger rooms available for just a few dollars more to accommodate those who need more space. We're sorry if they weren't available during your stay.
Also, to clarify, our hotel buildings are not "double wide trailers." They are self-contained housing units previously used in Alaska that were brought down by barge and reassembled with spacious hallways, a pitched roof, and attractive siding.
Every room has its own hot water heater, so your neighbor isn't using up your hot water. Some guests run out when trying to take multiple showers, but the heaters recharge in a hurry (about 20 minutes).
Again, we're sorry you didn't enjoy your stay.
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265 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (72)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
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English first
Des Moines, Iowa, United States
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 September 2013

We stayed here during a trip to Friday Harbor in mid-September, 2013. We chose The Orca Inn because it was the least expensive option on the island with decent reviews. We were very pleased with our stay, the whole hotel was older, but spotless. The Orca Inn is probably not for everyone. The room was very small – the size of a small bedroom, with a tiny bathroom. That’s it. Though, since we spent the majority of our time exploring the island and enjoying Friday Harbor, we just slept in the room, so it fit our needs perfectly. I’d recommend the Orca Inn to those who don’t mind a cramped space if they are going to save some money. On our limited budget, we were able to use the money we didn’t spend on a bed on delicious crab cakes, good beer and shopping at unique shops.
Also – the staff at the Orca Inn was great. Again, no frills, but very accommodating and kind, plus quick. It’s a “mom and pop” kind of place, but the service was efficient, not lacking. And, the owner’s mother bakes homemade sugar cookies (in the shape of an orca) each morning for guests. Have a few – they’re delicious!

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
1 Thank Jess K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
orcainn, Manager at The Orca Inn, responded to this review, 20 September 2013
Thank you so much for the kind review!
You described our place perfectly. The Micro rooms are small (although we have larger King and Double Queen rooms available), but very clean. We're so glad you noticed!
And you are exactly right, the hotel is not for everyone, but it's perfect for those who are going out and enjoying everything San Juan Island has to offer. Best of all, as you so accurately pointed out, staying with us saves you money that can then be spent on fun things to do and the great restaurants in Friday Harbor.
Thanks for staying with us, and sharing your review!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
moab
Level Contributor
17 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 September 2013

We rated this motel as the second worse during our tour in north western Canada & USA. During our tour that was for 44 days we stayed at 30 motels.
The room was very big but it was joint of 2 small rooms. So we had 2 of everything, 2 sowers, 2 toilets etc. There is no breakfast although it is declared as B&B motel. The room is shabby, brown and depressing. I was just disgusted to take a shower.
The only benefit is that is close to the harbor, but San Juan is small and every thing is close by.
It is not worth the money you pay.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Nurith H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
orcainn, Manager at The Orca Inn, responded to this review, 20 September 2013
Thanks so much for referring to our Double Queen room as "big." That's the first time such an adjective has ever been used in reference to any of our rooms, so we appreciate it.
It's also the first time anyone has complained about having 2 bathrooms and 2 showers (which are only available in our Double Queen rooms). We're not sure why that's a bad thing, but we're sorry you didn't like it.
We don't offer a breakfast, and never have (although we're looking at that option this winter). Nowhere in our literature or website do we claim to be a bed and breakfast, nor do we claim to offer a breakfast, although we added free coffee and cookies this summer. We frequently come up under "bed and breakfast" searches because of our size and low price. (We also show up under "hostel" on occasion because of our price, but we're definitely not a hostel, either). We're sorry you were confused.
We're also sorry you felt that we are "not worth the money you pay." We are the most reasonably priced hotel on the island (by a lot), and work hard to provide the best possible experience for that low price. We definitely believe we are worth more than we charge. In fact, through our recent research, we have discovered that not only are we the lowest price on San Juan Island, but we have one of the lowest hotel rates in all of northwest Washington. Our rooms are small, but they're clean. But we know we're not for everyone.
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Travellers are raving about these Friday Harbor hotels

San Marcos, TX
Level Contributor
100 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 September 2013

I am not very choosy when it comes to lodging. My main goal for most vacations is to be in my room as little as possible; mostly I am just there to sleep and shower. So, if you have done your research, you won't be surprised that the Orca Inn is not the Hyatt Regency of Friday Harbor - more like the Motel 6, although they larger rooms than the one I stayed in. So, how small was it really? Well, the bed took up most of the room, and every other inch of space was jammed with the other amenities, such as the little fridge, a small microwave, tv, etc. Everything was very clean. My only complaint was being charged a dollar/bag when we arrived before the check-in date and needed to store our stuff. I have never been charged for storing my bag (not at any hotel, hostel or B&B), so I kind of felt like that wasn't very hospitable.

The Orca Inn is within easy walking distance to the harbor and all of the restaurants and shops. We only took the island taxi upon arrival and departure due to luggage, although, I think we could have walked with our luggage fairly easily as well.

So yes, it's small. But it has everything you need and it's clean, and I will bet it's hard to find a less expensive room anywhere else on the island. I would stay here again.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
2 Thank thePeste
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
orcainn, Manager at The Orca Inn, responded to this review, 20 September 2013
We appreciate your spot-on review, especially your line about us not being the "Hyatt-Regency of Friday Harbor," which is exactly right. We're proud to be the budget option on the island, which allows everyone to enjoy this gorgeous dot on the map.
We're also pleased that you acknowledged our rooms are small, but there is a lot in there (mini-fridge, microwave, cable TV, air conditioner).
We apologize about the bag charge, and we think you're right - it doesn't feel very hospitable. Based on your comments, and those of several other guests, we have discontinued the baggage charge for incoming guests (although we still have to charge for bags left here more than one day). We don't always get it right, but we try to listen when our guests offer their opinions and ideas. Thanks for sharing that with us!
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Benton City, Washington
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 September 2013

We went to Friday Harbor to celebrate our 35th. wedding anniversary. We had not made any reservation for a places to stay because we were just winging it. When we got on the island we were very surprised at how few and how expensive the hotel's where. The local told us about The Orca Inn. We was surprise at how low the price of the room' were.. We looked at a king room which was dated but clean the size of the king room was spacious. Will we ended up getting a queen room. It was clean but very very small, infect you had to have the bed against the wall or you could not open the door to the bathroom. Everytime my wife had to use the bathroom she had to wake me up so I could move to let her go. Would I stay there again = YES.. It is one of the lowest price hotel on the island. They just need to update the places.

Room Tip: Ask to see the king and queen room before making your mind. But remember the price which you can not...
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank kdbbarnes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
orcainn, Manager at The Orca Inn, responded to this review, 20 September 2013
You are so right, our Micro Queen rooms are very small, which is how we're able to offer the lowest hotel rate on the island. Thanks for mentioning that we also have larger rooms available, and even our bigger King rooms are priced lower than just about everything else in Friday Harbor (we just don't have a lot of them, so people have to reserve early to make sure they get one).
We're also grateful for your remarks about how clean our rooms are. Our rooms may be small, but we work hard to make sure that they are very clean.
Thanks for staying with us, and for your kind words!
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Cincinnati, Ohio
Level Contributor
141 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 183 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 August 2013

I stayed at the Orca Inn, had to change my reservation a couple of times due to the kayak company change in group schedules. Morris was very flexible and it was much appreciated. I wimped out and took a taxi there from the ferry. Had been traveling for 14 hours enroute and decided it was worth the investment. I walked everywhere from there on.

This was only a couple of blocks from the downtown area and was in a quiet area. I had no issues with noise at night, thanks for the cookies at the end of a long day.

Morris is very transparent about the Inn and that it is the clean place to stay and save some money. There is consistent information on the website about what is to be expected.

The room was small, as advertised, but was clean with a comfortable bed.

I did not try the wi-fi on this trip (left the computer at home even though went through withdrawal). My kayak company would also store extra luggage if needed.

The Orca Inn is right next to a grocery store. I have no idea of the name and couldn't find a sign, but be aware it has restricted hours (8a-6p).

The room ac worked fine, I kept the fan on constant all night to have ambient background noise. I am a very light sleeper and do this at hotels about 75 nights a year. It works well.

Thanks Orca Inn for offering this option at Friday Harbor.

Room Tip: Spend a little more on the king room - if you would feel more comfortable with more space.
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank makua
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
orcainn, Manager at The Orca Inn, responded to this review, 20 September 2013
You have made our day!
We love it when people "get us" and what we're trying to accomplish (an opportunity for everyone to stay on one of the most beautiful islands in the country without breaking the bank).
We're also grateful that you mentioned we try very hard to be up front about our small but clean rooms. We're proud of our cute little rooms!
Oh, and thanks for the kind words about mom's Orca cookies. We like them too!
Thanks so much for staying with us, and taking the time to offer this wonderful review!
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Houston, Texas, USA
Level Contributor
77 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 August 2013

This is definitely a budget inn. Ask to see the room before committing. The king room is twice as wide as the others and may be acceptable. The queen room is not. Could not open bathroom door if the bed was centered in the room. Shower was OK. Definitely not a room to spend any time in. But then it was very cheap.

Room Tip: Just ask to see first
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
Helpful?
Thank bwarren992
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Orca Inn

Property: The Orca Inn
Address: 770 Mullis St, Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, WA 98250-8083
Region: United States > Washington > San Juan Islands > San Juan Island > Friday Harbor
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Best Value Hotel in Friday Harbor
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:2 star — The Orca Inn 2*
Number of rooms: 65
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Spend a night...Not a fortune! It's really simple: Smaller Rooms = Smaller Rates. At The Orca Inn, we are proud to offer the smallest rooms in the state of Washington! Which means we have the lowest hotel room rates on San Juan Island. (Of course, for just a few dollars more, we have larger King and Double Queen rooms). With the money you save, you can spend more on amazing whale watching tours, incredible kayak trips, and other island adventures that you will remember for a lifetime. As Mr. Carson once said, "The business of life is the acquisition of memories." And at the Orca Inn, business is good! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Orca Hotel Friday Harbor
The Orca Inn Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, San Juan Islands

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