I just returned from a two nights' stay at the Blue Dolphin Inn on beautiful Moonstone Beach in Cambria. I visit Cambria at least twice a year and usually stay at the Blue Dolphin's sister property (which is somewhat cheaper), the Sand Pebbles Inn. This time, I decided to treat myself and "upgrade" to the Blue Dolphin.
The experience was first-rate from beginning to end, and there is really nothing to fault the property about at all other than the rate and the small quibble with breakfast that I will get into later.
The small inn has an excellent location, just across the beach from the gorgeous beach and its long, bluff-top boardwalk that invites daily strolls or power walks. I chose a beachfront king room, on the second floor, and the view was nothing short of spectacular. At night I left one of the corner windows open to listen to the surf crashing, which was quite a treat!
Room size is OK, not huge but certainly more than big enough for a solo traveler and comfortable for two. Amenities are first class and the decor lovely. The beautiful four-poster bed featured luxury linens and pillows and was extremely comfortable, offering a great night's sleep. The bathroom was large, clean, and again featured excellent amenities.
The staff at the inn are warm, friendly and efficient. They go out of their way to be helpful.
Nice touches include complimentary coffee and iced water in the lobby throughout the day, fresh-baked cookies delivered to your room daily, and designer chocolates. Turn-down service is offered at night by hanging a small sign on the doorknob .... I found this a very innovative touch, as there are times that I find housekeeping coming into my room in the early evening intrusive and this way you can have it if you want, or choose the privacy option.
A "breakfast to go" is offered each morning. You make your selections the evening before on a card and hang it on the door. Breakfast is then delivered to your door at the time you indicated the next morning, in a box. Choices were a bit limited but the food was good and it is nice not being limited to a buffet-style breakfast in a hotel "breakfast room."
Not many. I do think that the rooms are a bit pricey for what you get. There is a significant jump in price between identical rooms at the Sand Pebbles Inn (the two properties have identical floor plans and room offerings), and I am not sure that the extra cost would be worth it for everyone.
My only small quibbles about the hotel services/amenities were with the breakfast. It seems to me that a number of people probably choose to eat the breakfast, which is packaged like a picnic, in their room while sitting and enjoying the ocean views. Why not offer an option of having the breakfast served on a tray, on proper plates, in your room? Having to unpacking a picnic breakfast and then eating it out of plastic containers in your gorgeous, upscale room is a bit of a tacky experience. The inn does provide a couple of plates and cutlery in the room, but I think that it would be easy for the staff to just plate the food after they prepare it for those who want to eat in their rooms, and the presentation would be much better as a result. In addition, housekeeping expects you to be in your room at the time you requested delivery of your breakfast. So if you are out on a morning walk, as I was, and decide to linger a little longer and "miss" the delivery time, the staff member delivering the meal does not put it in your room, but waits for you to return and then delivers it. I felt like I HAD to be in my room at delivery time. Why not just enable the staff to put the breakfast in your room if you are out?
Overall, it was an excellent stay and I would not hesitate to recommend this hotel to friends, or stay here again on future trips to Cambria. However, for people who want the experience of a well-run, beach front, boutique hotel on Moonstone Beach, but save a few dollars, the Sand Pebbles Inn would also be a very good option.