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“An unexpected treasure” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Rainbow Tarns

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Rainbow Tarns
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Rte. 1, Box 10523, Crowley Lake, CA 93546   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 Crowley Lake B&B and Inns
Idyllwild, California
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“An unexpected treasure”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 13, 2012

I stayed at Rainbow Tarns by myself last November, just as the Sierra winter was beginning to make itself felt on the high peaks. After having normally crowded places like Rock Creek Canyon and Rainbow Falls all to myself, I returned each evening to this special hidden jewel just outside Crowley Lake. Rarely have I felt as comfortable, relaxed and appreciated as a guest in any hotel or B&B as Brock and Diane Thoman made me feel. I was there in the off-season, so I was the only guest for the four nights. I stayed in the Gemini Room, with a wonderful bathroom that has a great, open feel due to the greenhouse type windows and view up the rocky, wooded hill immediately behind the inn. The bed was extremely comfortable, nights were peaceful, quiet slices of heaven, and the grounds... are the definition of serenity. I was very surprised that it was so quiet outside, considering Highway 395 is quite close. I heard the occasional truck or motorcycle - but nothing that even caused me to feel disturbed.

I spent a fair amount of time in the late afternoons chatting with Brock (a fellow architect), and tossing toys with the dog... it was the perfect antidote for my often stressful daily routine. Breakfasts were simple and delicious, folksy and friendly. I would like to experience it when there are other guests about... I am sure it will be just as delightful.

Rainbow Tarns is definitely different from any other lodging I have stayed at in the area, and for anyone looking for a peaceful hiatus from the "real world" - this is it. I'm looking forward to my next stay!

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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14 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (3)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Durham, California
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 2011

My husband and I stopped here and stayed 2 nights as part of our anniversary trip along the 395 corridor. We had been able to book the Rainbow room for a 20% discount because it was mid-week and the room had a jacuzzi so we were already happy! Room was comfortable and spacious and has a little patio with table and chairs this room can use. After a day of hiking, the jacuzzi was wonderful. The first night Brock prepared a tray of cheese and crackers and a couple of pieces of white and dark chocolate as well as a small bottle of champaign for us. Quite a nice treat! The second night, he prepared a tray of goodies and brought out a bottle of good zin that he shared with us and one other couple staying there. Honestly, a great place to stay. Only one negative that we almost hate to mention. The Rainbow room is right under the owner's residence and when their T.V. was on, we could hear it below. I'm sure if we would have said something they would have turned it down or off, but we forgot about it both nights until we were already in bed! It was off by11:00 p.m. both nights. None of the other rooms have T.V.s so no way to cover the noise. We had hiked a lot both days so ended up crashing fairly early. Would have been nice to have total quiet. As said earlier, though, the owners are really nice and accommodating people and would most likely have addressed it if we would have told them. Don't know if this was an issue for either of the other two rooms. Would absolutely stay here again. Beautiful grounds and other than the T..V. issue, have absolutely no negatives.

Room Tip: The Rainbow Room has a jacuzzi. If you are an early to bed person, make sure that T.V. noise from u...
See more room tips
  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Thousand Oaks, California
Top Contributor
68 reviews 68 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2008

The Rainbow Tarns B&B is a delightful oasis at the base of Red Mountain near Mammoth Lakes, CA. "Oasis" is an apt description, as you would not know that this B&B is here until you literally drive onto the property. But as soon as you do, you encounter a wonderful expanded cabin on a plot with three private ponds and abutting a broad pasture.

As described elsewhere, the Rainbow Tarns ("rainbow" for the trout, and "tarns" for the ponds) B&B features three bedrooms, all part of the main cabin. The proprietors also live on the property in upper quarters. There is a large common living room with a generous smattering of books, magazines, and games. A common kitchen/dining area is where a full breakfast is prepared and served.

This is a true B&B, with a full gourmet breakfast is served, prepared by the hosts and included in the cost of the accommodations. This morning, for example, we started with a fruit cup with yogurt and danish, followed by a specialty omelet, sausage, and toast.

One of the things we like about really good B&Bs is the interaction between the guests, and we were blessed by our stay at Rainbow Tarns to have wonderful fellowship with the other guests and with the hosts.

Close by are plenty of hiking, fishing, and other activities. Mammoth Lakes is just north of Rainbow Tarns, and is, of course, a popular site during the winter for skiing. We only had one half day of planned activities, and relied on the hosts to provide other suggestions for what we might do. We ended up doing some relatively simple hiking to some small lakes up in the mountains, which turned out to provide wonderful opportunities to snap some pictures, which I've attached.


Our one planned activity was fishing along the Owens Creek, which turned out to be fairly crowded but successful.

Overall, our three day stay was delightful, with the Rainbow Tarns playing a significant role.

  • Liked — Scenery, proximity to outdoor activities, quality of accommodations, dining experience, service
  • Disliked — Pretty much everything was great. Not much to improve on.
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Tucson AZ
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2008

My husband and I stayed at Rainbow Tarns B&B for his 60th birthday weekend. We try to always stay at B&Bs and so have a lot of places to compare. This lovely place was perfect for our getaway. It is a few miles (15 minutes) from Mammoth (ski town).
We had the feeling that we were in our own little world. There are only 3 guest rooms - each unique and exquisite. Ours was a rustic western theme with a greenhouse style bathroom and a jacuzzi tub. The common areas are comfy and inviting. We hiked every day after a hearty and tasty breakfast cooked by our host Brock. He and his wife, Diane were personable and offered many suggestions for day trips, restaurants etc... When we could make it back in time, there was wine and snacks waiting.
We relaxed in the hammocks under the trees reading and relaxing and enjoying the birds, gardens, chipmunks, and the lovely ponds (3 of them which are also called "Tarns" - hence the name).
Down the road a bit are sheep and lambs. We were met on our arrival by the family dog, Crowley, who escorted us in. The day we left, Crowley was also in attendance for goodbye pictures.
I would recommend this lovely place to anyone traveling in the area. It is only 45 minutes to Mono Lake (an amazing inland sea) and Yosemite (eastern entrance), and 20 minutes from Mammoth Mt. So much to do! And when you return at the end of a busy day, it is like returning to a beautiful home - quiet, peaceful and welcoming. What could be better???
Sue and John Ferguson

  • Liked — atmosphere - romantic and peaceful
  • Disliked — nothing - everything was as we desired it
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Berkeley, CA
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2008

We returned to Rainbow Tarns after a two-year absence and found the same charming oasis. The grounds are as beautiful as ever, the hosts friendly and generous, the rooms attractive and comfortable, and the stay restful.

As always, Brock and Diane welcome the weary traveler with good wine and appetizers in the afternoon. Breakfasts at Rainbow Tarns are a feast for the eyes as well as the gullet: colorful, ample, and delicious.

The area abounds with natural attractions; after a day's sightseeing or hiking, returning to the Rainbow Tarns is like a homecoming. Sit on the porch and gaze at the ever-changing light on the ponds; lie in a hammock under the willow tree and listen to the bubbling brook; or sink into a sofa in the wood-beamed living room for a spell of reading or conversation.

For all these reasons, Rainbow Tarns remains our favorite place to stay east of the Sierra.

  • Liked — Everything
  • Disliked — There's nothing to dislike here
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2004

My husband & I have come here two years in a row.. the only B & B we have ever come back to more than once. The place is beautiful and cozy, and the breakfast is always wonderful. The inn keepers, Brock & Diane are also very nice & professional. They pay close attention to the smallest details that make you feel so welcome... i.e. champagne, cheese& crackers, and chocolates in your room when you arrive. The rooms are very comfortable, and they have a sweet dog named Crowely that is extremely well behaved. You feel like you are staying with friends when you come here & the prices for lodging are very reasonable. We'll be back next ski season!

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A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 27, 2003

This Bed and Breakfast is a beautiful place to spend a weekend. It has 3 duck ponds, mature trees, and gorgeous gardens all surrounding a turn-of-the-century hunting lodge! The views are of the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountains and are breath-taking! The touches of detail make you feel very special to be allowed to share this magnificent property with the owners, Brock & Diane Thoman. The breakfasts served were all gourmet with great attention paid to both ingredients and presentation. Considering the quality of the rooms and atmosphere, the rates are very reasonable starting at $115 per night. I guarantee you wont want to return home.

Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Rainbow Tarns

Address: Rte. 1, Box 10523, Crowley Lake, CA 93546
Location: United States > California > Crowley Lake
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 B&Bs / Inns in Crowley Lake
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 3

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