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“Scenery is unbelievable” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Whale Watch Inn by the Sea

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Whale Watch Inn by the Sea
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35100 S. Highway 1, Gualala, CA 95445   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #5 of 7 Gualala B&B and Inns
Sacramento, California
Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
“Scenery is unbelievable”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2012

We stayed in the Showcase Suite. A great room, with fireplace and a view you will not believe. I don't think you could find a better view for Northern California's rugged coastline. The coast here is majestic, with towering cliffs and big rocks in crashing surf. This room has two decks. It was very private with a view worthy of the name of the room. Breakfasts were very satisfying. The coffee is not what it could be - I like a heartier darker coffee than they brew. Room was very clean. Would definitely recommend it to anyone who has not been there. Very cordial and gracious service, and pet friendly. There is a beach available at the bottom of the cliff, down a staircase.

Room Tip: Showcase was large and had a great view, with wood burning fireplace. Right off the lobby, but priv...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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117 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    67
    30
    8
    5
    7
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12
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (21)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Dallas, Texas
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2012

We stayed in the Crystal Sea room for one night, and the ambience, service, and accommodations were well worth every penny. Tracy greeted us with a glass of red wine upon arrival, toured us through the property (showing us several of the unoccupied rooms for future stays), and answered all of our questions. We were very happy with the location and privacy of our room (in a separate building with one suite below), the quality of the towels and bath robes, the warmth of the fireplace and carpeting, and the overall decor of the room (no flowery patterns). The breakfast consisted of a frittata, fruit, juice and coffee/tea and was delicious. Although 3 other rooms were rented that evening, we didn't see a soul as we walked the beach and sat on the patio overlooking the ocean to watch the sunset. The landscaping is top notch and the grounds are well kept. We will definitely return to this beautiful place.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal, Canada
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2012

We stayed at the Whale Watch for two nights. It was probably once a five star B&B, now we rate it a four star (or slightly lower). To be more precise:

Setting: 5 Stars. Nestled on a cliff, overlooking the Mendocino Coast. Every room has a great view of the coast. You go to sleep and wake up with the sound of the waves. A delight.
Rooms: 3 Stars. Beautifully designed, with high ceilings, wood burning fireplaces (or stoves). But as many reviews have noted, the décor is 1980s, and some things in our room (such as the carpet and one of the sitting chairs) were clearly worn. Bed was OK but not all that comfortable. Our biggest pet peeve: the bedding would pass muster in an Econolodge but not in a hotel at this price point. Sheets and polyester comforters are low-end. Our pillows were soft and worn out. The night after we left the Whale Watch we stayed at America's Best Value hotel for less than $100 and the bedding was clearly nicer.
Breakfast: 4 Stars. Delivered hot to your room, on time. Nice. But (again) at this price point, it should be fresh squeezed orange juice, not supermarket brand quality. And a cappuccino option would be needed for us to get it to five starts.

So overall, this was a 4 star experience, below what we were expecting for what we paid.

A final (important) note on room location. When we first arrived at 3pm on a weekday, we checked into Crystal Sea. It was a nice room, one of the newer renovations. But it is located in a building about 30 feet from the road, so we found that we heard more car & truck noise than we did the roar of the sea. (This would probably also be true for Ocean Sunrise directly below). So we moved to the main building and stayed in a comparable suite and were much happier -- it is much quieter. So when you book, ask about how close your suite will be to the road. As trucks and Harleys can make a pretty big racket! And serenity is why you book at the Whale Watch.

Room Tip: A final (important) note on room location. When we first arrived at 3pm on a weekday, we checked int...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Littleton, CO
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 24, 2012

This is the inn to visit in Sonoma if you don't care about anything except a having a truly romantic RETREAT for you and your significant other. There is nothing to do within five miles of the inn except to simply be with each other. We went to the Whale Watch Inn to celebrate our 25th anniversary and this Inn was magic.

We stayed in the Rose Room, and what an incredible room it was. A small private deck, a wood-burning fireplace, and the ocean just outside. The staff was available -- and very friendly, pleasant, and accommodating -- but they leave their guests alone. My husband and I spent three nights, and the days were spent visiting Sonoma wineries about two hours away, but the mornings and evenings were just . . . well . . . VERY romantic. The breakfasts were gourmet and nicely presented.

This inn definitely rates five stars, but just one minor complaint -- the bathtub was small, even for my size 10 body, and uncomfortable.

Finally, just a couple of warnings about the area. First, the roads to the inn are not for the faint-hearted -- very steep and winding, and there are not always guardrails. (Absolutely GORGEOUS and breath-taking views, though.) Second, we booked a wine tour through Mendocino Wine Tours, and we felt ripped off because despite being told we would visit at least four wineries, we only visited three and the driver had no sense of time, with the result that we did not have our picnic lunch until 2:30 which meant that we had to forego our 25th anniversary dinner as reservations were made for 6:00, to give us time to get back to the Inn. Also, one of the wineries visited -- Esterlina -- had, in our opinion, absolutely horrible wines. Then, if that wasn't enough, our driver gave "our" wine bought at another winery to another guest! Finally, we were presented with a "bill" for an 18% tip for the driver, amounting to an additional $70.00 on top of the $350.00 tour charge, and no mention of an expected tip had been mentioned at the time of booking. (We "only" gave $50.00, however.) Also, if you have know how to space tastings and how to taste, the wine tours are a waste of money -- again, just our opinion -- especially because the prices at any grocery or liquor store are actually LOWER that the prices the wineries charge for the same wines. (Go figure.)

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 23, 2012

We stayed in the Cypress room for three nights and enjoyed every moment. The breakfasts, served each morning exactly at the time we requested, were sumptuous by any reckoning; the sound of the ocean just outside the open windows was calming; the view was amazing, even when the fog rolled in on our last morning. We strolled often on the beach, which was clean and uncrowded. We even saw a whale, out of the normal migration season! We can't say enough about the charm of this place. We were welcomed with a lovely wine and cheese gathering with other guests. After that, we never saw (or heard) another guest - exactly as we wanted it. We drove up to Point Arena twice and along Route 1 to the Navarro River Redwoods State Park and back over the mountains (what a trip - don't do it if you are scared of heights!). Our week was all we could have hoped for - and more.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nashville, TN
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2012

We had to leave an inn further up the coast, and Whale Watch had rooms available. Private, GREAT views from everywhere, and beach access! Also, a beautiful area to sit at the top of the hill and look down at the ocean. The room was beautiful, with a real fireplace that we used daily. New wood was stocked, along with wonderful fire starters that really work! Convenient to a couple of small towns and a regional park area. Breakfast was brought to the room and was delicious every day.

Room Tip: All of the rooms looked great. The rooms in the common area building are smaller, but still nice.
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2012

I noticed that another reviewer also stayed in the Cliffside room as we did. They were absolutely correct about the small room and paper thin walls. We also got the experience of a toilet that didn't work. When it wouldn't flush we took the lid off and found the chain to be attached with paper clips! The next morning we told an employee about the toilet and she said they hoped they could fix it that day but if not we could use the toilet in the common room. Not exactly the response you hope for at $200 a day. They did show up later and "fixed it" but one flush later it was broken again. It was not repaired again before we checked out the next day. The hot water ran out halfway through a quick shower. This place has definitely seen better days about 25 years ago.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Whale Watch Inn by the Sea

Address: 35100 S. Highway 1, Gualala, CA 95445
Location: United States > California > Mendocino County > Gualala
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 7 B&Bs / Inns in Gualala
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We have a motto here at the Whale Watch Inn and it is to provide you with "World Class service in a World Class setting." With 18 beautifully decorated guest rooms each with a dynamic view of the ocean, our rooms also all include a private deck and wood burning fireplace. Also included with your stay is a full gourmet breakfast delivered right to your room every morning of your stay! Our staff here is committed to making your stay an out of this world experience by accommodating your needs, and paying attention to the details. We hope you will join us soon, the ocean is waiting! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Whale Watch Inn By The Sea Hotel Gualala

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