My husband & I selected the Whale Watch for our 16th anniversary celebration and our very first trip without children. We were looking for a quiet, low-key getaway to refresh our spirits and marriage. We were not dissappointed!
We booked the Crystal Sea room, and it was perfect. From the moment we arrived & walked through the lush garden setting to the check-in area, we felt like we stepped out of time (or reality) for a few days. We were given seats in front of the ocean view, offered a glass of wine or other refreshments, while Stephanie retrieved our check-in paperwork. Everything was brought to us, while we sat & took in the view & the cute sitting area. We were then lead to our room.
When I made the reservation, I had mentioned in passing that this was our anniversary, but definitely did not make a big deal out of it. I didn't even think they noticed. So imagine my surprise when we entered our room & there was a complimentary bottle of chilled wine, 2 glasses, a pair of chocolate dipped strawberries & a hand written note from the owner, Kazie, welcoming us & congratulationg us on our anniversary. What a wonderful touch!
We explored our room & were really pleased with all of it. The furnishings are...I wouldn't say dated, they are more like antique replicas. The colors were a bit outdated, teal blues & mauves, but definitely not tacky or ugly. It has a muted, relaxing feel to it. The sitting area invites you to relax & watch the ocean. The fireplace is a real woodburning one, and they supplied us with plenty of wood, replenishing anytime we asked. The jacuzzi tub is HUGE, definitely big enough for 2! You can sit in the jacuzzi tub & see out the sliding glass door to the ocean. We brought lots of candles & used the tub to unwind each day after we explored the area; what a treat. The room was spacious enough for us, didn't feel cramped or crowded at all. Skylight over the bed was a great touch. The room is situated so that no one can see in the room from the outside, so it felt very private & secluded, which we really appreciated. The balcony overlooked the Anchor Bay beach down below, we got the pleasure of white water (waves crashing on the beach) and blue water (out to sea) views. We ate our lunch on the balcony, just wonderful!
It is true, there are no phones or tv. But we loved that. Our cell phones (Sprint) worked fine, & we were able to pick up the free wi-fi on our laptop in our room, if wanted to connect to the real world, or check on our kids.
The breakfast arrived exactly at the time we ordered it all 3 mornnings. It is not a huge breakfast, but definitely delicius & unique. Every morning was different. We always had plenty of coffe, & the fresh baked muffins were a lovely touch. It arrived on a beautifully laid out tray each morning. We sat in our sitting area, set up our breakfast on the coffee table & watched the ocean & planned our day.
There is music piped into the rooms, but it is an older system, & it would cut in & out. There is a knob on the wall to adjust the volume; we just turned it off. We both preferred the sound of the ocean - that is what we came for!
We slpet with the sliding glass door open each night so we could fall asleep & wake to the sound of the ocean; loved it!
The beach...what abeautiful spot!!! It is NOT private, & if you read the website carefully, it says "secluded" I beleive, and even mentions that it is shared with another lodging place across the road. But we visited mid-July & only saw a few other people, definitely no crowds. There are tide pools when the tide goes out. (Ask in the office area & they can tell you the tide schedule). Also, when the tide is low, you can walk all the way to the other end of Anchor Bay. Yes, the stairway is quite steep, but what did you expect being so high up on a cliff over the ocean? If you have trouble climbing stairs, or with your balance, or heights, then this isn't for you. But even the view from the Private "for Whale Watch Patrons only" sitting area at the top is beautiful.
We were there for the Saturday evening wine & appetizers in the Whale Watch Room; very nice! Plenty of snacks available, plenty of wine (3 kinds), and a pleasure meeting some of the other guests. Kazie (owner) oversaw the evening & we enjoyed meeting her & chattting. We didn't find her "pushy" or any of the other negative things we read here.
On our last day, we watched a sea lion catching & eating crabs in the surf directly in front of us on the beach - very cool!
We loved the little towns of Anchor Bay & Gualala; found the people to be kind & interesting.
All in all, this was a very refreshing trip. We felt pampered, but in a very inobtrusive way.
On a last note, the journals in the rooms...if you aren't sure what you'll read, or dont want intimate details, it's really simple, DON'T read them! However, we were feeling adventurous & did read them. We didn't read a single thing that was even remotely "detailed". Some of the entries actually made me cry; people mostly wrote about how this place restored them, was a balm to their soul after sadness or tradgedy in their lives, or how they just fell in love with it & their partner, again.
Hope you enjoy your stay as much as we did!
- 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