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“Good All around” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Surf Motel

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Surf Motel
2.5 of 5 Bed and Breakfast   |   39170 S. Hwy One, P.O. Box 695, Gualala, CA 95445   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #3 of 7 Gualala B&B and Inns
Iowa
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
“Good All around”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2011

I walked in at the last minute looking for a room. I was pleasantly suprised by the Surf Motel. I knew it wasn't goint to be a top of the lone hotel. I knew I was checking into an old MOTEL and needed no frills. I was impressed with the updates and was blown away with the free breakfast. The staff was exceptionally helpful and nice. The only improvment would be to get rig of the feather beds. I will definetly stay there again if im in town.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Surfmotelowner, Owner at Surf Motel, responded to this review, January 11, 2012
Your kind remarks are our gauge on how we are doing and it makes me feel good to know we are working in the right direction. Just a thought on the feather beds or better yet a questions did my staff members offer to remove them at check inn ?

Thanks again.

Eric R. Cogdill
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154 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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    7
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 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 (27)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Los Angeles, California
Top Contributor
231 reviews 231 reviews
55 hotel reviews
Reviews in 121 cities Reviews in 121 cities
423 helpful votes 423 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 24, 2011

We knew it wasn't going to be the Four Seasons when it's a motel, so our expectations were reasonable, but given the review here, we were left with a bit of a bad taste about the place.

The main bedroom has been updated and painted, and as you can see in my photo, looks plenty nice. They use modern electronic keys which could be easy to lose so be careful about that. The other nice thing was breakfast, it's detailed on their website and wasn't bad for a continental breakfast. The owner is certainly pleasant to deal with and friendly.

Whomever tried to renovate this old motel really was lazy about it. The kitchenette has the old cabinets, the fridge had both doors installed on the wrong side so you can barely open them. They cover the oven sheets in foil, but don't leave you any foil to use yourself for cooking (and frankly I don't know how old that foil is on there already, so I'd want to put NEW foil on before cooking on it.) That brings me to the other thing - they include plates, silverware, cookware, etc., but it's just hand-washed by previous guests. That's pretty disgusting. I know they don't clean it themselves, because they admonish you to clean up your own dishes or be charged $20 an hour if they have to touch it.

That was very off-putting, so I had to hand-wash everything we used TWICE, once before we used it, and then afterwards so I avoided the charge. But how to dry these plates? Toilet paper I guess. There was no paper towels or napkins anywhere. A serious oversight here. We need paper goods when cooking. How much would that cost - a roll of paper towels per week.... seriously..

Back to the lazy updating, they had clearly repainted everything, but the hinges on the bathroom door were SO unbelievable rusty that there was a 1-inch rust haze around each hinge. And the bathroom... sigh. The faucets must have been 30 years old. How much is a new faucet for an updated motel? $20?

The carpet was filthy - my wife wore socks on it for five minutes and they were disgustingly black. We had to lay the bathroom towels on the floor just to walk around and not ruin our feet or socks.

Finally, the beds. They talked about how they had "European feather beds" on them, but it's obvious they are just trying to avoid buying new mattresses for this old place. They weren't comfortable, they lumped in the center so you either slept right in the middle on them or you were rolled off the bed basically.

The good thing about this place is that it's right on the water, so we walked to the edge at sunset and enjoyed a nice moment there.

There are two grocery stores within easy walking distance, which is a relief for this small town with no real restaurants to speak of.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Surfmotelowner, Owner at Surf Motel, responded to this review, October 13, 2011
We are in your debt and thank you for allowing us to try to make our guest experience better, in light of that be assured we have taken the following action.

1. October 24, 2011 we be installing new Electric Fireplace heaters
2. New sheets will be arriving October 23, 2011
3 .Not sure when you stayed but we did have the carpets cleaned by Milner Carpets on September 24, 2011. With our single level parking in front of the guest rooms and small brush mats we do strive to keep this clean
4. Our Kitchen suites are older, but they should be functional and I will follow up on the fridge door access you noted

Our charge for cleaning dishes stems from folks abusing this, the policy helps to keep maids cost down and allow us to offer a valued based stay. We do provide 2 Clean Dish towels as your picture show hanging on the handle of the oven door and this is why we do not provide paper towels.

As for our “European feather beds” , it is a 90/10 rule, 90% Love them and 10% Hate them and it has nothing to do with the beds needing replacement which is why we explain at check in if you do not like them we will remove them, we want you to have a great night rest, that’s our job.

Thanks again, we always want to do the right thing.

Eric R. Cogdill Owner
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Gloucester, UK
Top Contributor
71 reviews 71 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 23, 2011

Booked this as a one night stopover on the way back to San Francisco airport and wished we had more time. The location is great with cliff top views of the sea and sunset and easy access to a short cliff top walk. The breakfast was way above average with a pleasant seating area outside as well as inside. The reception staff were extremely pleasant and helpful. Externally the motel has plants and flowers with accompanying hummingbirds as well as attractive decorations with a seaside theme. The rooms were quite small and ours was a bit dark but the bed was very comfortable and there was a fridge and microwave in a large wardrobe in the quite spacious bathroom (sounds odd but it was a reasonable arrangement). There were plenty of good places to eat within walking distance (Bones Roadhouse did a good lunch!) and liked Gualala very much especially Gualala Point State Park. Overall enjoyed our stay a lot.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Surfmotelowner, Owner at Surf Motel, responded to this review, October 13, 2011
So sorry to all of the readers for not responding sooner to this and the one above it, Just got back form celebrating 32 years of marriage.

My wife and I, want to thank you for your thoughts and kind words, we hope to have you as our guest soon on a repeat visit.

Please, we also want to know when we miss the mark as well and if it is in our power to do so, we will make it right.

Doing the right thing matter to us.

The Cogdill’s
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Tucson, Arizona
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 20, 2011

Though this was a motel found unit to be smaller than anticipated but clean with a feather bed! We enjoyed the bluff walk before breakfast. Sea otters entertained us and we were close enough to take pictures of them. Breakfast was a surprise with waffles made to order, yogurt, cereal, coffee, etc. Good value for the money considering that prices are almost double for other places in the area.

Room Tip: All rooms are near road so not much choice.
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
richardson, tx
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 20, 2011

After reading some of the reviews I decided to stay at the Surf Motel. That was a big mistake. I don't know who has written the positive reviews but I suspect it must be someone related to the owners. This is the biggest dump that I have ever booked. Dirty, smelled badly, mirror could hardly be used, bathroom sink stopped up, carpet filthy, and bugs crawling up the walls. The TV had poor reception and everyone looked "green" it was so out of adjustment. At least two other guests had to go and buy scented candles to try and hide the musty smell in the rooms. The breakfast was not great, but edible.
I will never stay there again. Truth is, there are not a large number of places to stay along this stretch of Highway 1. The price is way to high for what you get. Several other guests remarked about the price. I almost left the first night, but there was no other place to book at that point.

The reason I rated it "one star" is because I could not rate it lower. People who have read my other reviews know that I am prone to rate high, but fair. "One-star is over-rating this place.

Room Tip: There are no good rooms that I saw or heard about.
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
Surfmotelowner, Owner at Surf Motel, responded to this review, September 22, 2011
We thank you for your helping hand in making us a better inn. We always want to SHINE in our guest eyes and are thankful when folks value our business enought to tell us where whe have missed the mark or have excelled.

I have shared your comments with our Manager, Brie. I have made sure that "terminix International our pest company of over 4 years is alerted and corrective action taken, I have personaly talked with our housekeeping crew who has been with this inn over 25 years.

But, above all and in the end as the old saying ring true " The Buck Stops Here", it is my fault.

Please call my staff at the motel and they will give you my personal cell number if you wish to chat more, I would leave it now, but it is againts TripAdvisor rules.

Would love to understand how we can make our breakfast better in your eyes. We really do fresh bake all our items and cook fresh all of the hot breakfast items we serve, maybe we were just missing something you always see when you travel and I may need to add that?

Please understand, the reviews left by others were NOT Family or Friends but past guests who have now become our Family and Friends for speaking the truth about our offering on the wonderful coast of California and while in Gualala, as you also have become one.

Eric R. Cogdill Owner
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Denver, Colorado
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 13, 2011

My wife and I flew to San Francisco from Denver and took Highway 1 up to Mendocino for our anniversary. The drive was beautiful and we wanted to stop along the way in Gualala. Had read the great reviews about the Surf Inn and am happy we did! Eric is the quintessential host, always with a smile and a helping hand. The breakfast is not the typical continental fare . . . eggs, waffles, sausage, biscuits and gravy, et al! We spent the extra bucks and stayed in room 120, king size feather bed, tons of room, and a million dollar view of the ocean through a hugh picture window. Watched the sun set right from our room! If your trip is for romance, stay at the Surf Inn and book room 120 . . . trust me, it is a memory not soon forgotten!

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jackson, Wyoming
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 12, 2011

Booked the Surf Motel since we were passing through on a journy up the coast. Thougt this would be the low light in the trip. Wow! Pleasantly surprised. The motel -like unit was clean & the room was nice w a big feather comforter. The sitting area outside was on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Breakfast was good & the staff friendly & helpful. The State Park is a short distance away. Don't miss this lovely walk on the beach or in the surrounding meadows & forest.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Surfmotelowner, Owner at Surf Motel, responded to this review, September 20, 2011
"WOW" Makes my heart jump for joy. We at the Surf Motle love the WOW Factor in life. Thank you so much for your Kind remarks. Eric R. Cogdill - Owner
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Additional Information about Surf Motel

Address: 39170 S. Hwy One, P.O. Box 695, Gualala, CA 95445
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Mendocino County > Gualala
Amenities:
Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly )
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 7 B&Bs / Inns in Gualala
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Surf Motel 2.5*
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Surf Motel was the first lodging facility in Gualala on the Ocean built in 1965, it has seen upgrades over the years to include 3 full ocean view rooms and 1 suite; 5 rooms have full kitchen. The inn was redone in 2008 when bought by new owners and now serves a full hot breakfast each morning. Free Wifi and parking are your to enjoy. Office is open from 8:30am until sunset. 24 hour phone service and night service is avalible. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Surf Motel Gualala
Surf Hotel Gualala

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