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“Slow food on Lummi Island” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Willows Inn

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Willows Inn
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2579 West Shore Drive, Lummi Island, WA 98262   |  
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Hotel amenities
Special Offer
Dinner on Mondays!
Ranked #1 of 1 Lummi Island B&B and Inns
Seattle
Top Contributor
72 reviews 72 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
68 helpful votes 68 helpful votes
“Slow food on Lummi Island”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 6, 2011

This will be a difficult review because I’m going to combine the dining experience and staying at the Inn. We wanted to come here even before the excellent New York Times review.

It is only a 1½ hour drive from Seattle to Bellingham where you catch a small car ferry (holds 20 cars) to transport you to Lummi Island. It is a beautiful island, and it was a good thing to explore a San Juan Island that we haven’t visited before.

We stayed in the “hillside room” behind the main lobby on the back corner of the main building. Our room was comfortable (a bit dark for my taste) but luckily we weren’t in the room much during the day. If you want to read in the room during the day then you would need to have the lights on. The bathroom was ok, but lacked shelves to put your toiletries on. There was this tiny 3-tier table where the face towels and hair blower were contained. There isn’t much space for your toiletries.

The nice thing about the room is that there was a second door that gave access to the main lobby where you could grab some coffee in the morning before breakfast was served in the main dining room at 8:30.

The dinner was wonderful with 5 or 6 mini plates that let you have a bite of smoked salmon, oysters, clams, smoke cod, heirloom tomatoes, spring salad, kale w/truffle oil, before the main menu appears (another 5 plates). The servers poured complimentary prosecco during the mini plates and when the five-courses began you could order wine by the glass or accompany your meal with the juice ($40) or wine ($65) pairing. They had enough servers to handle the full restaurant so the service was excellent. The rating would have been a 4, but I gave it a 3 because before our arrival we were told that they had increased the price for the dinner. It seems that management should have honored the rate they quoted us when we made our reservations.

The hot tub was situated on a slight hill that was in a shady spot surrounded by trees but we didn’t get a chance to use it because it was out of order. The Inn’s reception desk could have provided a map of the island and given out points of interests when we checked in but didn’t. We discovered on our own there was a farmers market on Saturday. There was no mention of complimentary bikes but only the electrical bikes on the website. When we inquired about renting them for the day we were pleasantly surprise to learn they also had complimentary bikes for guests to use. They had 4-5 bikes available and not in the best condition, but they worked well enough to explore and do wine tasting on the island.

When we checked out on a Sunday we asked about the ferry schedule and were told that on the weekends the ferries run every hour. We drove to the ferry and decided to get in line and wait. To our surprise the ferry loaded every half hour.

I was glad that we came here for the dinner but the Inn wasn’t anything memorable.

Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
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126 people have reviewed this hotel

Traveler rating
    75
    31
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    5
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 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 (37)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2011

Lovely visit! Spot prawns, pizza and fabulous peach tart on the deck against a gorgeous sunset, followed by a steam shower and sound sleep in a cloud-soft bed. We had to leave super early in the morning for a conference in Seattle and they had breakfast boxed and ready to go! Hot coffee, eggs with mushrooms, what looked like house-cured bacon, herby home fries, fruit and a scone. We ate it in the car while waiting for a ferry to take us away from a perfect idyll. Next time we will come for more than 24 hours!

Room Tip: Try to get
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
Palo Alto, California
Top Contributor
182 reviews 182 reviews
41 hotel reviews
Reviews in 65 cities Reviews in 65 cities
100 helpful votes 100 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2011

We booked our room at Willows Inn to coincide with Chef Blaine Wetzel's dinner. The Sunday multi-course dinner was great and lived up to its reputation. The following night's Spot Prawns on the Deck were also very good.

Lummi is a cute island and has lovely views. Our room was not a view room, but it was comfortable, if a bit outdated. It was small, which isn't bad by itself, but it was somewhat awkwardly laid out, and there was no place to hang our clothes. The several hooks they had installed were blocked by a chest of drawers.

Our view was mainly of the nice suite in the building next door, and we could see in their room. We had to leave our blinds up in order to get light and air in the room, as the blinds were heavy and dark. So we sacrificed our privacy and hoped our neighbors didn't mind.

Because it was a rainy day, we wanted to spend a little more time than usual at the inn. We tried to spend some time in the common room, but because the orientation of the seating in that room seemed to put you right in the path of people going to/from the desk, it wasn't as cozy as it could have been.

The staff was friendly, lots of smiles, and they tried to be helpful. Be aware that the ferry schedule on weekends is actually less frequent than weekdays! We had an earlier ferry mishap which put us to the Lummi Island ferry later than we should have been, and so we missed the first half hour of our dinner. The staff was very nice in accommodating this, and we appreciated it.

We liked Willows Inn and would return.

Room Tip: I suggest one of the larger rooms with a view that are on the main grounds. They looked nice.
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
Seattle
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2011

My wife and I came to the hotel for the first time as part of our plan to eat dinner (and breakfast) in its acclaimed restaurant. Although the Inn does not quite rank the 5 stars earned by its dining room, it is nonetheless very charming and makes for a peaceful and wonderful stay.
First, the setting perched on a small bluff looking over the western shore of pristine Lummi Island is breathtaking. We enjoyed it from the porch on our Cottage slightly uphill from the main Inn and also from the Inn's porch for drinks and the dining room at Sunset.
Second, the Cottage was private and well equipped, if a bit rustic. The sky light above the bed provides a view of the constellations for city-dwellers unaccustomed to such a sight. The hotel staff did a turn down service, which was quite easy for them to schedule, as they can count on all guests being in the dining room for dinner.
Third, the grounds are beautiful, including a walk down and along the beach, complete with views of a seal and sea stars, a regulation bocce ball court, kitchen garden, and a spa with outdoor shower (hot tub was not operating during visit:()
Fourth, Inn was run with a low key polish where you know that all needs will be met, but without any attitude.
Most importantly, the Inn's restaurant is not to be missed. Incredible destination for foodies and others who appreciate incredibly fresh local ingredients executed in some ways familiar yet better than you have ever tasted!

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 25, 2011

Who would ever think that this lovely, rustic, beautiful oasis on the discreet island of "Lummi" would harbor such an amazing gastric experience. Yes, we read all the reviews but, until you experience it you won't believe. Chef Blaine is humble and quiet. So, quiet we had no idea we were actually being served by the master at one point. What a true treat to the senses but, then again so casual and comfortable. It felt like you were eating in a local home not a pretentious upscale restaurant.

The inn was quaint and cozy. It is obvious that it is a continuous work in progress which makes you want to come back every year to see the changes. Loved the bocci court and just the general mellowness of the whole experience

*If I had to give constructive criticism. They need a wall mirror for makeup and the cost of the wine paring we felt was too high.

Room Tip: Sunset Room says it all but, be prepared on a warm night with the windows open that the dinner parti...
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 24, 2011 via mobile

My husband and I had a great stay at the Willows. We stayed in the Low Tide room which had a private beach. Perfect. The dinner was fun, adventurous, unforgettable, at times too creative. It is a long seating so be prepared.
The rooms are mediocre but the beach made up for it. We had a problem with the management when they raised the price of the dinner a week before our stay, this put us past our allowed cancellation time. It took quite a discussion with the front desk manager to get her to honor the original price. I did e-mail the owner because she was so rude! I didn't get much of a response back from him but the day of our stay, the service was great. Everyone right down to the hussars in the dinning room were awesome. I even had a massage that was fabulous.
So, I'd say it's great but if you have any issues that need addressed then they lose all that great customer service. I had read another review that had an issue with them auto charging a tip.

  • Stayed July 2011
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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.
Vancouver, Canada
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
40 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 24, 2011

We stayed a weekend at the Willows Inn and had a wonderful time. We stayed in the cottage, which is just behind the inn on a hill. It’s a tiny cabin with a tiny kitchen and a great deck with a partial ocean view, in fact you can see the view even while lying in bed. The cottage is very private and nicely decorated in a fresh country style with some nice original art. This room has no shower (old-fashioned tub instead) and no closets, but there are storage drawers under the bed. Lots of places in the cottage to read or rest or just breathe the fresh air.

The meal at the Inn was magnificent, the small courses were imaginative and authentic and every one was delicious. Definitely a restaurant worth making a special trip to visit. But we also enjoyed the casual meals at the Taproot Café, especially the hamburger and the soup.

Lummi Island is very low key, not a lot of activities but a great place to relax and enjoy the ocean views. The Inn has bicycles to rent or borrow, and you can hike up to the Nettles Farm and see where all the lovely fresh produce for your dinner is grown. If you live in Vancouver, it’s a very easy drive, especially if there are no border crossing waits.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.

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Additional Information about Willows Inn

Address: 2579 West Shore Drive, Lummi Island, WA 98262
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Washington > San Juan Islands > Lummi Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 B&Bs / Inns in Lummi Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Willows Inn on Lummi Island has become the Northwest's premiere destination for authentic farm to table dining. Come in and experience the culinary magic of our chef, Blaine Wetzel, and find out what eating from your landscape is all about. Savor wines from our extensive selection. Enjoy our elegantly comfortable accommodations. Drink in the views, watch whales, or relax with a cocktail by a blazing fire. Unplug, recharge and experience the Willows Inn--an authentic and affordable San Juan Islands adventure! Offering romantic beachside lodge rooms, cottage, and guest house accommodations and marine experiences. Organic food from Loganita Farm. A car ferry departs at least hourly for the five minute crossing to this scenic island retreat. Less than two hours from Seattle or Vancouver, BC. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Willows Hotel Lummi Island

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