We stayed at the Willow Inn in order to try the restaurant. When we booked in June few rooms left, went for Clark as least expensive at $250.
The room was nice with the jacuzzi tub and the balcony looking over the sea. The bed was very comfortable. The coffee machine was a nice touch but proper milk or cream rather than sachets would have been better. Plus there were only 2 coffee capsules- the rest was decaf or tea. So they could have been more generous on that. Also not as nice as Stumptown you have at breakfast.
Shared area was nice- but does depend who you are sharing it with! We were lucky that we had it to ourselves. Wine glasses and plates but no knives or bowls! Also dishwasher not working which was inconvenient. Terrace out the back really nice too.
It was raining a lot and room does not have any umbrellas. This would be helpful if like us you are not super organised. We were planning on walking to the restaurant but without an umbrella this was not possible. Driving to the lodge to pick one up seemed a waste of time. Also it was very dark, no footpath so we had to drive. It's supposed to only be a mile and a half- I suspect it's further- but after wine we decided it might not be a good idea. So unfortunately we had to both stick to water as we don't agree with drink driving. This was a shame as we wanted to to the wine flights but with no public transport this is not possible.if you both want to drink you need to stay in the lodge.
Anyway the meal was nice. We had tuna as a first course, squash as 2nd, the. Cod, duck and the. Blueberries. In between you have10 or so snacks- like a smoked oyster, a small piece of smoked salmon, kale with black truffle ( one of my favourites). Most worked although the snack before the first course with black berries would have worked better as a predessert.
There were some things I did not like. We were offered still or sparkling water.The sparkling was $7 - it's in a willow inn bottle so it's produced locally- but it wasn't marked on the menu so we thought it was included. It's only $7 plus tax and service but it was misleading plus if I had known I would have had tap water. I figured when they kept overfilling the glasses that it must have been chargeable to increase tips!
Also service was not very friendly OR that competent. We were missing cutlery for some courses, cutlery when given was put in random places, dishes were removed just after last forkful was still being chewed, no queries about whether you were enjoying a dish, napkins on our table not refolded when left table, glasses with paid water overfilled.
We had also asked to look round kitchen in advance which was agreed but we were never given opportunity to. Head chef Blaine was fairly aloof and spoke to a couple of tables ignoring everyone else! We have eaten at Noma, Mugaritz, Per Se, Oud Sluis and many other top global restaurants and we have been able to talk to the chefs, look around the kitchen & everyone has been more knowledgable and welcoming.
Also we were celebrating my husband's birthday and in other countries there is normally something done- be it a candle in dessert, a card, a mini cake even just an acknowledgement but nothing. And it had been noted as she mentioned it was a birthday celebration at check in. I am not sure if it is because we did not pay more money and therefore there is no additional tip to be gained but it was disappointing.
Breakfast in morning was good- good hollandaise sauce on eggs benedict. Great coffee and juice. Unfortunately black hair in middle of eggs benedict...... Service poor, slow and inattentive. Only refilled bottomless cup so she could tell us breakfast was worth $30 so we could work out her tip. Unfortunately where we come from hair in food, plates not cleared, coffee not topped up, not checking if everything was fine equals poor service equals not tip.
Overall we liked the food but the service let it down. It was not as original as many European restaurants and seemed to copy a lot of the ideas such as the rolls with roe or the halibut crisps. Whilst the concept of locally sourced is good, wine falls outside this as instead of just local wines, France is included for example!i am glad we tried it whilst on vacation but am so glad that we have better options nearer to home (both food&service)