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“Liked the room and food- service mediocre” 4 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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Ranked #1 of 1 Lummi Island B&B and Inns
Melbourne, Australia
Top Contributor
186 reviews 186 reviews
94 hotel reviews
Reviews in 118 cities Reviews in 118 cities
481 helpful votes 481 helpful votes
“Liked the room and food- service mediocre”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2013 via mobile

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)

  • Stayed August 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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131 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    79
    32
    14
    5
    1
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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 (38)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Essex
Top Contributor
63 reviews 63 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2013

If you are staying here, you have to eat at the restaurant once,it is a fix price menu at $150 p.p.,so the meal is as much as the stay. However the genius of this young chef who is now co owner is the imaginative use of everything that can be grown and caught locally. If you are a 200ib football player,then this place may not be for you. The 15 courses menu will introduce you to food that you may never have eaten before,but the portions are very small, if you expect a chunky steak,then one should visit the Beach Cafe instead. Our favourites are Halibut skin, Kale leaf ( a single leaf with truffle) , steelhead salmon roe.
They also make their own juices as well which is offered with the meal,cucumber, sorrel, carrot
Elderflower.
We would rate this 5 star if the restaurant can be more flexible with the seating arrangment, tables are set up for 2 or 4 , we are a party of 5 and they will be move the tables for us. So our friends have to eat at a adjacent table.
Otherwise for a romantic weekend getaway, you can not lose, sunset is beautiful, nice beach walk just outside before dinner will set the scene.

Room Tip: We choose the Sunset room just over the lobby,it is the smallest and cheapest at $200, however it is...
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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 b.c.
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2013

If you are patient enough to sit through approximately 3 hours of dining with someone whose company you enjoy, the dinner experience at Willows Inn will surely be one of the most memorable feasts for the eyes and discerning palates.

The front room and restaurant itself is decorated in a casual but elegant fashion (somewhat like a cross between Restoration Hardware and Tommy Bahamas), the wait staff were friendly and professional (loved the long leather aprons they were wearing) and the use of natural woods and stones for food presentation left you with a lasting impression that you were indeed enjoying the bounties of the Pacific Northwest.

At first glance of the set menu, it seemed that I would need a midnight snack afterwards. However, much to my surprise, there were about a dozen or so intricately prepared “snacks” which were offered between the main courses. These bites completely tantalized and teased our taste buds and left us longing for more please!

Besides the meal itself, the amazing sunset is worth the visit alone. If a picture could describe a thousand words, I leave you with some of these images....

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Seattle
Top Contributor
66 reviews 66 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
60 helpful votes 60 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2013

Lummi Island is the most northeasterly of the San Juan Islands, close to the mainland and a six minute ferry ride away.

We stayed at one of the off-site properties owned by the Willows Inn. The Reefnetter is a house with two suites located about a mile and a half from the inn overlooking Lego Bay. If you're lucky you might see a pod of orcas swimming by. At the rear of the house is marshland with pools where kingfishers dive and ospreys and herons fly overhead.

We stayed in the Clark suite which had a very comfortable bed and lovely amenties, a large bathroom with a jetted tub overlooking the estuary and a great espresso maker. The kitchen was well stocked with pans and dishes and there was a very large TV. The only drawback was lack of internet but that was of little concern to us.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Top Contributor
75 reviews 75 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2013

The Willows Inn also owns a property called the Watermark. It is a lovely home on Legoe Bay, about a mile and a half from the Willows Inn. The common areas are shared by everyone staying in the 3 rooms of the home. The Sinclair Suite is on the front of the house overlooking the bay with a sliding door leading out to a large tiled verandah. The room is very modern of "Vegas Suite" quality including: walk in closet, electric fireplace, large screen flat TV, Keurig coffee machine, small refrigerator, soaking tub, deluxe walk-in shower and wonderful products. We loved sitting on the back deck looking out at the pond and wetlands which was incredibly quiet and peaceful, except for the red-winged blackbirds. The home was obviously furnished by a designer, and I wouldn't want to have small children in the home. This isn't a beach house and putting your feet up on the coffee table wouldn't work. The cost included breakfast for two at the Beach Store Café (see my review) and helped off-set the "New York" price tag of $375. per night.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mayne Island, Canada
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 8, 2013

The location is great, the staff are professional, helpful and clearly the dining room staff take great pride in the restaurant, where we had truly memorable dinner. But there is a huge gap between the dining experience and the experience of the stay at Willows Inn.

Our accommodation was very disappointing. The "cottage" we stayed in was certainly private and had a nice view, but was lacking in far too many amenities and housekeeping standards to warrant the $325 a night rate.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 12, 2013

Definitely a good place to stay. Staff are friendly and helpful. Obviously the main reason to go is for the restaurant which is exceptional. The food is different from everything we tried so you should be culinarily adventurous. They have nice bicycles to use for free.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
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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): $$
Number of rooms: 15
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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