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“Amazing food...a definite must go” 5 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
Seattle, WA
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Amazing food...a definite must go”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 7, 2011

We just returned from a three day weekend at the Willows Inn from 3/4/11 - 3/6/11. Having read the New York Times article stating that the up and coming chef Blaine Wetzel's food was worth a plane ride, I had high expectations...and they were exceeded! The extremely fresh, unpretentious, local ingredients were bursting with clever and unusual herbal combinations of tastes and flavors. My husband is a lacto-ovo-pescatarian and there was no problems accommodating his dietary requirements. I would put these dinners among the top three I have eaten in my life, up there with Aqua in San Francisco and Hotel Florence in Bellagio, Italy. There were FIVE amuse bouches with each meal, and the flow in the kitchen was amazing...no prolonged waits in between courses. The chef is 24 and also pitches in serving in the dining room, and was very patient answering questions about the food.

Dinner #1
Smoked salmon
Black cod with homemade sauerkraut
Toast with brown butter and fresh herbs
Oyster with mignonette
Dungeness crab with sea beans and sea weed

Baby turnips with pork drippings
Foraged mushrooms with woodruff sauce
Kabocha squash with hazelnuts and black truffles (from Bellingham)
Slow roasted pork shoulder with mustard sauce
Walnut ice cream with bosc pear, candied lemon verbena and frozen mead

Dinner #2
Same amuse bouches
Roasted beet in tarragon emulsion
Weathervane scallop with pickled cabbage and mussel sauce
Fingerling potatoes, havarti cheese and buttermilk whey soup with dill oil
Steelhead and mustard sauce
Green apple sorbet with buttermilk foam and licorice wafers

Breakfasts are equally delicious. Day 1 was poached eggs with ranchero sauce, polenta, bacon, apple muffin, fruit and beverages. Day 2 was daal potatoes, spinach, scrambled eggs, sausage, fruit, homemade jelly and sweet roll.

The location of the inn is gorgeous. It is just 2 hours north of Seattle plus a 5 minute ferry ride. While the common rooms of the inn are warm, with beautiful views, comfortable furniture and a roaring fireplace, the actual guest rooms could use updating in terms of finishes (laminate, carpet, and fixtures). Our room had a lovely cast iron stove in the corner but the room itself smelled mildewy (Sans Souci). I also had a massage in the lovely massage room with Michelle, and it was high quality. There is not much to do on the island itself. Biking and hiking are two activities. For a romantic, relaxing, delicious weekend, I would highly recommend the Willows Inn.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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132 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    80
    32
    14
    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 (38)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Bellingham, Washington
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2011

This was our 3rd trip to the Willows Inn. We love the old world charm of the place and the hosts. I could sit in the lobby forever watching the weather on the water or the fire in the fireplace. And the restaurant is just spectacular. They have their own organic farm and fishing boat so most of the food is fresh and local. And the chefs are creative geniuses.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 12, 2011

Dinner here was the best meal I've ever had. Even my husband, who I have never seen excited about a restaurant in his life, loved it:)
We'll definitely be coming back.

Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mercer Island, Washington
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2011

My best friend and I stayed two nights in the cozy Farm Cabin up the hill from the Inn. This small cabin sits next to the Inn's working farm. It is very comfortable and private with a well-stocked kitchen. We had everything we needed for our stay. We didn't mind driving to and from the main Inn and breakfast/dining area (also a brisk up-hill walk.) Don't miss the fabulous gourmet dinner when you visit. Along with HUGE breakfasts, 1,000 ft. hike up nearby Baker Mt. Preserve followed by full-body massages, Blaine's scrumptious dinner was a highlight of our trip. If you are looking for a relaxing, peaceful retreat with exceptional food and service, put The Willows-Inn on your list of must-visit places. I am definitely going back!

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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
    • 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
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 12, 2010

Came for our anniversary and stayed the nigtht. The new chef, Blaine, used to be sous chef at NOMA, a restaurant in Copenhagen that has won top awards. The 5 course fixed menu meal for $55 was one of the better meals of my life. Very unusual, and scandinavian influenced. Things like scallops with savoy cabbage and mussel sauce were awesome- though to read it , it doesn't sound so fabulous. The baked celeriac with horseradish and rye was sublime. My favorite was the creme brulee with walnut ice cream and marshmallows. I had hazlenut liquer from Lynden, Washington with it. We will be talking about that meal for a long time. Go soon, as prices will go up no doubt. If you let them know ahead of time that you don't eat particular things, they will accomodate you. Oh, yes, we also stayed there, in the guest house, which was just fine, one of the most comfortable beds I have ever stayed in. But the meal was the thing.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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
    • 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.
Bainbridge Island, Washington
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 8, 2010

It is definitely worth the trek to come to the Willows Inn, and fun and adventurous to ride the mini-ferry from the Lummi Nation to Lummi Island. You are rewarded with a welcoming, warm Inn, and a feeling you've found something very special indeed. The rooms seem very private, and are outfitted nicely for your stay. Our bed was VERY comfortable, with nice linens. The nightly cocktail reception in the living room is festive and fun. Do NOT miss the dining: the food is 'to die for', very healthy and fresh, and very creative. The head chef came to the Inn from Noma, a Copenhagen restaurant rated the best in the world in recent polls, and it shows in the food you are served. The backdrop for all of this is an incredible view over the San Juan and Gulf Islands. The one caveat is that once on the Island, there are very few options for food or beverage purchases, so come with your supplies of wine and snacks if you are staying for more than a night. The island is truly remote, and a real retreat just a short distance away from cities like Vancouver , Seattle, and Bellingham. We are already planning a return to this special spot.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 10, 2010

My husband and I recently stayed at the Willows Inn one night to celebrate my birthday. We participated in a package which included one night stay, 5 course prix fixe dinner, and breakfast. This was the perfect one day getaway from Seattle. We enjoyed a short beach walk, outdoor hot tub in pleasant private setting, and BEST DINNER WE'VE HAD IN AGES!
Their new chef was sous chef at a restaurant in Copenhagen that was recently voted the best restaurant in the world! The emphasis on fresh ingredients (from their organic farm) and fresh flavors in the meal preparation was beyond words. We can't wait to return!!!

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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.
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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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