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“Island Living at its Best!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Doe Bay Resort and Retreat

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Doe Bay Resort and Retreat
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Star Rte. 86 Off Pt. Lawrence Rd. Near Olga, P.O. Box 437, Olga, Orcas Island, WA 98279   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Olga
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Brooklyn, New York
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
“Island Living at its Best!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 26, 2012

My first stay at Doe Bay was about 12 years ago. Upon many recommendations, I took an Airporter Shuttle from downtown (they leave from Seatac as well) up to the ferry landing in Anacortes. A beautiful ferry ride later, I land on Orcas Island with my backpack. As a lone female traveler, I was hesitant to hitch a ride but many reassured me that it was an assumed responsibility of the islanders to pick up hitchers. I met some wonderful people this way and 12 years later, followed the same routine.

Doe Bay has since been renovated which is most notable in its cabins but also the clothing optional soaking tubs and sauna. My only criticism is that the amount of chlorine used in the tubs would sometimes burn my eyes. Both times I camped and was thankful for the small guest kitchen available for communal use. My campsite was Lone Pine which has an expansive view over the water. Although there were perfect trees to pitch a hammock tent, it was quite exposed. The nights in July were chilly but not uncomfortable. Perfect for camping! The only sounds came from families occupying the nearby yurts and sea lions slapping the water for play in the evening.

Down the road is a place to get fresh caught oysters, clams, salmon, etc. for a snack before a feast at Doe Bay's own restaurant. Featuring artfully presented locally grown produce (often from their onsite garden) and locally sourced fish, meat, and dairy, it is some of the best food I have ever had chance to enjoy. And I live and dine in NYC. If you want to explore the island, there are some incredible farms nearby, many of which practice permaculture.

With plenty of hiking within distance, kayaking rentals available on site, biking opportunities galore, you could easily spend a few weeks here. Don't miss the seasonally fresh pie available at a number of yummy restaurants in Eastsound, often topped with buttermilk ice cream. Yum! If you happen to need a change of scenery for a day, you can hop a ferry over to Shaw or Lopez for a more rural experience or San Juan for a more populated island.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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100 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (19)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Washington, District of Columbia
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2012

I stayed at Doe Bay in August of 2011 for 4 days, camping at the Grouse Cove campsite (one of the closest sites to the water), and it was one of my most lovely and idyllic vacations EVER. From the moment I arrived I never wanted to leave, and even extended my stay an extra day. This is no 5 star resort (it is not fancy!), but it IS a charming, rustic, lovely, and peaceful setting for relaxing and enjoying Orcas Island. The shared bathrooms were clean, shared kitchen was a great bonus (and added significant cost-savings for us), and the sauna/baths really made every evening relaxing and fun (especially after long days hiking in Moran State Park and kayaking in East Sound!)! The extra cost (versus camping in a public campground on Orcas) is completely justified by the bathrooms, kitchen, and use of the baths. I only ate at the restaurant once (for breakfast) but it was excellent.

After a 100 degree steamy East Coast summer, being cool during the day and chilly at night was a treat. The shared fire pit and baths were a good place to make friends and stay warm.

This location would be perfect for a wedding or family reunion, as it offers a stunningly beautiful setting and relaxed atmosphere reminiscent of summer camp and days past.

Room Tip: The walk up campsites are great - a bit of a hike, but they provide wheelbarrows, and it's worth...
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Seattle
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 11, 2012

If you have the right frame of mind Doe Bay is a wonderful place to stay. It is not a 5 diamond resort. However, it is no longer a "hippie commune" either. The cabins have been worked on - with some new cabins being built. The location is wonderful. There are several different areas interspersed with campsites, yurts/domes and cabins. Each has its advantages and disadvantages (largely a trade-off between view and distance). We stayed in Neptune Yurt, right above the beach. It was nice, clean and functional, but I would have preferred either out of the point or closer to the facilities.

I first went to Doe Bay about 20 years ago and had longed to go back. It fully lived up to my expectations and memories from long ago.

My only complaints were that the soaking tubs close at 10pm and that the back gate to the tubs is locked (making most campers walk around - not long but sort of an inconvenience).

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Menlo Park
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2012 via mobile

My wife and I stayed with a friend for two nights and stayed in the Garden View cabin. It was very comfortable and cozy with the wood burning wood stove. This particular cabin did not have a bathroom but I know others do. The community bathroom was a quick 90 second walk and it had very clean facilities. The staff work very hard to make sure the grounds are clean. We took advantage of the community kitchen where we were able to do a little cooking. It was nice to take a soak in the natural hot spring tubs on-site after a beautiful hike to Mt. Constitution.

  • Stayed June 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 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, Washington
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 9, 2012

Rustic. Charming. Old world. Simple. Slightly eccentric. Sound like your type of getaway...?

Rooms are simple and slightly shabby. Location is incredible. Clothing optional spa and hot tubs are fun and clothing is most certainly considered optional.

Real highlight is the food in the cafe. No meat (but yes to fish and eggs thankfully) and plenty of local produce and supplies. Wonderful preparation and simple menu.

  • Stayed June 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 30, 2012

Apart from the waterfront spa & rates there isn't much to call it a 'resort'. However, the location is idyllic, there is plenty of open space to play and the private cove is picture perfect. We stayed in the upper field cabin which was very comfortable and clean. Cell phone service is spotty and the wifi was down which was a blessing in disguise. This place is to be enjoyed in perfect quiet.

Room Tip: Naga cabin had a great view
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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
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Vancouver, Canada
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2012

We spent the weekend at Doe Bay. It came highly recommended and this was our first visit. This was the 'off season' so a little cheaper than high season.
It is a beautiful location with lovely views of the water all around. There is a fair bit of choice of accommodation. Many do camp and can use the cooking facilities and wash houses. We opted for a cabin with indoor washroom. We selected Mala. It was comfortable and met our needs. Since it was still a bit cool, a cabin with more sun exposure would have been nice but for hot days it would be perfect. We were very quiet the first day and took advantage of the free Wifi as we relaxed on the porch.
There is a yoga studio and I attended the Sat class for a $10.00 drop in. Great value for a 90 minute class and the views from the studio windows are lovely and contribute to the yoga experience.
Doe Bay is known for their hot tubs and these are lovely, especially if you go when no one else is there. It is bathing suit optional. There is also a small sauna. Since the hot tubs are right by the waterfall, it is possible to dip in both. We found it much too cold to do this in April but one fellow was enjoying it.
The restaurant is outstanding but making our reservation was the occasion of our first indication that customer service may not be Doe Bay’s forte.
You are told to phone the cafe directly and reservations are recommended especially for nights when there is live music which is very popular with Orca locals as well as tourists. Having left a phone message, it occurred to me that I had no way to confirm if the reservation had actually been made. I looked for an email address but could only see info@doebay and this went to the admin staff, not the cafe. The admin staff actually declined to pass on my message saying the cafe operated separately. When we arrived, sure enough, no reservation! It was spring break on the island so business at the cafe was slower and they were able to offer us a table anyway which was lucky for us. The food is really excellent - vegetarian with lots of seafood and a lot of local ingredients. Every meal we had was a delight. Wine is available by the glass as well as a bottle. The cafe staff were friendly and helpful so the cafe experience was good. The server admitted that they often lose their voice mails so my advice would be to keep calling until you get a real person which is the only option at present. My advice for the cafe would be to post an email so that reservations could be easily confirmed.
For the record, the cafe is owned and operated by the same Doe Bay group and is not 'completely separate'. Also it is a few steps from the admin desk and passing a message should have been easy for them as it was not especially busy and just good customer service.
We asked one of the servers to recommend activities on the island and he waxed enthusiastic and made several suggestions. We asked the same question twice of the admin staff, once by phone before we left home and once while we were there. We dealt with a different woman each time. However, the response was similar and quite unhelpful. The second one opined that since it was off season there was little to do on the island!!
There is a kayak rental at Doe Bay and the waters looked very attractive for paddling. However, it is not available in the off season. We found another kayak rental nearer the ferry and had a blissful paddle on our way out. The provincial park is also worth a visit and has a tower with a great view and a museum showing how the park was created. (Part of FDR's Depression era work creation that helped build the country's wonderful park system.)
It is a lovely spot and summer camping would likely be wonderful. On the whole I would still recommend Doe Bay in spite of our negative experience with the admin staff.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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 Doe Bay Resort and Retreat

Address: Star Rte. 86 Off Pt. Lawrence Rd. Near Olga, P.O. Box 437, Olga, Orcas Island, WA 98279
Location: United States > Washington > San Juan Islands > Orcas Island > Olga
Amenities:
Kitchenette Spa
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Olga
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 47
Also Known As:
Doe Bay Resort And Retreat Hotel Olga
Doe Bay Hotel And Retreat

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