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“Looking for bad attitude management in aging setting” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Cliff House Inn on the Ocean

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Cliff House Inn on the Ocean
2.0 of 5 Inn   |   6602 Old Pacific Coast Highway, Mussel Shoals, Ventura, CA 93001   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #4 of 11 Ventura B&B and Inns
West Hollywood, California
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Looking for bad attitude management in aging setting”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2011

Went there with great expectations. Don't let their great advertising fool you. You can swim in the pool with lots of birds and bird items. The management/owners were the biggest problem, they have an attitude and could care less to be hospitable to their guests. I wouldn't stay there for free, it was that bad.

Room Tip: Dont go there
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 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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158 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    35
    57
    20
    17
    29
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23
88
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 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 (39)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Cache, OK
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 28, 2011

There are a number of mixed reviews for this property on other web sites. Most of them focus on the age of the property, and how it could use a good update.

First, the positives. The view from nearly all rooms is astonishing. For the money, it is unlikely anyone can beat Cliff House Inn for their view. Absolutely gorgeous. Second, there is a free breakfast buffet. More than a standard hotel continental breakfast, it has a few less items than a full American buffet. The seating area is right on the ocean, unless the marine layer (fog) rolls in. Parking is free, if not VERY cramped. No giant SUVs should ever park here. The first day, we watched several dolphins and a seal hunting fish about 100 yards offshore.

Next, the neutrals. The location is right off US 101, which is a two- or three-lane freeway between Ventura and Santa Barbara, except for a two-mile stretch which includes Cliff House. Northbound, it’s a quick slow-down and a left turn across two lanes of high-speed traffic. If going south then it is worse; the right turn takes you onto a significant blind spot and drops you into the parking lot. Not a problem except for inexperienced drivers. Leaving the property southbound toward Ventura is no problem; going to SB one must cross southbound 101 and the high-speed drivers, then merge into the northbound left lane. It can very easily be done, but is not for the tentative driver. The doors to the units do not fit well, with large, highly visible gaps underneath and on the sides. Old-school keys and locks which require a bit of jimmying to work.

Finally, the negatives. The hotel web site touts its “beach side location”. The beach is nonexistent. The nearest true beach is 500 yards east. We did not come to Cliff House for the beach, but nonetheless it’s misleading. The rooms in general are very outdated. First, the rattan furniture looks like something from Pier One in the 70s. It really needs updating. The room had stained and ugly carpet, although the bed WAS comfortable. The blinds in the bathroom do not close completely, and the window is not frosted. There is no air conditioning, but that’s OK, since the hotel is on the water. Two of three nights this was no problem. However, this manifested itself one night with an off-shore breeze; even with the window open it got hot in the room. There is no ceiling fan, so there is no air circulation. Opening the windows in back, which front US 101, is not an option; it would get way too noisy in there. At night, we opened the window slightly and let the sound of the ocean in. This can be disconcerting for some; the outside walkway is RIGHT THERE and you’re sleeping only a couple feet from the window. To us, that was no big deal, as the clientele was mostly 30+ couples. However, at 11 PM there is no staff on-site until 7 AM. The noise of US 101 is quite obtrusive, until you open the oceanside window. Then the ocean waves produce a white noise that is very calming, almost hypnotic, and drowns out the highway traffic, but not the three or four trains that roll by nightly. It also is not sufficient to drown out the sound of the upstairs residents walking around, which was VERY noticeable. Sound travels through the walls and floor very efficiently; we could tell the gentleman next door had a cold or allergies. Also, at 5:45 or so, one of the housekeepers showed up, and moved her cart around loudly. Finally, the water seems to be on a single hot water tank for the whole building. Any demand changes are reflected by immediate temperature fluctuations. The temperature got so hot once that I had to step way back, unable to adjust or turn off the water. Then the water went the other way, maybe to 60 degrees. Whee! Also, the staff members were ambivalent, when they could be found. This review would have received only one “star” had it not been for the view. It’s definitely not a 5-star property, but Cliff House does not pretend to be. We came here without expecting luxury, but were disappointed by the lack of care the staff and owners put in to what could be a very nice hotel.

Room Tip: Ask for a top floor room. With no one above you it's quiet. Also, the hotel is stairs-only. C...
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
Houston
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2011

If you are looking for a comfortable room with a view and the sound of the surf just yards away between Santa Barbara and Malibu, then I would recommend The Cliff House Inn. If you prefer the amenities of a corporate chain then this is not for you. This has more of the feel of a mom & pop bed and breakfast inn than a hotel/motel. The staff (or family) were very friendly and though stretched thin, helpful and accommodating. The ice machine was broken but they made amends. The bed was most comfortable & over stocked with pillows. The brunch was well organized and enjoyable while being entertained by frolicking dolphins a short distance off shore. I only wish we could have stayed longer!

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Sao Paulo, SP
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2011

We arrived at night, very bad experience.
Room had terrible smell, i told the lady i was allergic and asked if she had another type of room. She had a wooden floor, but costed another 50 usd !
Very noisy , we could listen to tv next door and voices at restaurant downstairs.
Breakfast was poor and indoors ( the only good thing at this hotel was the sea view , but we couldnt see it during breakfast). There was a radio buzzing next to our table , we had to turn it off to have a reasonable talk. Nobody came to help us during breakfast , neither for saying good morning.
Worst experience ever.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 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.
Ottawa
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2011

It was interesting to read the reviews in Trip Advisor, and the results were not really surprising. Over 50% of 76 reviews rated it average to terrible (with most on the poor to terrible scale), horrible results if you really think about it. BUT nearly 50% also thought that it was great. That's how it is at Cliff House, you either hate it or love it, there seems to be no middle ground. My wife and I have been coming here yearly for about 12 years, sometimes a few times per year. We love it despite the obvious downfalls. The bottom line is this. It is situated in a perfect location. It is small ~26 rooms and very private even though the PCH is 100 yards away. There is just something about the Karma that makes it soothing and peaceful, we can't quite explain it, you really have to see for yourself. But before you do that, be aware. It appears that the owners do not wish to invest any money in this property. My guess is that they are trying as hard as they can to simply draw from it rather than invest in it---- what a shame. There has been very little done to this property in terms of renovations (at least those that are obvious to the guests) over the past 12 years and while the staff is extremely nice, they seem not to be trained very well. The hotel needs a desperate refresh, but expect rates to go from approx. $125-$150 per night on average to $200-$300 per night if that were to happen given the location. Normally my wife and I stay at much better appointed properties but we love coming here and are ok with all of the neglect given how much we like the place. The one area we have no tolerance for is cleanliness . The rooms are clean but this past visit the breakfast area was a mess, the "clean coffee" mugs were difficult to distinguish from the dirty ones nearby---- tables were not cleaned, etc. This is not acceptable, we hope that this is not a start of a trend.

Sleep quality----- contrary to what some reviews said, we have never slept better at any hotel. I don't know how anyone can hear other guests with the sound of the waves constantly crashing into the shoal....make certain that you leave your window wide open and you will benefit from the wonderful sound of the ocean.

Anyway, all that to say that everyone should try the Cliff House if you are in the Santa Barbara area and judge for yourself. If you don't mind accomodations that look like they need some love and attention (but are generally clean), you just may experience the same great karma that it seems about 50% of visitors do. My wife and I certainly do. We have said many times....."if we could just buy or manage this property....wow". It really is a 2 star hotel with 5 star potential

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Barbara
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 9, 2011

I'd stay there again. Location is funny. Right on the ocean; but no beach. But plenty of beaches are very close by. Hotel is small. The room I stayed in was very basic, like super-8 level. But the view from the hotel is killer - right over the ocean. Paid $110 for night in a Queen. A s someone said before this was one of a couple of rooms with slightly blocked view and that was not mentioned before arrival. But was no big deal to me. The restaurant was yummy. Good food. VERY slow service. Front desk service was spotty also. Corey at reception sported major "tude".
That said, for what us is and where it is and what it costs I'd stay there again.

Room Tip: Book early. Ask if view is unencumbered.
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Apple Valley, California
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 11, 2011

All things considered, this hotel -- despite its ambience -- is very much overpriced.

PROs: Small, ~22 rooms, all facing the ocean. Excellent restaurant (Shoals) with really good food and good service.

CONs: After multiple visits, I have to say that it seems like they are not paying attention to the basics any more. Algae in the pool; drawers in dresser broken; no outlet in dressing room/bathroom sink area (how to plug in elec shaver or blow dryer???), no safety bars on the wall to assist when you try to exit the jacuzzi tub.

Admittedly, part of the charm of this hotel is the "old" nature, but they really should keep up on the maintenance.

Room Tip: Room on the entry level (as opposed to going up stairs to 2nd level). Restaurant and kitchen are on...
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 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.
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Additional Information about Cliff House Inn on the Ocean

Address: 6602 Old Pacific Coast Highway, Mussel Shoals, Ventura, CA 93001
Location: United States > California > Ventura
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( Wi-Fi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 11 B&Bs / Inns in Ventura
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:2 star — Cliff House Inn on the Ocean 2*
Number of rooms: 24
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Cliff House Inn On The Ocean Hotel Ventura
Cliff House Ventura
Cliff House Bed Breakfast Shoals Restaurant Ventura
Cliff Shoals Restaurant House

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