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 The rooms in general are very outdated.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.
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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.