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“Very pleasant” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Earthbox Inn & Spa

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Earthbox Inn & Spa
2.5 of 5 Motel   |   410 Spring St, Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, WA 98250 (Formerly Elements Hotel & Spa)   |  
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Ranked #8 of 10 Hotels in Friday Harbor
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Uckfield, UK
Level Contributor
328 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 163 helpful votes
“Very pleasant”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2014

We were very happy with this hotel. It was the best value that we could find near Friday Harbor. Yes, it seemed very expensive for what it is, but I take on board that that's because of being on a small island. It's worth reading the reviews and not expecting too much. We did both and were not disappointed at all. My only niggle was the very poor wifi, but I accept that was due to the remote location and no fault if the hotel. Glad we stayed here, on this most beautiful island.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EarthboxLaura, Manager at Earthbox Inn & Spa, responded to this review, July 11, 2014
Hi UckfieldSue,
Thank you so much for taking the time to write about your stay. We are so happy you had a good time.
Yes, wifi is not the same as on the mainland. It's a convenience for checking your email, not quite strong enough to watch movies and such. That's why it's free.
Speaking of "most beautiful island" - thank you, we think so too - San Juan just got voted one of the World's Best Islands 2014 by Travel & Leisure Magazine. Yeah.
Thank you for your visit. Come back soon.
Sincerely,
Steffi Wehner
Customer Service Manager
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470 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (105)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
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English first
Kirkland, Washington
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2014

I recently had the pleasure of staying at the Earthbox Inn and Spa with my two children. From my first contact with the front desk I knew this would be a great place to stay. Steffi not only made my reservation but spent a considerable amount of time answering all my questions about the things that I should do and see when we were on San Juan Island. Even though the hotel is within walking distance to everything in town, including the ferry terminal, there was a van waiting to pick us up when we docked. Very nice touch! The front desk was packed with arriving guests from the incoming ferry, but the staff were friendly, patient and efficient. It looked like their lobby had been recently remodeled and it was very nice, even had a small gift shop and computer for guest use. As other reviewers have mentioned, the rates seem a little steep, but come on people, it's an amazing destination and they're booked solid all summer long. It's called supply and demand and based on the demand the could charge even more! Our room had everything we needed, was clean and air conditioned (remember to ask for this in the summer as some rooms don't have it). They have an indoor pool, hot tub and sauna that we made full use of, to the delight of my kids. They even have a small cafe with outdoor seating right outside the pool. Perfect for morning coffee, pool side in the sunshine. We also took advantage of the complimentary bikes for a wonderful ride around town. If you support business that follow "green" environmental practices, please inquire about that here because they clearly care for more than just the guests. The grounds are beautiful without the use of pesticides, which is important to me and my family. I would highly recommend the Earthbox Inn & Spa and will certainly stay with them again in the vary near future.

Green Features: If you support business that follow "green" environmental practices, please inquire about that here because they clearly care for more than just the guests. The grounds are beautiful without the use of pesticides, which is important to me and my family.
  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 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.
EarthboxLaura, Manager at Earthbox Inn & Spa, responded to this review, July 9, 2014
Hi Don P,
Your sweet review just made our day. We are all walking around with big grins on our faces. Thank you. We loved having you and can't wait to have you and yours come visit again soon.
Sincerely,
Steffi Wehner
Customer Service Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
20 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2014

My review of the Earthbox Inn is in part a reaction to a very high price for a very mediocre motel. Putting aside the cost, and trying to be as objective as possible, the Earthbox Inn is at best average; however, because it's so expensive the negative things I point out below, that might be otherwise tolerable and easier to overlook at a more reasonably priced motel, became for me quite significant.

The other reviews describing the Earthbox Inn as more or less just another motel are accurate. It's a very expensive, less-than-average motel or, if you want to be really generous and more than a little obfuscating, you can call it "classic retro chic," or "classic motor inn chic." (I guess akin to putting lipstick on a pig, one can change average to chic by just charging more for it?) Peak season the price was about $235 per night, for a room with a very small toilet and tub/shower space, and a separate single-basin sink area with a couple of square feet of counter space. Actually the sink area was a combined wash basin, kitchenette, and closet (that's right: no separate closet, just a hangar bar mounted to one side of the sink area with a shelf above for the extra towels). There were a few quasi-upscale fixtures, the shower and sink were equipped with dispensers for liquid soap that smelled nice, and the floor was wood, giving an impression of a place that's undergone a little spiffing up, but it was still a run-of-the-mill motel complete with the grungy gunk in the corners and gaps of the plastic floorboards in the bathroom. The room was (aside from the gunk in the corners in the bathroom) clean, but the two queen beds looked and felt—and creaked—like beds in a cheap 40-buck-a-night motel you find along a highway (actually I've stayed at places located along highways that are much nicer and cost considerably less than the Earthbox Inn). The walls and ceiling did little to insulate sound so we got to hear the discussions—and yapping dog—of the next-door guests, and the creaking floorboards from the people walking around in the room above. The two nights we stayed it was relatively warm in Friday Harbor so the room was stuffy, and a bit musty, but there was no air conditioning. Other rooms had air conditioners but I didn't see any discount for getting stuck in one of the stuffy rooms. They supplied a fan, but when we opened a window to let in a little fresh air we ended up choking on wood fire smoke that drifted in from some unknown origin, probably from a Taco place (Tia's Tacos) whose backyard seating area sported a chimenea located right next to, and upwind of, the motel rooms. The World Cup was going on so we switched on the TV to catch one of the games. The old set had such a low-quality picture that it was nearly impossible to follow the game.

In the interest of fairness I'll point out a few positives: The staff were very helpful, friendly, and nice. The location is convenient; they do indeed have a pool, jacuzzi, and sauna (that are very standard, not remotely luxurious); the WiFi is free and it works; there was a microwave and small refrigerator (see kitchenette comments above); and the complimentary bikes were nice.

Rating:
Start with a generous 3 stars for what is at best an average motel;
Plus 1 for helpful, friendly staff, a few nice amenities, and good location;
Minus 1 for all of the "chic" qualities: mediocre beds, poor room ventilation, substandard sink area, grunge in bathroom, and crummy TV;
Minus 1 for excessive cost;
Overall: 2 stars

Stayed July 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EarthboxLaura, Manager at Earthbox Inn & Spa, responded to this review, July 7, 2014
Dear LSSR22,
Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts.
I'm so sorry we didn't meet your expectations. We try hard to convey - on our website, in our confirmation letter, and by phone - what exactly we are and what we aren't. Our Earthbox Inn & Spa is indeed a renovated motor inn, a labor of love, a work in progress. We pride ourselves for not just leveling the buildings and putting up something sterile without character and history. This concept has limitations (those tiny bathrooms, just one sink in the room to name a few). And it's not for everyone.
I agree with you: our motel on a highway someplace on the mainland would be roughly half the price. Please remember that we are on beautiful San Juan Island. Everything needs to be shipped or flown over. Our wages, utilities, taxes, and every little thing we buy is much much more expensive than on the mainland. Along those lines, some services are just not the same as on the mainland. Sometimes our TVs have fuzzy pictures, sometimes our wifi is slow, sometimes we have power outages, cell phones don't work outside of town. We see that as part of the adventure of being on an island and our cue to slow down, relax, unwind and take a step back from the hustle and bustle of the "real" world. I can understand how you can find that not particularly charming when you had your heart set on watching a certain show.
Again, thank you for your input. We hope you and yours had a lovely vacation. Come back sometime in the off or shoulder season, when our rates go down and the days get cooler and let us spoil you how we intended.
Sincerely,
Steffi Wehner
Customer Service Manager
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Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
59 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 124 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2014

I suppose EarthBox Inn charges around $200 per night because they CAN -- they are in a primo location (within walking distance of the waterfront), and other places tend to book quickly. But ultimately, this is (as other reviewers have pointed out) a very pricey motel. I would like to say it overcomes this with immaculate cleanliness, but my stomach lurched when I stepped into the shower and noticed the bottom of the liner was gray with mold. Ugh. We were also not able to arrange a child's rollaway bed, something we can usually accomplish in other places. Some rooms are air-conditioned, our block was not, which made for a very stuffy environment. The fan did help a bit.

The beds were comfortable, the pool attendant promptly replenished towels when called.

However, if we stay in Friday Harbor in the future, we will try another place if we can.

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
EarthboxLaura, Manager at Earthbox Inn & Spa, responded to this review, July 6, 2014
Hi Leebot,
Thank you so much for taking the time to let us know about your stay.
I'm sorry you feel we are overpriced. We are actually one of the more moderately priced places on San Juan Island. It is expensive here, no doubt. Remember, every pillow, every nail, every compostable water cup needs to be shipped or flown here (except of our lovely in-room body care products from the local Lavender Farm). Our wages, utilities (especially water, oh my), taxes, gas are way more expensive than on the mainland, in some cases twice as much.
The mold on the bath mat is unacceptable. We addressed the issue. This won't happen again. Thank you so much for pointing it out.
Please forgive us for not following through on getting you a rollaway. We are so proud of our staff, but obviously dropped the communication ball on this one. We'll do better next time.
Again, thank you for your input. We can only improve if our lovely guests let us know what's missing.
We hope, you come back some time and give us a chance to wow you on all levels.
Sincerely,
Steffi Wehner
Customer Service Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
oakland, CA
Level Contributor
28 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2014

Just spent 3 perfect nights here with my 11 year old son. The location can't be beat - close to everything you could need but very quiet and peaceful. No need for a car at all. Neither can the beds be beat - they were the absolute best of our whole trip including a substantially more expensive hotel in Seattle. So many thoughtful touches like the lavender bath products in the shower, beautifully landscaped garden and patio areas, the free beach cruisers, complimentary coffee and tea in the lobby, and helpful staff happy to store luggage between the ferries and check in/check out, and share their excellent ideas for activities. Plenty of space in the "sun place" rooms with nice little balcony for quiet reading or watching the birds. We were able to prepare snacks (important for those traveling with Tweens or Teens) in our room due to the fridge and microwave. The design is lovely and very gracefully blends contemporary sophistication with the period of the buildings.
We felt comfortable at all times here. The indoor pool was fun to have. I wouldn't stay anywhere else on a return trip.

Stayed June 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EarthboxLaura, Manager at Earthbox Inn & Spa, responded to this review, July 1, 2014
Hi Happytravelingfamily,
Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a sweet review about us. You have us all smiling. We loved having you guys. Come back soon, please!
Sincerely,
Steffi Wehner
Customer Service Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
cleveland, Ohio
Level Contributor
22 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 26, 2014

After spending two nights at the Bird Rock Hotel, we loved the island so much we wanted to stay an extra night so we booked at the Earthbox due to no availability at Bird Rock. It's a nice little retro/somewhat renovated motel. I have no complaints, and average is probably a little harsh for the review, but if you have a chance, stay at the Bird Rock instead.

Room Tip: Just FYI - no air conditioning.
See more room tips
  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
EarthboxLaura, Manager at Earthbox Inn & Spa, responded to this review, June 27, 2014
Hi Imack37,
Oh, to be outdone by your own little sister! But like the big sister we are, we will be happy for her and pinch her when nobody is looking (no, we won't;) Thank you for taking the time to let us know what you think. We are so happy you like our properties and can't wait to have you come visit again soon.
Sincerely,
Steffi Wehner
Customer Service Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cle Elum, Washington
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 21, 2014

I had a WONDERFUL experience there with my daughter the last couple of days. Every room has lotions and body washes, shampoos and conditioners all from the local lavender farm. They smell heavenly. The tub is a jacuzzi type too. The bed, however, I was in LOVE with the bed. I fell asleep instantly and woke up feeling so incredibly refreshed. Very comfortable place. The staff are amazing. One of the girls there gave me a great tip on where to take my daughter to dinner, they helped me with information for the transit to visit other locations on the island, allowed me to keep my luggage there with them before AND after check in/checkout time. Just very friendly and a place I would definitely recommend and will stay at from now on.

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
    • 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.
EarthboxLaura, Manager at Earthbox Inn & Spa, responded to this review, June 24, 2014
Hi Auntie B,
Thank you for making our day with your lovely review! We are so happy, you had a fun, relaxing time and can't wait to have you come visit again.
Sincerely,
Steffi Wehner
Customer Service Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Earthbox Inn & Spa

Address: 410 Spring St, Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, WA 98250 (Formerly Elements Hotel & Spa)
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Washington > San Juan Islands > San Juan Island > Friday Harbor
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Green Hotel in Friday Harbor
#5 Family Hotel in Friday Harbor
#5 Romantic Hotel in Friday Harbor
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Earthbox Inn & Spa 2.5*
Number of rooms: 72
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Earthbox Inn & Spa is a delightful blend of cool resort motel and classic vintage motor inn with an indoor pool, full-service spa, stylishly renovated rooms, free wifi, free parking and complimentary bicycles. Centrally located in downtown Friday Harbor, only 4 blocks from the Washington State Ferry. Also enjoy the many outdoor area attractions including kayaking, biking, hiking, and wildlife/whale tours. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Earthbox Motel And Spa
Earthbox Hotel Friday Harbor
Earthbox Motel Friday Harbor
Earthbox Inn & Spa Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, WA

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