While staying at an B&B in Tennessee, we asked the innkeeper what was her favorite B&B and she mentioned Highland Inn and the Orcas. We watched her eyes light up as she described it, and we made a mental note. She has been there several times and was already planning her next trip there.
We could hardly wait to visit the island, Orcas and check out the place for ourselves.
We stayed here for 3 nights and LOVED it. Helen is quite the hostess who not only made us feel at home, she directly enhanced our trip by calling us to let us know when the Orca's were passing while we were out exploring other parts of the island.
The Inn only has 2 rooms, each perfectly decorated with fireplaces with a sheep skin rug in front (I still believe that it is Alpaca because it is sooooooo soft), a very comfy bed and what seems to be a bathroom suite complete with a steam shower and towel warmers. The rooms share a common huge balcony with a perfect view of the Haro Straights and Victoria.
Our main objective was to see the Orca's in their natural setting and we did. We saw them 5 times over our 3 days, each time for at least 2 hours, as the entire pod passed by below. When we saw them (or got the call) we would race down to Lime Kiln Lighthouse, park and they would pass close to the shore. That was about a 4 minute drive downhill. You could see them, and even hear them breathe from the balcony, but we opted to take the short drive and see them up close. Staying here took all of the guess work out of viewing the Orcas. Many others would just go to the lighthouse and stay for hours hoping to see whales, hit or miss. Usually miss. We met and excelled in our 'objective.'
The Inn is located on the much quieter west side of San Juan Island, basically opposite of Friday Harbor, where the ferry docks, and most shops, cafe's, and those touristy (not bad really) things to do are located. We were removed from most of the hustle and bustle and enjoyed sheer tranquility at the Inn. As far as I know, this is the ONLY place available on the west side. As such, it does book up quickly. We are the type of people that like to get out and actively explore different venues. But, I can easily see us (very unusual) simply staying here, not leaving the Inn, and doing nothing except enjoying the amazing vista and peacefulness of the balcony and room, smiling as we heard the whales passing below.
Breakfast was up to par with everything else that we experienced, which is saying something. Fresh fruits with creme, and a full hot breakfast cooked to order. Excellent coffee and freshly blended juices.
Helen offered a large window of time to select from for breakfast, which is a pleasant surprise from most B&B's. She also offers a choice of breakfast in your room or in the dining room, another nice touch. Actually, we were constantly impressed with the nice touches throughout our stay. The entire stay had a feel of first class. She is a first rate, experienced Inn keeper. Fresh lemonade and warm cookies upon arrival. Fresh fruit in the room. Each time we left and returned we found fresh cookies in our room. Incredibly comfy bath robes and sandals. Homemade bath soaps. Fresh cut flowers from the balcony in the room. A complimentary stocked refrigerator in each room. The water supply is thought to be glacier water from a 700 foot well. Bottom line, we were impressed all the way around.
Helen herself is an interesting person, if you can get her to talk about herself. She currently holds the ladies world record for gamefish. (The fish itself is located in Friday Harbor). Her amazing cookies have been published. The Inn constantly shows up in various magazines. No hype, this is truly one of "those" places.
If you have any questions about staying here, or San Juan Island, contact us, we'd enjoy reliving our experience here.
- Also Known As:
- Highland Inn Of San Juan Island Friday Harbor, WA
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- West side view from 88 ft veranda to Victoria, BC and the Olympics overlooking the Haro Straits. Orca whales, sunsets and stargazing. Full breakfast in your room or the inn dining room, 8 to 10. Daily afternoon tea and Mrs. King's cookies. Wood burning fireplaces, king beds, satellite TV, wireless connection, private marble bath with jet tub and steam bath shower. Inn of the month T&L, awarded 4 Kisses by Best Places to Kiss. ... more less