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“Better than the bad reviews”

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The Harbor House Inn
Ranked #4 of 5 Elk B&B and Inns
Sonoma
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Better than the bad reviews”
Reviewed May 29, 2009

Don't believe all the bad reviews. The inn is under new ownership and also has a new chef. Also remember everyone has their own interpretation and opinions even though they have stayed in the same place.

If you are looking for a plush and fancy inn don't stay here. If you want a charming, cozy and romantic atmosphere then this is your place. A historic craftsman home perched on a bluff above the ocean is the setting of this inn. We sat in the garden while we waited for the dinner service to begin. It was an ideal place to talk and watch the sun set. There are amazing views of the ocean from the garden, the dining room and some of the guestrooms.

There is a new chef. We enjoyed our dinner.(Dinner is included in the price of the room. A great value when you consider for the price of the room you are also getting dinner and breakfast. There is a preset menu with two entree choices- usually fish or meat. They will accommodate any requests due to dietary restrictions or food allergies.)
The servers were attentive and prompt with any requests. Remember that the inn is located in a tiny coastal town where the pace of life is slow and relaxed so expect this type of atmosphere during dinner. It took us and the other diners two hours to complete our dinner from the time we sat down to the end of dessert. That gave my husband and I the opportunity to enjoy all the courses (4 total) and talk. Isn't that the point of going away? Remember that alcohol and the server tip is not included. Breakfast was delicious with more than two choices and you can enjoy the view of the ocean during this meal as well. There are stairs that lead down to the beach below the inn. A great opportunity for taking pictures of the rugged coast and rock formations.

The woman who checked us into our room was friendly, welcoming and helpful. We didn't have a reservation when we arrived. There were a few rooms available and we were able to look at all of them before making a decision. We were able to get the room at a discount this way. Our room, the Cypress, was large and on the ground floor with a private deck and a view of the ocean. It has a comfortable king size bed with luxury bedding, a cozy fireplace (gas) and a large bathroom with a large clawfoot tub and shower combo and double sinks. There are no TV's but we took our laptop so we could watch a DVD. The only caution about this room is that it is adjacent to the lobby of the inn. The lobby has a piano and sofas in it which allows for guests to visit together in groups. The night we were there several woman were visiting in the lobby and playing the piano after dinner until after 11pm. There is no staff there that late at night to regulate noise. The noise carried back to our room and disturbed the romantic atmosphere. There are two other rooms adjacent to the lobby as well so consider this when choosing a room. I wouldn't stay in any of the ground floor rooms again for this reason. I think the cottages seem more private and quiet. Some of the cottages have large picture windows with incredible views of the ocean. The cottages are smaller with small baths but they do have fireplaces. They are close to one another but do not share any attached walls.

Overall the Harbor House is a quiet and relaxed location that is great for getting away from the hustle an bustle of everyday life which allows you to spend some undistracted time with your spouse. I liked the views the best. I didn't like the noise coming from the lobby. I hope you can enjoy the Harbor House as much as we did.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank KimmerSonoma
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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42 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (5)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
27 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed May 9, 2009

We have stayed at the Harbor House Inn at least 12 times in the past 25 years, most recently in March 2009. The innkeepers have changed, the dining experience has steadily improved (and lately is quite excellent), and the view -- it is one of the most dramatic and breathtaking on the California coast.

Make sure you take a walk down the stairs, through the beautiful coastal gardens, on a path to the private wild beach. After dinner, we like to retire to the sitting room and chat with other guests in front of the crackling 1915 fireplace.

We've stayed in most of the rooms over the years, and our favorite is one of the least costly: “the Greenwood room.”

This is an inn that reminds us of a nice European auberge/ high end hotel , where one can simply check in and then explore on foot -- and in the evening, walk down to a fine dinner -- without the bother of driving anywhere. On the other hand, in Elk (aka Greenwood – there’s a good story behind the town’s two names), there is little place to drive. (We do recommend a daytime drive to Mendocino, and /or a drive to and walk in the “pygmy forest” and adjoining redwood / fern canyon.)

In terms of site and rooms, we compare Harbor House to one of our favorite places in coastal France , Fort de l'Ocean, on the "wild coast" of western France/ southern Brittany.

-- Jake (http://parisandbeyondinfrance.blogspot.com/ )

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank PByF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
77 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
Reviewed February 11, 2009

I honestly felt as though when I booked, they were a bit too keen for me to stay and I might have been right. It was a friday night hence I would have expected the place even at this time of year to be busy, if the food is a ood as they say.

The rooms where compact, but clean and warm and the beds were very comfy. But the best bit is the view. We got there just in time for the sunset and it really was amasing.

It was then time for dinner, but they were not ready at the time we had asked to be there, so we waited. We sat by the window, even though it was by now pitch black out side and they really could do with a bit of double glazing. Infact the main building was looking a bit tatty.

The food sounded good and it was nice, but not quite the really good that we were expecting. It certainly was not the gourmet meal we had thought we might get, but on the other hand there was nothing wrong with it.

Breakfast was OK.

The best part of this was the location, if they could match that with better food and keep the place well maintained then it should be a winning combination, but I get the feeling it's just not going to happen with the present owners, which is a shame. I feel it is presently reliant on it's "old" reputation which it needs to rekindle to survive.

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — Reliance on it's old reputation
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Highbank-Condo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington, D.C.
Level Contributor
28 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed September 9, 2008

My husband and I took a week long roadtrip from Seattle to San Francisco. One of our stops was at the Harbor House Inn, and what a place! We were greated by name upon arrival by Linda, who kindly showed us around the main house, gardens, and to our room.

We stayed in the Shorepine Cottage, which was fantastic. When you sit up in bed in the morning, all you see is the ocean with incredible rock formations. The linens were luxurious, the bathroom was recently renevated, and the cozy fireplace was a nice touch. My only slight complaint is that the Inn is right off of Hwy 101, so you do hear any trucks that race by late at night or in the mornings.

Dinner and breakfast are included in the nightly rate. I had two special dinner requests that I made upon booking my reservation, which they remembered and honored. The food was fantastic, and the views from the restaurant even better. Breakfast was great too, as you had a whole menu to choose from.

Overall, I'd definitely recommend this place and stay here again if my travels ever take me back to Elk.

  • Stayed September 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank ccnolan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SanDiego
Level Contributor
107 reviews
62 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 115 helpful votes
Reviewed August 19, 2008

After a sweltering summer in many hot places, we happily pulled into the harbor House. God knows where the Harbor is, who cares? This old gem is gorgeous...lovely grounds. We were greeted by a very nice staffer who saw to our every need.
Our room was huge, with $900 linens, terry cloth robes, a fire place, and my personal favorite FREE WI FI that works! And that is good as there is no TV.
I was stunned my thifty hubby sprang for the $300 room, but happy to bask in some luxury. Wish I would have enjoyed the included $65 dinner a bit more....
Not sure there was really anything wrong with the food, though I don't like smoked salmon (the starter) and the entree (quail or chicken) was underwhelming. I snuck away during the main course to get my camera as the view of the Greenwood Bay was breathtaking...and came back to find the waitress retrieved my quail for a bit more cooking. Huh?
Rooms seem a bit near the main road..talk to me in the morning.
Staff is 'bend over backwards' nice though, but maybe at this price, they should be.
Stunning views, gorgeous grounds, nice trail to the beach.

  • Liked — Stunning views, really helpful staff
  • Disliked — Included $65 dinner that was so so
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank KJFromSan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Derby
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed July 15, 2008

We stayed at the Harbor House Inn on 22nd June 08. We had not pre booked we were just passing. It would have been a good idea to have kept on driving. The only good feature was the room. How can one describe the food ,there was a definite lack of it on your plate and the charge of $65 for a four course dinner was a scandal considering that all four courses would not have filled one plate. Breakfast the next morning was a disgrace. The eggs were greasy and the yolks were broken. We had better food at every other hotel we stayed at during our 3 week fly drive in America. This was by some way the most expensive hotel we stayed at and by even further the worst. We would not advise anybody to go to the beach, the footpath was downright dangerous. A small point but relevant our bill was split in two one payment for overnight stay and another for any add ons including gratuties. This obviously incurred two charges on our card for currency exchange. This was the only hotel in 3 weeks that did this.

  • Liked — Room
  • Disliked — Food
  • Stayed June 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Jasmineitaly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
st. louis, mo
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed June 30, 2008

great place!!!
i stayed there about 20 years ago and loved the views, the room and the dinner. unrelated vaca, we were planning on going to big sur this week . when the wildfires there began to make travel there iffy, i remembered the great time i had at the harbor house in the past and the current photos looked great. i called to say that i didn't know what was going to happen with our big sur reservations and that we were considering going north of san fran rather than down to big sur . given the situation, they let me hold a room until i could figure out what was going to happen in big sur with the wildfires there. ultimately our reservations at big sur worked out, but i am very grateful for the harbor house inn's courtesy in this manner. my husband and i will definitely go out of our way to stay there in the future because of their act of good will
thanks to harbor house inn.
\devil

Stayed June 2008
Helpful?
Thank devilwithabluedress
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Harbor House Inn

Property: The Harbor House Inn
Address: 5600 S Hwy 1, Elk, CA 95432
Location: United States > California > Mendocino County > Elk
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 5 B&Bs / Inns in Elk
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Number of rooms: 10
Also Known As:
The Harbor House Hotel Elk

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