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“Faded Glory like a Scuffed High Heel Shoe”

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Benbow Historic Inn
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Garberville
Certificate of Excellence
Napa, California
Level 5 Contributor
47 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“Faded Glory like a Scuffed High Heel Shoe”
Reviewed August 3, 2013

We recently stayed two-nights at this hotel at the recommendation of Fodor's N. California Guide Book. I wished I hadn't read the book. The Benbow Inn was famous back in the 30's and 40's but is now a tarnished gem with a lot of scuff marks. If the owners simply upgraded the rooms, made the entry stairs (concrete ugly stairs up to a foyer) more charming, did some basic gardening maintenance and got rid of the flies in the lobby and eating areas it might be worth the price ($200/night).

We were in the main hotel. The rooms are old and small, have not been updated, have no television or any other device, have dated bathrooms and scuffed furniture. They were clean though. I booked on the Internet and we could have stayed in a newer "Cabin's Queen Room" for $30 more a night if we had know about it. This a newer area with newer rooms, with TV's and outside seating areas. So if you go ...Book the Lower Queen Rooms with TV's and outside seating or don't bother.

The did have pretty good coffee in the lobby at 7:00 AM and a SF Chronicle.

On the plus side, there is almost nothing else besides strip motels in the area .. so this old scuffed hotel maybe the only decent choice.

The dining room is actually very nice

Room Tip: Book the Lower Queen Rooms with TV's and outside seating or don't bother. Pay the extra $30...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank DRouatt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PortNo_California, Owner at Benbow Historic Inn, responded to this review, September 2, 2013
We were surprised at this review as we just finished a $600,000.00 renovations of all of our guest rooms and hallways. This guest room restoration included new wall coverings, carpets, draperies, some furniture (we kept the antiques), bathroom floors, plumbing fixtures and bedding. We also replaced the hallway carpets and wall coverings. Yet to be completed is the refinishing of our woodworking and antiques. Yes some of the antiques and woodworking details may show some "scuff" marks and those items are scheduled to be completed when we move into our slower season. Refinishing the woodworking in the guest rooms and hallways is a delicate project as we do not want our guests to experience the odors from the refinishing products. All art work is yet to be hung and we are working on putting some historical photos in the guest rooms along with our regular art work. The flies in the lobby and public areas sometimes do become a nuisance but the doors and windows of our historical inn did not include screens and we try our best to keep the flies to a minimum. Our historical building rooms do not nor have they ever had TV's and during this recent restoration we asked our regular guests if they would like them and the overall majority said, no. We do have new flat screen 40" and 55" in all of our Terrace Rooms and Premium Kings in our historical building rooms. Thank you for your review and we hope you return when all of our work is completed.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (193)
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English first
Portland, OR
Level 5 Contributor
64 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed August 2, 2013

We stayed only one night here and had dinner in the restaurant. The room was comfortable and appointed with luxury furnishings. The staff was helpful and friendly. This is a historic building and there are a lot of stairs. If access is an issue then try elsewhere. That was the only negative.
In the restaurant we decided to have several appetizers and then skip to dessert (a common habit of ours). The appetizers were wonderful. The presentation was perfection. The flavors were filled with pleasant surprises. A great Italian white was suggested by the waitress. This restaurant is paying close attention to their food!!! The chef came out to chat and we had a great time with him. Don't miss your chance at world class plates!!! What a surprise for Garberville!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank FrankEPortland_OR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DOSMManager, Director of Sales at Benbow Historic Inn, responded to this review, September 3, 2014
Dear Frank E. from Portland, OR,

As a resident of Portland, we know of the many great culinary options available to you in your beautiful city. We appreciate your remarks and we take great pleasure in sharing our guest's comments with our staff. Thank you again for your review.
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Bloomington, Indiana
Level 5 Contributor
65 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
Reviewed July 28, 2013

The Benbow is truly a diamond in the rough. When you first drive up you can't help to notice the overgrown vegetation out front?? I'm not sure what that's all about. It's apparent as well they are trying to put some lipstick on the old place as well. Check-in was easy and the bar was open A well needed break after spending the day on the road. While sitting and enjoying a cold beverage one can not help but notice how it really needs some deep cleaning. Our room was nice and quaint. They even have a complimentary decanter of cream sherry in each room.....well they forgot our room but we had the 2 glasses and the little card asking us to enjoy it. I guess I may have inquired about it but it wasn't until I read the back of the card the next morning that I discovered this. Overall it's not a bad place to stay. The restaurant is a different story. I have reviewed it as well. If I owned this place I think I would invest in a real general manager or beg hotel impossible to come and show you how it's done.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank btowndan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PortNo_California, Owner at Benbow Historic Inn, responded to this review, July 29, 2013
We appreciate this guests comments but just do not understand them? The overgrown vegetation out front is puzzling and the guest must be referring to the public road (Benbow Drive) and the freeway exit (Highway 101) as I agree does have overgrown vegetation and is out of our ability to control. Not sure what the comment means on "trying to put some lipstick on the old place"? He said his room was nice and quaint? We are in the finishing throws of completing a $600,000.00 renovation of our guest rooms, hallways and lobby areas. Not all the public areas are completed and not all guest room bedding and art work has been received and installed. We do have a real General Manager and the principles of the hotel have been operating lodging facilities successfully for a combined 60 plus years. Thank you for your comments.
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Austin, Texas
Level 3 Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed July 26, 2013

Perfect way to wrap up a day's drive from San Francisco. I practically live in chain hotels for work and am excited when I can slow down and enjoy an Inn who's first priority isn't rushing you out the door for your meeting. When I walked into Benbow's Victorian style lobby, I was greeted by friendly staff and beautiful décor from elaborate ceiling carvings to antique teddy bears.
I was pleasantly surprised that they carried my bags to/from my third-floor room for me. Kelby was even so kind as to request that I check in with he and the front desk when I returned from my evening walk, just to make sure I made it back okay. I felt absolutely safe during my walk, but it was nice to have them care about me. It's the little things that make this place so special - from the personal touches to the staff and wine recommendations from the wine connoisseur. In addition to wines by the glass and bottle, they also have a nice selection of half-bottles - bonus! Double-bonus, two gentleman sang Spanish love songs at dinner - the sound level was just high enough to set the mood, but not to drown out soft talking conversations at your table.
Premium Queen Bedroom: The bed was perfect and I slept under a warm down comforter with the windows open - the crisp mountain air was refreshing. Nothing quite like a hot shower with a window open, letting in cool, crisp mountain air. *Bliss*
I look forward to coming back here many times in the future!

Room Tip: Just looking at the layout, I honestly don't think you could go wrong with any of the rooms. I c...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank WhereTotoReallyWent
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paris, France
Level 6 Contributor
296 reviews
50 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 261 helpful votes
Reviewed July 12, 2013

At the start of a long road trip this was our very first stop, for lunch. Benbow Historic Inn, which opened in 1926, is a National Historical Place and is full of charm. The setting is really lovely next to the Eel River and it feels secluded. My impression of the lobby area was a positive one as it was nicely decorated and very inviting. Since it was a lovely warm and sunny day we decided to sit on the outdoor terrace overlooking the river. The service was warm and efficient but when the food came we were disappointed. There were three of us and we all ordered the reuben sandwiches. These were the skimpiest reuben sandwiches we had ever seen and they came only with a handful of lettuce drizzled with a champagne vinaigrette. For 15 dollars a sandwich one expects something a little bit more substantial. It is clear that you are paying for the ambiance here. I would have rated this as "poor" but the very good service on the part of the waiter moved my review up to an "average" rating. We took a walk around the property and they were in the middle of renovating many of the rooms. It truly looks like a wonderful place to stay but I hope the poor food doesn't reflect on the rest of the hotel.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank MiaGlobetrotter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Rosa, CA
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed July 11, 2013

We booked a Summer Romance Package for our 30th anniversary and stayed in a Terrace King Room July 1st-3rd. The hotel surroundings were beautiful and the room very clean and spacious. We ate dinner inside the restaurant which wasn't air-conditioned which probably would be fine except we were there during a heat wave. The dinner was ok, but the breakfast which we ate on the terrace was wonderful! If you don't want to eat in their restaurant for every meal, there is a store with a great deli in Garberville just 3 miles away. The hotel staff did nice things to make our stay special. There was champagne and a card in our room and a cheese, bread and fruit tray was brought to us later. The only thing that wasn't as advertised was we were also suppose to receive a box of chocolates. It took asking 3 people why we didn't get the chocolates before we found out that they had run out of them. But they made up for it by giving us handmade truffles from the kitchen which were delicious. It is close to The Avenue of the Giants and Humboldt Redwoods State Park which are a must see. All in all a very enjoyable stay.

Room Tip: We stayed in a Terrace King Room which was spacious and had a private patio which was nice to have b...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank SonomaCo_Girl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California,USA
Level 6 Contributor
116 reviews
102 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 94 helpful votes
Reviewed July 8, 2013

We stayed at the Benbow Inn 3 nights for the 4th oj July. The hotel has a pretty long history (have been built on the ‘20s) and it retain the old atmosphere. Rooms are very small with old furniture. The bathroom of my room was so small that I cannot share it with my wife (and the room was supposed to be a “premium room”).
The hotel in general looks clean but some improvement are needed (maybe some dust come from the past and it could be nice to see it but….)
The restaurant is pricey and not very exciting: we had 3 dinners there (basically you do not have other alternatives) and food never impress us. The wine list is interesting but the chef needs to add more creativity on his menu…
Overall, it is probably the best option you have in this part of California but the owners should not count too long on it.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank giogio42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Benbow Historic Inn

Property: Benbow Historic Inn
Address: 445 Lake Benbow Dr, Garberville, CA 95542-3616
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Humboldt County > Garberville
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Garberville
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Benbow Historic Inn 4*
Number of rooms: 55
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Opened in 1926. 55 Recently renovated rooms. On the National Register of Historic Places. Member of Historic Hotels of America. A beautiful country inn with fine dining serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Outdoor dining available in the summer. Next to Benbow KOA featuring golf, gas-powered carts and putting green. Located on the Eel River in the heart of the redwoods near the entrance to the Avenue of the Giants. Benbow Historic Inn is your California Redwood Retreat. Amenities include daily complimentary tea & scones, free lobby newspapers & WiFi, in room sherry & coffee, complimentary bicycles, seasonal pool & Jacuzzi, splash park, sport court, playground, meeting space, wedding venue, hiking & biking trails abound. A must see at the Benbow Exit 636 off US Highway 101. 199 Miles north of San Francisco in Southern Humboldt County. Numerous music and art festivals during summer months. Up to two (2) pets are allowed in our pet designated rooms, pending availability. The Benbow Historic Inn charges a $30 pet fee per visit. Those planning to bring furry companions MUST speak with a Front Desk Agent prior to making a reservation. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
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