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“Great place if you are looking for serenity”

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Whale Watch Inn by the Sea
Ranked #2 of 7 Gualala B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 9, 2013

My husband and I stayed in the Swan Room this trip. It is a beautiful, quiet, peaceful room. The breakfasts were awesome!! If you are looking for someplace to get to get away from it all, this is your place!

Room Tip: The Swan room is a large, quiet room. The downside is it is further away from the ocean and nearer t...
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank dbtravelor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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89 - 95 of 173 reviews

Reviewed January 5, 2013

Where do I begin? Its started with the reservation, I asked for a room and told them we had a 70lb dog. They thought the room i requested was to small for a large dog and offered an upgrade for the same price. When we arrived the late night innkeeper was more than helpful with getting us checked in and a glass of wine in hand before even showing us our room. Got to our room and the fire place was loaded and ready to light. Next morning great breakfast was served to our room. Left for the day to shop and hike and came back to cheese, crackers, salami and wine. What more can you ask for, you are treated like royalty. Great experience.

Room Tip: Anything on the second floor has better view or the largest rooms.
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Livindalife28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 29, 2012

This is a great little inn to get away from it all. Getting there is a bit of a challenge, but once there, it is quiet and peaceful. There are no TV's or clocks at the hotel, and cell phone coverage is a bit spotty. There is wi-fi that is usually pretty good. Surprisingly, it is just a short drive to the Alexander Valley and a number of award winning wineries. The people in the hotel are very friendly and a very nice breakfast is included. The "Silver Mist" is an especially good room. There was a hot tub in our room.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank 1CaliforniaBoy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 26, 2012

We stayed in the Showcase Suite. A great room, with fireplace and a view you will not believe. I don't think you could find a better view for Northern California's rugged coastline. The coast here is majestic, with towering cliffs and big rocks in crashing surf. This room has two decks. It was very private with a view worthy of the name of the room. Breakfasts were very satisfying. The coffee is not what it could be - I like a heartier darker coffee than they brew. Room was very clean. Would definitely recommend it to anyone who has not been there. Very cordial and gracious service, and pet friendly. There is a beach available at the bottom of the cliff, down a staircase.

Room Tip: Showcase was large and had a great view, with wood burning fireplace. Right off the lobby, but priv...
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  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank SactoDiner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 4, 2012

We stayed in the Crystal Sea room for one night, and the ambience, service, and accommodations were well worth every penny. Tracy greeted us with a glass of red wine upon arrival, toured us through the property (showing us several of the unoccupied rooms for future stays), and answered all of our questions. We were very happy with the location and privacy of our room (in a separate building with one suite below), the quality of the towels and bath robes, the warmth of the fireplace and carpeting, and the overall decor of the room (no flowery patterns). The breakfast consisted of a frittata, fruit, juice and coffee/tea and was delicious. Although 3 other rooms were rented that evening, we didn't see a soul as we walked the beach and sat on the patio overlooking the ocean to watch the sunset. The landscaping is top notch and the grounds are well kept. We will definitely return to this beautiful place.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank texasmargie2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 3, 2012

We stayed at the Whale Watch for two nights. It was probably once a five star B&B, now we rate it a four star (or slightly lower). To be more precise:

Setting: 5 Stars. Nestled on a cliff, overlooking the Mendocino Coast. Every room has a great view of the coast. You go to sleep and wake up with the sound of the waves. A delight.
Rooms: 3 Stars. Beautifully designed, with high ceilings, wood burning fireplaces (or stoves). But as many reviews have noted, the décor is 1980s, and some things in our room (such as the carpet and one of the sitting chairs) were clearly worn. Bed was OK but not all that comfortable. Our biggest pet peeve: the bedding would pass muster in an Econolodge but not in a hotel at this price point. Sheets and polyester comforters are low-end. Our pillows were soft and worn out. The night after we left the Whale Watch we stayed at America's Best Value hotel for less than $100 and the bedding was clearly nicer.
Breakfast: 4 Stars. Delivered hot to your room, on time. Nice. But (again) at this price point, it should be fresh squeezed orange juice, not supermarket brand quality. And a cappuccino option would be needed for us to get it to five starts.

So overall, this was a 4 star experience, below what we were expecting for what we paid.

A final (important) note on room location. When we first arrived at 3pm on a weekday, we checked into Crystal Sea. It was a nice room, one of the newer renovations. But it is located in a building about 30 feet from the road, so we found that we heard more car & truck noise than we did the roar of the sea. (This would probably also be true for Ocean Sunrise directly below). So we moved to the main building and stayed in a comparable suite and were much happier -- it is much quieter. So when you book, ask about how close your suite will be to the road. As trucks and Harleys can make a pretty big racket! And serenity is why you book at the Whale Watch.

Room Tip: A final (important) note on room location. When we first arrived at 3pm on a weekday, we checked int...
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank VT_Canadian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 24, 2012

This is the inn to visit in Sonoma if you don't care about anything except a having a truly romantic RETREAT for you and your significant other. There is nothing to do within five miles of the inn except to simply be with each other. We went to the Whale Watch Inn to celebrate our 25th anniversary and this Inn was magic.

We stayed in the Rose Room, and what an incredible room it was. A small private deck, a wood-burning fireplace, and the ocean just outside. The staff was available -- and very friendly, pleasant, and accommodating -- but they leave their guests alone. My husband and I spent three nights, and the days were spent visiting Sonoma wineries about two hours away, but the mornings and evenings were just . . . well . . . VERY romantic. The breakfasts were gourmet and nicely presented.

This inn definitely rates five stars, but just one minor complaint -- the bathtub was small, even for my size 10 body, and uncomfortable.

Finally, just a couple of warnings about the area. First, the roads to the inn are not for the faint-hearted -- very steep and winding, and there are not always guardrails. (Absolutely GORGEOUS and breath-taking views, though.) Second, we booked a wine tour through Mendocino Wine Tours, and we felt ripped off because despite being told we would visit at least four wineries, we only visited three and the driver had no sense of time, with the result that we did not have our picnic lunch until 2:30 which meant that we had to forego our 25th anniversary dinner as reservations were made for 6:00, to give us time to get back to the Inn. Also, one of the wineries visited -- Esterlina -- had, in our opinion, absolutely horrible wines. Then, if that wasn't enough, our driver gave "our" wine bought at another winery to another guest! Finally, we were presented with a "bill" for an 18% tip for the driver, amounting to an additional $70.00 on top of the $350.00 tour charge, and no mention of an expected tip had been mentioned at the time of booking. (We "only" gave $50.00, however.) Also, if you have know how to space tastings and how to taste, the wine tours are a waste of money -- again, just our opinion -- especially because the prices at any grocery or liquor store are actually LOWER that the prices the wineries charge for the same wines. (Go figure.)

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Kathryn F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Whale Watch Inn by the Sea

Address: 35100 S Highway 1, Gualala, CA 95445-9589
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Mendocino County > Gualala
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 7 B&Bs / Inns in Gualala
Price Range: $221 - $230 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Whale Watch Inn by the Sea 3.5*
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We have a motto here at the Whale Watch Inn and it is to provide you with "World Class service in a World Class setting." With 18 beautifully decorated guest rooms each with a dynamic view of the ocean, our rooms also all include a private deck and wood burning fireplace/furnace. Also included with your stay is a full breakfast, either delivered right to your room or buffet style in the Whale Room. We are committed to making your stay an out of this world experience by accommodating your needs, and paying attention to the details. We hope you will join us soon. The ocean is waiting! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Whale Watch Inn By The Sea Hotel Gualala

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