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“Romantic and Peaceful”

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Whale Watch Inn by the Sea
Ranked #1 of 7 Gualala B&B and Inns
Northern California
Level Contributor
40 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
“Romantic and Peaceful”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 6, 2007

My husband and I stayed at this property in October 2006. It was a spur of the moment trip and we arrived fairly late on a Saturday evening. Check in was easy and we were shown right to our room. Our room had a fire place (fire wood was provided) a balcony with an amazing view of the ocen through beautiful redwoods and a very large jacuzzi tub. (No phone or TV in the room, which was fine by us and we did not have cell reception. There is a phone in the lobby to use if necessary).

We were invited to a gathering in the main room for wine and appetizers. There was a very large round fire place in the center of the room and the hostess/owner was serving the wine and appetizers. It was very nice and we enjoyed talking with some of the other guests. We drove back to into town for dinner and it was very good, sorry don't remember the name. We enjoyed the hot tub (warning....do not turn on the jets until the water has COMPETELY covered them). The fireplace was wonderful as it got pretty cold and romantic! There was a delicious breakfast delievered to our room in the morning and newspaper. We explored the property after breakfast and went down to their private beach. It was very nice but be prepared to climb many stairs. Overall our stay was great! For the price however, I do think the owners should consider updating the rooms and definately update the mattress. Otherwise, fantastic!

  • Liked — The beautiful views
  • Disliked — Uncomfortable bed
  • Stayed June 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank keybjones
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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161 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (34)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
Level Contributor
38 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 4, 2007

My wife and I were taking a weekend to drive CA 1 home after being apart for much of three months due to work assignments. We were looking for a looking for an oceanfront property in the general Mendocino area that would allow a Saturday only stay. This was one of the few that was available. It turned out to be a good choice.

The property is small and cozy and sits atop an 80 foot ocean bluff just north of Anchor Bay - about 5 mile north of Gualala and 45 miles south of Mendocino. We stayed in the "Swan" unit.

Pros:
1)The first thing that strikes you is the sense of privacy of the small cluster of buildings nestled in lush vegetation just off of the highway. You could easily drive by and miss it. The mature landscaping was particularly beautiful and in full bloom the first week of June.

2)The owner/hostess and staff are absolutely delightful - pleasant attentive and friendly. Seems like a small, mostly family staff. All expressed a clear and genuine interest in their guests.

3)The room was spacious and well decorated in mint green and crimsons - a bit dated in some regards. Very small kindling wood is supplied for the fireplace which lights easily. Nice attention to small details - two wine glasses with corkscrew and champagne bucket were on a small table just inside the door. Comfortable bed. Classical music piped in (until 10 PM) with variable volume control.

4) There is a "private" beach that is accessed by a quirky (but safe) 138 step wooden stairway down the face of the bluff. (The beach isn't really private, only the access.) It was a beautiful little spot for an early morning walk. Two small groups of fisherman/abalone divers were just pulling up their boats. A tiny rivulet cascaded down over the bluff and there were starfish and anemones galore in the tidepools at low tide. All in all pretty idyllic.

5) The delivered-to-your-door breakfast was very good if not overly abundant - homemade banana crepes and cranberry muffins, fresh fruit, juice and coffee. If you're looking for a hearty bacon and eggs farm breakfast this isn't it, but my wife and I aren't big eaters so it was just fine for us.

Cons:
1) The "spectacular" ocean view was not quite up to its billing (see photo). The "Swan" is a second floor unit and you see mostly the roof of the unit next door. There is a nice vignetted view through the trees, but most of the vegetation has grown up and the view is limited from the small balcony - not quite as pictured on the website. I would recommend a unit in the main building for a better view, but even there it is not a sweeping panorama. A little trimming could go a long way toward opening up the views without impacting the sense of "lushness" and privacy.

2) Interiors - Can't speak to the other rooms because they were occupied and we could not get a look. Ours was nice but not perfect. Very clean but fixtures and some of the furnishings needed upgraded. The double jacuzzi tub was plastic and cracked. Stained mirror over bath lavatory. Bathroom needed an overall update. The window blinds throughout were cheap, plastic and in need of repair. Kitchen appliances were serviceable but older.

3)Cost - a bit high for what you get - $220-290. Add the 10% tax and you're into a good chunk to shell out per day even for a coastal stay. For this rate in a non-historic facility I expected the rooms to be immaculate with no needed upgrades or repairs.

4) Location next to the road made our unit a bit noisy, although there is very little traffic on CA 1 after 11 PM. One interesting and funny note - we were awakened early by what sounded like woodpeckers loudly pounding on several different places on the building - went on for over an hour around dawn. Couldn't find any evidence of woodpecker holes. Just before leaving we noticed robins landing on the roof part of the garden windows in the kitchen and bath - their landings, takeoffs and pecking were what made the reverberating noises!

This is not a luxury resort property and is not meant to be. It is a cozy, romantic little retreat that will provide a respite and recharge your batteries. Overall a property I would definitely recommend but only in competition with some other very interesting spots all along that section of the coast.

  • Liked — Location and setting
  • Stayed June 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank CascadesRanger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Rosa, CA
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 2, 2007

OK, I admit I was a little skeptic by some of the review I had read of this lovely B&B, but took the leap and booked. If you are looking for excitement...this is not the place. It seemed to be just the place for us. We were not disappointed. The Inn is beautiful and sits on the rugged coast north of the town of Gualala. The rooms are all different, and furnishings are somewhat modest but clean. We stayed in the Cypress room. Its not the Ritz Carlton, but the ambiance, sounds of the ocean, peacefulness and the thoughtful staff that make this place. A delicious breakfast with fresh muffins, fruit and egg dish and a big pot of coffee arrive at your door each morning. There is a wine list in the room and there is a small fridge. We played cards, read, drank wine and watched the wild winter surf from our deck and slider door next to a nice fire. There are no TV's or radios. There is classical music piped in but we opted to bring a CD player to listen to our own music. There is a wine and cheese reception in the lobby in the early evening, however we did not attend. I would stay here again. Its a lovely little gem.

  • Stayed February 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank KTzip
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
silicon valley
Level Contributor
51 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 23, 2007

I've been to this inn six times over the last few years (each time in a different room) and have not tired of the gorgeous views, privacy, and unique open airy feeling the rooms here provide. This is a place you come to if you crave hearing the sound of waves crashing beneath your private deck while decadently soaking in a jacuzzi tub with a fire roaring and nothing to do except relax. This is NOT a place to come to if you need TV, phones, internet access, newspapers, action and excitement, or perfectly modern and updated decor to have a good time. Some things at the inn are a bit hit and miss (some days a great breakfast is delivered to your room, other days a so-so breakfast with the order mixed up appears, and not uncommonly one thing or the other in the rooms is broken and in need of repair or replacement). However, I've found the management responsive to requests and concerns and friendly and the overall setting and experience remains seductive and enjoyable. I will definitely return.

Helpful?
4 Thank relaxed53
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sacramento
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 22, 2007

I have been to Gualala 3 times. Hubby and I are from Sacramento. I love the area for how peaceful and quiet it is. We are in our mid-twenties and enjoy getting away. We have stayed at the Breaker's Inn before and another smaller hotel. We decided to take a leap and try a different hotel for a change. When I did a search to find other hotels in the area Whale Watch Inn came up. Pefect, I thought. The website looks so good and well the view is different from this hotel than it is anywhere else.

So my husband and I booked 2 nights very excitedly in the Bath Suite ($280 a night). The drive up was beautiful and breath taking. What happened next was not. We drove up to the hotel and talk about immediate disappointment. The building is pink and looks like it is in disrepair. Not what I had in mind for $280 a night. We walked into the main lobby and was greeted by one of their check-in staff members. She went back to bill us for the second night and my husband and I seriously considered cancelling the reservation on the spot. We stuck it out and decided to stay.

She showed us to our room IN THE MAIN LOBBY directly across the hall from the community bathroom! And smack dab, I mean smack dab next to another suite. NO PRIVACY! The room is two stories and very small. The bed is not comfortable, the deck is small, and the spa tub is upstairs and part of the faucet was broken (functional, but broken). The spa has no view of the ocean, but instead you can look at Hwy 1. Talk about scenic. The bathroom was not as clean as I would have expected it to be and was right across the way from the bed. What a joke! The decor was so out of date and the spiral "luxury" staircase was wobbly. The breakfast every morning was some renovation of a mexican breakfast and barely edible. Not good food. I don't know if it was an off weekend or what, but I was not impressed.

The journals were a nice touch but definetly not enough to keep you occupied. There was no champagne to greet you in your room as there was in other Gualala hotels we stayed in. There is NOTHING around and you have to drive atleast 5 miles to get to anything. The walk down to the beach is down right scary don't even TRY to attempt after dark. Overall it was a huge albeit expensive mistake to stay there. And I second the previous comment about the book that she is selling, what a total laugh! You can tell they are just doing what they can to make money of that overpriced hotel without paying for MUCH needed renovations.

If you are considering this place please think twice. We also peeked in the room right next to ours also a $280 room and it was so tiny. I would recommend the Breakers Inn if you are considering a trip to Gualala. I had to give this room a neutral because the view is absolutely breathtaking and cannot be found anywhere else in Gualala. I wish they would bulldoze this place down and build a hotel worthy of the view.

  • Liked — View
  • Disliked — Quality of room
  • Stayed November 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank graciegirl82
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 9, 2006

This place is beautiful and you must see it for yourself to see the beauty in it and its scenery. We were also wed here and it will stay with us forever. The rooms are nice and the breakfast is delicious! They have the best coffee here we have ever tasted!! On Saturdays they have wine & cheese so book on the weekend if possible. Everyone is very pleasant but please avoid Kazi, she is very exaggerating and can be annoying. Jim Popplewell is very nice and inviting so try talking to him or Gretchen.

  • Liked — The views!!! The fireplace!!! The wine!!! The peace!!! Your company (husband, s.o, etc)
  • Disliked — Kazi Popplewell, she exaggerates and can be rude
  • Tips/Secrets — Do not book the Morning Light or Cliffside rooms, you will be disappointed to spend your money there!
  • Stayed September 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank Tinkerbelly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Heidelberg
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 26, 2006

My husband and I stayed two nights at the inn during our honeymoon. We had the Bath Suite with ocean view. We expected a little bit more in terms of comfort having read the other reviews, but overall it was for us a nice stay and for us very romantic. The room and the interior was not up to date but everything was clean and nicely arranged. On our arrival a bottle of champagne was waiting for us in our room as a gift and as we entered they right away offered us a glass of wine as welcome drink. The service was very good and we had no problem with having no TV or other amenities of that kind. We enjoyed being close to the ocean and Highway 1. The fireplace was also a highlight in the evenings. The hotel is about 5 miles away from the Gualala and you always have to drive to get to a restaurant.

I must confess that the hotel is a little bit over priced but compared to other locations on the Mendocino coast still not too expensive. Definitely we enjoyed our stay. We probably will stay there again on our next trip to North California but then in a more moderate priced room.

  • Liked — The ocean view and the fire place
  • Disliked — The interior
  • Stayed August 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Chicalita
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

Property: Whale Watch Inn by the Sea
Address: 35100 S Highway 1, Gualala, CA 95445-9589
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 #1 of 7 B&Bs / Inns in Gualala
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
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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