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“Great location, view, and service. Pricey considering surroundings”

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Nick's Cove Cottages
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed June 21, 2010

The one sentence titles are always tough. This place is great, but the prices are high considering that there is nothing to do in Marshall. And even compared to most places around here, it's a bit farther to, say, the Tomales Deli or Bakery or to Point Reyes than it is if you go just a bit farther north. So restaurants and etc. are not quite as close. 20 minutes isn't far, but it's not 5-10 either. So $275 a night minimum considering that seems a bit steep, without, say, a spa attached.

Having said that, they upgraded us to a room right on the waterfront because an earlier power outage had caused the water heater in the rooms across the street less than cooperative. The suite was amazing, with a terrific, right-on-the-water view of the Tomales Bay. The wood-burning stove is great. The heated tiled floors are nice, though with a nice pair of slippers perhaps not "the" feature I'd be going after. The rooms are decorated nicely without being too kitschy, and they're also modern yet quaint. No power outlets that will make you think you're about to blow up your laptop, etc.

The beds were nice and soft but my back hurt a bit so maybe too soft?

The service was excellent - upgrading us to the giant suite without hesitation just made the experience that much nicer.

Beware of parking if you're across the street - there basically isn't any. We were half on a hillside with our car until we got moved to the waterfront units.

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank kaiyen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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181 - 187 of 208 reviews

Reviewed May 28, 2010

My husband and I had been in for lunch last year and knew this would be the perfect place for a little R&R after a stressful week end. Mother nature dealt us a rainy afternoon, so we spent the afternoon in our cabin reading and stoking the fire and enjoying what little we could see of Tomales Bay. My husband loves oysters so he was in the center of his universe. The dining room is delightful with its rustic decor and stone fireplace, the bartenders were excellent and the food was creative and above average. Our bed was one of the most comfortable we've ever slept in and getting up in the morning took some effort. I must say that the bathroom in Nicolina left a lot to be desired. No place to put your toiletries. Standing in a claw foot tub for a shower with the curtains clinging to you is a trick, and the marine sink was just gross. Having to empty the sink like a bed pan every time you used it was repulsive. Because the water ran through a rubber hose over the ledge of the sink before it flowed freely one had to brush their teeth using bottled water like a third world country. Nick's Cove, however, does truly occupy one beautiful spot on this earth. For the outdoor enthusiast or photographer Nick's Cove is perfectly positioned near both Pt. Reyes National Seashore and Sam Taylor State Park with beautiful redwoods. The artisan cheese farms are also nice attractions here..

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank pucgal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 8, 2010

My husband and I stayed for some R&R. We live in Marin, and get out to Tomales to bike or hike on occasion. We occasionally have dinner at Nick's, and I've always wanted to stay. When we drove out, I was thinking that all I want is a place to read, hang with my husband and our dog, hike, and enjoy the bounties of West Marin and Napa that we packed in our icebox. (Never ever ever go through Pt. Reyes Station without stopping at Cowgirl Creamery!) So we check in, and Ann at the front desk was incredibly professional, accomodating, and hospitable. She anticipated every question and need, and was willing to quickly resolve any issues that weren't even her own - (like that we only packed red wine, and I wanted white.....she was over with a bottle from the restaurant toute de suite!) We happily set up camp on the deck of our cottage (Jerry's) which was roomy. The ONLY thing I would change about the set ups, is that the decks don't have comfy adirondack style chairs - just these uncomfortable things that are more akin to sitting upright at the dinner table. I appreciated how Jerry's and the next door cabin (in the same building) had separate walkway approaches - it really helped with privacy. We loved the wood stove, and our view of the bay was spectacular. The bed was comfort defined. The only issue I had was the significant ambient light that seemed to glow through the blinds. (Jerry's is above the parking lot, and eventhough the lights are shielded toward the buildings, you still get some light.) It wasn't enough to keep me awake, but it was indeed noticeable.

The next morning, we managed to arrange breakfast at the boathouse, and were glad to pick up our trays from the restaurant when they called to tell us they were ready (pier is public, and Nick's doesn't have a permit to serve out there). We built a fire in the outside fireplace, read the Times and the Chronicla, and watched the birds and the bay awake with the rising sun. Our dog loved it all.

I'm not a big spender on hotels (Ritz Carlton seems like a waste of $$ to me). Nick's is pricey - very pricey, but if you're looking for a romantic weekend away, doing slightly more than nothing, and to be pampered while you're at it, this is the place. It's remote, you get very unique accomodations, great service - it's worth the extra money. Pat Kuleto nailed this one!

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank winebabeskl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 5, 2010

We loved our second stay here even more than the first. Nick's Cove provides a great luxury escape. The cottages over the water (I have not seen the ones across the street) are expensive but exceptional. We went midweek to save some money, but they are really costly. But where else in California can you stay over the water in a luxuriously refitted fisherman's cabin?
The beds are first rate with great linens and down pillows and comforter. The bathrooms have marble floors that are heated, we even had a copper tub with a view of the bay. The bath products are organic and top rate. We stayed in big rock and had two baths and a second bed in a separate room. There is a wood burning fire place all ready to go.
The furnishings are funky fisherman, so may not be for everyone (especially if you like chic modern). It is sort of a refined shabby look with leather furniture and old pine armoires. Very fun and unusual.
In the morning they bring a small breakfast at a time you selected. There is coffee press, three muffins fruit and juice, but you can pay for a nice hot breakfast too. Expensive, but yummy.
The staff is really friendly and accommodating.
The only down side is the meal we had at Nick's restaurant was really overpriced, meager and not of great quality on this trip. This must be the 6th time we have eaten there and the first time we were disappointed.
There is some really nice hiking in the area and we found some great dining at The Marshall Store (a dive but with really good oysters and chowder) and in Point Reyes.

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled with family
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Thank Sparky22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 22, 2009

We recently stayed at Nick's Cove for our 10th Wedding Anniversary, our first time to the area. We had reviewed the area website and it looked like there were quaint little towns in the area to explore and have fun. If you are looking for this type of vacation, don't do it here. There is nothing to do or see in the nearby small towns. Only go here if you want to spend time at Point Reyes Preserve hiking and bird watching.

We ate lunch at Nick's Cove and had a nice lunch, but feel the waiter worked to up sell us on the food, because we had way too much food, and the tab was well over $100 for lunch. Would have been a lot happier if he would have told us about the lunch portions so that we didn't end up wasting so much food and spending so much money.

We also stayed at Nick's Cove Cottages. The room was nice and well appointed. However, the weather was warm and there had just been a large bloom of flies in the area. When we checked into our room (which was closest to the trash can area), I opened the doors for a little while to get the inside cooled off. During 15 minutes, about 100 flies came into our room. Thank goodness they supplied a fly swatter, because I spent the next hour swatting flies and then was grossed out by all of the fly carcases all over everything. The ones that remained in the room alive ended up haunting us the next morning once the sun rose. We decided to leave after one night and forfieted our second night because we didn't want to have to go through this again.

After we got past the fly issues, we went to the restaturant for dinner. The prices here are pretty high, and we were very dissappointed in the overall experience. Don't order the rare ahi appetizer because you get 3 very small pieces that are wafer thin for $16+ - a totally different experience from lunch. We also got caught in no mans land between table turns and it took almost well over an hour to get our food. The manager and waiter recognized this, apoligized and gave us a free dessert. It helped a bit, but was disappointing because we had such high hopes for this weekend since we were spluging for our anniversary.

Unfortunately, I would not recommend this area or restaurant to my friends.

Also, if you think there is something to do or see in Marshall, forget it. There is no town.

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank JDinNapa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 17, 2009

Stayed one night in August 2009. Room was fantastic and location cannot be beat. Very romantic. It would have been a perfect stay except for the mishap with the happy hour information. When we checked in, the young lady who took care of our room key brightly informed us of the $6 cocktails and $1 oysters during happy hour. We therefore proceed to return to the bar for happy hour and after happily ordering a dozen oysters each and 2 martinis, we were informed by the bartended that 'our' oysters were not the $1 oysters (as the $1 oysters were the chef's choice) and that our martinis were not part of the $6 happy hour cocktails either. An interesting little surprise, to say the least! He did end up adjusting the tab slightly, but it definitely felt like they could have done a better job of being clear on what the limits were to their happy hour. Needless to say, we decided to skip dinner in the restaurant as the experience did not leave us feeling good.

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank theom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 5, 2009

A group of ten of us (including two small children) stayed here for four nights over Memorial Day weekend, and we all had a wonderful time.

Having said that, I was very nervous about how it would turn out in the weeks leading up to the trip. My partner and I spend about a dozen weekends a year in the West Marin area, usually staying at more modest (cheaper!) cottage rentals around Tomales Bay. Since Nick's opened, we've eaten at the restaurant many times, and as others have pointed out, the service is inconsistent--great for one meal, not-so-great for the next. Same with the quality of the food.

Anyway, we're a group of old friends from SF and LA who have taken vacations near-and-far together over the years, and some of us have simple tastes, while others haven't stayed anyplace less fancy than a Four Seasons in years. I began calling Nick's one month before we arrived trying to set up a special birthday dinner in the boat shack. I left voicemails for the person listed as the contact for this kind of thing on their Web site, every week for a month, and never got a call back. I eventually gave up and called the main number and just pleaded with them to find someone to help me with the arrangements. In about 24 hours they got back to me and we had the menu planning squared away.

That initial lack of responsiveness, though, coupled with the uneven past experiences at the restaurant had me worried about what the experience would be for my group. I started trying to manage my friends' expectations before the trip by pointing out that while West Marin is one of the most beautiful places in the world, it's not known for five-star service. I needn't have worried. Nick's totally stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the park for us.

We rented three of the waterfront cottages. My partner and I stayed in Nicolina, which was very charming, however I wouldn't pick it for our next trip just because it's so tiny. There's a small dinette, but no viable sitting area inside--most of the room was taken up by the bed. Our friends shared two of the larger waterfront cottages, and everyone was thrilled with the accommodations. My fears about service disappeared when we arrived for check-in. The people staffing the office (and there were a few of them) could not have been more professional and gracious. We had breakfast in our cabins every morning, always delicious, and the room service waiters were just outstanding. On our first morning, just as we had finished our first pot of coffee, our waiter called and asked if we'd like another! On days that we stayed at Nick's for lunch, we'd let the front desk know and they'd have the Captain's Table (I believe it's called) cleared and ready for our group with very little notice). In late afternoons, the front desk would call the cabins and see if we'd like a specially-made treat sent from the chef, which was always fresh and tasty. The party in the boat shack was a real highlight. They don't have permits to serve food out there, but by improvising (meeting the waiter halfway down the dock to grab plates of oysters) it all worked out.

The two small children in the group adored the experience. I think mainly because the waterfront cottages themselves are like something out of a child's fairy tale. They never tired of cabin-hopping, playing on the beach, flying kites, etc. All in all, absolutely perfect for our group.

The only thing I would change is to make the decks on the cottages more private by having trellises or something between them. It was fine for us since our neighbors were our friends, but it would be a little awkward for a couple on a romantic weekend to have strangers sitting three feet away from you on the next deck.

If our group ventures back to the area, we will definitely stay at Nick's again.

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled with friends
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Thank GogoSanFrancisco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Nick's Cove Cottages

Address: 23240 Highway 1, Marshall, CA 94940-9713
Location: United States > California > Marin County > Marshall
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Specialty Lodging in Marshall
Price Range: $275 - $388 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Nick's Cove Cottages 3.5*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Nick's Cove Restaurant, Oyster Bar & Cottages is a West Marin icon. We are located directly on the shores of stunning Tomales Bay in the town of Marshall, California. We are open every day and welcome you to enjoy this very historic treasure for an overnight retreat or a stop midday to enjoy a delicious lunch on your Highway One travels. Our menu features local farm-fresh produce, locally sourced seafood and meats and our Executive Chef prepares a daily menu that focuses on the bounty we procure from our neighboring farms and ranches. We serve lunch Monday-Friday at 11 am; brunch Saturday and Sunday at 10 am and dinner every night at 5pm. We have twelve luxury cottages: five are situated directly on Tomales Bay and seven are situated across historic highway one in a meadow. Views and serenity abound! Wood burning stoves are ready to light each night and every morning our fresh pastries and french press coffee are delivered to your room! We look forward to seeing you soon! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Nick`s Cove Restaurant, Oyster Bar, Cottages Hotel Marshall

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