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“Not As Good As It Should Have Been”

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Stanford Inn by the Sea
Ranked #6 of 25 Mendocino B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
139 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
“Not As Good As It Should Have Been”
Reviewed September 11, 2007

The Stanford Inn by the Sea is overpriced and overpromises though our family had generally a good time. First, despite promises our rooms did not really have views of the sea; instead at night we had views of Mendocino's only two traffic lights on CA-1. Second, the restaurant service was abominable. While breakfast is included, the menu emphasizes that the wait staff should be tipped - which I did. But why? For being seated every morning at a table set for two despite our being a party of four and having to scrounge for silverware and cups; for an apparent unwillingness to pour coffee promptly - a skill mastered by the lowiest diner; and, for observing staff clear tables, replace tablecloths and spray them extensively with some undermined liquid? A very big plus was the provision of bicycles and the rental of canoes on property - however, helpful, non-slacker service was not to be had. On the decoration scheme, it was odd every room, including public rooms, were decorated with large and elaborate clocks, but none of them were set. Bizarre. On the plus side the property has a wonderful indoor pool , a lovely collection of dogs and cats and only serves vegetarian and vegan food. And the scenery, ocean, trails and woods of northern California are unmatched.

  • Liked — swimming pool
  • Disliked — restaurant service
  • Stayed August 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank ChicagoFamilyGuy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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  • Value
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (148)
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English first
Woodbridge, Connecticut
Level Contributor
41 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed August 22, 2007

Medocino is a town that time forgot in a great way. This Inn fits right in with that feeling. As you turn into the driveway and see the beautiful gardens, you feel your stress beginning to leave and the tone is set for your visit. Rooms are spacious and comfortable. They include a fireplace, which we put to great use, and a deck that overlooks the gardens and the ocean. Bathrooms are large but dated. Staff are lovely and helpful. The restaurant is reknown for its vegetarian fare. The breakfasts were very good but our dinner there was disappointing. It is now vegan, in keeping with the owners' beliefs, which is fine but must they only have food that is odd and bland? Every other restaurant where we dined in the area, had delicious vegetarian food. We loved the Medocino area and had a terrific visit. Having such a nice place to stay certainly added to that experience.

  • Liked — We really liked the layed back atmosphere
  • Disliked — Bathrooms need a face lift.
  • Stayed August 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank NJNora
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston
Level Contributor
10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
Reviewed July 29, 2007

My husband, two kids, and I just enjoyed an 11 day northwest coast vacation staying at various inns in Northern California. We stayed at Stanford Inn by the Sea for 3 nights which was mostly enjoyable. It’s a very environmentally conscious place which is not necessarily a bad thing but it does sometimes compromise the experience for the customer. For example, everything you eat is organic and vegan, they do not put ice in your water, and they will not replace the towels in your room unless you ask. Also it constantly feels like their pushing there views on you; there’s all these “Why go Vegan” pamphlets posted in the lobby. Again it’s not necessarily a bad thing it’s just not what I expected. It is also very pet friendly which doesn’t bother me but it may bother some people. Also the service and especially the hospitality was marginal at best. It was amazing how inferior the service was at this place, compared to Tu tu Tun Lodge, which we stayed at a couple of days earlier. But the location and other accommodations were pretty nice so it wasn’t that bad of an experience.

LOCATION: The resort itself is located around downtown Mendocino with the beach in view from the resort. The exterior of the lodge is very attractive. There is a large field of flowers in front of the main area of rooms which really creates a nice view from the balcony. There are also horses and llamas (yes llamas) beyond the flower beds. The lobby was nothing special and was actually kind of a turn off. It looked more like a small store than a lobby. It didn’t feel like a quaint lodge at all. Though they do have classical music playing throughout the lodge which creates a nice atmosphere.

ROOMS: We stayed in a Big River Room for $310. It was very small (especially for 4 people) but overall it was ok. Lots of wood which we defiantly enjoy. The balcony had a great view of the beautiful grounds and ocean. Though the view of the ocean is quite distant. The fireplace in the room was also very enjoyable. We lit the fireplace every night and our kids’ roasted marshmallows. The bed looks very nice but it was actually a bit uncomfortable. It’s one of those beds where you completely sink into the mattress. Also the bathroom is in definite need of renovation. It is completely done in this ugly tile which is really quite a turn off. It is not mildewing or anything but it is probably pretty old.

DINING: We ate dinner offsite every night but we heard the food was fine. Breakfast was also pretty good but the service can be very slow. One morning it took them literally 20 minutes to get us water. It always seems like they under employ at these places; there were only a couple of waiters working the whole place. You get a complementary breakfast and glass of OJ every morning. But after your first glass you have to pay $5.50 for every glass afterward which is ridiculous. They serve typical breakfast foods (no meat) like fruit, pancakes, scones, ext.

SERVICE: We had a lot of problems with the service and hospitality here. The Stanford Inn prides itself on being a mom and pop ownership but it really didn’t have the hospitality that other small b and b’s have. With only 33 rooms, you’d think the service would be more personalized. Though a lot of the staff was nice, like the guy that welcomed us to the lodge, some of the staff was either misinformed or just plane indifferent. Most of them seemed like they were trying to be nice but just came across wrong. I asked one lady if there were any ice crème parlors around the area and she looked at me like I was stupid or something. She acted like it would be ridiculous for an ice crème place to be open at 9:00 PM on a Friday night. Some of the ladies at the front desk seemed to be very indifferent and sometimes even standoffish. It seemed like they were defensive if you asked a question they didn’t know but once they knew the answer to the question they acted friendly. It was almost like they were constantly on guard for a question they didn’t know. The service here seems to handle the simple stuff fine but they generally seem oppositional about working with you to solve a problem. For example, we had to leave very early our last morning and I asked if they could fix us up some breakfast before we leave. One of the ladies I asked said no and it would be impossible b/c no one is up that early. Though thank god I found another lady that said they could simply make it the night before and give it to us to put in our fridge. It’s a shame all the people who work here couldn’t be more like that.

ACTIVITIES: There is biking and kayaking in the ocean which is always fun. There is also an indoor swimming pool which is nice but you wish there was one outdoors as well. There is also a hot tub and sauna in the pool area which is always nice. We enjoyed the fact that they had a fitness center on property. There was also a spa which I’m sure was very nice but we didn’t get a chance to check it out.

OVERALL: Overall this place was not that bad. The location was very nice and the beauty outside the lodge was spectacular. They just need to remodel some of the lodge and improve the quality of the service. They also need to make the lobby more inviting and friendly. Right now the lobby is basically a store. When you compare the hospitality of other small inns around the country like the Tu Tu tun lodge to Stanford Inn it just doesn’t size up.

  • Stayed July 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
5 Thank thehotelconnoisseur
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed July 19, 2007

This is the 2nd time I have stayed at the Stanford Inn. The first time was in the of 1995 and I was travelling with my sister and her dog. This is a super pet friendly hotel, so i was worried that coming back on a non pet trip, that the room would smell like dogs, or there would be dog hair everywhere. I would of never even known that pets were allowed in my room. Just as I remembered, super comfy beds, nice decor, just such a cozy inn, with a great view, and one of my favorite getaways in Northern California. I didn't have time to use the heated pool this time, but that indoor solarium is one of my favorite things about this place.

Enjoyed the breakfast in the vegan restaurant. If you are with people who aren't open to healthy non meat eating, they may not like it, but I thought it was great.

I love this place, just wish it wasn't so pricey, but it is worth paying a little extra for a nice getaway.

  • Liked — The environment
  • Disliked — The price
  • Stayed April 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
Helpful?
3 Thank formalika
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Northern California, USA
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed December 10, 2006

We booked 2 nights at the Stanford Inn for a special birthday celebration - we wanted to bring our 3 big dogs to Mendocino and options were limited. The Stanford Inn turned out to be a fantastic choice! Despite the (truly) pet-friendly policies, the rooms are immaculate, and in contrast to some of the other reviewers, we found the service to be uniformly helpful, efficient, and friendly (especially the dining-room staff). The rooms and grounds are rustic and beautiful, with a small farm on site, and while the Inn lacks some of the sweeping views of the ocean and bluffs of some of the other lodges in the area, it's nestled in a beautiful canyon surrounded by tall trees, and is immediately next to the town of Mendocino. The place is very well thought out, with great suites (two couples can share a suite with separate beds/baths), a covered walkway all along the periphery shields you from rain (not infrequent in this area in the fall/winter), huge bathrooms, fireplaces in every room, an indoor pool, sauna, and spa services available on site.

We have never stayed anywhere so welcoming to dogs - they are allowed in the rooms (although not unattended), even on the furniture (protective sheets are provided), and if they're well-behaved, even in the main lobby where meals can be served if you care to eat with your pooch at your feet. Ribbon-wrapped dog biscuits are provided daily along with treats for the humans.

We only had breakfast (included in the nightly rate) at the Inn - the food was good (not great) but pricey, and since we're omnivores we opted to go elsewhere for our other meals, but for vegetarians and vegans this is a great option.

Overall, a very beautiful, though not cheap, place to stay in a spectacular setting.

  • Liked — Great pet policies, beautiful, comfortable rooms
  • Disliked — Pricey
  • Stayed December 2006, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
5 Thank Moki
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Altos, CA
Level Contributor
40 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed October 10, 2006

The last time we stayed in Mendocino with our 2 pugs, we enjoyed the Inn at Schoolhouse Creek. This time, they were booked, so we found the only other place that sounded appealing (though a bit costlier) and would welcome our pooches.

Located on Big River, just a stone's thow from downtown Menocino, the Inn is welcoming with warm wood tones, and a friendly staff.

It's larger than Schoolhouse Creek Inn, and all rooms over-look the large organic garden (providing produce for the Raven's Restaurant), out to the Ocean.

Even though we had one of the last rooms available, it was quite large, with a very comfortable queen bed, fireplace, sitting area, desk, small balcony, tv w/VCR (they have a large collection of movies to choose from), phone, wireless internet, bathroom with a large shower (we happened to have a handicap-access room), all-natural soaps, lotion, etc. For the dogs, there were sheets provided to cover the furniture, large water bowls, dog biscuits wrapped in ribbon, and a frisbee.

We didn't use the pool or hot tub, nor take advantage of free bicycles provided. But we did enjoy breakfast burritos, french toast with real maple syrup, organic coffee and fresh-squeezed juice and other marvelous dishes from their FULL breakfast menu - included in the price of the room! (Suddenly it didn't seem quite so expensive). Also, our dogs could join us at breakfast provided we ate in the lobby area, and not in the regular dining room.

They offer spa services, and I got a facial that was relaxing and refreshing - just what I wanted.

What's missing? An enclosed area to let the dogs run. We had one of the few, if only, rooms that did not have an enclosed porch. Even so, it would have been ideal if there was an area to let the dogs run off leash. But hey, we are "neurotic" dog-lovers, and our dogs got plenty of exercise (as did we) on the miles of nearby trails.

  • Liked — Ambiance, amenities, value.
  • Disliked — no place to let the dogs run off-leash
  • Tips/Secrets — Restaurant is vegetarian with vegan options.
  • Stayed October 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank rubycafe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed September 21, 2006

The Stanford Inn by the Sea is great. Rooms are comfortable, nice and the Inn’s staff is very friendly and helpful. Breakfast is unbelievable – you can pick from their breakfast/brunch menu and it’s really good food with fresh vegetables from their own garden. My wife and I enjoyed our stay very much. Some evenings were chilly and the fireplace was very comfortable and romantic. The only downfall, if you can even call it that, is that one has to walk along the high way to get to the village of Mendocino. The walk is not long (maybe 15 minutes) but mostly along Highway 1.

I recommend the Stanford Inn by the Sea to everyone!

Stayed August 2006
Helpful?
4 Thank TravelerPF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Stanford Inn by the Sea

Property: Stanford Inn by the Sea
Address: Highway 1 & Comptche Ukiah Road, PO Box 487, Mendocino, CA 95460
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Mendocino County > Mendocino
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 25 B&Bs / Inns in Mendocino
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Stanford Inn by the Sea 4*
Number of rooms: 33
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Nestled on a hillside, the exquisite Stanford Inn sits atop a meadow overlooking Mendocino Bay. Embodying the best of the rugged Mendocino Coast, the Inn is a haven. The rambling lobby, guest rooms, and suites are paneled in pine and redwood. Every detail is attended to, from wood-burning fireplaces set and ready to light to the sumptuous organic breakfasts. Inspired by the Stanford's Certified Organic gardens, The Ravens' restaurant is outstanding and nationally acclaimed for its vegetarian cuisine. Guests are indulged at the Inn's Massage in the Forest and private yoga sessions. Canoeing and kayaking on Big River, California's new State Park. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Stanford Inn By The Sea Hotel Mendocino

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