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“VERY Disappointing Stay”
Review of Sea Ranch Lodge

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Sea Ranch Lodge
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in The Sea Ranch
Certificate of Excellence
Chicago, IL Suburbs
Level 5 Contributor
92 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 115 helpful votes
“VERY Disappointing Stay”
Reviewed September 3, 2007

I stayed once at the Sea Ranch Lodge (SRL) many years ago and was looking forward to my recent return - unfortunately it did not at all live up to my expectations.

Last May I made reservations for both a hotel room and for dinner on August 30th (four months in advance).

Upon arrival - registration was smooth but I did get quite a surprise. I made the dinner reservations for 6:30pm and asked for a window seat if possible. When we checked in, I was told that my dinner reservations had been changed to 7:15pm (totally without my approval and even a prior notification) so that we could be guaranteed a window seat. Needless to say, I was a bit taken-back by this action - but was pleased to get the anticipated window seat.

Arriving at the room, we found it to be extremely hot. We did know ahead of time that there wasn't any A/C in the hotel. I tried to call the front desk to see if we could get a fan in the room to try and cool it down. I called and called and there was no answer to be found at the front desk for nearly 90 minutes. Per their voice mail, I did leave a message for the front desk to return my call. They never did prior to me finally getting a hold of them. When I did finally get someone, they told me - "sorry, it was an unusually hot day that day and that the room would cool off in the evening and that they didn't have any fans on the grounds to let us use." Needless to say, I wasn't happy. Granted the room did cool off about 10pm ---- but the heat made the room uninhabitable until then. We had to leave an unsecured window and the room door open to get any kind of temperature relief in the room.

When arriving at the restaurant - the hostess walked us to our table - and to our utter surprise - it was against the back wall of the room. We said that our reservation was moved by the front desk 45 minutes later than we wanted so that we could have a table by the window. They looked at us, like we were crazy and knew nothing about this. Needless to say, we were not moved to a different table (they were filled) and we were not happy yet again.

Dinner was very unexceptional and was in a tappas (small plate) style for the evening. I very much understand this type of dining - but I'm sorry - $1.50 for one plain roll and one pat of butter is outrageous!

When checking out, the front desk staff did ask how our stay was and I told them 'very disappointing' and told them of the numerous errors in their customer service. I also told them that I was going to write a less than satisfactory review on this site. They did not try and fix any errors or offer any kind of compensation - and all they said was 'thanks for the information.'

This resort is physically 'tired' and very lacking in all aspects of customer service. It did not live up to any of my expecatations.

  • Liked — Location and View
  • Disliked — Rooms were tired - and hotel lacked ALL customer service qualities.
  • Stayed August 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank ChgoSailor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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768 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (59)
Date | Rating
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English first
New Market, Maryland
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed July 29, 2007

Everything at The Sea Ranch Lodge is almost perfect!

While I was prepared for spotty/no cell service and no TV, my husband was not. However, we both agree that we couldn't imagine the Sea Ranch with these. There is internet service, but why take away from the quiet and peace you have while visiting. It is like taking a step back into a time very few remember or know. There is no A/C, but we did have a room with a fireplace, not used as this was summer time. I also must comment that we had no need to use the A/C at all and this was in July! The daytime highs were 68-73 and I believe pretty average for this time of year. Sleeping with the window open and only hearing the ocean was beautiful, even for afternoon naps! In fact one night my husband wanted to close the window because of the cool breeze. The only complaint about heat was when we first entered the room, and I must admit at that point my husband was not happy at all. We had two huge windows, one west and one east, both opened to the sun and the room was hot and stuffy when we entered. It took a while after opening the ocean window before the room cooled. We both agree that a ceiling fan, or even just closing the blinds over the east window would have made a huge improvement and major difference upon the first impression when entering the room.

While the bed and pillows were very comfortable (and a beautiful view out over the coast), the quilt was tired looking. The bathroom was clean and had a large counter, but the shower had a hand held sprayer that would not tighten to a position above your head. The towels were surprisingly soft. We had delicious coffee in the restaurant, but the coffee brand in the room was horrible and bitter tasting. In front of the huge window overlooking the coast was a comfortable leather chair with pull out foot rest, you could sit for hours captivated by the view or reading a good book. I do not understand why there was only one! Also, the window needed to be cleaned, and perhaps with the moisture from the ocean this is impractical.

The fruit left each morning by the staff was delicious and perfect for a snack, and I believe we also received the San Francisco newspaper (cant remember, and we are not from the area). Speaking of the staff, everyone we had contact with was very nice. Always helpful and thorough.

We chose not to eat every meal at Sea Ranch and traveled north to the small town of Gualala, and were not disappointed. While not as fancy, the other restaurants each had their own unique charm and menus. We were pleasantly pleased, and thoroughly enjoyed the trips (10 mins) more ocean to see!

We stayed over a long weekend for us, and must comment that we hardly saw other people. The parking lot was full, and there were always others when we dined, but at the same time it was like you were the only people there. I heard children laughing outside, but never saw them. Part of the charm I guess.

Perhaps my complaints seem picky, but at $300 a night, this could be perfect with a few extra touches. The only reason I am rating above average is because of the view from our bed.

  • Liked — the ocean view
  • Disliked — needs to be updated, another leather chair
  • Stayed July 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank emsmom89
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed July 24, 2007

I've been to the Sea Ranch Lodge many times, and it's an absolute gem of a place. True, there are some amenities that are lacking, but that's really not the point of being at Sea Ranch. It's about the location - which is mind-blowing - and the warm, rustic environment that is delightful and unharried. For travelers who are expecting the Ritz Carlton, it's important to remember that the location of Sea Ranch is very remote and relatively unpopulated...you simply aren't going to have all of the usual perks. What you do get is is astonishing natural beauty, great food (and wine!) in the restaurant (not common on the north coast), privacy, and one of the most impressive stretches of coastline in the country. I sort of hope the folks who are overly concerned with amenities DON'T make the journey to Sea Ranch and spoil it for the rest of us. Indeed, the room rates are not cheap, but running a full scale hotel in a remote area of northern California is not inexpensive. There are so few places like Sea Ranch...I'm just grateful that it exists for those of us who appreciate it.

  • Liked — The setting is stunning!
  • Disliked — A few more amenities would be nice, but doesn't detract from overall experience
  • Stayed July 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank earlygirl35
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Livermore, CA
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed March 27, 2007

We recently spend three nights at the lodge. I booked a corner room with a king bed and was promised views of the ocean to the front of the lodge and up the coast. At check in, we were given a map locating our second floor room and told where to park. There was no elevator to the room and there was no one to help with our luggage. The room itself, while nicely furnished, was basically an upscale motel room with a very small bathroom and not worth the price. There wasn't even a small refrigerator. But the views from the room's window seats! - worth every penny - we could see miles and miles of obstructed coast line and ocean. In the afternoon the sun streamed in, warming everything up and giving the sitting area a relaxing ambiance. At night, with the windows opened, the sound of the ocean lulled us to sleep.

The best thing about the lodge and the reason I would return is the location. Walk out the door and head out to sit on the bluff overlooking the ocean, climb on rocks, amble along a nearby beach, or follow a well-maintained trail for miles and miles on the bluffs right next to the ocean. From the lodge we hiked to a marine preserve to watch the harbor seals sunning themselves and spent a good bit of time tidepooling. In the afternoon when the wind came up we relaxed. Meals at the lodge's restaurant were excellent, especially the dinners. We never would have left the lodge except that we needed to buy picnic supplies for lunch.

I would definitely return again but I'm not so sure I'd book the corner room, I just might ask for one with a view up the coast.

  • Liked — Location, location location, the nearby trail and the incredible views
  • Disliked — For the price, the room itself, with the exception of the view, had little or no
  • Stayed March 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Barbara6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
manhattan, NY
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed September 20, 2006

Nice rooms, nice staff, great property--now that's out of the way, let's talk about the dining. Absolutely the best meal we've ever had! Top quality chef must be there, but in Gualala area? I had to read the property's web site to find out, and did! Do yourself a favor and read about this guy, you are sure to see headlines all over America as soon as word gets out. Take some time a visit this place, not for the lodge, not for the great service, but go just for the FOOD. We've dined around the world and this is clearly up there with Michelen 3 stars in Europe and Mobile 5 stars in America minus the stuffy elegance. Wish we lived closer just so we could eat there more often!

  • Liked — Quiet and Private
  • Tips/Secrets — Make dinner reservations and eat at the lodge every night
  • Stayed August 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank forloveorfood
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed August 21, 2006

My husband and I stayed at Sea Ranch Lodge in early June. Since we were there Sunday-Wednesday, our stay felt very private, which is what we wanted. The place is probably much busier Friday-Saturday. (We actually originally planned for a Saturday night stay too but no rooms were available that one night.)

We enjoyed our accommodations and especially the ocean view from our room. I even asked the front desk where I could purchase similar linens and bedroom furniture (which would work wonderfully in our guestroom at home) but alas they didn't possess the information.

The breakfasts were so delicious and filling. We ate dinner once in the main dining room and once in the little bistro/cafe area. They were ok meals, a bit overpriced but convenient for guests like us who wanted to take it easy and stay in. We drove into neighboring Gualala for one dinner.

There seem to be some nice trails though we didn't take advantage of them -- opting to play Scrabble, sleep, read, and take advantage of the free Internet access. It was very relaxing.

Our one main complaint is that Sea Ranch was going under renovation during our visit. The construction noise was very loud and took place right next to our room. Given how the lodge was practically empty during our stay, we should have been given another room when we checked in. Upon our departure, we told the front desk. (We probably should have complained earlier.)

Anyway, unexpectedly, a note from the lodge came a few days after our return home. In it was a sincere apology for the noise along with a gift certificate for a future 2 night weekday stay at the lodge. We greatly appreciated the kind gesture and look forward to our next visit.

  • Stayed June 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank mypenguin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bethesda, MD
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
Reviewed August 20, 2006

My husband, daughter and I just stayed at the Lodge for 4 nights in a second-floor corner room facing the ocean. The concept of this lodge -- small, rustic, unobtrusive, amid stunning natural beauty -- is perfect, and we loved it. Our room was large and roomy and had a very high ceiling. We didn't experience any "thin walls" problems, and the breakfast included in the room rate was fine. The problems with the Lodge are that they desperately need to (1) enlarge and update the bathrooms, (2) invest in better sheets, towels and laundry service, and (3) better manage the cleaning staff. We are not "large" people by any stretch of imagination, but each one of us had difficulty squeezing into the bathroom. The sheets and towels are worn and stained. The cleaning staff seems disorganized and disappears after 3 p.m. I would love to come back to stay at the Lodge if they would only make a bit more effort to take care of it. I would even be willing to pay more for it.

Stayed August 2006
Helpful?
7 Thank Drer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sea Ranch Lodge

Property: Sea Ranch Lodge
Address: 60 Sea Walk Dr, The Sea Ranch, CA 95497
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Sonoma County > The Sea Ranch
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in The Sea Ranch
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Sea Ranch Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 19
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
ENJOY NATURAL SERENITY, UNSURPASSED. A small, secluded property on Northern California’s rugged Sonoma Coast, Sea Ranch Lodge is a serene destination that embraces the beauty and bounty of nature in myriad expressions. A getaway here features nature untamed – ocean vistas, pristine bluffs, dramatic landscapes, abundant wildlife – with miles of hiking trails to enjoy it just steps from your door. This sublime natural setting melds with man’s mindful efforts to live lightly on the land. We respect an ethos of sustainability in lodging, dining, activities, service and more. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sea Ranch Hotel The Sea Ranch
Sea Hotel The Ranch

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