This will be a difficult review because I’m going to combine the dining experience and staying at the Inn. We wanted to come here even before the excellent New York Times review.
It is only a 1½ hour drive from Seattle to Bellingham where you catch a small car ferry (holds 20 cars) to transport you to Lummi Island. It is a beautiful island, and it was a good thing to explore a San Juan Island that we haven’t visited before.
We stayed in the “hillside room” behind the main lobby on the back corner of the main building. Our room was comfortable (a bit dark for my taste) but luckily we weren’t in the room much during the day. If you want to read in the room during the day then you would need to have the lights on. The bathroom was ok, but lacked shelves to put your toiletries on. There was this tiny 3-tier table where the face towels and hair blower were contained. There isn’t much space for your toiletries.
The nice thing about the room is that there was a second door that gave access to the main lobby where you could grab some coffee in the morning before breakfast was served in the main dining room at 8:30.
The dinner was wonderful with 5 or 6 mini plates that let you have a bite of smoked salmon, oysters, clams, smoke cod, heirloom tomatoes, spring salad, kale w/truffle oil, before the main menu appears (another 5 plates). The servers poured complimentary prosecco during the mini plates and when the five-courses began you could order wine by the glass or accompany your meal with the juice ($40) or wine ($65) pairing. They had enough servers to handle the full restaurant so the service was excellent. The rating would have been a 4, but I gave it a 3 because before our arrival we were told that they had increased the price for the dinner. It seems that management should have honored the rate they quoted us when we made our reservations.
The hot tub was situated on a slight hill that was in a shady spot surrounded by trees but we didn’t get a chance to use it because it was out of order. The Inn’s reception desk could have provided a map of the island and given out points of interests when we checked in but didn’t. We discovered on our own there was a farmers market on Saturday. There was no mention of complimentary bikes but only the electrical bikes on the website. When we inquired about renting them for the day we were pleasantly surprise to learn they also had complimentary bikes for guests to use. They had 4-5 bikes available and not in the best condition, but they worked well enough to explore and do wine tasting on the island.
When we checked out on a Sunday we asked about the ferry schedule and were told that on the weekends the ferries run every hour. We drove to the ferry and decided to get in line and wait. To our surprise the ferry loaded every half hour.
I was glad that we came here for the dinner but the Inn wasn’t anything memorable.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Willows Inn on Lummi Island has become the Northwest's premiere destination for authentic farm to table dining. Come in and experience the culinary magic of our chef, Blaine Wetzel, and find out what eating from your landscape is all about. Savor wines from our extensive selection. Enjoy our elegantly comfortable accommodations. Drink in the views, watch whales, or relax with a cocktail by a blazing fire. Unplug, recharge and experience the Willows Inn--an authentic and affordable San Juan Islands adventure! Offering romantic beachside lodge rooms, cottage, and guest house accommodations and marine experiences. Organic food from Loganita Farm. A car ferry departs at least hourly for the five minute crossing to this scenic island retreat. Less than two hours from Seattle or Vancouver, BC. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Willows Hotel Lummi Island