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“Will remember this meal for the next decade”
Review of Willows Inn

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Willows Inn
Ranked #1 of 1 Lummi Island B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Vancouver, Canada
Level 4 Contributor
44 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Will remember this meal for the next decade”
Reviewed June 3, 2012

We stayed at the Farmhouse suite minutes away from the main inn. Cookies awaited us upon our arrival (yum!). This country style suite has over-height ceilings and there was a full gourmet kitchen complete with espresso maker and a working pizza oven. I don't know how many vacationers know how to operate a pizza oven but I was tempted to try! The bedroom had a very comfortable bed with none of the sagging in the middle that I hate. The bedroom and the bathroom both connected to a wrap-around porch. Breakfast was delicious and included in the price of our stay. The Farmhouse suite prices are seasonal and available on the website.

Now the restaurant - fantastic! The best I've had in a long while. Just to be thorough and to give you an idea of the culinary delights that await you I am now going to list every course and snack that we had at this three hour feast:

Snacks
baked sunflower roots
crispy crepe with steelhead roe
potato chip with black cod
radish with flax
pickled oyster with sorrel
king salmon sashimi
knotting onion
fanny bay scallop with arugula
kale toast with black truffle and rye
smoked sockeye salmon
salt baked spot prawns
venison tartare
bread with chicken pan drippings
halibut skin with clams
grilled oyster with tequila and sage
spotted owl candy
flax caramel bites

Main courses
asparagus with fresh cheese and spruce
local squid with kohlrabi and seaweed
king salmon with mustard greens and seeds
wild mushrooms with woodruff and salmonberries
lummi island wildflowers with lemon verbena

Sorry if I'm exhausting you with this description but it was a very detailed meal and I can't do it justice just by saying it was amazing. My favourite was the halibut skin which we found out was scraped, dried, and then deep fried. Even better, we had a mini-tour of the kitchen after the meal and also a tour of the farm the day after. The chef knows the origin of every food item on the plate. If you have allergies the restaurant will accommodate them - they even mentioned that they don't repeat snacks/courses for people that dine with them two nights in row.

The only way it could have been improved was if the chairs in the dining room were padded - we are skinny people and three hours is a long time to sit in a hard chair. :P

Finally price - I know you're hoping that this sort of thing would be affordable but it's not an every day meal, and it doesn't have an every day price. I paid about $150 for one meal (without wine pairings) + $15 for a glass of rose and $5 for a tea after the meal. It was worth it for the quality of ingredients, presentation and the care with which the staff invests in the food.

Thanks for the Willows Inn for the experience!

Room Tip: The farmhouse suite is about 15 mins (uphill) walk from the main inn. It probably is better for peop...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Woook
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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182 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
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  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (54)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Toronto, Canada
Level 5 Contributor
54 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
Reviewed May 26, 2012

We didn't have the much recommended dinner, but we loved the place anyway, We were staying in the Farm House and had a very interesting tour of the nearby Nettles Farm - a must-do activity. It was quiet and very comfortable - a perfect rest from city nonsense. Breakfast at the Inn is stunning - and the chef can accommodate the gluten free diet; soup from the Tap Root cafe lives up to the rave reviews. But - if you go - triple check the ferry time for your departure, and don't count on anything being open when you expect it to be. Meals, accommodation - all very lovely - but what really matters is preserving the lands and heritage of Lummi Island. You'll get a sense of this from the Nettle's Farm - if it is still there when you go.

Room Tip: The Farm House was interesting and comfortable. Every room will have some unique quality.
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank TravellingFriends
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle
Level 3 Contributor
23 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed May 23, 2012

The dinner as many others have said is really quite amazing and on par with many of the well known (and excellent) New York fine dining establishments in a much more casual and relaxed atmosphere. Our dinner was really just incredible, all the flavors and textures worked well together and some of the courses were totally unexpected (Venison Heart Ceviche) were delicious and surprising. The wine pairing was a nice match and reasonably priced.

Our room was spartan but nice and I thought priced about right considering the quality of the breakfast you get the next morning.

Already planning a return visit this summer and can't wait to see how the menu has evolved now that more produce and seasonal fish/meat options are available.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank tbkdotnet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle
Level 4 Contributor
24 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed May 19, 2012

We have been to a number of "foodie" restaurants and lodges over the past 2 years (Herb Farm/Barking Frong, Inn @ Langley) etc and the Willows Inn so far is our favorite.

We stayed there 2 nights and in one of the cottages that the inn owns off property. There are a small number of rooms at the Inn itself, but the also own a few properties within a few miles of the island.

There is really nothing going on at the island at all except this Inn. As you disembark the Ferry there is another location on the island to eat (Beach Store Cafe), but it was closed for renovation when we were there (apparently the Willows Inn purchased or is managing the Beach Store Cafe). So that meant for our 2 night stay we dined at the Inn twice.

We stayed in the Eagle's Flyaway which is in the Marina at Legoe bay. this house right on the water has 3 other rooms. 2 upstairs and 1 downstairs with a shared kitchen and living room. We were there alone for 1 night and had downstairs guests the other. When we were alone it was spectacular and quiet. Just the Puget sound and the San Juan islands to look at along with bald eagles. I could see how when this place was full with guests it could be loud so I would recommend one of the 2 top floor rooms.

Dinner was the highlight of the trip. I would encourage you to read all the other reviews of dinner. We rank this up there with places like The French Laundry. When I typically dine at prix fix meals like this I am looking for a few things. One of the is appropriate length for a meal. This dinner was just perfect. Also attentive staff and servers. Again, this was perfect. Great wine list.... their Wine list is mostly PNW wines, but their prices were very reasonable. Dinner will set you back $135 pp and the Wine Pairing is a bit pricey so we opted to order a bottle of Buty.

We also took the Nettles farm tour which was a lot of fun and I recommend that.

Breakfast was just perfect and I recommend taking advantage of that.

All in all, something you should do if you love food and unique dining experiences as well as some nice quiet with spectacular views.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Omar S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed May 18, 2012

Willows Inn has smiling, friendly staff and well-maintained grounds. Stayed in the small "sunset" room above the lobby and stared out at the beautiful view of the Puget Sound. Pictures here: http://www.drawn2style.com/willows-inn/ Enjoyed an unforgettable meal at the restaurant, reviewed separately.

Room Tip: If you don't mind small rooms, "Sunset" was quiet and has a great view.
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank JetsettingNY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed May 9, 2012

We came here for New Yea'rs Eve, which is also our wedding anniversary. The dinner was out of this world amazing -- treat after treat with a beautiful presentation. It was a really special place to be on such an evening. Afterwards, they kept the bar open late for a champagne toast at midnight. The lobby bar is also well appointed with a nice fireplace and tasty cocktails. The room we stayed in was beautiful, but considering that we had to drive from our room to the Inn, I thought it was quite overpriced. Especially on New Year's Eve, I think they should have provided a ride back to the rooms that are not on the main property. Also, if you are staying at the off property rooms, you can use the hot tub but you'll have to bring all your clothes and change in the small lobby bathroom.

Room Tip: The High Tide, Low Tide, and Beach House are right on the beach which is beautiful. However, they...
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank faeanna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Oregon
Level 4 Contributor
32 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed May 8, 2012

Yes that is a bold statement! As a former Manhattanite (Cipriani, Le Bernadin, Jean Claude, Mr. Chow) and as a former L.A. resident (Spago, Matsuhisa, Mr. Chow), I have been to many eateries whom each make a claim to the top spot. However, Blaine Wetzel steals the cake and my blessing. The servings are abundant (16 snacks, appetizer, main dish and dessert) and tasty. Creativity abounds with each bite transforming your mouth into a dreamy palette. The presentation is equally impressive and stuns the senses.

The setting is relaxed and inviting to a collage of foodies awaiting a common experience. This is a place that is worth the $135 prix fixe price. Book ahead and treat yourself to an experience that will linger in your thoughts forever.

Room Tip: Only the Cottage accepts dogs
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank joemalibu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Willows Inn

Property: Willows Inn
Address: 2579 W Shore Dr, Lummi Island, WA 98262-8667
Location: United States > Washington > San Juan Islands > Lummi Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 B&Bs / Inns in Lummi Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 15
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

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