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“It was a beautiful setting, people were nice but....”

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Doe Bay Resort & Retreat
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Olga
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“It was a beautiful setting, people were nice but....”
Reviewed June 23, 2009

Pros - setting is beautiful; restaurant was very good (don’t even realize it’s veg only); staff was nice, helpful & friendly; bathrooms and shower facilities were clean & fairly modern (great soap!).

Cons - twice as expensive as comparable accommodations; steep hike just to get to the bathroom from our beach yurt (still so sore and I'm not in terrible shape); getting our stuff to/from was a huge chore even though they provide carts; no fire pits at the site, only a communal fire pit that was often crowded; no room outside the yurt to sit & hang out; a group of wedding guests were crazy loud until the sun came up; bedding provided was not warm enough for the really cold nights (luckily my husband insisted we bring a down comforter).

The yurt was a change from our usual tent camping, not sure I’m sold. Getting around inside was difficult. We had too much stuff but we had 2 dogs with us, too. It was nice to have the structure when it rained but it was musty smelling and the roof was all moldy. The sheets were freshly bleached and clean, though, so that was nice.

If you’re elderly and/or find it difficult to walk a lot, make sure you ask lots of questions to ensure you can get to & from your site. Most accommodations are walk-in (some extremely far from the parking lot) so if you're carrying gear you could have a tough time of it, even with the small carts provided.

We did not use the hot tubs but they looked very nice and well-maintained, and though there were nude users, they certainly weren't parading around unclothed.

All in all, if you really don't want to "camp" or don't have a lot of gear, and like having a top-notch veg restaurant, shower facilities and hot tubs very close by, this place is for you. If you like more of the "outdoor experience" (e.g., cooking outside, sitting around your own fire, getting sleep), I would opt for a more traditional place. One place we visited was Obstruction Pass - those campsites were awesome but about a 1/2 mile hike from the parking lot to the sites.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ChrisAlisSeattle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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134 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (32)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Seattle, WA
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed May 27, 2009

We stayed at Doe Bay over Memorial Day weekend and things worked out particularly well for us, so all in all it was a lovely stay, including the weather. I made the reservations on their website, and really knew nothing about the place other than what I'd read online. Our camp site was a "car camping" site, so we didn't have to walk ten minutes to drop our stuff off (although they provide you with large, wheeled wagons to cart your load for the walk-in sites, which are smaller but have killer views). We were close to the bathrooms, which were very clean (not all had toilet paper all the time, but there were five or six toilets). There were two sinks outside the bathrooms with hot and cold running water, men's and women's showers, a kitchen for the use of campers and people in yurts as well as a large Weber grill, and a large, centrally located fire pit to roast marshmallows or whatnot (the rest of the resort is fire-free). Our camp site ("Moose") was next to a cabin, but not right on top of it, and there was another site across the road, but it, too, was not as close as tent spaces at public camp sites. A raccoon who visited us at night was not in the least bit afraid of our flashlights or shouts. With the exception of the raccoon, everyone was respectful of each other's privacy (with a 2 and 4 year old, we tried to keep our guys quiet in the morning, too, but it was hard). The guests ranged in age from early twenties to families with children to grandparents in their seventies.

There is a nice general store on the property, a lounge with books, games, puzzles, and a massage chair, as well as a restaurant. The restaurant has truly excellent vegetarian food (and I am a carnivore), but it is a bit pricey and not really geared for families for dinner - no bread, understaffed - although the kid's menu was tasty.

The beach is nice for exploring at low tide, the resort has an independent rental house for kayaks, the soaking tubs are clean and spa-like (cool, hot, and really hot), and the views from most of the place are wonderful, including the tubs. Some people were dressed using the tubs, some weren't. People take their kids as long as they are potty trained (but it says age six and over), although my husband and I went by ourselves for a more relaxing experience. There is also a play structure that my kids loved.

The place is set up to be what you make of it - you can be social or keep it intimate with those you're with. The staff was friendly. The yurts were nice, with a "full" sized bed and a table in the space (big enough to sleep four if two can crash on the floor in sleeping bags), and the cabins seemed nice but I didn't enter any of them. If you are thinking about staying there, call them to vet any questions. We lucked out with our spot for our family, but in chatting with the staff, we were told that if we returned, we should not stay on the point b/c the sites are too small for big tents, in addition to the fact that there are cliffs that aren't fenced off any more than a rope.

We plan on returning some time this year. Orcas Island is beautiful; Mt. Constitution has amazing views and trails, and Eastsound is a very charming, quaint town, reminding us of east coast summer towns. If you can avoid it, don't take the ferry on Sunday unless you want to wait a long time (Monday after Memorial Day meant we waited for FIVE hours for the ferry).

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Zacfamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed April 19, 2009

Great location in peaceful setting... at least that is what I expected as a frequent visitor. This paticular weekend I went with our family and they had a wedding party celebrating on until 2am. They echos of the sound system playing Michael Jackson and Cindy Laper all night was more then undesirable. Exremely disrespectful as staff should monitor loudness and hours of events. Otherwise great concept with yurts and knome domes. Clothing optional hot tub (which is private) is a bit annoying and can attract some undesirables (like the guy with the porn sticker on his car). This place use to be the best when peace loving hippies were the only attendees.

  • Stayed June 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank NatalieSeattle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boise, ID
Level Contributor
33 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed October 4, 2008

I'm really surprised at other reviews. I think Doe Bay accurately displays exactly what it is on the website: a beautiful, secluded setting that can accommodate anything from a young couple to a large group retreat-- and a place that will be heavily "hippy" in staff and guests. We found this charming (as non-hippes) rather than off-putting. Our neighbors found the same on their stay. The island overall seems to heavily embrace grow-it-yourself organic greenhouses, and generally being heavily environmentally friendly, or even "off the grid."

Of COURSE the natural hotsping is nude-friendly given the whole retreat's self-description. When we went only one of two pools were open, so it was a bit crowded at night, but it is truly beautiful. It has changing rooms/bathrooms, a shower, has an open roof in case of rain, and overlooks the small, beautiful Doe Bay. Personally I think hotsprings are made to be clothing optional, and some parents will be OK with this and others not. Those who aren't can go during family hours (when suits are required), or just skip it. Kids could have fun doing other things in good weather given the numerous trails, rocky bay for wading/swimming, fields, lawns and abundant deer (be careful driving anywhere on the island, I gather). If it's rainy, admittedly options are few anywhere on the island--not just at Doe Bay.

One note: we were quite disappointed that the onsite cafe that emphasizes estate grown and vegetarian items isn't open midweek for most of the year. We only got to enjoy one breakfast there-- which was truly amazing and almost enough to convert a full-time meat-a-tarian! This reflects what we found EVERYWHERE on the island, though. Apparently the vacation season there doesn't even start until the 4th of July! Other than during this absolute peak time, expect the onsite cafe and restaurants everywhere to be closed except weekends. Even in the larger town of Eastsound, we found only 2-3 restaurant choices open midweek. So, call and ask about cafe hours if this is a draw for you as it was for us-- especially since Eastsound is a fair drive away.

As for the accommodations, we loved the Salmonberry cottage. We enjoyed the salmonberries and blackberries, deer nesting midday in the briars outside, and the privacy of a small, if rustic cottage rather than your typical hotel or inn room. The website accurately displays that these are rustic cabins rather than modern efficiencies. The rustic bath house is mere steps away. See through curtains make eyeshades or a bandana a good idea if morning light wakes you up like me.

  • Liked — secluded, scenic location; onsite natural hotsping
  • Disliked — difficulty at check-in only slightly early: staff couldn't give us a clear answer if the cabin was cleaned
  • Stayed June 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank stephen553
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed January 22, 2008

We have stayed at Doe Bay probably 15 times in the last 10 years. It's become painfully commercial with the tourist trinkets in the "lobby". Designer sweatshirts with tasteful little logos. Careful, don't let on that it's a hippy resort! The level of cleanliness is whatit is at Doe Bay. The cabins are old, run down and rarely have deep cleaning. That's why we rented a trailer. Atleast they're new-ish and cleaner than the cabins. The cafe has REALLY annoying hours. Sometimes it's just open for coffee. We were there with our son (we stayed Thurs night and went to the cafe Friday morning) and they weren't serving any food. The restaurant is open but just for coffee. So you sit in a nice big restaurant with staff workiing and they won't cook anything for you! There was one other couple staying at Doe Bay and still they wouldn't make the kid a piece of toast. Snotty restaurant staff and too expensive for the accommodations.

  • Liked — Soaking tubs, nature walks
  • Disliked — run down looking, unfriendly staff, restaurant hours
  • Stayed October 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
9 Thank 99coltrane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, WA
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed November 9, 2007

Doe Bay went through a rough spot this summer - when we visited, the exec. chef that charmed us with her dishes the previous summer was gone, and another in her place that served only so-so food. To say the least, I was crushed.

But since Doe Bay is a favorite retreat of ours - we returned in late September for one last summer trip and to our delight, the chef had once again changed! The new executive chef, Janay Destello (Carmelita and Cafe Flora), has revieved the menu and the overall feeling of the cafe. The food, service and atmosphere has improved ten-fold! She made amazing dishes that nearly brought us to tears!

THANK YOU!
We will be back for the Thanksgiving feast!

  • Liked — The cafe
  • Disliked — The bedding - they should step it up a bit
  • Stayed September 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank paisleysox
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Duncan
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed August 19, 2007

We stayed for 3 days on a planned 4 day stint. The Rain had us packing a day early. Nothing to do for the little ones except the little outdoor park play gym. When It rains there is really no place for them to go. We biked and It was really difficult. The head Chef was very kind, loaning us a tarp to use. The food was good, but waited really long. Friendly atmosphere. No kids in the tubs (there is a cool tub) under the age of 6 so ours could not go in. Everyone took there clothes off for the swim and sauna, but there was no sign indicating a unisex nude area. I felt at first uncomfortable, but got over it quick. It may disuade others however. Be aware you will be seeing lots of older nude bodies.

  • Liked — food
  • Disliked — 8 miles to town and 2 mountains prevented a bike ride to get groceries...no cooking by tent
  • Stayed August 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
7 Thank Notcamp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Doe Bay Resort & Retreat

Property: Doe Bay Resort & Retreat
Address: 107 Doe Bay Rd, Olga, Orcas Island, WA 98279
Location: United States > Washington > San Juan Islands > Orcas Island > Olga
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Spa Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Olga
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 47
Also Known As:
Doe Bay Resort And Retreat Hotel Olga
Doe Bay Hotel And Retreat

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