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“A Gem in Eden” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Inn at Ship Bay

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Inn at Ship Bay
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Ranked #4 of 20 Orcas Island B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Alexandria, Virginia
Level Contributor
27 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“A Gem in Eden”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 28, 2012

Let's get this out up front - you are going to love this Inn! It perfectly compliments the beauty and uniqueness of this island paradise. And the staff perfectly compliments the Inn. This is a quiet inn, with lots of charm.

We were personally welcomed by Luke, the Innkeeper. A transplant, too, he provides the perfect overview of the inn and the island, making you feel as if you are their only guest and they stand at the ready for you! He showed us to our room, introduced us to the resident bald eagle mating pair, and told us of the small herd of (very) small black tail deer. He even told us of the suicidal tendencies of the resident slug population following a rain event! His informative and humorous dialogue is a must see!

The restaurant is superb. An intimate dinner or a round table discussion with new acquaintances is equally possible. I hope you find, as we did, that the other guests are there under the same pretences as you. Great food, good drinks, beautiful setting and enjoyable company - what could be better.

Throughout the day and early evening, you will find a small coterie of guests on the bluff overlooking the sound. Dawn and sunset are both gorgeous, but don't miss the latter. Bring your binoculars or spotting scope as the eagles are generally visible. Good conversation is the order of the day, but it is also a great place to sequestor yourself with a good book and cup of coffee/glass of wine/etc.

The Inn is centrally located on the island. Moran State Park is a 10 min drive - don't miss the hike/ride/drive to the top of Mount Constitution. It is a must. Also, there are several whale watch charter boat companies on the Island. We had luck with Deer Harbor Charters. Also, the town of Eastsound offers shops and a couple of fun restaurants, too. We had great burgers for lunch at The Lower Tavern and an incredible pie from Pizzeria Portofino! The former is a local bar with great pub grub a pool table and outdoor patio. Get a pizza pie, pickup a bottle of wine and head for a secluded spot on along the waterfront or back to your room's deck - a great call!

Suffice it to say, this inn was the golden nugget from the trip. We loved the island, the people and the culture. We will be back. And that is not unusual, based on the feedback we got from other residents.




The San Juan's are well known for their beauty and semi-remoteness. In other words, you come here because you want to be here!! Along with everyone else here. Artisans and environmentally conscious adults seem to dominate the locals. Many are transplants.

Room Tip: There are no bad rooms. All have a view. All are gorgeous. Also, all have gas fireplaces. I check...
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank LDSIII
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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100 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    66
    23
    6
    3
    2
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10
62
Solo
0
Business
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (15)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
76 reviews
60 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 89 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2012

Came here for dinner on a seaplane from Seattle. We were seated immediately, and given a choice of seats for a better view. Sitting outside would have been nice, but the weather was turning. Both the food and service were excellent and the wine list was very good and appropriate. Every dish was superb, the vegetables in each dish were perfectly cooked -fresh and crunchy, not mushy. I had the scallops which were ever so slightly caramelized...yumm! After we were done with dinner, we asked to sit outside while the weather was ok. They moved our remaining items out there and checked up on us periodically, I highly recommend this place.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank le_nomade
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jacksonville, Florida
Level Contributor
71 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2012

We unfortunately only spent one night here at this lovely location on Orcas Island. Our suite overlooked the bay and at 5:30 the manager came out to the edge of the property to feed fish scrapes to the seagulls and bald eagles that live there. That was a fantastic experience, as the beautiful bald eagles came within yards of us affording us a fantastic view of these magnificent birds. The restuarant was excellent also. Very quiet and peaceful. If youre looking for a getaway location location you wont do better than the Inn at Ship Bay. Great staff there as well.

Room Tip: all the rooms from what I could see overlook the bay so a great view is guaranteed
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank tomnaples
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Eureka, California
Level Contributor
19 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2012

We spent several days here over the summer. The location is great - close to East Sound and Moran State Park. The restaurant is excellent. However, the owner/manager MaryAnna is uninviting and seemed stressed out. I think there are better places to stay in Orcas, but would recommend having dinner here.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank MonkeySauce1105
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Topeka, KS
Level Contributor
13 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2012

The restaurant has a delightful view and excellent food. The service was very nice and we were entertained with eagles sweeping by the windows. The inn's rooms are very comfortable, but the bathrooms are a bit plain. All in all, we had a very enjoyable retreat.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Owned_by_Cairns
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hampshire, UK
Level Contributor
157 reviews
49 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 309 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2011

I, my wife and her mother stayed here for 6 nights this summer at the start of a long trip to the Western States. We were hoping for somewhere tranquil and comfortable to relax for a few days after our long flights from the UK and to use as a base for exploring Orcas Island.

Largely it provided what we'd hoped for. The rooms were comfortable and attractive and had pleasant views over the lawns to the water of East Sound, though we were further from the cliff edge than I'd expected. The grounds are attractive and the location just out of East Sound - the main town on Orcas - is convenient and also pretty central for getting everywhere else.

It could have been a 5-star review but for two things...

On our first morning we went for the included breakfast and were very disappointed. Firstly, it seemed deserted - and although a member of staff was around she didn't greet us, or seem keen to show us to a table or anything like that. We found the coffee and the buffet but it really was very limited. All there was that I could see were some little muffins, some granola and a platter of fruit. As we're all following a particular diet the granola and muffins were off limits but the fruit would have been ideal, except that the whole platter - intended presumably to cater for lots of guests - would have done nicely for maybe two of us. In fact, only the previous morning, at the Marriott at SEATAC, we'd ordered a similar plate of fruit each at breakfast! There may have been a few other things on the buffet but it certainly wasn't lavish by any standards. For the rest of our stay we breakfasted elsewhere.

The other disappointment about this inn is that unlike almost all small inns we've ever stayed in in the USA, there was almost no welcome from the owners or staff - with one very notable exception. We were there 6 nights, but didn't once knowingly meet the owners, nor were welcomed by them and (with that one exception) none of the various staff members I spoke to ever introduced themselves or seemed interested in who I was. The result of this lack of interest and attention was that this otherwise very attractive Inn seemed rather soulless.

The exception - and they're very lucky to have him - was a man called Luke, who I think lives on site and welcomed us on our arrival as we were arriving after the main office closed. Luke was extremely helpful, ensuring we had everything we needed and were comfortable in our rooms. He also told us about the wildlife we could see from our balcony and discussed restaurants - all the typical conversations one has on arrival at a B&B. On odd occasions when we saw him at other times, he was always friendly.

When I came to check out, another anonymous person started to deal with me but then Luke took over - immediately transforming the check-out experience from cold and functional to a pleasant experience with good wishes for the rest of our trip, etc..

We had booked their restaurant - which has good reviews - for most of our nights on Orcas but our experience with the breakfast slightly put us off. We'd also by then discovered the New Leaf Inn in East Sound, which is wonderful and ended up eating there every night apart from the first (when we ate at the Deer Harbour Inn - a mistake). So I can't comment on the restaurant; it may well be excellent - I don't know. Certainly it's location is lovely with fine views over the Sound.

So, overall, there's a lot to like about the Inn at Ship Bay and it suited us very well indeed. Because of this, I'm only taking off one star for the poor welcome and the inadequate breakfast. Ideally I'd give 3.5 stars but I can't.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Alan_from_Hampshire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pollock Pines, California
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2011

Our first visit. Didn't know what to expect so we were very pleased when we arrived at the Inn at Ship Bay. our second story room with a king bed was comfortable and the view from the deck was outstanding (of the bay). The restaurant appeared to be very popular and filled with locals so you know the food is good. Great bar too. We were not fortunate enough to see the local eagles we heard about but salmon in great numbers were jumping out of the water just befow the bluff. We stayed 2 nights and that was plenty of time for us on the island.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Marilyn P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Inn at Ship Bay

Property: Inn at Ship Bay
Address: 326 Olga Road, Orcas Island, WA 98245
Location: United States > Washington > San Juan Islands > Orcas Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 20 B&Bs / Inns in Orcas Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to Inn at Ship Bay. We are an eleven room, owner operated, Country Inn and Restaurant at the top of a bluff with unobstructed southern views over the waters of Ship Bay. The Inn is built around the historic 1869 Adam's farmhouse in the center of heirloom plum, pear and apple orchards. Inn at Ship Bay is located one mile from the village of Eastsound on Orcas Island, the largest and most mountainous of the San Juan Islands. Join us for a comfortable and relaxing Orcas Island experience ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Inn At Ship Bay Hotel Orcas Island

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