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“The good and the bad.” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of The Captain Whidbey Inn

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The Captain Whidbey Inn
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Coupeville
Poulsbo, Washington
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“The good and the bad.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 16, 2012

We stayed here last night, Saturday, Sept 15, 2012. I took my partner as a surprise for her birthday. I had been to the Inn in the early 80's and stayed in a lagoon room, but always wanted to return and stay in the original building. I'm not going to go into detail about the characteristics of the Inn as many reviewers have already described the property. I was able to book the Captain Whidbey Suite, a large room overlooking Penn Cove. It has a king size canopy bed and a small sitting area. The bed was extremely comfortable with the best pillows I have ever slept on. Two of the four large windows in the room can be propped open for fresh air and to hear the birds. We left the windows open when we went to bed but had to shut them in the middle of the night as someone was sitting on the porch behind the lobby smoking and talking on the phone. Both the conversation and smoke were drifting in our window. It was a minor inconvenience, I was more concerned about someone smoking while sitting on a wooden porch, in a wooden chair, with a 100 year old wooden building at their back. Overall we loved the room and the charm of the Inn. Having the bathrooms in the hall was not an issue as I was aware of it before hand.

The continental breakfast was nice but the croissants were cold with no way to heat them up. (could find no microwave) Maybe removing them a little earlier from the refridgerator would help. As another reviewer mentioned salt and pepper shakers are difficult to find. There were none on any of the tables in the dining room at dinner and only one set in the tavern area for breakfast. I thought about having the hot cereal for breakfast but again, as I couldn't see any microwave to cook it (hot water just doesn't quite do it) so I opted for granola instead. Other than that breakfast was just fine.

I had made dinner reservations for 6:30 so we could watch the sunset. Penn cove is known for their sweet mussels so my partner had wanted to try them. While having a cocktail on the deck earlier we had heard the waitress mention to another guest that they were out of mussels, so we were suprised when our dinner waitress said the crab and the ribs were not available that evening. Guess they got their mussel delivery. She had the mussels and I had the seafood chowder. Both were excellent. The seafood chowder was the best I have had. Rich and flavorful, the broth a little more thin than I am used to for chowder, plenty of chunks of salmon, perfectly cooked scallops (so often they are tough and rubbery in chowder), nice clams and even a few mussels. This was when I first noticed the missing salt and pepper as I like extra pepper on my chowder. I was somewhat surprised the waitress didn't offer some fresh ground pepper with my bowl of chowder as that seems to be the norm these days. My partner had the halibut, slightly overcooked but tasty. The red potatoes that accompanied her meal were delicious. I had previewed the dinner menu when I was making my reservation online and had already decided I wanted the Steak au Poivre (pepper steak). I have had this many times at different places and it's usually coated with cracked peppercorns. Unfortunately, the Steak au Poivre served to me was nothing more than a steak. No cracked peppercorns, no peppercorn sauce, just your standard grilled and seasoned steak. I assume the chef knows what Steak au Poivre is so I'm not sure why my steak wasn't. I did mention to the waitress that there was no pepper on my pepper steak so she brought over the peppermill. Poor substitute but it tasted fine. I thought the quality of the meat was a little low for the price ($28), but it was cooked perfectly. if you are going to have it on the menu as Steak au Poivre, put some poivre on it, otherwise just call it grilled steak. The gnocchi and vegetables that came with my dinner were both cooked and seasoned perfectly. There were only 3-4 other tables occupied during our dinner and we ended up having quite the conversation with several other diners. The evening was made even more special when the waitress brought out a piece of cheesecake and a candle. I guess she had overheard us talking about how we were celebrating my partners birthday. All in all, dinner was a positive experience.

One of the nice touches we noticed was a pile of throw blankets by the door to the deck. A nice touch for a chilly morning or evening on the deck with coffee or a cocktail.

Suggestions for the operators:
1. Put a coat hook for robes in each of the stalls in the mens bathroom upstairs (and women's if needed). You provided us a nice robe but it has to be dropped on the floor when using the toilet.
2. Provide some salt and pepper shakers.
3. Check the recipe for Steak au Poivre.

With a very few minor exceptions our stay at the Captain Whidbey Inn was great. We both enjoyed our visit and will not hesitate to return.

Room Tip: When booking online it states that weekend reservations require a 2 night stay unless you are bookin...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Bruce P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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254 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (100)
Date | Rating
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English first
Bainbridge Island, Washington
Level Contributor
187 reviews
50 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 20, 2012

This rustic inn is in a beautiful location on the shores of Penn Cover. There is a lawn area and walking bridge that makes you just want to run across the lawn down to the shore. Unfortunately, the place seemed understaffed when we visited. The gal at reception was nice enough, but she was there when we checked in, she was there when I stopped in at 9:30 p.m., and she was there at 8 a.m. all by herself. The food was mostly gone at the breakfast area, and there was no coffee, utensils, or plates. The poor gal from the front desk had to come and restock breakfast. She was nice, but slow. I would like to recommend this place purely on its location and ambience. Unfortunately, from the marginal service to the slightly damp linens, it was not the best experience for the price.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank dmresource
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington, United States
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 18, 2012

Here is an example of a good place gone bad. (and with all the years we have been going we ought to know)
Had our honeymoon there and return each year. In fact we book the following year each time as we head out the door from the current stay. So it’s sad that under the current management, customer service suffers.

3 years ago when we stayed there were some problems and so I wrote a letter outlining the problems…and offering some solutions. I even spent $12.00 of my own to send them some magazines as part of one of the solutions. Never heard from them. In fact never heard from them after I checked to make sure they got the package…until they called us months later asking us if we would move our reservation so they could book a conference!
Needless to say this didn’t go over well and my wife was ready to say never again. It got smoothed over and we moved it to the following week.

When leaving last year I made darn sure there were no conflicts and booked our anniversary for this year. Less than 3 weeks from our anniversary they call stating that due to a computer error they lost and then found our reservation. But they had booked over it. All sounded very strange. I rattled a hard copy of the confirmation from months before and stated this conversation he should be having with the other folks, not us, since we were loyal customers. That’s when I found out they had booked a conference again. Wouldn’t even consider the idea they can have the whole place except our room. In other words their attitude is we really want your business until something better comes along.
Spent the next few hours scrambling to book a place on the island last minute during high season.
3 strikes they’re out. Won’t be going back until it is under new management.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
8 Thank Lance C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle
Level Contributor
24 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 6, 2012

We stayed at the Inn this past weekend for 2 nights. It is such a lovely old building with true old world American rustic charm. I was in love with it from the moment we drove up. The lobby just called to me to come back in the winter and sit in front of that gorgeous fire place with a warm coffee nudge. We had 2 rooms in the Inn itself. #3 and #6. They are miniscule rooms with shared bath facilities. Small though they are, they are charming. They had a queen bed with feather topper, sweet quilts, antique dresser w/mirror, a chair, bedside table and sink. There are large, original windows lining the wall with views over the water which are lovely. One window opens to let in fresh air...as there is no a/c. However, many people don't have a/c in the Pacific Northwest...'cause we don't usually need it. On a really warm day, though, they might be a bit stuffy. The upstairs common areas have shelves lined with all sorts of books, old encyclopedias, etc... A couple of comfy chairs are near the only TV in the place...and again, there's that rustic charm throughout. The shared bathrooms, one for men and one for women, have 2 toilet stalls (with nice loud fans), a large vanity with 2 sinks, and a shower room for 1 behind a nice heavy curtain. We never ran out of hot water and never had to wait for the shower...even though the inn was full. I will mention that a couple of guests could be more polite in their use of shared facilities...by tossing their used toiletries from the shower...and picking up their used towels. One woman even left a used band aid on the shower rack! Seriously?! Who does that?!
There were a few negatives about the Inn...and I can believe the negative comments I've read from other Tripadvisor commenters. I'm not the pickiest of reviewers personally, so most of these negatives simply went noticed by me...but weren't enough to make me complain to management...or not go back again.
The person working the front desk upon arrival and in the evenings was quite nice...but she seemed very uncomfortable in her role. It didn't seem like she was simply new to the job...she appeared socially uncomfortable and it manifested itself in making her seem to strain at every question we asked or decision she had to make. There was just this odd hesitancy to every interaction. Also, although she may have had nothing to do with this, there was the same hesitancy about seating for the bar or for dinner. I've noticed other reviewers mentioning the lack of bar tender...and difficulty getting dinner reservations in a nearly empty restaurant. It seems odd that you can't just walk into the bar and find a seat yourself...rather than being asked to wait 10 minutes then haltingly escorted back while they find a seat...again, in a not so crowded area. There were only two waitresses and no bar tender. The waitresses did a good job, but service in the bar was quite lengthy for even the bare minimum. When I went back up front later to ask about dinner in the dining room...again...the same hesitancy and mention of the dining room being "backed up"...when there were only 1 or 2 tables in use. We did get in...and the service there was much quicker...although by the same waitress as out on the bar deck. The food was quite good and portions were fine. We would eat there again.
I'm just wondering why, if there are numerous comments from visitors about the same thing...basically lack of staff in the food service areas...the management hasn't addressed it? Is business so bad they can't afford a bar tender? It's a great little bar area and could probably support the staff.
I'm being a bit long winded...but want to end on a positive note. I will return to the Captain Whidbey Inn for a few reasons. I love the setting. The views of the water and the relaxing atmosphere are so worth it. I can't say enough about the charm and great rustic feel of the place! And our room was only $115/night. I think that's a deal for what you get. We were definitely able to chill out and enjoy ourselves. I will simply return with my expectations of management well in check...and focus on enjoying the surroundings.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Debinsea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bremerton, Washington, United States
Level Contributor
22 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 5, 2012

This was our first trip to Whidbey Island as a couple. I had visited the island several times as a kid but we always were camping, so we gave the Inn a try. The exterior and grounds are very welcoming, relaxing, and charming. The lower part of the lodge was the same, very unique and welcoming, and the gal who checked us in was great. The building is old but clean, and it has its quirks such as the narrow stairways. Upstairs has a sitting area and large corridor leading to the rooms. The room itself was small, but I would imagine that was the standard for the time. The Inn rooms do share common bathrooms but they were clean and well kept. It just was a change for us, as this wouldnt normally be our preference but it worked. It was considerably cheaper for an Inn room rather the cabins or lagoon rooms that have there own bathrooms. Though small and lacking the modern convienences such as A/C, TV, etc, it was a place to sleep and a experience of its own. We didnt eat at the Inn, choosing to eat in Oak Harbor at various places but the dining areas seemed to have steady traffic both evenings we were there. Overall it was not a bad experience as some have reviewed, just a change from the norm for us. If rustic and simple is your preference is you, this is your place. We may be back and will spring for the lagoon room or a cabin the next time for more space and our own bathroom.

Room Tip: Inn rooms share common bathrooms and are limited on space. Bring a fan in the dead of summer as th...
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Mike H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lake Stevens, Washington
Level Contributor
132 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 5, 2012

We came on a Friday night, the Inn itself is very picturesque sitting on the water. Built in 1907, it has the rustic charm we love about the Pacific Northwest. It actually felt more like a camp than an Inn... that kind of rustic. Adirondack chairs are in several places overlooking the water and the various garden and lawn areas, the grounds are pretty and kept up.

There are small Inn rooms with shared baths, lagoon rooms in newer buildings across the way and cottages overlooking the water.

My summary would be: this is a place that would like to be something more, but just misses the mark. It has some of the same atmosphere as the Lake Quinault Lodge, but not the strong infrastructure. There are small details that are missed in several places that in the course of a stay can add up to a less than spectacular visit.

We had reservations for a lagoon room, $175 which we felt was very overpriced, even with breakfast.

The first door key didn't work, apparently they had changed some locks.
The room, as mentioned in other reviews, had limited furnishings...it wasn't cozy, rustic,-yes.
There was an upholstered chair, sitting by itself, no lamp and no table, so in our minds, of no use.
(Which is tough when one person wakes up before the other, it would have been great to have a cozy chair to read in while still in pajamas, what a loss!)

The lagoon view outside the deck was completely blocked by a large white wedding tent.
The curtains were so sheer that we had to hang a towel on them to block the the deck light next door that was blazing into our room.
Bathroom was tiny but updated, however the old style orange heating lamp in the bathroom made us think of french fries under the lamp at a fast food place.

Dinner... they just didn't have the staff to support dinner for a place of this size.
There is a choice of a dining room, the "tavern" which is just an adjoining rustic room with a small bar and the outside deck overlooking the water.
We opted for the deck. After 15 minutes and not even seeing a menu, and realizing everyone around us was waiting, we opted to leave and have dinner Oak Harbor.

Breakfast was continental, and actually had a very nice selection of yogurts, breads, fruits and cereals. But here is the funny part again, they had hard boiled eggs, but not a single salt shaker anywhere. I actually checked every single table in the restaurant, the "tavern" etc. They ran out of cream for coffee too.

We were sad to have this experience, the reputation this place has led us to believe it would be a real treat and a wonderful place to share with others. Not so... for $175 a night, it would be better to look into a B&B in nearby Coupeville. That's what we will do next time.

Room Tip: Second story rooms have better views and you don't hear the people below you.
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank aksnt11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Coupeville hotels

Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 2, 2012

After several phone calls between us and the hotel we finally had two cottages reserved to celebrate my friend's birthday. Several days later we received a call from another reservation specialist who asked whether we were still intending to reserve a room - they did not show it in their computer! Finally, that was taken care of. We noted to him (as we had the first person) that we would be arriving by boat and wanted to make sure that we would have dock space. Not a problem. Dinner reservations, please. Well, that's where it got interesting. It seems the restaurant is closed on Tuesday evenings. But, the man assured us - there are plenty of places just a short drive away in Coupeville. Did I mention we were arriving by boat? Did the hotel have a van or car service? No. Were taxis very available? (This is a VERY small town on an island near Seattle). No, not really. Well, what to do about DINNER. I decided to bring dinner with because we paid extra for the cottage with a kitchen unit. We would have a deck (lovely, we were told) a bbq and a limited, but very efficient kitchen.

Long story short....we arrived and checked in. The cottages are, ahem....rustic, to say the least. Clean, but I felt like they had been furnished at Goodwill. Vintage, but without charm. The deck and deck furniture covered in leaves like it had not been attended to in quite some time. The cottage kitchen - not at all possible to serve a meal (even a fully prepared one) from it. So, it's a lovely day in late July on Puget Sound and we have a birthday to celebrate with food to be eaten but no way to eat it. What to do? We went to the main lodge and explained our dilemma to the receptionist. "Go to the tavern (which is closed), I will bring what you need." She promptly arrived with utensils and serving pieces and plates and water. And we proceeded to have one of the best birthday parties in years. Four of us in a closed restaurant with wonderful food and drink and no one bothering us for orders or refills or tips! We laughed at the absurdity and the uniqueness of the situation and were glad we were there to do that.

So, it's difficult to be too hard on them when we made the best of a situation (with help from the staff) but the reality is - we won't go back. We paid over $200/night for a kitchen unit that we couldn't use in a hotel that had no restaurant and stayed in a unit that felt a little like a time warp.
Other people's comments regarding the breakfast were true. Comments about the overall condition of the hotel, the amenities - all true. How nice the staff is - true. So - travelers, be advised.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Traveler5846
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Captain Whidbey Inn

Property: The Captain Whidbey Inn
Address: 2072 Capt Whidbey Inn Rd, Coupeville, Whidbey Island, WA 98239-9702
Location: United States > Washington > Whidbey Island > Coupeville
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Coupeville
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — The Captain Whidbey Inn 3*
Number of rooms: 29
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Captain Whidbey Inn is an enchanting log inn that was hand-built in 1907. Located on the shores of Penn Cove inside the Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, the inn is superbly located for outdoor enthusiasts and those seeking the charm of a historic Northwest town by the sea. Activities popular with guests include hiking, kayaking, cycling, antiquing, horseback riding, fishing, wine-tasting, and beachcombing. With both rustic and modern accommodations, the Captain Whidbey Inn offers three types of lodging: quaint log-walled rooms in the inn itself, romantic private waterfront cabins, and the more modern Lagoon rooms. Overnight stay includes water views from all areas on the property, access to our restaurant, free continental breakfast, free parking and free WiFi access as well as hot tubs and fireplaces in certain units. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Captain Whidbey Hotel Coupeville
Captain Whidbey Inn
The Captain Whidbey Inn Whidbey Island/Coupeville, WA

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