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“Affordable, clean place to sleep, shower, and go!”
Review of The Orca Inn

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The Orca Inn
Ranked #10 of 10 Hotels in Friday Harbor
Issaquah, Washington
1 review
“Affordable, clean place to sleep, shower, and go!”
Reviewed April 11, 2013

This is probably the most UN-hotel-like place we've ever stayed, but it was so affordable that it made our impromptu family visit to Friday Harbor possible and worthwhile! The staff is awesome, helpful, and friendly, allowing us to squeeze our 4 year old kids into the tiny, 1 queen bedroom. Luckily, our children were small enough that one slept in the little "nook" of a closet, and the other on the floor at the head of our bed. It was difficult to find space for them; you can't even fit a cot or a mat in this room. The hotel is a series of doublewides converted into small rooms with wood paneling. It was certainly cozy, and it provided us with a place to stay so we could do all we wanted to the next day without being exhausted. My only complaint was that you could hear EVERYTHING in the hallway outside the door, so our morning wasn't too restful. But otherwise, everything was just what we needed.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank 262AlexD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
orcainn, Manager at The Orca Inn, responded to this review, May 17, 2013
Thanks for the review! You described our rooms accurately -- the Micro rooms are very small (which is how we keep our rates the lowest on the island). We also have larger rooms available for only a few bucks more.
We're sorry about the noise. It's always a tough balancing act between allowing guests to have a good time while not allowing them to disrupt everyone else's peace and relaxation. We'll keep trying.
We really appreciate the high marks for our staff. We can't make the rooms larger or control the weather, but we can promise clean rooms and friendly faces. We're so pleased that you noticed.
We also love your description of us being the most "UN-hotel-like" place you've ever stayed. You're also very close on your description of being converted double-wides. They aren't mobile homes, but are unlike anything else out there. The real story is pretty interesting, and involves a part of Alaskan history.
Again, we're glad you stayed with us, and hope you'll bring the kids back to see us!

*Morris & Coni Workman
Managers
The Orca Inn
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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266 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (72)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Gardena, California
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed April 8, 2013

The bedroom is about a foot bigger than the bed except one direction where there's room to make sandwiches. A couple of hundred feet from the NW corner gate of the airport. You can shower and sleep very comfortably for a VERY LOW COST! We enjoyed our stay and, if you don't require too many stars, we can gladly recommend The Orca Inn. I'm reviewing based on one of their cheapest rooms available.

Room Tip: Pay a little more for a larger room.
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Jimmy G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
orcainn, Manager at The Orca Inn, responded to this review, April 9, 2013
Thank you so much for your extremely accurate review. We love it when people "get" us and our philosophy that people should spend their money doing fun things on our island instead of blowing big bucks on a place to sleep.

We also enjoyed your line "A funny little group of mobile office buildings sectioned into bath, toilet and bedroom." Not quite, but a hilarious description!

Thanks for staying with us!

*Morris & Coni Workman
Managers
The Orca Inn
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
60 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed April 1, 2013

We have just spent two nights here and were really impressed. The rooms are small and functional with television, microwave, shower and en suite bathroom. Clean and well maintained. The manager could not have been more helpful, especially since there had been a misunderstanding over our booking by Internet. There is Wi-Fi coverage adjacent to the office where there is a sunny patio where one may lounge as one types and catches up on electronic communications. After our first night, we had absolutely no hesitation about booking for an extra night since the San Juan Islands are worth taking time to explore. The hotel is just up the hill from the ferry port, well within reasonable walking distance, well signed, hard to miss.It is not far from the small airport hence there is significant airplane noise during the day but this has stopped before normal sleeping hours.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Thomast1940
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
orcainn, Manager at The Orca Inn, responded to this review, April 9, 2013
ThomasT, we remember you and your group, and we sincerely enjoyed having you here!

Sorry about the confusion on the booking...we've contacted the online booking company, and they've fixed the problem.

You folks were terrific! We appreciate your kind words, and hope to see you again soon!

*Morris & Coni Workman
Managers
The Orca Inn
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tonasket, Washington, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 3, 2013

My fiance and I chose the Orca Inn because we weren't wanting to spend a lot of money on a hotel. We were PLEASANTLY surprised when we got into our room. We stayed in the king room and it was very spacious. Large bathroom, and very clean. The management was was absolutely amazing. Very nice and welcoming. I would definitely stay here again.

Room Tip: King room is the largest. very spacious
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Kristin P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
orcainn, Manager at The Orca Inn, responded to this review, March 24, 2013
Thank you SO much for the kind review!
Your tip is spot-on. Our Micro Rooms are small and cozy, but our King and Double Queen rooms are more spacious.
We are so grateful to have terrific guests like you stay with us.
Hope to see you again soon!

*Morris & Coni Workman
Managers
The Orca Inn
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Friday Harbor, Washington
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed January 9, 2013

I spent the night in a micro room at the Orca Inn and it was delightful..The room was just right for me. The room was clean. It had a small refrigerator, television, desk, cable and private bathroom (which I understand many of the hotels/motels you have to share bathrooms)The personel was very helpful and delightful to talk to. I would definitely recommend the Orca Inn for a headquarters for visiting the many things you can do here on the Island. It is true...price was inexpensive as advertised.

Room Tip: For more than 1 person, they have larger rooms. The managers are new to the Orca Inn and have great...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
3 Thank Lareine C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bellingham, Washington
Level Contributor
13 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed November 22, 2012

Thought I had reviewed this back in February but apparently did not. We checked in just before the office closed up at went directly back into town for dinner. We came back around maybe 8 pm to find our room had dirty sheets with the comforter pulled up over the top, a full garbage can, and an opened bag of Bugles snacks sitting atop the microwave. As the room had obviously not been cleaned, we went about looking for how to contact the night person. There was nothing in the room, and we checked the manager's office which had no afterhours information posted. We ended up cranking up the heat and sleeping on top of the comforter. We did not get a refund or discount in the morning- indeed, the office was still locked up at ten am when we dropped the keys into a lockbox.

To recap, we paid fifty bucks to spend the night in a tiny dirty room in a doublewide someone had plunked down in a parking lot. We'd have had cleaner accommodations, and probably more space, had we pitched a tent in the parking stall outside.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank bellingbacon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
orcainn, Manager at The Orca Inn, responded to this review, December 15, 2012
First, we would like to sincerely apologize that you had a bad experience at The Orca Inn.

We are the new managers effective Dec. 1, 2012. Obviously we weren't in place at the time of your February 2012 stay, but felt compelled to take your comments to heart.

At first we were shocked to read that one of our rooms was dirty. In our short time, we have discovered that our housekeeping staff is tremendous, and the current group has been here for years. But in reading closer, it appears the problem wasn't housekeeping, but more likely a clerical error that put you in a room that hadn't been cleaned yet. Either way, it was a terrible experience for you, and we apologize.

However, you make some excellent points. We can't undo your bad experience, but because of your observations, we HAVE made some significant changes to our operation.

First, as of December, our office will be open every day at 8 a.m. so we can better serve our guests. Beginning in May and continuing throughout the season, we'll back that up to 7 a.m.

Next, we have posted a 24-hour phone number that rings directly into our on-property residence, along with our personal cell phone number so that guests can reach us any time, day or night.

Third, we are in the process of changing our housekeeping and office procedures to ensure that no guest ever winds up in a room that hasn't been cleaned.

Again, we can't "unring the bell" of a terrible stay at our hotel, and yours was horrific and unacceptable. However, we are grateful for your feedback and are heeding your words. We invite you to give us another try.

*Morris & Coni Workman
Managers
The Orca Inn
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Friday Harbor hotels

New York City, New York
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed October 4, 2012

Where do I begin.....first off, the lady at the fron desk was strange, no, bizarre. Very rude too, actually. Also thought it was odd that we were the only ones checking in, on Labor Day. No other hint of any other guest staying here. Very eerie. Upon checkin apparently the toilet was broken, no one was around to fix it. but at least there was 2 bathrooms in the room. Also strange room set up. you cannot open the bathroom door all the way, the bed is in the way!
The rooms were old and dingy. The carpet was filthy, a huge dark stain right in the middle of the room. I was afraid to walk barefoot in the room.
AND RAN OUT OF HOT WATER DURING MY SHOWER!! BOTH TIMES!! how the heck does that happen ever in a hotel?? and I'm talking ran out before I even got soap on my loofah!
Too make a long story short, this place was absolutley dreadful, and to top it off the lady at the desk was downright RUDE! All I wanted was a map of Friday Harbour. Seriously, is that a bothersome question from a tourist?!?!?

Room Tip: here's a tip--- stay somewhere else. not even worth it to save money.
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank missy B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
orcainn, Manager at The Orca Inn, responded to this review, March 24, 2013
Wow!
While we weren't the managers during your time here (we arrived in December of 2012), we're very sorry to hear about your stay.
We can't "unring the bell" of your horrible experience, but we appreciate your comments. Based on your observations, here's what we're doing to improve The Orca Inn:
First, we now have someone here 24 hours a day to address maintenance issues like your broken toilet.
You are right, the carpets in many of our rooms were in terrible shape. Thanks in part to your comments, we are in the process of replacing the carpet in most of our rooms, and 5 of our 7 hallways. (The other 2 hallways were just re-carpeted within the last 2 years). The new carpets will be installed by April 2, 2013.
We are also doing a lot of painting in both the hallways and rooms to brighten things up, and have implemented a new program where we will be renovating three rooms each month. (It's a tough call, because some people really like the retro charm of the real wood paneling, so we're trying things like light-colored accent walls to complement the wood).
We recognize that few things are as irritating as a cold shower. What makes our hotel different is that every room has its own separate hot water heater, so your neighbor will never use up all your hot water. The limitation of this strategy is that the hot water heaters are smaller than normal, so it's easy to use up the supply in your own room.
We have also learned that a lot of people turn on the shower and let it run, like they do at other hotels, to give the hot water time to reach the shower from the boilers located hundreds of feet away. Here, the hot water is nearly instantaneous. If someone turns on the shower and lets it run for a few minutes, they'll run out of hot water before they finish.
We explored the idea of turning up the thermostats on those heaters, but have discovered that Washington state law limits the temperature of hot water in hotel rooms to 120 degrees.
We're currently experimenting with different water-conserving shower heads to see if we can prolong the hot water supply. But the truth is, if you turn on the shower, jump in, and take care of business, you should have plenty of hot water. We're sorry about this limitation.
Best of all, we've implemented all these changes while keeping our hotel room rates the lowest on the island.
As for the rude person at the front desk...we're not sure who that might have been. Most of the current and former Orca Inn desk people we've met were very nice. But these days, we man the front desk ourselves about 90% of the time, and have ongoing training for those who fill in for us. Because of that, we can make this promise: If you need a map of our island, not only will we give you one, but we'll take the time to highlight the best sights to see and how to get there. We will also offer tips and directions on the best places to eat, shop, and enjoy yourself. We want you to have a good time in Friday Harbor, and we know that has to begin with us.
We know that we never get a second chance to make a good first impression. All we can do is apologize, and promise that we have taken your words to heart and are trying to improve The Orca Inn. We hope you'll give us another chance.

*Morris & Coni Workman
Managers
The Orca Inn
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Orca Inn

Property: The Orca Inn
Address: 770 Mullis St, Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, WA 98250-8083
Location: United States > Washington > San Juan Islands > San Juan Island > Friday Harbor
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Best Value Hotel in Friday Harbor
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2 star — The Orca Inn 2*
Number of rooms: 65
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Spend a night...Not a fortune! It's really simple: Smaller Rooms = Smaller Rates. At The Orca Inn, we are proud to offer the smallest rooms in the state of Washington! Which means we have the lowest hotel room rates on San Juan Island. (Of course, for just a few dollars more, we have larger King and Double Queen rooms). With the money you save, you can spend more on amazing whale watching tours, incredible kayak trips, and other island adventures that you will remember for a lifetime. As Mr. Carson once said, "The business of life is the acquisition of memories." And at the Orca Inn, business is good! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Orca Hotel Friday Harbor
The Orca Inn Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, WA

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