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“YOU HAD ME AT RETRO...”
Review of Earthbox Inn & Spa

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Earthbox Inn & Spa
Ranked #7 of 10 Hotels in Friday Harbor
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Olympia, Washington
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“YOU HAD ME AT RETRO...”
Reviewed January 21, 2014

I love all things retro... I love finding new uses for old things, being environmental, being responsible...and I especially love my, and my family's, recent stay at Earthbox Inn & Spa.

My husband, our 10 year old, and I stayed two nights at Earthbox Inn & Spa (January 18 & 19, 2014) and were very pleased with our stay. When we arrived on Saturday afternoon, we arrived a couple of hours before check-in. However, the person checking us in--his name was Tory--not only allowed us an early check-in but he also upgraded our room from a Sun Place room to a Sea Place room AND gave our very hungry 10 year old a bottle of water and some snacks after overhearing our son ask us how much longer before we have lunch--to hold him over! It's these little gems of customer service that has truly become rare in today's consumerism.

I have to say, one of the big draw for choosing to stay at Earthbox was its funky retro vibe. The 2nd reason: the fact that the establishment took what was most likely a rundown motel (and an eye-sore?) and recycled it into a boutique-style inn. As Volvo-driving, easily identified 'granolas' from the Olympia-Lacey, Washington area--this place was right up our alley.

OUR ROOM

As Earthbox's website and brochure states: Earthbox Inn & Spa is a renovated motor inn. Our room was spotless--VERY CLEAN--nicely decorated in soothing "earthy" colors and clean-line furniture, and the room had everything that we could possibly need for our two-night stay. The beds were softer than I would prefer but the beddings were clean and crisp and luxurious. The bathroom was small but honestly, how much room does one really need to shower or use the loo? Size doesn't matter but cleanliness does! Needless to say, we felt very comfortable and 'at home.' The overall feel of the room & service is that of a boutique hotel.

AMENITIES

Lovely lavender-infused soaps, shampoo, conditioner and lotion is set out for your use, along with other bathroom toiletries such as cotton swaps and hair blow-drier.

And it was great having an indoor swimming pool, sauna, and hot tub available after a long day of travel and sightseeing!

THE LOCATION

As a renovated 1960's motor inn, the location--as far as scenery goes--is lacking. HOWEVER, the convenience of having all of Friday Harbor's amenities (grocery store, restaurants, cinema, bowling alley, bookstore, gas station, cafes, ferry terminal, etc) all just a short walk away MORE THAN made up for the lack of scenic vistas. It was great to be able to walk down to Kings Market to pick up a few groceries for our stay or walk across the street to take our son bowling after the big Seahawks vs. the 49'ers game to let off some residual energy after watching such a nail-biting game!

I did notice prior to reserving my room that there were several negative reviews of Earthbox Inn & Spa posted here, Google, and Yelp. I cannot answer to why that is...all I can share is my experience. My husband and I have a lot of experience traveling. Everything from backpacking in Europe and staying a youth hostels to staying at 4 & 5 star hotels in various European, Scandinavian countries and stateside. We've rented houses on the shores of world famous Hanalei Bay--so we have seen and experience a wide range of tourists accommodations. And without sounding like I'm shilling, I can honestly say that we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Earthbox.

We will definitely recommend this hotel to our friends and family members!

Sincerely,
Gaute, Erin, and Leif S.

Room Tip: The Sea Place room is the room we stayed in.
See more room tips
Green Features: Loved, loved, LOVED the hotel's earth-friendly and environmentally-responsible practices!
  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank esyversen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EarthboxLaura, Manager at Earthbox Inn & Spa, responded to this review, January 24, 2014
Hi Gaute, Erin, and Leif,
Thank you so much for your lovely and thorough review. From one Volvo driving, recycling, locavore to another, thank you for appreciating what we are doing. Needless to say, you made not only our day, but our entire week. We can't wait to have you come visit and play again soon. Go Hawks!
Sincerely,
Steffi Wehner
Customer Service Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (135)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed January 21, 2014

We had a great time at the Earthbox Inn and Spa- we stayed for 2 nights (Thursday/Friday) and the place was great. We were a little apprehensive when we saw they had provided two sets of earplugs but we never needed them during our stay. The room gave us plenty of comfort and room for our stuff- we loved the little kitchen-ette area with the coffee pot and refrigerator. Our favorite part was the pool and hot tub to ourselves after a cold but fun bike ride around the Island. We loved being so close to town and walking distance to everything. Our massages were amazing and we would definitely stay here again. Thank you for making everything wonderful for our little getaway.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Emily B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EarthboxLaura, Manager at Earthbox Inn & Spa, responded to this review, January 22, 2014
Hi Emily,
Thank you so much for taking the time to write about your visit. You just made our day. We can't wait to have you come visit again.
Steffi Wehner
Customer Service Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bellingham, Washington
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed January 5, 2014

The front desk person was very friendly and helpful. I had originally called to book a room at the Bird Rock hotel, but when we went to the Black Bird, no one was there. I called the reservation line again and they had thought I was booking for the Earthbox Inn which I thought would be fine. They have done renovations at the property that are nice and overall the rooms look nice. The first room we had was very smelly. The second one was still smelly, but not as bad. I was a little disappointed thinking it was a cozy place since it was a spa hotel. It was spacious, but not what I had hoped. The entrance to the room was facing the parking lot. The beds were very comfortable, the rooms were very clean, and there was a pool for the kids. The room was originally $190, but there was a discount rate for the off season. A little overpriced.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank funtimes5566
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EarthboxLaura, Manager at Earthbox Inn & Spa, responded to this review, January 10, 2014
Hi Funtimes,
Thank you so much for taking the time to let us know about your stay. We are delighted to hear how much you liked our customer service, our clean, spacious rooms, the pool house and our comfy beds.
I'm sorry to hear about the smell in your room. What was it? A cleaning product we use? We would love to address that.
Sounds like our retro motor inn is not quite what you were looking for. No worries. Our sister hotel, the Bird Rock, will be open again February. We would love to have you come visit us there.
Sincerely,
Steffi Wehner
Customer Service Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
McCook Lake, SD
Level Contributor
39 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed December 27, 2013

It was a old 70s motel redone as a nice boutique hotel spa. The service was great and we really enjoyed using their townie bikes to explore Friday Harbor. The rooms were fine and the hotel was environmentally conscious. We did dip into the pool which was outside and well maintained.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank kimbacon9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maui, Hawaii
Level Contributor
679 reviews
127 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 411 helpful votes
Reviewed November 22, 2013

We came here by chance. The hotel seems boutique at first glance, then you get the conversion.
I didn't mind it. We had the "water room" 337, i have no memory of the connection to water. But it was a nice quiet upstairs. Little expensive at 200.00 but we only stayed one night. They were kind enough to connect us with Bird Rock in town, sister facility. Much nicer and more unique. All in all we would go back.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank MarshallGulch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed November 20, 2013

Purchased a groupon for a fall season two-night stay. I decided to upgrade my room (Sky Place) when I booked. Checked in and checked out the room. The room was nothing special, very small room, super small bathroom (had to squeeze in to close the door). The room, you could tell, had been repainted with newer features added but still looked and felt like an older (but slightly upgraded) motel (creaks in floor, old heating system, lack of attention to detail, etc). It was not what I expected since we upgraded from the standard groupon room and the rep assured me it was the nicest grade of rooms on the property.
I went back to the office and asked if they had a nicer room to move me too. When I told the rep that I did not like the original room she just said "wow" and moved us to a "Sun Place" room. The room was MUCH bigger and a little nicer so I thanked her and we decided to stay there. Let me say again that this room was better than the first but still seemed old and rickety (constant creaking all night when you turned on the heater), bathroom window had mold along the top, heater in the bathroom did not work, windows (although big) were single pane so they fog up and hold condensation.
If you don't mind rooms that have been repainted and minimally upgraded but still have that old, creaky, small feel then this is a good place to stay. But, if you want good value for the money you pay (if you did not purchase a groupon and paid full price- $160-180 a night, then I would look elsewhere. I would not stay here again even with a groupon, I think there are better deals with better quality rooms out there.

Couple other things to note: the hotel does have bikes to rent and is very close to all of the shops and eateries. The hotel staff was pretty nice and their bath towels were unbelievably soft. Upon looking around downtown we did find a place, Island Inn, that we will stay at if we decide to return to Friday Harbor. Comparable prices and very nicely appointed rooms.

Room Tip: Both rooms I experienced, Sky Place and Sun Place, were creaky. If you don't mind hearing the cr...
See more room tips
Green Features: They seem pretty environmental conscience. Standard practice of replacing towels only when requested, no bed sheet changes unless requested, etc.
  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank mysterymachine25
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EarthboxLaura, Manager at Earthbox Inn & Spa, responded to this review, November 21, 2013
Hi Mysterymachine,
Thank you so much for taking the time to let us know about your stay. Yes, we are a renovated motor inn. We are proud we took an existing structure and made it come to life again. It's quirky and funky and fun and a work in progress. We try to make it very clear in our correspondence what we are and aren't. We understand we may not be the right place for everyone. I'm sorry we didn't live up to your expectations.
Thank you for your visit.
Sincerely,
Steffi Wehner
Customer Service Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
35 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed November 18, 2013

We loved staying at the Earthbox. San Juan Island is absolutely beautiful and this inn is the perfect place to stay while exploring it. First off, it is walking distance to the main streets and the ferry building. The staff is so friendly, I mean, beyond accommodating. We took a late ferry to the island and let the inn know we'd be arriving after 8pm. The night manager stayed over an hour after their normal hours to check us in and was still super friendly. The room was small, but quite cute. The bathroom had an amazing jacuzzi tub and cute shampoo & conditioner dispensers. The onsite spa was also incredible. We had some of the best massages ever there! I wish we could've brought the spa home with us. They also have complimentary bikes for guests and an indoor pool! The only reason why I didn't give it 5 stars is because the bed was much too firm for my liking and the walls were a bit thin. But overall, such a great stay. Will definitely stay again!

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Chelsea P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EarthboxLaura, Manager at Earthbox Inn & Spa, responded to this review, November 21, 2013
Hi Chelsea,
We loved you visiting us. Thank you for making our day with your lovely review.
Come back soon.
Sincerely,
Steffi Wehner
Customer Service Manager
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 Earthbox Inn & Spa

Property: Earthbox Inn & Spa
Address: 410 Spring St, Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, WA 98250-7230 (Formerly Elements Hotel & Spa)
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Washington > San Juan Islands > San Juan Island > Friday Harbor
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Green Hotel in Friday Harbor
#5 Family Hotel in Friday Harbor
#6 Romantic Hotel in Friday Harbor
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Earthbox Inn & Spa 2.5*
Number of rooms: 72
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Earthbox Inn & Spa is a delightful blend of cool resort motel and classic vintage motor inn with an indoor pool, full-service spa, stylishly renovated rooms, free wifi, free parking and complimentary bicycles. Centrally located in downtown Friday Harbor, only 4 blocks from the Washington State Ferry. Also enjoy the many outdoor area attractions including kayaking, biking, hiking, and wildlife/whale tours. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Earthbox Motel And Spa
Earthbox Hotel Friday Harbor
Earthbox Motel Friday Harbor
Earthbox Inn & Spa Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, WA

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