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“An Island Gem in a Shining Sea”
Review of Willows Inn

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Willows Inn
Ranked #1 of 1 Lummi Island B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 24 September 2012

Our visit to the Willows Inn on Lummi Island was definitely the highlight of our summer. We were fortunate to arrive on a sunny day in early September. Mount Baker was out in all its glory, the sea was offering up its bounty and chef Blaine Wetzel was making magic in the kitchen. We stayed not at the inn itself but at the Sinclair View Suite, in a gorgeous home available to book through the inn. It was across the road from a lovely beach, with views of nearby Orcas Island and picturesque fishing boats moored in the bay.
Dinner was long and lovely, with 16 different items, not really courses, but many small bites served separately. You may think you know and love Northwest cuisine, but have you ever had crispy halibut skin with razor clams? How about geoduck with frozen horseradish or a rolled crispy crepe with sockeye roe? All were beautifully presented, often on stones or pieces of slate. I had the juice pairing, which included an emerald sorrel juice, spicy apple and delicate elderflower. My husband got the wine pairing, featuring Northwest wines like Madeleine Angevine from Mount Baker Vineyards.
If you go be sure to hang out in the kitchen at the end of the meal. Blaine and his staff will be happy to show you around. And don't miss the tour of Nettles Farm after breakfast in the morning. The farm, just a few blocks from the inn, supplies eggs, vegetables, berries and more.
I don't even want to say how much all this costs (a minimum of $300 for two people just for the dinner), but think of it as a revelation of just how special our part of the world really is.

Room Tip: I have seen some complaints about the rooms at the inn itself. Be aware that you can book other room...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank 60sgal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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88 - 92 of 184 reviews

Reviewed 30 August 2012

Like most people, we came to the Willows Inn for Blaine Wetzel's amazing food, which did not disappoint. Having read the reviews here, I had lowered my expectations for the inn itself. If you're expecting a fancy five star hotel to go along with your five star meal, then you might find the Willows Inn lacking. But we found it delightful. The staff were friendly and the inn was quiet, peaceful and well-appointed. It fits perfectly with the relaxed and informal nature of the island itself. We stayed in the farmhouse suite, which was rustic in decor, but perfectly comfortable and absolutely charming. If you embrace the ethos of "farmed, foraged, fished" that the restaurant is going for, then staying on the actual farm feels appropriate. If you are looking to stay for more than a night, the farmhouse suite would be ideal as there is a great kitchen with a giant pizza oven, a large dining table, and a comfortable living room. If not for the slightly exorbitant price per night, it would make a great writer's retreat. I definitely recommend staying at the inn, and second the recommendation of others to stay in one of the "satellite" rooms rather than the main building.

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Rinnster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 August 2012

WHAT WE WERE LOOKING FOR
Relaxing, no-agenda mini break. Time to catch up on reading, movies and sleep.

WHAT WE GOT
Thumbs up:
-- Great room with full view of the ocean (stayed at High Tide). Fell asleep & woke up to the sound of waves.
-- Breath-taking sunset. Best ever!
-- Private beach. During our entire 4 day stay, we were on the beach or deck most hours and saw no one except for a small family who picnicked one afternoon.
-- Incredible dinner (under separate review).
-- Attentive staff. I was worried we wouldn't get prompt service, being that we were off the main property, but they proved me wrong.
-- High quality wifi. On the beach, I went a decent distance from the house and was able to download a new ebook on my tablet.
-- Do not miss cocktail hour! Delicious drinks poured with a heavy hand.
-- Friendly locals.

Good To Know (Thumbs Sideways):
-- Bathroom is small.
-- Breakfast needs variety. Main stay of scone, yogurt, eggs and potatoes changed flavors daily and were quite tasty but by the 3rd morning, I was hoping for a small piece of ham or a different pastry.
-- Food options are limited on the island. If you're staying for more than a night, pack snacks, cold pasta or other refrigerator-to-table eats to expand what Taproot and the Beach Store Café have to offer.

Room Tip: Beach House would be awesome for a large party. Low Tide, which is on the bottom floor right by the...
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  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank YouDoTheDishes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 August 2012

The amazing food is the real attraction here. The Chefs (Blaine and crew) are simply the best at simple, local, foraged fare. We've been back multiple times and each time we remark how lucky we are to have an experience like this so close to us in Seattle. The Inn is nice, we've tried the Inn rooms as well as the Beach house. Obviously the beach house with the views is better (for the price) but the Inn rooms are cozy as well. There are lots of things to do around the Island, mostly nature related. But at the end of the day its all about the food. And that's a good thing.

Room Tip: Rooms right above the kitchen tend to be louder but not that big of a deal.
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  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Vivek S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 August 2012

This was our second visit to the Willows Inn mainly because we couldn't forget the amazing dinner we had last summer. Last time, we stayed at Low Tide but this time, we stayed at High Tide. It's in the same area away from the central inn. High Tide definitely has more privacy than Low Tide but the bathroom is located downstairs. You don't have to leave your room but you do need to go downstairs for the bathroom/shower. It was a bit chilly so we turned on the fireplace and heater. If you stay along the beach, I don't think you'll need air conditioning because of the nice breeze from the beach.

I do wish that the staff was a bit more friendlier. There was one lady who checked us in who was nice and the Taproot staff was super friendly. However, the rest of the staff didn't strike me as enthusiastic or friendly like last time. Perhaps I set my expectations a bit too high. Nonetheless, dinner was super tasty and we went back happy. If you don't like oysters, make sure you let the staff know when checking-in because this time, we had two oyster dishes and we aren't big fans no matter how they are prepared. It's a good thing that our favorite salmon came out twice. And the bread and butter. My husband did the wine pairing but he was disappointed. It was basically all white wine and he felt like it didn't pair with the food; it just cleaned his palate. We did the wine pairing last summer and it was absolutely perfect. Each glass of wine really complimented the food. My husband was hoping for the same kind of experience but unfortunately, not this time.

Do note that dinner is not served on certain days of the week, so when picking a date, make sure you are staying at least one night when you can experience this fine dining.

There are some trails nearby so if you plan on hiking, bring your gears! There are super easy ones that can be done in sandals. Also, the inn has bicycles but the ones that are available were too tall for me (I'm 5'2.) The electric bikes were a bit shorter but the inn charges a fee for them for four hours and we didn't have that much time until dinner. There's also kayaks where the Beach House, Low Tide, and High Tide rooms are. I'm not sure if they are only available for guests staying in those rooms, but if you're interested in that, you can ask when making the reservation.

  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Pumpkin_Cupcakes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Willows Inn

Address: 2579 W Shore Dr, Lummi Island, WA 98262-8667
Region: United States > Washington > San Juan Islands > Lummi Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 B&Bs / Inns in Lummi Island
Price Range: ₹ 7,178 - ₹ 11,215 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Willows Inn on Lummi Island has become the Northwest's premiere destination for authentic farm to table dining. Come in and experience the culinary magic of our chef, Blaine Wetzel, and find out what eating from your landscape is all about. Savor wines from our extensive selection. Enjoy our elegantly comfortable accommodations. Drink in the views, watch whales, or relax with a cocktail by a blazing fire. Unplug, recharge and experience the Willows Inn--an authentic and affordable San Juan Islands adventure! Offering romantic beachside lodge rooms, cottage, and guest house accommodations and marine experiences. Organic food from Loganita Farm. A car ferry departs at least hourly for the five minute crossing to this scenic island retreat. Less than two hours from Seattle or Vancouver, BC. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Willows Hotel Lummi Island

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