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“Great restaurant, but inn still a work in progress”
Review of Willows Inn

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Willows Inn
Ranked #1 of 1 Lummi Island B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Boston, Massachusetts
Level 5 Contributor
57 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Great restaurant, but inn still a work in progress”
Reviewed 11 November 2011

We were drawn to this inn because of the great reviews the restaurant got in the New York Times. Indeed, the chef, Blaine Wetzel, is quite talented. We have eaten in many excellent restaurants around the world, including Noma (Copenhagen) where Mr. Wetzel once worked. We found the food at the Willows to be inventive and top notch. Most of our courses were fish or shellfish and accompanied by produce grown at their nearby farm. The menu is prix fixe - maybe 10-12 small courses (honestly, I lost count). The waitstaff were very pleasant and friendly, but we did not find them to be at the same level as waitstaff we have encountered at restaurants of the same food caliber. For instance, we found that the servers were not all intimately familiar with each of the courses ingredients or preparation. The servers pouring water were not able to answer food questions. I find that this not the case at other high end restaurants.

Breakfast was generous and delicious, but is a fixed menu. We were stunned that they don't offer any espresso beverages (cappuccino, lattes, etc...). That is just plain STRANGE at an inn just north of Seattle.

We stayed in the "Haven" room, which was large and comfortable. The bathroom was recently redone and had a very nice soaking tub and steam shower. We were puzzled as to why our towels were removed each day, but then were never fully replaced. By the time we left, we were left with one bath towel and washcloth each (I think we started with 4 or so of each). Also we were puzzled why they would ask us during breakfast, whether we would want our room refreshed that day (bed made?). I would think that at $325/night this would be automatic. Also, this room, while it was very comfortable, is right above one of the kitchen work areas where the walk in refrigerators and some large cooking appliances are. The first night we stayed, the kitchen staff were quite loud as they were cleaning up and closing down the work area. It didn't really get quiet until after midnight. Thankfully the subsequent nights were not as loud, but there was a considerable of noise from the refrigerator doors closing, and people cleaning up, etc... I think perhaps the room walls or floor lacked enough insulation to block the noise?

In summary, We enjoyed a our very relaxing few days at the Willows inn? Blaine Wetzel is truly a world class chef. The waitstaff is good, but not at the caliber I expect from this level or restaurant. Our room was comfortable, but a bit noisy.

  • Stayed October 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Knock_me_out_please
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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182 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (54)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Seattle
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 November 2011

My husband and I went to the Willows Inn last month and had an outstanding time. What a quick and easy trip from Seattle to the quant environment of Lummi Island. Upon arrival we had great costomer service. Our beach front room was about a mile drive down the road. It was small, clean and realy cute. Around 6pm we headed back to the inn for pre-dinner drinks. Dinner started promptly at 6:30pm and the magic began! We were expecting a four course meal. But with all of the wonderfully creative "snacks and bites" the chefs presented to us, there were actually 15 courses! I don't want to spoil it, just go! Breakfast the next morning was great, too and prepared with love. We took a nice walk up to to the garden and chicken area and explored the grounds where a lot of the food is grown. So much fun! In fact, we scheduled our next visit to go back in early spring. We look forward to seeing what they come up with next considering most of the courses served are seasonal.

Room Tip: We preferred the beach front rooms down the road as opposed to the on-site room at the inn.
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  • Stayed October 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Seattlechic75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago, Illinois
Level 4 Contributor
29 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 November 2011

Stayed during the weekend for a quick getaway from Seattle. Lummi Island is quite quaint. An old fishing village now turned vacation spot. The Willows Inn is settled on the coastline. We stayed at their Cottage about a 1/4 mile away (next to Nettles Farm). The cottage was homespun cozy. While we were a little nervous about the neighbors, the chicken coop, they behaved themselves quite well. Dinner at night was fantastic (really the reason we visited Willows Inn) and breakfast the following morning delicious. The dining room view is breathtaking. All-in-all, a very enjoyable experience. It'll be fun to come back during a different season.

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank FightingOwl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle
Level 3 Contributor
23 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 October 2011

Of course everyone goes for the food and, boy, it is fabulous. A foodies must. But the Island and the Inn have real charisma as well. The customer service exceeds all else. We had a great room, The Haven, with fireplace and huge bathroom with tub and steam shower. Unfortunately the kitchen staff below decided to make some noise during clean up (until 12:30pm) until my husband went down and said something. The next day our room charge was comped by the Inn. We didn't have to say a word and they wrote off the whole charge, unbelievable.
We will be back for another dinner to try a different season of locally grown and raised food. We will stay at the Inn and even though we just left, I can hardly wait.

  • Stayed October 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank SeattleDeb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
seattle
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 October 2011

My husband and I took a quick trip here from Seattle for his birthday. It was a spectacular little getaway. The property is very pretty, our room was attractive and comfortable and of course the dinner was delicious as well as fascinating. The grounds are a bit rustic - a pathway was blocked because of a huge hole; there is very little lighting outdoors at night so it can be a challenge to make your way safely around parts of the exterior. That is only to set your expectations that you are not at a glamourous Disneyland-perfect place. You can tell the grounds are going to get better and better as the great press they are getting will increase their ability to do so. In the meantime, the interiors are perfection. They are very beautifully painted and furnished for complete cozy comfort. We also had massages there which were very good. Every employee we encountered was very kind, very professional as well as helpful. It is a great place that we hope to return to again.

Room Tip: We didn't take our pet, but understand that there are a few rooms that allow pets.
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  • Stayed October 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank SeattleTkt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vancouver, Canada
Level 5 Contributor
78 reviews
77 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 October 2011

First of all, all rooms were fully booked so I can only comment on the dinner (I normally don't review restaurants on TA but Willows Inn definitely is worth mentioning and it is in a hotel...)

If you are the kind of person that generally spoils yourself with good food, and you've tried most things and the 'best' restaurants are starting to bore you, you should give Willows Inn a try. The courses have the right balance of ingenuity, simplicity, and sophistication... the best way to describe it actually, it's like a western 'kaiseki'. This was the first time I had real 'foraging' style cuisine at this level which is all the rage now, and I must admit I was dubious at first but I was seriously impressed from the get go. I would very much love to go back and stay the night to try the other food served during the day.

Apart from the amazing food though, the only criticism I have is that there was only 1 bathroom for the entire restaurant (so I found myself queuing up).. And, you should know this before you go, taking into account the transportation there, the ferry, the food, drinks, etc etc, it can be a pretty spendy evening. All worth it though, even if you have to come across the border.

  • Stayed August 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank meatshawarma
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle, Washington
Level 5 Contributor
84 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 October 2011

Friendly people, outstanding food, in a lovely and relaxing setting. What's not to love?

Room Tip: Ask about the bed size -- our room only had a full size bed, way too small for two six-foot-tall fol...
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  • Stayed October 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank ianbnet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Willows Inn

Property: 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 (Based on Average Rates): $$
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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