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.
- 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