Inns You Can Paddle and Sail to (and from) Hotel Review: Friday Harbor House Inn, Friday Harbor Washington USA
Recently we've been exploring the San Juan islands. Located in America's Pacific Northwest, these islands form an archipelago that stretches from Washington across the border into Canada. It's a popular place for kayakers & boaters and we're planning to bring the club to the islands this summer and paddle a multi-day adventure.
Our launch point will likely be Friday Harbor, a quaint little village on the second biggest island, San Juan Island. We're gonna leave our car on the mainland and travel here by boat (with all of our gear & kayaks in packs). Instead of arriving & paddling the start of our journey on the same day, we plan to stay over night our first night on the island.
The hotel that we finally decide to paddle from has to be close enough to the ferry terminal and also close enough to the launch point so we can leave from here on day 2. We started our hotel/inn research by spending a night at the Friday Harbor House, located just blocks from the water & ferry terminal in Friday Harbor.
Friday Harbor House sits on a small bluff overlooking Friday Harbor. The ferry terminal (catch a ride back to the mainland) & marina are just blocks away. Also close are restaurants & shopping, plus many opportunities for kayaking, boat tours, and more (link to island activities). Our room had great views of the terminal, marina, & the San Juan Channel. On a clear day some rooms even give great views of Mt. Constitution on nearby Orcas Island.
The room we stayed in was one of 23 guest suites. They all include a gas fireplace, a jetted bathtub (ours had a shower also), TV, coffee maker & fridge, & complementary wifi. The bed was comfy, the tub nice, & the fireplace great.
From our experience, local NW Inn wifi can be unreliable (a.k.a. works/doesn't work, slow, etc) - The Harbor House wifi worked like normal (bloggers exhale). An iPod dock clock radio was a nice touch and the walls seemed thick enough - we didn't hear our neighbors one bit.
The view from our room was gorgeous. Also, for when the sun finally does return, they have a nice ground level outdoor front lawn/seating area - the terrace - it totally makes up for the lack of balcony in your room. The coffee maker was a Keurig (boo-yah) with plenty of flavor options.
The Inn has a big comfy area for events and the hotel staff made us feel right at home.
Don't miss the complimentary gourmet continental breakfast, served-up every morning in the Bluff Restaurant on the ground floor. It has lots of local handmade yummies like a daily made frittata, house made granola, house made salmon spread, coffee from a local roaster, and more. We also ate dinner at the restaurant - nothing special here. It might just be 'cause we've been spoiled with amazing Northwest food on our travels & because my wife is quite the chef (even on the boat), but for the price the restaurant was average. The staff, however, were excellent - super friendly, funny, and helpful. Seriously: don't miss the breakfast.
Stuff to do.
During our stay we drove around the island and explored the restaurants & shopping just blocks from the Inn. Our four favorite restaurants/coffee shops in town are pictured below. Crows Nest makes a super-great cup of Joe. Cask & Schooner has an excellent menu, especially for a pub (chic pea & kale sauté anyone?), and great cocktails too. The Market Chef was our favorite eatery in town - such great staff and amazing food & coffee. Finally, there's the World's Skinniest Latte Shop…I mean, it's really skinny - the place is as wide as a door.
Down the bluff from the Friday Harbor House is the marina - our potential launching point this coming summer. The marina is a cool place to walk around, make sure to look [carefully] into water and check out the sea life. We found kayak launch slips here, $5 and you're good to go. We hope to check out some other Island Inns before the summer - we'll let you know how it goes - adventure awaits!
~Paul & Amber ETC
The Friday Harbor House reviewed by Everyone's Travel Club on 1/5/13
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