Set at the base of Mount Tamalpais in downtown of Mill Valley – just 25 minutes north of San Francisco over the Golden Gate Bridge – the Mill Valley Inn is an intimate boutique hotel that offers visitors a more relaxed look at the Bay Area. While the hotel is close to the city, its setting surrounded by redwood trees and the quaint shops of Mill Valley make it feel much farther away and make it a great base for exploring more of Marin County, such as Muir Woods, Point Reyes, and the trails of Mount Tamalpais.
The inn’s 25 rooms are spread between a main building and several cottages and reflect the upscale country feel of the hotel, with hardwood floors, wrought-iron headboards, and stylishly weathered wood accents. Each has a pillow-top bed, 32″ LCD TV, iPod dock, air conditioning, and other standard amenities like spa robes, hair dryers, and irons. My room, a Balcony Queen with Fireplace, had a small patio, a writing desk, a comfortable sitting chair with ottoman, large wardrobe, and an antique wood-burning fireplace.
While the property is small, it still offers several lovely amenities to enhance a stay, including an evening wine and cheese reception and a daily continental breakfast with freshly-made waffles, pastries, oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, bread, fruit, coffee and made-to-order lattes and espresso. There’s a second floor lounge and terrace, and guests have free use of one of the inn’s mountain bikes for exploring nearby trails or the streets of Mill Valley.
Parking and wifi are complimentary, and there’s limited room service available from Piazza D’Angelos Restaurant (though I’d recommend dinner at El Paseo, a short walk away, for a romantic night out). There’s no spa onsite but there are several nearby, and the hotel offers en-suite massages. Meeting space is available for groups of up to 20 people, keeping in line with the hotel’s intimate feel.