A short drive from Humbolt County’s giant redwoods, Benbow Historic Inn is a throwback in time with modern luxuries. It’s a lovely boutique hotel in Garberville, California next to the Eel River.
The Benbow Inn was built in 1926 by the Benbow family. Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the hotel has welcomed movie stars and political figures, as well as modern day road trippers. Instead of Studebaker cars, you are more likely to see Tesla electric vehicles plugged into one of several charging stations.
Featuring 65 hotel rooms, the Benbow Inn combines historic rooms with lovely newer rooms with oversized bathrooms, including two with copper bathtubs.
We stayed in a historic terrace king room on the first floor with a private balcony looking out to the back lawn. An ideal place for a romantic escape, we hope to return again in the fall when the leaves change.
Stepping into the great room with a large fireplace, the Benbow Inn is open and welcoming. We arrived in time for afternoon tea and scones.
Notice the giant teddy bear that’s seated comfortably on a chair. I’m sure he’s greeted many boys and girls at the Benbow over the years. If you are visiting when the weather is pleasant, take your tea, coffee or cocktails to the back patio and simply relax.
Amble over to the library for a book to borrow. Be sure to look at the historic photos lining the hotel corridor walls. The saying “if these walls could talk” take on new meaning when you see a young man on his Indian motorcycle or look at the Hotel Benbow’s room pricing back in the day.
If you enjoy a spot of sherry in the afternoon, you are in luck. Order a charcuterie plate to go with the complimentary sherry and have yourself a party on your patio.
Dining and drinking at Benbow Inn
There are not a lot of dining options in Garberville as fine as The Benbow. It is highly recommended that you book advance reservations with the restaurant. We enjoyed an early dinner outside on the patio during our summer vacation. The fresh salmon and lamb prepared two ways were both delicious. I say this all the time but do save room for the dessert!
A hot breakfast was offered in the morning with an option for to-go service. My understanding is that the historic inn offers brunch on weekends. Another reason for us to return to Benbow Inn.
If you are traveling by RV, check out their sister KOA property. You’ll notice the KOA when you walk to the swimming pool. We almost missed the swimming pool during our overnight stay. There is a hot tub, as well. A small golf course is on property. You may rent clubs and a golf cart if interested. The inn offers complimentary bicycles for guests use during your stay.
The main attraction in this part of Garberville are the giant redwood trees. You’ll want to visit the Avenue of the Giants in southern Humbolt County, California. Walking amongst the trees will lower your blood pressure immediately.
Book a holiday at Benbow Inn in Garberville, California
While Benbow Historic Inn is popular for weddings, it’s a great way to break up a road trip on a long drive any time of year. Book direct with the property for AAA rates or package deals. Rates start at $250 and climb up to $500 depending on the season. You can also compare rates and make a reservation through Booking.com, Agoda, or your favorite online hotel booking site.
The Benbow Inn is pet-friendly but only in certain rooms. You’ll want to call ahead to book a pet-approved room.
Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown spent one night at Benbow Historic Inn while on assignment in California. As always, all opinions are her own. All photo by Nancy Brown.