The drive to the coastal town of Mendocino, California, three hours north of San Francisco, is worth a trip in itself. But when you arrive at Stanford Inn by the Sea, you are reminded that “the pleasure of the journey is only eclipsed by the ecstasy of the destination.” This pet-friendly eco-resort on the Northern California coast is the ideal place to fall in love with life again. This AAA four diamond rated resort features a vegan restaurant on site, a spa in the forest and sits next to the Big River.
“We’re not a bed and breakfast,” said Co-owner and Innkeeper Jeff Stanford. “We’re a restaurant that serves breakfast.”
Jeff and his wife Joan Stanford have been building their dream in the Mendocino forest since the early 1980’s and like true entrepreneurs, they continue to invest in their property and the people that help run this magical place.
We had brought our Labrador Retriever with us on this Mendocino weekend getaway and she was in doggie heaven. From the moment we set foot, or paws, in the main building we were greeted with a glass of wine, hot tea for me and a handmade treat for our dog.
I love, love, love that we were able to dine with our dog sleeping soundly at our feet. For those who are not pet-lovers, you’ll be pleased to know that there are two separate restaurant dining areas; same main building, same food from the kitchen. Win, win for everyone!
After a brief check in we were shown to our Big River Executive King. Our room had an ocean view, wood burning fireplace with sitting area and was pet-friendly. While all accommodations at the Inn have private baths, some rooms have been recently updated, with plans for all rooms to receive a refresh.
Even on a rainy day, there is plenty to do on the property, from taking a dip in the indoor pool and hot tub, to enjoying a massage in the forest and simply walking the dog along the many paths. Our children have flown the coop, but we ran into several families enjoying the resort with their kids – you must visit the llamas and horses. In particular, we met a doctor and her husband from Marin who were thrilled to have finally made it to Ravens Restaurant. Their entire family of five were vegan and they were delighted to have this dining and lodging experience.
One of the highlights of our weekend on the coast was taking the dog to swim in the Big River. This was a beautiful and peaceful place to walk on our winter visit. I imagine that it is a very popular destination in the warmer months. Another favorite for me was the drop in yoga class, and of course, my massage in the forest. The Stanford Inn is indeed a lovely place to fall in love with life again.
Rates start at $257.40 – $375., suites range from $315.20 – $555. depending on the time of year. Package deals are available and if you drive an electric car, you’ll be able to charge for free. Complimentary bikes are available for use and free wifi is included with your stay, as is breakfast and afternoon treats. Stanford Inn is a member of Unique Inns. Book online with the hotel or through a booking site such as Expedia or Hotels.com.
Review by San Francisco-based travel writer and dog lover Nancy D. Brown who was hosted at Stanford Inn while writing a story for an active adventure online publication. All photos by Nancy D. Brown.