I have been up and down the California coast more times than I can remember and, like most, have made the requisite overnight stops at The Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo. But on a recent visit, I decided it was time to try something different.
Last time my husband and I were driving up the coast, we stopped in Cambria for lunch. The town was quaint with great shopping and places to eat and we wanted to spend more time there. So we looked on TripAdvisor to see what hotels were in the area and my husband and I couldn't believe the accolades for a small property known as The Blue Dolphin Inn.
I'm a frequent traveler to California and had never heard of the place. After having spent a night there I can truly say that it is one of the California coast's best-kept secrets. From the moment we arrived to the moment we departed, The Blue Dolphin Inn was a perfect choice.
The property doesn't accept kids -- which was music to our ears. The owning company, Cambria Inns, does have a number of other properties along Moonstone Beach if you are traveling with the kids. We got a room with an ocean view and fell asleep to the sounds of the waves lapping at the shore. The front desk staff is incredibly friendly and welcoming and the guest rooms are outfitted with everything you could ever want or need. From blow dryers and bathrobes to bath salts and coffee and cookies, one could move into The Blue Dolphin Inn and never leave. I have never seen a hotel in all of my travels that so anticipated every need you could have -- including offering a bucket with water and a squeegee so you could clean your car windshield before setting off again up or down the coast.
My only criticism of The Blue Dolphin Inn would be their breakfast -- which is included. You pre-order what you want the night before and it comes delivered in a box inside a shopping bag. Considering all of the niceties of the property, this was a little sterile. I think serving the Continental breakfast on a tray would have been much nicer than giving me a muffin in a box and a hard-boiled egg in a plastic container. But the benefits of this spot highly outweigh this one minor issue.
If you are seeking a place to truly get away from it all, The Blue Dolphin Inn is it. It is a quiet place to relax -- I was inspired to come back with my laptop and write -- and you can enjoy the early morning sunrise with a walk along the path at Moonstone Beach. It is truly a little bit of heaven along the California Coast. And you're just a short drive away from the viewing spot of the Elephant Seals on Highway 1 just seven miles north of San Simeon. San Simeon is also home to the venerable Hearst Castle.
If a California Coast drive is in your future, I encourage you to plan a stop at The Blue Dolphin Inn.