Last Updated on January 22, 2023

If you want to eat amazing food, drink wines specially paired with your dinner, take a quiet walk on a driftwood-strewn beach, rub elbows with artists, and enjoy stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, then you need to consider a stay at the Elk Cove Inn. The Elk Cove Inn Spa is also to die for!

Located on a bluff on the rocky Mendocino Coast in Northern California, the historic Elk Cove Inn offers some of the most spectacular views on the coast while providing a cozy respite from everyday life. A popular destination for weddings, romantic getaways and trips with gal pals, you can make special memories here you won’t make anywhere else.

Sea stacks dot the rugged shoreline and offer dazzling, wave-washed pedestals for seagulls to rest on. Sparkling turquoise waves wear arches in the rocks complementing stunning, hour-long coral sunsets.

How To Get to Elk Cove

A three-hour drive north of San Francisco on US 101, Mendocino County and the Pacific Coast are accessed by winding roads snaking through magnificent redwood forests. Highway 128 at Cloverdale, and Highway 20 at Willits, are best navigated during daylight hours. You’ll see why train travel in the area was once, and to many still is, the preferred method of getting around there.

Scenic Highway 1 from Leggett in the north, or San Francisco in the south, can be challenging. While picturesque, it will be faster if you take an inland route.

Santa Rosa is the closest airport, a two-hour drive from the south. It’s important to note that driving is required no matter how you get to the Mendocino Coast. But this area is so worth it!

Oceanview Suites With Breathtaking Scenery

Beach views at Elk Cove Inn
Beach views at Elk Cove Inn- photo by Michael Kompanik

The giant picture windows in the George Burk Suite allowed the afternoon sun to pour warmth and light into our lovely suite. The flatscreen TV softly played a soundscape that set a romantic mood that lingered throughout our stay.

Our queen bed, decked in a khaki-colored comforter, cradled the gift basket that all guests receive at the Elk Cove Inn. Popcorn, snack bars, and a treasured bottle of wine were welcome offerings to enjoy by the inviting fireplace or on the balcony overlooking the gazebo and trail to the beach.

I enjoyed cuddling up in the Elk Cove robe after a session in the ensuite Jacuzzi tub, Elk Cove Inn spa treatments without leaving your room! Paired with port wine and chocolates from the sideboard, romance was sure to follow. That explains the well-earned reputation of being one of the most romantic inns on the Mendocino Coast.

Twelve of the inn’s sixteen suites and rooms are dog-friendly, and guests can choose from an array of ocean view luxury suites, cliffside oceanfront cottages, affordable garden view rooms, carriage house rooms, or elegant rooms in the historic mansion. All accommodations are individual in décor and all rooms offer high-end European Sleep Works mattresses, robes, and buttery soft sheets and duvets by Comphy.

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The History of Elk Cove Inn, CA

The Craftsman-style mansion that is now the pet-friendly Elk Cove Inn was once the L.E. White Lumber Co. lumber mill superintendent’s home in the 1880s. In 1968, the Inn became one of the first bed and breakfast inns in Mendocino County.

The property is ideally situated for beachcombing and leisurely seaside strolls. A hidden path tucked under a tree leads down to the beach and up to connect with Greenwood State Park and Beach and the small town of Elk.

Elk Cove Inn Spa Services

When you’re in a place that absolutely reflects total relaxation and serenity, why not take it one step further and experience a special spa treatment?

Elk Cove Spa is located on the first floor of the mansion with the entrance facing east overlooking the lovely picturesque gardens. Reservations are highly recommended as this experience is definitely popular with guests of the inn and locals as well.

Open Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10am-6pm, the spa exudes a calm and warming ambience and décor inspired by the majesty of the redwood forest. Keeping with the healing power of nature theme, carefully placed objects in the spa each represent the elements accompanying your wellness journey.

Deep tissue and Swedish massages are available from female or male masseuses as are steam room and sauna therapy and combination experiences for couples.

The Town of Elk

With a population of less than 250 residents, Elk is located about 25 minutes south of Mendocino. The town was originally named Greenwood for the brothers who were early homesteaders in this 19th-century logging community.

Historic buildings still remain along the two-lane Highway 1 through town. Greenwood State Beach Visitor Center Museum houses the late 19th-century post office, early settler’s photographs, period furnishings, and lumber camp artifacts.

Matson Mercantile, established in 1901 on the main street, offers everything from olive oil, gardening tools, and hardware to unique gift items and eardrops. I found some delicious Belgian drinking chocolate to bring home and savor on a cool morning. The Matson family still owns and runs the “Merc.”

Further afield, railbikes are a popular activity.

The Innkeepers: Melissa and Victor

Dining at Sibo, Elk Cove Inn Sibo, the Inn’s signature restaurant.
Dining at Sibo, Elk Cove Inn Sibo, the Inn’s signature restaurant.

The innkeepers are actually co-owners of Elk Cove Inn. Gregarious and kind hosts, Melissa and Victor thoroughly enjoy sharing how they came to co-own the property in the early 2020s. They regaled us about their life’s journeys and the pride in their accomplishments since acquiring the historic inn.

Gardens providing farm-to-table produce, rabbits, goats, roosters, and hens are destined for their incredible dining room, Sibo, the Inn’s signature restaurant. On a tour of their farmyard, gardens and nursery, we learned that the Inn is self-sustaining. On any given day, guests can see Melissa getting her hands dirty planting seeds and nurturing strawberry plants in their greenhouse.

While Chef Victor explains that he’s retired from an illustrious culinary career working with world renowned chefs, he is the single chef in the kitchen preparing the daily gourmet breakfasts and dinners for guests and the public. And oh, are his meals divine.  

Melissa is a WSET Level 4-trained Sommelier. She and Victor met in Miami when he was appointed to the Miami Culinary Institute advisory board and made significant contributions to the Institute. Together they owned and managed a high-end wine distribution company specializing in Spanish and French wines catering to American tastes.

For a romantic getaway (the couples treatment in the Elk Cove Inn spa, hint, hint) or need to escape the ordinary, Elk Cove Inn is the perfect place to stay. It’s a place you’ll fall in love with and feel the need to share this charming piece of Northern California paradise with others.

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