Last Updated on January 19, 2023

“Welcome to your home away from home” was our warm greeting from a lovely staff member in the check-in area at Little River Inn. So much more hospitable than a hotel in Mendocino, California.

After 80 years of providing hospitality, it’s evident the staff know how to make guests feel welcome at their property on Northern California’s secluded Mendocino coast. Five generations of family have owned, managed and worked at the 1853 Victorian Inn with its iconic gingerbread trim. In 1939, the multi-building property was converted to an inn.

Liver River Inn refers to itself as the ‘Edge of the World’ because of its location – perched high on a bluff overlooking the waters of the Pacific. In this sheltered location, guests feel as though they can unplug, relax, and admire the incredible surrounding beauty of Mendocino.

Accommodations to Fit Every Budget

Because the historic inn features 66 rooms, guests have a choice of accommodations ranging from traditional to deluxe rooms and stand-alone cottages nestled closer to the sea within their nearby Mallory House property.

All rooms have ocean views though some are partial. For those who love walking in the footsteps of Hollywood legends, the James Dean room is located in the main building right next to the bar. The deluxe ocean view accommodation is where the actor stayed while filming “East of Eden.” Best of the best among Mendocino ocean view hotels, our room featured sweeping ocean views and a uniquely appointed bath. Special.

Guests with pets will love how the inn welcomes the four-legged members of the family and every effort has been made to accommodate guests with special physical needs. This hotel Mendocino California has beautifully appointed ADA-friendly accommodations.

Book your stay at Little River Inn!

Best view among Mendocino ocean view hotels

Each room of the inn features free WiFi, refrigerators and coffee makers. My husband and I were thrilled with our second story deluxe ocean view room providing an awe-inspiring vista. The room also sports an expansive balcony with rocking chairs, two oversize comfy indoor chairs along with a table fronting the fireplace, and separate desk area. The roomy bathroom also features a shower, large soaking tub and comfy robes.

One of our favorite aspects of staying at the inn was being able to open our sliding glass door at night and listen to the waves crashing along the shoreline.

Exploring the Grounds of the Inn

Little River Inn- photo by Michael Kompanik
Little River Inn- photo by Michael Kompanik

Little River Inn celebrates the natural outdoors with walking paths and gardens paying homage to the blessings Mother Nature has bestowed upon this region. There’s even a private trail leading to Van Damme State Park and Van Damme State Beach offering 10 miles of incredible hiking. When evening falls, the twinkling lights along the inn’s path provide even more of an enchanted feel.

After a day of hiking and exploring, guests can choose from a wide selection of massages and treatments at the on-property spa.

If you can pull yourself away from the property, try this railbike excursion. The area is renowned for its steam engine railroad history.

Golfing With Ocean Views

More of Little River Inn grounds- photo by Michael Kompanik
More of Little River Inn grounds- photo by Michael Kompanik

It doesn’t get better than playing a few rounds with stunning ocean views. Little River Inn’s golf course, of no surprise, is private and picturesque. Its nine holes are tucked among the hills and redwoods of an Audubon-certified sanctuary. A great story associated with the course is that when family-owner Ole Hervilla, an Arnold Palmer fan, wanted to build a golf course on property, naysayers claimed no one would ever play golf on the coast. Hervilla opened the course in 1957 nonetheless, and the rest is history.

Two lighted championship tennis courts are complimentary for guests at this inn and hotel Mendocino California. If you happen to forget your racquet, no problem. The inn will happily supply one along with tennis balls.

Dining at the Inn

Though Little River Inn isn’t a bed and breakfast, guests can order customized breakfast delivered to their room. Dinner, however, is a spectacular event whether dining indoors or on the tented heated garden patio. We chose to dine on the patio, and everything about this candlelit meal was remarkable.

The restaurant’s chef, Marc Dym, is married to Cally (Little River’s fifth-generation family innkeeper). He brings a modern twist to classic California American-regional cuisine earning many awards for his creative dishes.

Menu items feature small sharable plates along with larger main courses. Traditional clam chowder is a must, though you’ll find your clams are still in their shell. It does make for a fun, surprising treat. Beet salad is another winner served with whipped goat cheese, citrus, fennel and pistachio topped with a balsamic gastrique. The wine list is impressive, featuring California varietals, and it’s easy to create your perfect pairing.

Main course winners include Cioppino and Thai Inspired Rock Cod. Save room for dessert however as the house-made Berry Cobbler is to die for. It’s big enough to share, that is if you really want to.

Guests can also order cocktails at the inn’s historic Whale Watch Bar from 5:00 PM to 8:30 PM daily.

Little River Inn is waiting for you! Book here.

Final Thoughts on our Mendocino Stay

We’re so glad we finally made it to Mendocino, a place we’ve had on our travel bucket list for a long while. This enchanted destination filled with real, unspoiled California beauty had us at first glance. Our stay at Little River Inn made the visit even more memorable.

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