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“A Jewel in the Trees”

Each time I’ve driven to Mendocino I would see the Stevenswood Resort sign and wonder what the property, hidden down a lane in the trees, was like. I finally found out thanks to a Groupon deal for a 2-night stay. First, I have to say that making the reservation arrangements was easy and straightforward–but one has to take a little time to carefully read thru the Groupon instructions. A quick, smooth transaction from start to finish resulted.

The main building where our room was located resembled a rustic lodge but with an edge of sophistication, and was enhanced by the eclectic artwork of local artists and craftspeople. With only 10 guest rooms in the building, one had the feeling of being in a large private home. (The resident cat, Mark Anthony, added to that comfortable ambiance!) The lobby, wine tasting bar and dining room were relatively dark areas, but still felt open and airy.

Since we arrived about an hour before check-in time, we went to the tasting bar while we waited for our room to become available. We enjoyed talking to the host at the bar and sampled the house wines as well as the flavorful olive oils (everything we tasted was complimentary). We ended up purchasing both wine and oils. The timing was perfect since we were just finishing our tasting experience when Nelson, who was at the reception desk when we checked in, came over to let us know that our room was ready. He exuded incredible energy, efficiency and effusive hospitality. To say we felt warmly welcomed is an understatement!

When I originally made the reservations for our stay I requested a “quiet location” and our room (“The Reeves”) was well located on the 2nd (top) floor and shared no common walls with other rooms. Throughout our stay, everything remained very peaceful. I later noted that the room directly across the hall from us was occupied both nights, but there was no noise at all that reached us.

Our spacious room had a high A-frame type ceiling with numerous windows, making it bright and open. The room was configured like a suite with a bedroom area (which had a king bed with comfy Tempurpedic mattress, 2 end tables, a long wooden counter/desk, small frig and honor bar) that was partially separated from the sitting area (containing a wood-burning fireplace, a small dining table, 3 chairs, sofa and coffee table). All areas of our room were clean and tidy. There were a few minor spots of worn paint on furniture and a wall.

Decor was contemporary, the furnishings simple and the hues of brown, taupe, gold and brick contributed to the tranquil setting. Wall artwork was a nice mix of watercolors and prints. The cork flooring was good looking–and practical.

Amenities included: Wi-fi (in room and throughout property), Sharp flat panel TV with DVD, phone with voicemail, clockradio/CD player, coffeemaker, in-room safe, frig/honor bar, wine glasses, iron and ironing board, (2) hairdryers, (2) bathrobes, and 2 pairs of spa slippers. Altho’ we’d been told that cell reception was sketchy, I received a quicker signal at Stevenswood than in some San Francisco locales–perhaps due to my having Verizon provider.

Between ceiling light fixtures and table lamps, there was adequate lighting at night for reading.

The closet space was ample altho’ the folding doors were a little cumbersome. There were a limited number of hangers, but the closet did include a roomy chest of drawers and 3 luggage racks.

Our bath was small but made good use of the limited space. Several small shelves plus a little slatted wood bench could be used for toiletries, towels, etc. The stone flooring and uniquely styled glass basin added interest to an otherwise coventional bathroom. There were plenty of towels but minimal basic toiletries provided: soaps, body lotion, shampoo and conditioner. TWO hairdryers tho’! The older style tub/shower combo with tile surround was similar to what one might find in a nice motel. The temperature control in the shower was tricky and extremely sensitive–the slightest turn could yield a big leap in temperature. The low flow showerhead was adequate once you got used to it. There was no window in the bathroom, but the ceiling fan altho’ noisy, provided good ventilation and the lighting was adequate.

The largest window in the sitting area was situated in an alcove and altho’ it faced out to the parking area and towards the road, the view was still pleasant and foliage-dominated. In fact, all the windows in our room (7, I believe) had views of trees and other plantings including some lovely rhodies and maples. Blinds effectively controlled the amount of light/view.

The heating system was not operating and a courtesy note next to the thermostat control indicated that they were “awaiting parts” for the furnace. A space heater was provided and did a good job of taking away the chill during early morning. That was the only time of day that we used it. The fireplace had a pressed log as fuel, but for some reason it wouldn’t stay lit on the second night–not important enough to seek assistance. I did report that housekeeping had inadvertently left only decaf coffee in our room–and literally within a couple of minutes we were presented with the much needed caffeinated variety.

Altho’ there was no private balcony or patio, the property had a number of attractive spots both outdoors and inside that offered sitting areas and pleasant views. Glimpses of the ocean could be sighted from some of the locations.

On the 2nd floor near the stairs, a computer was available for use by guests.

There was an outdoor whirlpool tub (just the right temperature), sauna and fitness room. Guests could also make an appt. to use a smaller, private whirlpool as well as book spa treatments.

The lush, landscaped grounds and natural environment surrounding Stevenswood were delightful, and we greatly enjoyed strolling around. The llamas grazing on the adjacent Glendeven Inn property also added to the scenery! Just across the highway, one can access a path that meanders thru trees, meadow areas and ultimately arrives at the beautiful coastline of Little River. Walking a bit farther to the south you can also enter Van Damme State Park, so a wealth of hiking possibilities are within a very short distance from Stevenswood.

We ate 2 breakfasts (complimentary with lodging) and dinner one night at Stevenswood’s restaurant. Breakfast is served from 8:30am-10am and offers a choice of French toast, pancakes, sausages, omelet (with choice of ingredients), coffee and orange juice. All were simple but nicely prepared and quite tasty. Dinner was EXCELLENT in all respects: the quality of ingredients, presentation and service. I can understand why non-guests as well as guests enjoy coming there to dine. For many additional restaurant choices, one has to travel only a very short distance: To the north, Ravens at the beautiful Stanford Inn by the Sea (where we had a wonderful dinner) is less than 5 min. away, and the village of Mendocino with its array of good restaurants is under 2 mi. away. Just to the south is Little River Inn and restaurant.

During our 2 day stay we had conversations with 6 members of the staff at Stevenswood inc. reception, tasting bar, housekeeping and dining room. Each person was congenial, helpful and showed an interest in our well-being. They also seemed to really enjoy and appreciate being at Stevenswood, which says a great deal about the place.

Staying at Stevenswood Resort, a rustic yet amenity-rich haven, allowed us to relax and de-stress while surrounded by beauty and comfort. The Mendocino Coast has many gems in its treasure trove of lodging, but Stevenswood is a uniquely outstanding destination!

Forestville, California,   June 9, 2012


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