Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Review 2704: Estancia del Mar, Lighthouse Sweet
1bed/1bath cottage near Pescadero, California
December 2006, 7 nights
The location was amazing: very private, natural and beautiful. There are only three other buildings within view of the hotel: a farm, a residence, and the lighthouse ... none close enough to disturb your peaceful stay. Everything else is untouched land and ocean. A short walk takes you to the sandy beach near the lighthouse. For a longer hike, there is a parking lot and trail maybe 1/4 mile down the street.
The room had an ample supply of coffee, teas, cocoa, etc. and a coffee maker, mugs, tea cups, etc. There were also unique places for food and drinks in the town of Pescadero, which was about a 10 minute drive.
I read the building was historical, formerly located further inland and used as army barracks. The building appeared to have several apartments, and though we met other guests on the grounds, we did not have the noise problem that the other reviewer spoke of, and we were likely in the same room, because we too had the Lighthouse suite with the nautical theme.
The Lighthouse suite had a reading/sitting area with full windows overlooking the ocean and lighthouse. The open floor plan meant you also had these views from the kitchen/dining area and the bedroom. The bedroom didn't have a wall, but a room divider that could be pulled out of the way of your view! The bathroom had a shower, separate jetted tub, sink and toilet. Our suite also had a spiral staircase leading to daybed and a selection of books. My husband and I spent much time in this loft reading.
It was stormy a couple days during our stay, but once the wind calmed, we did enjoy the view from the lawn chairs. Yes, plastic lawn chairs just like we have at home. The outside area was shared with other guests and roaming animals (belonging to the owners). The animals made us feel right at home (our horses and dogs didn't make the trip with us), and of course we respected our distance, just as we would any strange animal. There was no pool, but if you like cold water the ocean is right there!
The furniture was in top shape and comfortable. It was all unique, not like a matchy-matchy hotel.
Housekeeping was great: no problems.
There was plenty of seating. The dining table had four chairs and there were three or four chairs in the entry sitting area, plus the daybed in the loft: lots of places to rest.
The queen bed was very comfortable, with plenty of pillows, but they were soft pillows only. The daybed was also cozy. The bathroom had everything you needed: plush linens, shower, jacuzzi tub, soap, shampoo. We liked the soap so much, we brought the extra bar home: very fresh and fragrant. I really liked that the towels weren't those thin, white hotel towels. You do have to hang your towels up though, as daily maid service is an extra charge.
The kitchen was very usable and seemed to have everything we needed. We stay a week, so we stocked the full-size fridge and made use of the pots, pans, coffee maker, blender, wine opener, toaster and dishes. Some of the pans were scratched, but we called the owners and got replacements the next day. The kitchen was enjoyable for cooking because you had the full ocean view. The dining table was plenty big enough to place a full meal for four (maybe more, but you'd have to bring a chair from the sitting area).
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We booked through the owner, and she was pleasant. There was no on site person (though the owner stated that when we booked). The property and surroundings were as described, only better in person: you just can't describe those views!!
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
We would definitely stay again and recommend it to a friend. That's why I went online today to find their website, so I could recommend it to my girlfriend.
Things to do in this area
We spent most of our week enjoying the view from the suite and from the nearby hiking trail. We also took a few walks down to the beach and along the beach. We made a visit to the town a Half Moon Bay, but found that most of what we needed was right there in Pescadero.
The gas station had a really good Mexican restaurant. Duarte's restaurant offered American cuisine and a full bar. I recommend the spinach salad and artichoke soup with fresh sour dough bread! If you don't want to make your own coffee, one of the two grocery stores in town offers a full coffee bar. And if you've forgotten to pack food, the other grocery store in the town has a bakery and wide selection of local cheeses. My favorite was the artichoke bread and the cinnamon English muffins, which are thick yet delicate, and taste great toasted with a bit of butter (an easy task as the hotel comes with a toaster, blender, pots, pans, dishes ... everything you need!)
My wife's family lives in CA and we were visiting for Christmas. Her family had heard good things about the place, and we looked it up online. My wife was pregnant at the time, and for concern for her diet, we wanted to be sure to have a hotel with at least a partial kitchen, but to have a fully stocked kitchen was PERFECT. We were able to enjoy the local restaurants on a limited basis, and still maintain a healthy diet with the great fresh produce and gourmet groceries found in town (Pescadero and Half Moon Bay).
Pescadero is a very small town, but has GREAT food and their few shops are VERY unique. I think I forgot to mention Phipps Ranch ... hidden just out of "downtown" ... we found a lot of organic dry goods, and enjoyed their arboretum. We'd definitely come back to the area, especially when the baby is older. Phibbs Ranch also had a petting zoo! We had planned to visit Santa Cruz as well, but didn't have enough time.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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