The Heritage House Resort 5200 N. Hwy. 1, in Little River, 4 mi. S of town, (877) 295-9973, (707) 202-9000. 46 rooms; $$-$$$+. All gas fireplaces. Fitness room. Restaurant; dinner room service. Pets ok.
Opened originally in 1949, this hotel became particularly famous when it co-starred in the film “Same Time, Next Year.” The unit the movie was filmed in is now divided into two popular rooms called “Same Time” and “Next Year.” The ranch house and Smuggler's Cove below have a colorful history of harboring rum runners, slave traders, and criminal "Baby Face" Nelson. Recently closed for about 10 years, a new owner plans to keep the property similar to what past guests have come to love. The rooms are divided among 11 buildings scattered on 37 acres atop steep bluffs. All are updated to a contemporary style and have large floor-to-ceiling sliding doors with an ocean view as well as a wide private deck with Adirondack chairs. Linens are Frette, and this place really gets it right—almost all the beds face the view full on. Nights are super quiet. Bathrooms have heated slate floors and rainfall showers, and 11 rooms have deep soaking tubs and his-and-hers sinks. All rooms are within strolling distance of the main house, dating from 1877, where the lounge and restaurant are positioned. Golf carts are available to pick up guests by request. A small two-story spa adjacent to the main lodge is nearing completion; meanwhile, massage can be scheduled in room. A fitness room with floor-to-ceiling windows on three walls is also near to the main lodge. Trails crisscross the property, and there is beach access, though the stairs that can be a little treacherous.
When we first arrived, we bee-lined to the Lounge area to relax on the comfy couches with a drink and enjoy the spectacular view. I had a killer spicy Bloody Mary with a salad on top—celery, cucumber, olive, onion. It was even better than the really good one I remember from another visit here long ago. Don’t miss it. Board games are also available here. Fine dining occurs in the ocean-view 5200 Restaurant, and non-guests are welcome. The high-up dining room gave me the delightful impression of being in a grand tree house.
Breakfast is basic, with housemade granola, oatmeal, omelettes, and a tasty broiche French toast. Dinner is more elaborate and offers a sophisticated menu featuring locally sourced ingredients, wines, and beers. We started with a tasty Heirloom Tomato Stack made tall with mozzarella layers. I followed this with a lovely pan-seared, boned, and stuffed California trout with mushroom risotto, and my husband opted for Noyo Harbor salmon with parsnip and Yukon mash and Pinot Noir sauce. We concluded with a shared sundae featuring poached peaches and fresh raspberries and a glass of Navarro Muscat Blanc. Reservations advised for dinner.
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image ©2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers