Tag Archives: Timber Cove Inn

A Return Visit to Timber Cove Resort

Tender octopus with kimchi and squid ink-fortified black bean puree at Coast Kitchen at Timber Cove.

Tender octopus with kimchi and squid ink-fortified black bean puree at Coast Kitchen at Timber Cove.


JENNER, CA — What a difference six years makes.

That’s the last time I stayed at Timber Cove, a resort that sits on 23 acres of breathtaking coastline between Bodega Bay and Sea Ranch.

Perched on a bluff right over the ocean, the inn’s setting has always been jaw-droppingly beautiful. But the rooms, refreshed here and there haphazardly over the years, were stuck in a time-warp. There was too much dark wood that made everything feel a little cabin-claustrophobic, not to mention the fact there was a dark green triangular bathtub out in the open in the corner of the bedroom for some odd reason.

But fast-forward to 2014, when new owners took over, and closed the hotel in 2016 for a sizeable 6-month renovation of not only the main building, but all the rooms. Originally built in 1963 from a design by a protege of Frank Lloyd Wright, Timber Cove reopened fully at the end of 2016 still possessed of its classic architecture, but looking not only restored and refreshed, but downright fun and cool.

The entrance to Timber Cove.

The entrance to Timber Cove.

The view from the resort.

The view from the resort.

That’s what I found when I was invited back as a guest of the inn earlier this month. Renowned architectural firm Gensler worked with celeb designers, Robert and Cortney Novogratz of The Novogratz firm in Los Angeles. If you caught the Novogratz’s HGTV show, you’ll recognize their breezy California-casual style here.

They’ve injected whimsy throughout, as well as playful retro touches in a nod to the era in which the hotel was originally built.

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A Taste of the Breathtaking Sonoma Coast at Timber Cove Inn

The famous Benny Bufano obelisk that soars over the Timber Cove Inn's property

Timber Cove Inn, in the tiny town of Jenner not far from Bodega Bay, was originally opened 49 years ago, making it more than twice as old as its current chef.

Executive Chef Benjamin St. Clair of the inn’s Alexander’s restaurant is all of 22 years of age.

But he’s been working in kitchens since he was 16 and has worked with the likes of Bay Area Chef Joey Altman. He may be barely old enough to drink legally, but his prowess behind the burners is already evident.

Last month, I had a chance to experience his cooking when I was invited to be a guest of the inn, located about 90 miles north of San Francisco, just off a narrow, twisty section of Highway 1, where you’ll likely encounter cyclists precariously hugging the non-existent shoulder and cows grazing just inches from the road.

The inn sits on 25 acres of rugged cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. How gorgeous is the setting? So breathtaking that the late famed photographer Ansel Adams often captured the images of the seaside scenery.

The full totem with the inn in the foreground.

A seat with a view.

The view from an ocean-front room.

There are pathways that meander around the picturesque grounds, along with strategically placed Adirondack chairs to just take a moment to bask in the view. And fire pits so you can enjoy the outdoors even when night falls.

You can’t missed the soaring Benny Bufano Peace Obelisk that stands 93 feet tall. The totem, erected during the Cold War era, depicts the Madonna and child, with an outstretched hand at the top. You can actually pick you way up a rocky path to get to the obelisk, which technically encompasses one of California’s tiniest parks, according to Keith Hill, the inn’s general manager. Would you believe that the hand was transported to the top by helicopter — and accidentally put on backward by the sculptor’s assistants? But when Bufano saw it, Hill says, he liked it so much he didn’t complain.

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