The beautiful China Beach Retreat, down the road from the seaside town of Long Beach and just up the road from the fishing village of Ilwaco, easily lives up to its name. It is designed as a retreat with everything you might need for a romantic getaway or a vacation with good friends to relax and reconnect. The retreat consists of three private bedrooms with bath in the main house and full living quarters in the two-story Audubon Cottage, all right on Baker Bay at the mouth of the Columbia River.
This is a place to unplug and connect with nature, with yourself and those you want to be with. There is no television in the main house but all rooms are served by free WiFi.
The historic Shelburne Inn, under the same ownership, just a short drive away, provides a daily gourmet breakfast (included in the room price) in their beautiful antique and art-filled restaurant. Laurie is an excellent baker. David is a wild mushroom expert as well as a chef and ceramicist. You'll see his art at the retreat and in the gardens. The Shelburne Inn is also known for their dinners and the chef draws from locally sourced seafood and produce.
Relax or Keep Busy
You can spend your days reading, listening to music or sitting on the dock with binoculars. Of course there is much to do in nearby Ilwaco and Long Beach. Visit museums, lighthouses, or go shopping. Ride bikes on the Discovery Trail or go hiking at nearby Cape Disappointment State Park. There is Lewis and Clark history to discover, too. If you are up for fishing, check out Coho Charters in Ilwaco.
My room was the first floor Quan Yin suite, the largest in the main house. Quan Yin is an East Asian deity of mercy, and is associated with compassion. The suite, named after her, consists of a queen sized bed, full bath and sitting area. As in the rest of the inn, there were some beautiful oriental antiques enhancing the furnishings. The bed was very comfortable and the room attractive.
The sitting area, lined with windows, brought the gardens inside and provided me with morning views of the tidelands, fishing boats and ever-changing sky. This room, and the upstairs rooms overlooking the bay would make an ideal romantic setting for couples.
In my room there was a jetted tub for two in the beautifully tiled modern bathroom overseen by a marble relief of the graceful Quan Yin. The separate door, leading to the deck and garden, provided additional privacy.
Staying at China Beach Retreat
China Beach Retreat is not a bed and breakfast inn in the traditional sense. There is no innkeeper clanging pot and pans and cooking for you in the early morning. You head out to the Shelburne Inn for your sumptuous breakfast at your private table. The retreat remains quiet until guests choose to arise. Coffee and tea are available around the clock.
When You Go
Note: As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary accommodations and meal for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.