Great Views, Ambivalent Service at the Tolovana Inn on Cannon Beach

 In Hotels, USA

We seem to be staying in hotels a lot lately. That’s what happens when you don’t plan ahead when visiting a popular tourist destination at the height of the season.

If we thought it was hard to find lodging over 4th of July that was nothing compared with Labor Day. The crowds had definitely come out to celebrate the last official weekend of summer before school started.

At the recommendation of a friend I checked out Cannon Beach, Oregon’s Tolovana Inn. It was located further south than our previous stay at The Courtyard, but it had a pool. They had rooms available at a cheaper rate than our last hotel; it was worth a look.

The Booking Process

This was the strangest booking process I have ever encountered. I tried to book online but it would not show me any prices. I had to call the inn directly.

The reservation agent suggested a studio suite. He said that was the cheapest they had available for our dates. The $190 price tag was a little steep for us, but I figured we could save money by cooking in our room… a lot. I immediately booked.

I sent the hotel information to our two friends. The first friend called and was told that her family would need two rooms. Her children were the 4 years old and 7 weeks old. Once she told the agent her children’s ages they were given options for a suite. My second friend called and was told that a standard hotel room was all that was left, so she booked it at $119 a night for her family of 4 (kids ages 5 and 3). Our 1st friend called back and asked about a standard room and was able to book without problem.

I was never even given the option of a standard room. I didn’t even know they had standard rooms! I would have happily taken it and considered calling back to switch. In the end Mike and I agreed that having a full kitchen would save us more money in the long run and the added space would be nice.

Why would one agent offer one room, while the other would insist you need another? If I am calling and telling you I am on a budget I would expect to be told all of my options, not just what you want to sell me that day.

Tip: You may need to press your reservation agent to find the room you really want and need for your stay.

The Studio Suite

Our studio suite (Building 2, Room 214) was comfy and functional. It was definitely one of the older units in the complex, and showed some wear and tear.

The bathroom was about the size of my bathroom at home, which means it was tiny. Our friends in a standard room had marble countertops in their bathrooms; we did not. They also could have slept half their family in their bathroom; we could barely fit 2 people in ours to brush our teeth.

The kitchen had a microwave and full oven, not just a stovetop. There was also a dishwasher, which was a blessing on the night we had a big BBQ with everyone. It was stocked with very basic kitchenware.

There was plenty of room for the kids to spread out and put Ty’s travel crib up. The hotel did offer a complimentary pack n’ play but we decided to bring our own.

Although the sofa did not turn into a pull out bed we were able to request extra sheets, blankets and a pillow to make a little bed out of the sofa cushions on the floor for Dek.

Our queen size bed was comfy but the pillows were not. There was no varying degree of pillow firmness, so we were stuck with a lot of fluffy pillows, which did a number on my neck.

We could see Haystack Rock in the distance from our private balcony. It was a glorious sight each morning.

We could also look down on the parking lot of the popular Cannon Beach restaurant Mo’s. That was not so great. There was usually a line outside and the smell of fried food would often come through the balcony door. It was quiet if we closed the door and definitely quieted down at night so we all could sleep.

The best part of this room was the blackout curtains, a key element for this family when we travel with the kids, and something The Courtyard had lacked.

Room Amenities

  • Free wi-fi
  • TV and DVD player
  • DVDs were available to rent at the front desk
  • Full kitchens in suites
  • Blackout curtains
  • In-room fireplace

The Staff

Reservation issues aside, the staff seemed overwhelmed. The phone was constantly ringing, making it hard to request information. When I was finally able to get a staff member they were pleasant, but there was no warmth and in some instances it just seemed like they did not care.

I notified the staff about our unhinged closet door twice, which they responded to by writing down a service request in the maintenance log. When I expressed my concerns at the danger this may cause they just shrugged and said they would ask maintenance to go up and check it out; no one ever came. Besides the danger this posed, it was also extremely inconvenient, as we had to climb into the closet to get to our clothes and stuff our suitcases in from the side that opened.

The Pool

Our favorite part of our stay was the salt-water pool. The pool was indoors and heated making it the perfect spot for a little fun after naptime. The water was warm enough to bring Ty in for a few minutes to splash his feet. Dek never wanted to get out.

The hot tub was large enough for a group of adults to hang out and chat. Kids were not supposed to go into the hot tub, but most families let their children in any way.

The Location

Tolovana Inn was just a block or so off Highway 101. You could drive north on 101 to get to downtown Cannon Beach or you could take the back way up Hemlock Street. We always preferred the back way filled with switchbacks, gorgeous views of the ocean and lots of real estate for sale.

Public beach parking was located next to the Tolovana Inn making the beaches a little more crowded than we had experienced before. We were still able to grab a fire pit to cook out on every night, as the crowds tended to stay closer to Haystack Rock and left by late afternoon.

Hotel Amenities

  • Fire pits on the beach
  • Morning coffee and tea service in the lobby
  • Shuttle to downtown Cannon Beach
  • Fitness center
  • Spa services via Cannon Beach Spa
  • Indoor pool, spa and sauna

Overall our stay was very nice, but was due to our own excursions and the friends we had staying in the same spot. The staff did little to enhance our experience, nor did the room.

Next summer I think we will be looking elsewhere for accommodations, although it sure will be hard to give up that saltwater swimming pool.

Know Before You Go

  • Tolovana Inn, 3400 S. Hemlock, Cannon Beach, Oregon 97145 tel: 800-333-8890
  • Two types of rates: summer and quiet season, but rates can change often.
    • Standard rooms, studio suites, 1 bedroom and 2 bedroom suites available
  • Pet friendly
  • Cribs available upon request
  • Mo’s Restaurant is adjacent to the hotel offering up clam chowder along with a full menu of other seafood treats (We did not eat here, but it seemed to be very popular.)

Check out more hotel reviews before booking your next trip. 


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written by Keryn Means

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  • Lisa Wood

    Good to hear you had fun in the pool, bugger about the lack of staff care! Where has customer service gone to?
    Like the idea of the beach fires, your own kitchen and swimming pool. Now to have all of that in a hotel where the facilities were five star – that would make a perfect holiday!

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