One hour north of The Golden Gate Bridge, via Marin County’s Waldo Tunnel – soon to be renamed The Robin Williams Tunnel since the iconic actor and much-loved comedian resided in Marin --, The Historic Continental Inn awaits, overlooking the famed Pacific Coast Highway (Scenic Highway One) at the center of Tomales, a charming, rural West Marin community (pop. 220, elev. 43). Nestled five miles inland from family-owned, dog-friendly Dillon Beach and Tomales Bay where succulent oysters always have been harvested similar to those farmed at Drakes Bay further south, the town of Tomales also boasts a mere half hour drive to protected natural sanctuary, Point Reyes National Seashore.
Facades around Tomales’ main crossroads (where Highway One intersects Dillon Beach Road) remain true to their original 19th century Victorian “coast frontier” past. The general store still sells a bit of everything, and the jewel-like Church of the Assumption still crowns the same knoll as it did in 1860. On side streets, plants hang above the squeaky porches of quaint Queen Anne cottages laced by charming white picket fences. But it is the handsome, 1989-restored historic Continental Inn cornering the town’s main crossroads that commands center front stage!
The Continental Inn, Tomales’ very first hotel built in the mid-1850's, was professionally restored in 1989. While most inns and B&Bs offer only guest rooms, The Continental Inn distinguishes itself with a total of 12 units -- eight guest suites plus an additional four retail/office spaces similar to larger historic hotels such as San Diego’s celebrated Hotel Del Coronado. Nineteenth century hotels traditionally provided street-level retail spaces with guest lodging on more quiet, upper floors. The Continental Inn typifies this historic tradition by offering opportunities for an owner/innkeeper to earn income from a variety of mixed-use sources/profit centers, not just from guest suites.
The two-storey Victorian-style Inn boasts 5,600 of two-storey "finished" square feet (with another 1,700 "unfinished" square feet on its third, top floor) and offers nine spacious guest suites, most located on the second storey. Each is unique, and all include private baths. An unassuming, guest breakfast area also is situated conveniently on the second storey. At the west end of the second storey hallway, an exit door opens to a rear exterior staircase that leads directly down to generous, off-street “marked” guest parking, one handicap-designated.
Guests access the classic “white” Inn via the main corner entry – a “red” double door – that faces the junction of Highway One and Dillon Beach Road at the center of Tomales. An inviting, sun-drenched lobby sports traditional “Reception Desk” and an array of Victorian-style seating and furnishings. Leading away from the front Lobby “Reception Desk” toward the Inn’s first floor rear, innkeepers quarters, laundry, half bath for staff and non-commercial kitchen facilities are found.
Left of the Inn’s Main Lobby entry, a separate “Pacific Coast Highway” door opens to a spacious office with bath that could be leased for added income. Additional separate entries along the Inn’s side porch fronting Dillon Beach Road access a second, currently-leased office space as well as two first floor guest suites, one ADA-compliant near off-street handicap parking.
Californians have always been compelled by the allure of “the Coast,” finding “the Coast’s” cooling breezes welcome escape summer inland heat. Too, Californians have always sought out “the Coast” for rejuvenating refuge from daily city stress. And, increasingly, the same California Coast is becoming a mecca for international marine research biologists and nature conservancy organizations with missions to protect and ensure preservation of California’s famed Coast.
The Continental Inn provides sunny, unpretentious, clean, comfortable, quiet and safe lodging along scenic Highway One in rural West Marin County – a perfect year-round first night stop along “the Coast” north of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Today’s availability of The Continental Inn offers a rare opportunity to aspiring innkeepers and investors alike who understand the perennial value, and undeniable draw, of “the Coast” and wish to take an active “hospitality ownership role” that allows for quality, responsible growth along Marin County’s Pacific Coast north of the Golden Gate Bridge.
- Built in 1850
- 25 years as B&B
- Last renovation in 1989
- 12 Guest Rooms
- 11.50 Guest Bathrooms
- 5600 sq ft
- Lot size: 0.13 acres
- 12 Parking Spots
- Has owner's quarters
26985 Shoreline Highway Coast Highway 1 at Dillon Beach Road Tomales, CA 94971
Photos (click to enlarge)