Oceano Hotel and Spa
What We Love
- The full-service spa offers a therapeutic bath before your treatment
- Within walking distance of venues like the Half Moon Brewery
- A tranquil, relaxing locale that’s also within an easy drive of San Francisco’s bright lights
- The legendary sunsets over the harbor
What To Know
- Free WiFi
- Check out time is 11 a.m.
- The lounge serves light dishes; more substantial meals can be found in town
- The hotel hosts many weddings
- Reservations are highly recommended for the spa
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
Dominating the picturesque shoreline of Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay, this stately whitewashed hotel offers spacious rooms with fireplaces and private balconies, all the better to appreciate the gorgeous coastal sunsets. Décor is streamlined and tasteful, with subtle maritime touches like model ships and framed shell prints, and bathrooms feature luxe touches like deep soaking tubs. Elsewhere, the full-service spa is a highlight: indulge in hot stone massage, reiki or a therapeutic bath in one of the deep copper tubs.
In the Area
The Shops at Harbor Village, a collection of boutiques and cafes beneath a greenhouse-style roof, are within strolling distance from the hotel. Half Moon Bay Golf Links, a short drive away, has a striking cliffside setting overlooking the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean and a convivial pub-style restaurant called Mullins Bar & Grill. Get an even better perspective on Northern California’s ruggedly awe-inspiring coastline with a tour to the Point Montara Lighthouse, a historic landmark established in 1875.
How to Get There
The Oceano Hotel is in a great location, staffed by lovely people. And in normal circumstances this would have been a 5* experience. In fact most of our four-night stay was. However there were a number of incidents that forced me to lower the rating.
We had booked a twin-bedded suite, and were allocated room 108, with a living area, sink, coffee maker, large TV, a log-effect gas fire, and a balcony out to the garden. Perfect.
The room was beautifully laid out and well-appointed. We liked the fact that we could sit out and watch the sun go down over Half Moon Bay. When we went to bed we closed the mesh panel to stop bugs getting in, but left the door slightly open so that we could enjoy the sea air instead of having to use the air con.
That night my wife was kept awake by a scratching noise. At first she thought it was someone trying to get in. She got up, walked across to the door bare-footed and in the dark, and closed the glass door concerned that an intruder was outside.
In the morning, as I opened the curtains, a rat ran across my path and hid under the fridge. The poor thing must have been trying to claw its way out all night. It seems we had spent our first night sharing a room with a rodent.
My wife was terrified, so I left her stranded on her bed and went to reception to ask for a change of room. Unfortunately the only vacant room they had was room 112 four doors along the corridor; I had asked for a second floor room and the helpful reception staff promised to move us to a higher floor the following night.
We were also offered a $100 discount which at the time I didn't really take in because I was more concerned about having left my wife stranded on the bed with a rat in the room. A modest gesture; I would have expected to have the whole cost of our first night to be removed from the bill having spent the night in a room with a rat.
Luckily we didn't see any more rats. I was told, by reception the following day that it was a wood rat which had been trapped in our room and that they were able to liberate it back into the wilds unharmed.
But the hotel has an issue here. There isn't a restaurant at the Oceano. There is a bar where food is served, although that bar is not open all the time. So there was a day during our visit when it was closed for breakfast and a day when it was closed in the evening. However the hotel does offer room service. And it's clear when walking the corridors that many take advantage of this, because we often saw plates stacked up outside the doors.
All ground-floor rooms have either balconies or open out onto the garden, as room 108 did. If guests leave the doors open when in the room, it would be easy for a wood rat to slip in. And if they have food in the room, having enjoyed room service, the likelihood of attracting rats must increase. I remember when trying to chase the rat from under our fridge that first morning that there were quite a few food crumbs around the sink fridge area, which had not been cleaned properly after the previous occupant.
Food in rooms, poor housekeeping, and open ground floor doors are not a good combination if there are rats in the area. Perhaps this is something management at Oceano should look into? It might be worth warning guests to keep the sliding net door closed to discourage rats from getting in. More thorough cleaning procedures would be useful, too.
On day three we were 'upgraded' to room 304. It was a nice room, but had one bed instead of the two queens we had originally requested and booked. The bathroom was slightly bigger with a separate shower, the view was more expansive, the ceiling higher, but, apart from that I was not really aware of the value of the upgrade - in fact we had lost one of our preferred twin beds. But I was again too tired to quibble and accepted.
The following day, our final, we went out hiking, as we did most days, leaving the room at 09:00. We left the 'please clean the room' notice out hoping to return to a serviced room with fresh towels. After a 10-mile hike in the mountains we returned hot and tired and keen to shower, change and go out to eat. But when we got back at around 15:00 the 'please clean the room' was still on our door.
Never mind, we thought, we can work with the towels we have, and we can make our own beds. So we went in and got ready to shower only to find that all the towels except for one clean one, had been removed. It seemed housekeeping had been in but had not finished the job. We decided to use the one towel that was left, shower and freshen up quickly, and then ask reception whether housekeeping could finish the job. However we were told that they had gone home, but that fresh towels would be sent to our room - which they were. Perhaps they had returned during the 30 minutes we were getting cleaned up after our walk. But I would have thought that the six hours they had between 9am and 3pm would have been enough to do the job.
When we came to check out and pay the bill I noticed that only $30 of the promised discount had been deducted. After pointing this out some more was taken off the final amount. I only noticed when at the airport that it was still short. I mailed them and they adjusted.
What surprised me was that there was no mention of the incident with the rat at checkout, and no final apology from senior management. I have left writing this review for more than a week after returning home, hoping to have received some communication about the incident, or at least a 'how was your stay?' email - but nothing has arrived.
All in all the Oceano Hotel & Spar was a good base for our visit to the area, despite the issues mentioned above, but it would be dishonest of me, and inconsistent, not to mention the issues we faced.
Nice location close to the bay. Well maintained with polite service.
The rooms are big enough with a romantic fire place and a view towards the harbour.
Parking available in underground garage.
Great for doing morning walks / runs before going to work.
The Oceano is in a great spot near the harbor. There is an Inn and Hotel - I stayed in the hotel. The rooms have separate areas for the bath, bed and sitting. The sitting area has a gs fireplace. In my room, there was also a balcony (with seating) and a view of the harbor. Amenities included the typical flat screen TV, small fridge, and coffee maker. Internet service was free and no connection issues. The staff is friendly and welcoming. There is ample parking on site. Within just a few steps of the hotel are a pathway along the beach and a few local restaurants.
Our first Father's Day without our children. We were hoping for a romantic evening ...
We have stayed at the Oceano hotel before and that always just fine. .I thought we were in the hotel, but it turned out we were in the Inn. We realize it was Father's day and they couldn't move us into another room since they were completely booked.
BUT the room at the INN smelled like foot fungus, nasal lint and flatulence. It was awful. It was dirty. We complained they gave us some febreze: Seriously? They wanted us to spray the smell out. Aren't they supposed to take care of things like that? Or keep the rooms clean or maintain the rooms. We walked around a lot in the evening and every time we would say to one another "well let's just try and sleep: we couldn't."
The bathroom was dirty the towels looked worn. The bathtub looked dirty. And to be honest whatever wasn't dirty in the room was dismally worn.
We just threw our hands in the air gave up and left before taking showers we couldn't bring ourselves to do it ... we couldn't even sleep. There was one nightstand and there was inadequate lighting ... It was nothing like the hotel. Had we known ... oh, well Father's Day was completely ruined.
There was nothing done even after we complained even before we left. So, it took us a few hours to drive home and we jumped into the hottest showers possible to wipe the ick off of us. Horrible experience. Patronizing but stepford like staff not helping out.
There was a strange machine in the room. We think it might have been an air conditioner but we couldn't figure it out.
Different and a little strange to me. I couldn't figure out what the theme of this whole place was. It didn't feel welcoming. Overall, an average hotel. The fireplace was phenomenal, though. It kept the room warm and cozy, which warmed the cold ambience of the room. Easy to use furnace with a touch of a button, no complications, none of the hassle of a home furnace which deals with logs and ashes. I should say that maybe I am in the minority for rating this average, as my friends loved the room. In my opinion, I give it a lower rating than the typical Embassy Suites setup (I like Embassy). The fireplace made up for it all, though.