A new luxury hotel has opened on ocean bluffs about 9 miles north of Fort Bragg, brimming with eye candy for naturalists and lovers of unusual architecture and décor. It also promises solitude, with just six guest rooms and the owner’s vacation home on the 2,000-acre parcel.
Located in the footprint of a long-gone lumber town, the Inn at Newport Ranch includes a three-bedroom hotel building (rooms start at $300 a night); Barb’s Room, across the parking lot from the main inn (starts at $250); the Redwood House, with three apartment-sized suites that range from $500-$775 a night; and Sea Drum, the owner’s four-bedroom house, which rents for $750-$1,200 a night.
Guests of the custom-built inn can enjoy vast views of rugged coastline and ocean, picturesque pastures where cattle graze and dense forestland, visible from throughout the buildings, porches, patios and hot tubs. They also can wander along more than 20 miles of trails on foot, all-terrain vehicles or horseback. Horses are available from the nearby Ricochet Ridge Ranch.
Those tempted to stay indoors can soak in the inn’s inspiring design and furnishings, which meld old-style craftsmanship, high-tech industrial design, antiques and found materials.
Many visitors do just that, said Creighton Smith, half of the husband-wife team who manage the hotel, which opened in September but remains a work in progress.
“It’s a lot of cool little details. And a lot of cool big details,” Creighton said.
The outside of the cedar-shrouded main hotel structure — described online as “coastal ranch” style — at first glance resembles a cross between a high-end ski lodge and a farmhouse. But unusual details soon come into focus, such as the small metal-framed windows, one of many industrial touches that appear throughout the complex.
Others include light fixtures and heavy, barn-style sliding doors. The flooring varies from room to room. The main living room includes 30-inch old-growth redwood planks, some milled from logs left behind from the property’s mill days, and the events room has a turquoise-stained concrete floor inlaid with redwood burl.
Some of the furnishings defy categorization, like a massive hallway chandelier made largely from farm equipment found on the former ranch property.
Many of the door handles also are unique, including ones made from animal bones and a set comprised of ice-skating blades that belonged to the inn’s founder, Will Jackson, when he was a child, according to co-innkeeper Cindi Smith. He is now 87.
Jackson, a retired Wall Street investment manager whose primary home is in Vermont, began purchasing property in Mendocino County in 1986 after spotting an ad in the Wall Street Journal for an 850-acre cattle ranch with a bed and breakfast, the Orca Inn.
The following year, he purchased a vacation home on adjacent property, now called the Sea Drum.
Over time, he added more than another 1,000 adjacent acres to his holdings.
New inn planning
Jackson and his family began planning a new inn on the ranch nearly 15 years ago. They hired renowned Vermont-based architects Dave Sellers and Jim Sanford, known for their unusual designs and for incorporating nature into their buildings, and Los Angles-based design consultant Robin Cannell Baker, who also utilizes nature in her work.
Twenty-four redwood trees hold up the Redwood House, which opened in early December, stretching upwards from the lower level to the roof and bringing a magical, forested atmosphere to the three suites, each of which includes a kitchen, living room and deck with a hot tub and outdoor grill.