Manka’s Inverness Lodge
I love, love, love a good hotel. What I love even more is a great one. What makes a hotel good vs. great? I think the main thing for me is feeling like you have escaped into a totally different world the also happens to have fabulous history, atmosphere, total comfort, and amazing food. Ideally, you don’t have to leave the place once you check in. One of the most amazing places I have ever had the privilege of staying at is called Manka’s Inverness Lodge. Have you heard of it? Have any of you ever stayed there? My husband and I had the good fortune of staying there before it burned to the ground in 2006. The fire happened to occur while Jack Gyllenhaal was a guest there! Rumor has it that Jake was the total hero you’d expect him to be, and helped get folks out of harms way. No one was hurt in the blaze but the lodge was totally destroyed. I remember hearing about this and being totally crushed. I think I cried! And I have been meaning to go back for over a decade now to visit now that it has since been rebuilt. This post will likely be the encouragement I need to get that trip to Marin booked.
Here is a little bit more for you about why this place is so magical. Tucked into the hills of Inverness is a little town named Manka, which used to serve as a summer resort for people in San Francisco and Oakland in the early 1900’s. Manka’s Inverness Lodge originated from cabins dating to 1917 when chef and owner Margaret Gradé took her rustic vision to completely revamp the interiors. Named after the previous owner’s wife (Little Rascal in Polish), Gradé incorporated leather armchairs, bearskin rugs, and Victorian soaking bath tubs.
Architectural touches like mica-shaded lamps and wide planked wooden floors take rustic to new chic heights. The Lodge, nestled between Tomales Bay and the woods, is made up of three separate properties including boat houses sitting on the bay, cabins, and the main quarters situated around a hunting and fishing lodge.The accommodations and service both reflect equal luxury and thoughtfulness, from the log post beds to the taxidermy on the walls. The interiors boast Pendleton blankets, vintage fishing nets, wooden oars, and large fireplaces. Even the food is locally sourced. If the food tastes anywhere near as good as I remember, it will be one of the most memorable dinners you will ever have.
The original restaurant portion burned to the ground in the fire leaving it’s cult followers in mourning. However the owners quickly bought the nearby Inn and opened the restaurant Sir & Star, which I have read is reminiscent of the original atmosphere. Breakfast is still brought to your room each morning, and locally sourced in-room dinner from the famed Sir and Star restaurant is available on Friday and Sunday evenings. Breakfast is delivered in a wooden box filled with local treats like homemade yogurt and granola, eggs, bacon, and hand pressed cider. Topped with the latest issue of The New York Times, each box also features origins of every item in the box- which dairy farm the cheese came from, what beekeeper supplied the honey, complete with handwritten welcome notes. Each aspect of the lodge is crafted with beautiful attention to detail and care, while still featuring a hands off approach. Even the staff offices are based in Airstream trailers! How chic is that? I can’t wait to revisit this place and see that it continues to be the perfect hideaway in Marin. Who wants to join me?