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|Room with a View - Bandon Beach Motel|
BANDON -- When does a small motel win praise for location, location, location in Oregon?
When it’s surrounded on three sides by the Pacific Ocean.
The Bandon Beach Motel may be modest, yet it has one of the most spectacular locations of any hotel on the Pacific coast.
Few coastal hotels -- including large, luxury places with big price tags -- boast ocean views from three sides. This motel is poised perfectly at Coquille Point, overlooking haystack and arch rocks.
At less than $100 some nights, the Bandon Beach Motel also boasts a spectacular beach, with everything from tidepools to sea caves. Puffins are nesting on the rocks in front of the hotel right now, as are seals and their new pups. Migrating whales are also in full view this season.
The three-mile beach is great for hiking, especially at low tide. We've seen sea lions bellowing on the rocks here, joined by cormorants.
Owners Chuck and Jeannie Bruce are often on the beach, riding their Norwegian fjord horses.
The Bruces, former ranchers in Oregon, and former farmers in Canada, raise these prize horses on a small property south of Bandon.
It’s that farming background that makes the Bruces such good innkeepers, and keeps bringing back guests year after year.
It’s also a family affair: Son Caleb is a partner in the Bandon Beach Motel, along with his wife, Lisa. They live in an apartment on-site some weeks, then switch with the elder Bruces, so someone in the family is always on the property.
Most of the Bruces’ four children and 11 grandchildren, aged 3 to 18, appear in a big photo in the lobby, lending down-home warmth to the motel’s hospitality.
“I love people,” says Jeannie, who often greets guests at the front desk. “We’re northern Canadian-northern Albertans, who are very hospitable.”
Chuck is an American Navy veteran, who married the Canadian matriarch of this growing family. (Another grandchild is due this summer.)
The Bruces bought the motel lease almost five years ago, taking on a major reno project.
“There were 21 rooms and most were closed,” Jeannie recalls. “Every time I would look at another leak, or plaster falling, I would just look at that upper corner view” and be re-energized.
That corner room view is only $125 in low season ($175 at peak) per night. Stay two nights during winter season and the third night is free.
Two of the Bruce’s sons are contractors, so the 30-year-old motel was renovated painstakingly, one room at a time. Today, rooms are cosy, and comfortable, with electric fireplaces.
Guests can watch the Pacific and marine life from the comfort of light-filled rooms, set on a small bluff above the beach. They can feel the sea spray, sitting on oceanfront balconies.
“Chuck and I sneak in there to have lunch whenever we have a chance!” Jeannie says, noting that the upper corner rooms are the most popular.
Guests come from Canada, Scandinavia, Germany and Washington state in winter. Other seasons, regulars travel from all over the U.S.
“We have lots of locals who are regulars,” Jeannie says. “Every year, we have guests from Texas and Alaska and Arizona and Michigan."
Guests become friends at this family business, as evidenced by the Bandon Beach Motel’s Facebook page.
“We’ve made so many friends here,” Jeannie says. “It’s the Facebook connection.”
Bandon Beach Motel is so popular, reservations should be made long in advance.
“We’re pretty much full from July 4 to the end of September,” she adds.
Bandon Beach Motel, 1090 Portland Ave., Bandon, OR 97411
Rates: $75-$125 low season; $95-$175 high season.
By Kathleen Kenna