The Inn at Benton is one of my favorite places to get away from it all. To start, the Inn is at 5,000 feet (1.5 km) elevation, located near the California-Nevada border. The tiny town of Benton is a few miles away, but it's little more than a crossroads. In fact, the inn's remote location is part of its appeal.
The bed and breakfast inn is housed in a building that has been owned by the same family since it was built in the 1920s. Today's co-owner Diane Bramlette says she and her husband wanted to create a European-style bed and breakfast, a comfortable, reasonably-priced place to stay. They succeeded admirably, furnishing their rooms with antiques, decorating them in a warm, cozy style and serving a delicious full breakfast, all at a fraction of the price that you might pay elsewhere in California.
Even better, they have their own, natural spring-fed hot tubs for you to soak in. It's also a great place to enjoy dark skies.
What's at the Inn at Benton?
The inn has seven rooms and two cottages. Rates include full breakfast and use of the outdoor hot tubs. All rooms except one share bathrooms and shower areas. They have free WiFi, refrigerators, satellite TV, air conditioning and radiant floor heating. Children are welcome and so are well-behaved pets. The inn is completely nonsmoking.
This is a great place to take a technology break and get away from your boss calling you at all hours. The rooms don't have telephones and most mobile phones don't get reception at the inn.
Three outdoor hot tubs are the Inn's most appealing amenity, getting their warmth from a natural hot spring on the property. Unlike their fancy counterparts elsewhere, roaring with bubbling water jets and saturated with chlorine, these pools are still and natural. A soak under the stars in one of them is many visitors' favorite experience. You can enjoy the semi-private hot tubs au naturel as long as no one else objects, but the inn is not a clothing optional resort.
An equally appealing aspect of the inn is the dark skies above it. With no towns or busy roads nearby, the sky is black as velvet and the stars are so bright you'll feel like you could reach out and touch them. That makes it a great place to watch a meteor shower. You can find out when they happen on this meteor shower calendar.
It's also fun to walk down the road to the old Benton Trading Post and check out the abandoned mining equipment on the hillside. You can get an informative walking tour guide at the inn for a small donation. You can also take day trips from the Inn at Benton to Mono Lake, Mammoth Lakes or the town of Bishop.
Camping at Benton Hot Springs
You'll also find a small, ten-site campground near the Inn at Benton. Each campsite has a private, spring-fed hot tub. Tents and RVs are allowed, but no hookups are available. You can get the details about camping and the hot tubs here.
What You Need to Know About the Inn at Benton
The Inn at Benton sells out most weekends, all year long. Reserve two weeks in advance - or earlier if you can.
The Inn at Benton
The Inn at Benton is on CA Hwy 120 west of US Hwy 395 and Mono Lake. You can also reach it via CA Hwy 6 from Bishop, a route that's always open, even in winter.
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary accommodation for the purpose of reviewing those services. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.