Mendocino Water Towers Are the Charming Getaway We Didn’t Know We Needed

Did you know that Mendocino once had more than a hundred water towers, built in the 1800s to store water and provide water pressure to the town’s inhabitants? The towers dotting the seaside village made for a distinctive coastal landscape beloved by visitors arriving by steamship. Today, Mendocino’s signature architectural structures—designated as California Historical Landmarks—are getting a second life as unique accommodations with hot tubs and rooftop decks. Here, we’ve rounded up six of the most charming spots for a sweet weekend getaway.

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mendocino water towers jd house
Courtesy of Blue Door Group

Jd House

No roughing it here: Make like a modern-day ship captain in the newly restored 1870s water tower at the contemporary, nautical-themed JD House. Stay cozy on chilly nights with plush bedding and a gas fireplace. Then savor a steaming cup of coffee and enjoy a breakfast picnic basket on your private rooftop deck in the morning.

571 Ukiah St., Mendocino; 707-937-4892 or

mendocino water towers maccallum house
Brendan McGuigan

Maccallum House

For a little slice of history, spend the weekend at this pristine 19-room Victorian in the center of town. Built in 1882 by William Kelley as a wedding gift to his daughter Daisy MacCallum, the property is coveted for its lush gardens, expansive lawns and award-winning restaurant. A stay in the three-story Watertower Suite (with a still-working redwood tank on the roof) means access to a private sauna and spa tub, plus a glimpse down into the original hand-dug well viewable through a glass window set into the ground floor. 

45020 Albion St., Mendocino; 707-937-0289 or

mendocino water towers joshua grindle inn
Brendan McGuigan

Joshua Grindle Inn

Situated on a two-acre knoll surrounded by cypress trees and overlooking the Pacific, this historic Victorian farmhouse dating back to 1879 is the definition of romantic. Rent one of two water tower suites (replicas of the property’s original), bring a good book (no TVs here) and enjoy the peace and quiet while you keep warm by the antique fireplace.

44800 Little Lake Rd., Mendocino; 707-937-6022 or

mendocino water towers sweetwater inn and spa
Brendan McGuigan

Sweetwater Inn & Spa

Make it a girls’ weekend and choose from three charming water tower suites at this rustic inn and spa in the heart of town. Book a treatment and then soak in one of three redwood hot tubs. To cap off the day, we recommend sipping wine at sunset with friends on the rooftop deck of the Redwood Tower.

44840 Main St., Mendocino; 800-300-4140 or

mendocino water towers inn at schoolhouse creek
Inn at Schoolhouse Creek

Inn At Schoolhouse Creek

Tucked away on the beachfront enclave of Little River, the Inn at Schoolhouse Creek was originally built as mill workers’ housing. The inn now features 17 accommodations, including the historic Water Tower cottage, which was added by the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II. The ground floor houses a private hot tub in the former armory, and a spiral staircase winds up to a private perch overlooking the ocean.

7051 N. Hwy. 1, Little River; 707-937-5525 or

mendocino water towers bever roberts tower
Brendan McGuigan

Bever-roberts Tower

Built on the site of the original Bever House water tower (which fell into disrepair in the 1920s and was finally torn down in 1989), this three-story stand-alone property nods to its past with tiles depicting the original tower hand-painted by local artists. Cozy up in the “captain’s snug” on the third floor and take in the views of Mendocino’s dramatic coastline from the rooftop widow’s walk.

45121 Little Lake St., Mendocino; 707-937-4702 or

allison mccarthy

San Francisco Editor

Allison McCarthy is a writer and editor with 15 years of experience in the industry. She's currently the San Francisco editor at PureWow, where she covers the best of what's...