If you are looking for a romantic, rustic getaway….Old School Style -then you may want to check outKnickerbocker Mansion in Big Bear. It was our 2 year Anniversary and we wanted to spend a nice weekend away but didn’t want to go too far or spend too much. My Husband found this place through Living Social and since we had such great success last year with a deal from them (see my review on the Villa Rolandi-Isla Mujeres, Mexico) we took a chance on someplace new.
Knickerbocker Mansion is a Bed & Breakfast located in the heart of Big Bear. It was originally built in 1920 by one of the Founding Fathers of the area- William Knickerbocker, who was the original Damkeeper. In the 1980’s it was turned into a Bed & Breakfast and other buildings were converted into cozy cabins. We got the biggest and the best- “The Carriage House”. According to the owner, it used to be the barn. As a life-long Horse Person, I found this extremely appealing.
The Carriage House is large and has it’s own wrap-around deck, complete with rocking chairs and tables and chairs. The view of Big Bear Lake is peek-a-boo at best but it is still a lovely, serene view. The room is very large. The King Bed is huge and inviting, although the linens could use an update. There is a dining area complete with place settings ,utensils and a small fridge. Upon check-in, you are provided a bottle of red wine- I thought: "Oh…how sweet- an Anniversary Gift!” …..ummmm not this time! Along with the bottle, a couple of wine glasses and an opener is a note letting you know that you are welcome to the bottle and the charge will be $23 ! LOL…How ‘Bout NO! . I look at it this way: Nice of them to offer so you don’t have to go down the hill to the liquor store BUT most smart travelers BYO- as I did. I don’t drink wine but I love Champagne and brought a bottle with me. I suggest you do the same.
The room has a large TV and they provide some great coffee table books. There are also some CDs and a player if you prefer music. A big, beautiful fireplace (gas with a switch) sets the mood. The heating works well…almost too well- it heated up that cold room pretty quick! The bathroom is large and contemporary with a big Jacuzzi tub, stall shower and a closet with plush robes (love that!). The lighting is even good, which is a miracle these days. One great touch-a Rubber Ducky is provided for your bath.
Overall, the accommodations were lovely and perfect for the mountain setting. There are just a couple of things that we didn’t care for:
The Carriage House is broken up into suites, therefore, you hear the people next to you and above. I mean REALLY hear them. The clomping of footsteps above you is LOUD and if your roomies upstairs are up at 6:00 AM- you will be too.
When the water drains from the bathrooms in the other rooms, you hear a LOUD rush of water- it will wake you up at all hours if anyone uses the facilities. The drains must be right next to the vents and it is a little off -putting to suddenly feel as though a waterfall will rush right into the room.
The “Private Deck” is private to the Carriage House only BUT that means everyone that is staying in that building has access. As we had the main room in front- people could walk right in front of the windows of the room and look right in- and they did…only once but still, it can be a bit startling if you are not expecting it.
Breakfast is provided and it is really good. Not a buffet, not a huge portion but for us- just right. If there are any dietary restrictions or allergies, they will accommodate. You will be warned that you need to get down to the Bistro between 8:30 -9 if you expect to be served. We got there at about 8:50 and were the last ones to arrive. The Bistro at the Mansion also features dinner but we ended up going out both nights.However, they have an excellent reputation and judging by the breakfast, it is probably a lovely experience.
This was a lovely, low-key weekend away and we really enjoyed our stay. Just remember that it is a rustic setting AND a B&B -not a “Hotel” – and enjoy it for what it is. If you are looking for romance and a quiet getaway in beautiful Big Bear, you will have a lovely time
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- Also Known As:
- Knickerbocker Mansion Country Hotel Big Bear Lake
- Country Inn Big Bear Lake
- Big Bear Lake Country Inn