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“Really lovely B&B” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of The Harlan House

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The Harlan House
Ranked #2 of 4 Columbia B&B and Inns
Level Contributor
34 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Really lovely B&B”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 July 2014

We stayed in Columbia for a night after a four day trip to Yosemite, as it was near enough to allow us to spend most of our last day in Mariposa Grove, and we were curious to see the old gold rush town. Harlan House is a very pretty old schoolhouse on the edge of town. It's in a very peaceful location and in walking distance of the centre of Columbia State Historic Park. The place is wonderfully old fashioned inside, like stepping into the past, with bonnets hanging on the walls and cosy touches all over the place. We stayed in the Rose Room which is pretty and comfortable, though rather too hot as the ancient aircon was too noisy to have on while we slept. We had to phone in order to book, which was less convenient than emailing or booking online but Sam got back to us and confirmed our booking quickly once I'd left an answerphone message. Sam recommended a nearby Mexican restaurant, El Jardin, which was the only one open in the area but was very nice. The cooked breakfast was tasty and Sam is a very friendly, charming host. We highly recommend Harlan House if you're in the area.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Svanhvit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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40 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (12)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
California
Level Contributor
16 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 June 2014

Forget Movie Sets of the Old West. Columbia State Historic Park near Sonora, CA, has been used often enough as a real movie set, including Back To The Future III, The Long Riders, Little House on the Prairie, and even the classic TV show, Rawhide. Clint Eastwood walked the boardwalk to the Jack Douglass Saloon in Pale Rider; Christopher Lloyd nursed his broken heart there over Mary Steenburgen (and only one whiskey) in Back to the Future III at the Douglass too. So where do you stay in a place like this?

Harlan House. That's where. The kind of boarding house you'd see in a old Western run by a delightful lady to take care of your stomach and a bed to take care of your rest.

The delightful and charming Harlan House B&B is operated by the equally charming Samantha O'Brien, a lovely lady who is definitely an asset to the town of Columbia, CA. My mother had never visited the Gold Rush town of Columbia before, a preserved piece of the past that still has its dusty streets, frontier wood walkways, and saloons that serve homemade Sarsaparilla. Miss O'Brien has converted a beautiful Victorian home into a five room bed and breakfast, with an incredible bargain of the Wine Cellar, a two bed suite that transports you to a calm, relaxing world away.

The huge one person Jacuzzi is almost a royal bath, and the oversized bathroom is like the rest of the suite; cool by summer, warm by winter. Delicate lighting on a silk tree near the Jacuzzi is very romantic and lovely; a very nice touch. Miss O'Brien also supplied full size shampoo, conditioner and body wash for our use while in the suite; the citrus body wash was outstanding. Most establishments care for their guests; Miss O'Brien genuinely cares ABOUT her guests.

A cast iron, old fashioned fire stove is ready for winter months; the rest of the suite is large enough to hold a small meeting in. The master bedroom of this suite is idyllic for honeymoons; another silk tree sits at the headboard, covered in the same lights that give it a romantic, almost fairytale like effect. The decor is all antique, and the furnishings are extremely comfortable, as are the beds. The rest we got in this room was definitely needed after a hot day in Columbia.

The parlour area is very large; big enough to entertain with sofas, chairs and lighting; it is perfect for four people to share a glass of wine after a day in Columbia or a day of gambling in nearby Jackson or Sonora. An excellent, cooked to order breakfast awaits in the morning. Sam does all the work herself, and at 80 years old, she is to be commended. This is one place that she wears every hat and wears them well. The entire B&B is immaculately clean and beautifully decorated.

There are a few drawbacks, and although these do not detract from the experience, they should be mentioned in all fairness. The wifi does not work well in the Wine Cellar; although Sam does have wireless, it does not work in the cellar. This could be due to the stone walls of the suite, as this really was a Wine Cellar. There is free wifi, and you can go to the parlour to use it.

Miss O'Brien does operate this bed and breakfast the old fashioned way, which means she does not email out confirmations. She confirms you in her calendar, and your room is ready and waiting on arrival. I can personally assure you that although we were concerned about this, on arrival, the key and room were ready and awaiting our arrival.

Lastly, the parking lot for this building is extremely steep; the parking spaces are on the edge of a cliff with an approximate 20-25 foot drop. We are talking San Francisco style hill edging and parking. Be extremely careful when driving in and parking; it would be safest to park further away from the cliff's edge for safety reasons. It is a very short distance from the parking space barriers to the edge, so please be very careful. And definitely, absolutely, set the hand brake.

The drawbacks are minor. This is also not a family B&B; so if you are looking to plan something with the kids, please seek other accommodations that are more suitable. A lot of school groups go to Columbia for their California studies curriculum, so adults will appreciate the quiet, as well as sitting in the back open air patio area with a glass of wine. The experience was terrific, and I definitely recommend Miss O'Brien's wonderful Harlan House.

Room Tip: I can NOT say enough about The Wine Cellar room. My photos didn't turn out well but there are gr...
See more room tips
  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank waya5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Columbia, California
Level Contributor
40 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 April 2014

The Harlan House Bed & Breakfast has been welcoming guests since early 1990's. I have been a regular visitor since 1999, and always look forward to my stays. This beautiful Victorian style house, surrounded by lush grounds is a true gem. The hostess is excellent, very hospitable and will make every effort to ensure your stay is perfect. Breakfast will exceed your expectations. Rooms are nicely furnished, each with its own private bathroom and views of the grounds. The parlor, dining room and guest living room will take you back in time with its antique furnishings. Easy stroll down hill from the property will take you to the historic part of Columbia. If you walk up the hill from the property, you will find the old school house and cemetery. I am looking forward to my next visit.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank SwissGuy41
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Jose, California
Level Contributor
13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 January 2014

Nice rooms, jaccuzzi , great views. The location is surrounded by woods. You can eve even see deers running around the location. The hostess is great, hospitable and friendly. The place is very close to downtown too. Overall, a great experience.

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank rajat85
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Columbia, California
Level Contributor
40 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 October 2013

I have been returning to this beautiful Victorian Bed & Breakfast for consecutive 14 years! It is a true gem, complemented by wonderful scenery. Guests are treated to comfortable and tastefully furnished rooms with private bathrooms. The breakfast sumptuously prepared to your enjoyment. You will feel welcomed by the hostess, and find yourself surrounded by antiques that will take you back in time to the 1800's. The quietness and stillness is something you will truly get to appreciate. Deer are common on the grounds, as are birds happily singing away. I am looking forward to visiting again for an extended stay this Thanksgiving.

Room Tip: All the rooms are equally comfortable and nice. My favorite is the Rose Room & Wine Cellar Suite...
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank SwissGuy41
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SF Bay Area
Level Contributor
75 reviews
53 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 September 2013

We had a project up in Columbia and so I have stayed at the Harlan House multiple times. Sam is a wonderful host. Breakfasts are wonderful and the rooms are well appointed. Nothing is fancy here, but you will feel cared for and get excellent value.

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled on business
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Paul R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Columbia, California
Level Contributor
40 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 February 2013

As a regular visitor to Columbia, California and the beautiful Harlan House Bed & Breakfast since November of 1999, I always look forward to returning. Service is excellent, rooms are very comfortable and the property is beautiful. Proprietor will make your stay enjoyable, and the breakfast, best there is. Excellent location and points of interest are easily accessible. I look forward to returning again.

  • Stayed February 2013, travelled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank SwissGuy41
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Harlan House

Property: The Harlan House
Address: 22890 School House Rd, Columbia, CA 95310-9433
Region: United States > California > Columbia
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 4 B&Bs / Inns in Columbia
Number of rooms: 4

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