While I firmly believe everyone is entitled to their opinion, my wife and I feel the need to provide some balance to the review below by slowfoodslowfood. First and foremost we would encourage everyone to read the excellent reviews on Belle de Jour, the overwhelming majority by guests that rate the property 5 Stars!
My wife and I have been coming here for over 20 years and we have only once experienced anything remotely comparable to BDJ throughout our world travels and that other favorite (Applewood) is no longer the same after changing owners a few years ago. The fact that our hosts Tom & Brenda operate the only Inn in Sonoma County that has been under the SAME CONTINUOUS OWNERSHIP for 28 years, with an extremely high number of repeat visitors, speaks volumes.
We were visiting the wine country with another couple October 9-14, stayed at Belle de Jour five wonderful days, and want to share some observations. While we don’t know slowfoodslowfood’s name because we were sitting at another table during breakfast, from her comments about owning an inn in the UK we can easily identify which guests she and her husband were. We feel her review was influenced by a number of factors that contributed to her opinion.
What she neglected to mention when she claimed they owned an Inn “that earned 5 stars by the official inspectors” was that their Inn went out of business (paraphrasing her words), so compared to the long running, positively reviewed success of Belle de Jour, you might want to take slowfoodslowfood’s review with an entire shaker of salt.
In addition, she and her husband were sadly lamenting the recent loss of a dearly loved pet, which we can certainly relate to having lost five of our own furry family members over the years. However, they shared so much conversation about this particular event we cannot help but feel it might have colored their entire stay to the point that they expected an experience that would cause them to forget their current sorrow… an impossibility to say the least as anyone who has lost a pet can attest.
Concerning the food, the parmesan eggs are the single most popular breakfast item at BDJ and returning guests, like the four of us, look forward to having them served at least once during our stay. Combined with vegetables and herbs FRESH from Brenda’s garden, the finest local fruit, exceptional coffee and Brenda’s fresh baked goodies, we have always left the table smiling and content. Perhaps slowfoodslowfood would have been happier with bangers and mash, but we’re talking the Sonoma Wine country here folks and the BDJ table represents local California freshness and flavors extremely well.
As for the service, Tom & Brenda are always close at hand making certain everyone has what they need, so “self-service” coffee & tea would be a drop in the level of service, not an improvement. Brenda’s in-house baked apricot scones are superb as is, and though slowfoodslowfood’s request was not unlike asking for Catsup to top a prime filet, it was promptly and pleasantly answered with a serving of Brenda's HOMEMADE preserves.
With regard to her comment about the cats, they do NOT have free reign of the eating area, or of the kitchen, and only pass through both to get inside the innkeeper’s living quarters. Tom and Brenda are highly attuned to personal sensitivities and will not allow their cats to annoy any guest. A more fitting comment would have been to commend Tom & Brenda for making their entire 6+ acre property totally smoke free.
As for the slight dig about the “poly – not down” comforter, being allergic to down, I applaud the fact that BDJ features ALLERGEN free pillows and comforters, as well as extremely high thread count linens and beds that offer proper support. And since when are gold plated fixtures passé?
If you want to spend your time in the wine country watching TV, you may as well stay at the Best Western in town where the widescreen TV will probably be the only highlight of your room. Belle de Jour is a place for quiet relaxation, romance and personal connection. Cuddle, read a book, enjoy a bottle of wine, listen to music on the in-room CD player, make love… anything but lay in bed watching TV.
Over the last 20 years, we have visited BDJ no less than 30 times. Of all our travels, it’s the only place we’ve stayed more than 3 times. Belle de Jour is a shining jewel in the crown of typically over priced, impersonal and/or poorly operated hotels and inns throughout the wine region and the US. With over 6 acres of beautiful grounds, well kept and comfortably decorated accommodations and the caring attention of Innkeepers Tom & Brenda, you will be hard pressed find a more relaxing and enjoyable experience.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Quiet country bed & breakfast inn on six acres. King or queen cottage style accommodations all with private entrance and private bath. Lovely changing gardens and trees with plentiful bird and wildlife viewing. Near to downtown but far from the hustle bustle. ... more less