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“Some Perspective to Consider”
Review of Belle de Jour Inn

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Belle de Jour Inn
Ranked #1 of 16 Healdsburg B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed 20 October 2013

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.

Room Tip: The caretaker's suite on top of the "barn" is not to be missed. The original barn of n...
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  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank DTCAZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 17 October 2013

We stayed in the Caretaker's Cottage for three nights. Overall Rating is 3-1/2. It is really difficult to post a review of a B&B Inn like this where the owners are the hosts and treat the guests like friends. But for the sake of other guests and for the owners themselves, I need to be objective.

Brenda and Tom are gracious hosts with much knowledge of the area, having opened 28 years ago. Breakfast is served family style at two large tables with other guests. Fun and social. Brenda is an excellent cook, offering something different each morning. Tom is happy to help plan your day.

The grounds are spacious, beautiful, peaceful, and well kept. Loved the roses -- especially finding freshly cut ones in our room. The decor is American antiques, which fit the property.

Our king four-poster bed was supportive, the bedding was white sateen sheets and a white cotton-covered duvet (poly -- not down) with matelasse spread. So glad to have a duvet and not blankets. The loveseat and chair were comfortable for short term sitting. The thermostat controlled gas fire quickly took away the early morning chill. The tiny fridge in the room was handy for the bottle of white wine Tom and Brenda gave us at check-in (although someone else's cheese was lurking inside). The TV (about 27" screen size) is at least 20 feet from where your head would be in bed. The blinds and cotton/lace curtains and decorative cloths looked dusty. The cloth on the bedside table was shockingly dusty, as were the ornaments sitting thereon and the hanging mirror. The bathroom is dated with blue tiles, gold fixtures, a low round (not elongated) toilet, make-up lights on a ticking timer, and although there is a "tub for two" with jacuzzi jets, it was too long and too shallow -- so one just sits there semi-floating. There was no grab-bar for standing in the shower and no place to put a bar of soap. The shower spray was awkward. The biggest shock was the toiletries. On the sink sat a plastic used and refilled liquid soap dispenser, a tiny body wash and a body lotion -- all different brands. I'm posting a picture. In the shower was a plastic dispenser for shampoo, conditioner, and I suppose body wash, which neither of us felt comfortable using. These things said "motel 6" to me, not $300 a night.

They say God is in the details -- so is five star accommodation. My experience at other high end B&B's and Inns in the USA as well as in the UK (where we actually owned one that earned 5 stars by the official inspectors), is of more "wow" factor and attention to detail. Luxury toiletries (or at least new, matching ones), breakfasts including variety like yogurt (home made usually), cereals, self-service coffee/teas, main courses with ample protein, and an eager to please attitude where the guest doesn't feel afraid to ask for something. I asked if there were any preserves for the scones and although they came up with lovely preserves, I felt like I'd asked for a discount on my room or something. Regarding protein: One morning, breakfast was one egg baked in a ramekin with parmesan, fresh fruit, and home made scones served with margarine (not butter). Although great food, the portion control came across as boarding house not "B&B Inn."

Note: If you have a problem with cat allergies be aware the resident cats have free reign of the breakfast room and kitchen, although not the guest rooms.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank slowfoodslowfood
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 October 2013

We were so glad we found Belle de Jour. The accommodations were quiet, comfortable, and beautiful! We lunched on our patio several days in the warm September sun. Tom and Brenda were so welcoming and gave us many ideas for our day trips. They were perfect hosts! We enjoyed delicious country breakfasts every day. A must stay in Sonoma! Can't wait to return!

Room Tip: We were in the Morninghill Cottage and the Terrace Room Cottage
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  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank Judy R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 October 2013

This was our last stop (4 days & nights) on a terrific wine country
tour from Paso to Healdsburg - and the perfect ending indeed it was.
The property and grounds are beautiful, peaceful and private; More
than worth the 5 minute drive from downtown Healdsburg. Beyond
the place itself the hosts Tom & Brenda were wonderful, warm and
attentive with terrific suggestions for both wineries & restaurants.
They went out of their way to make us feel comfortable and at the
same time felt we had the place to our own - an incredible & perfect
B&B experince! Will certainly be back as soon as we can.

Room Tip: The Carriage House's spaciousness, features and privacy is outstanding.
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  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Joaquin63
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 October 2013

All we could ask for. Innkeepers Tom and Brenda incredibly nice, and helpful with everything. A beautiful property with great flowers and birds. Well worth the extra 2 minutes from downtown Healdsburg to escape. Having stayed all over Sonoma county, this is a very welcome find!

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank skymandarin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 October 2013

Quiet!
Hear the rose bloom, filling your room with a delicate scent.
Quiet!
Watch the leaf turn to gold.
Quiet!
Smell the aromas of Brenda's ginger/apricot scones waiting for your breakfast
Quiet!
Sip Tom's latte watching the sun rise
Just another perfect morning in the paradise of Belle de Jour Inn.
Enjoy the day, enjoy the wonderful cozy bed for tomorrow will be another perfect day at
Belle de Jour
Perfect!

Room Tip: Every room is perfect
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  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank SilkyPrince
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 October 2013

We spent four wonderful days at the Belle de Jour Inn. The Inn is nestled on 6 beautifully landscaped acres on the outskirts of Healdsburg, minutes from some of Sonoma's best wineries. Our room was very private and charming. The innkeepers, Tom and Brenda, were gracious and accommodating hosts. They offered excellent recommendations for dinning and wine tasting options. Breakfast each morning was delicious and plentiful. Brenda is a wonderful cook and baker and we looked forward to a different creative breakfast each day. We will definitely return to the Inn on our next trip to Sonoma County. It's a winner.

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Roberta G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Belle de Jour Inn

Address: 16276 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, CA 95448-9074
Phone Number:
Region: United States > California > Sonoma County > Healdsburg
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Spa
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 16 B&Bs / Inns in Healdsburg
Price Range: £145 - £249 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 5
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 

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