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Richards House Bed and Breakfast
Ranked #4 of 8 Dubuque B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 5 July 2012

After just staying at Richards House for one night in early July, we feel compelled to post this review immediately to counter a previous negative review. Yes, the exterior of Richard House is off-putting! Yes, you might expect to be greeted by Lurch or some other member of the Adams family! Put aside your reservations and step inside. You will be transported back 125 years! You will not be taken into to a kitchy Victorian-styled guesstimate, but rather a carefully preserved home of a wealthy 19th century Dubuque banker totally committed to the conspicuous consumption aspirations of his day.

The woodwork, paneling, wall coverings, electrified gas lighting fixtures, tiled fireplaces, stained glass windows, artwork, pottery, sculpture and library are all authentic, mostly original - and amazing. We stayed in the downstairs suite, installed in the library and front reception room. We prefer space, and since the rate was so reasonable, we went for the added space. We got both space and an amazing experience. We slept on a queen sized partially-canopied bed surrounded by over a thousand books from the original library. Lincoln looked down on the bed. Jackson looked down on the large Victorian soaking tub set in the front room. (There is a half bath adjoining the bedroom.)

So, a note about the experience. We encountered no offensive cat (or any other) smells in our suite. (There were a few musty and mild cat smells in one public room.) We saw just two friendly cats, though more would not have been a problem. The proprietor couple are a bit introverted and nothing like the typical often over-the-top owners of B&B's. Perhaps that's why they are outliers on the scale of how long owners keep B&B's. Breakfast was great, with a fine egg dish, bacon, coffee cake, fresh fruit, juices, wonderful crepes, and fine coffee.

No, this isn't a cooky-cutter B&B experience! It can be a comfortable and educational experience if you want it to be. Have a bit of an adventure - or go the conventional route elsewhere!

Room Tip: Ask about the details of each room. Go for the suite if you can, and if a Victorian tub in the midd...
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  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank HenryW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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82 - 88 of 131 reviews

Reviewed 1 July 2012

My husband and I recently stayed at this B&B, and, were extremely dissappointed in it. It is one thing to say it is a work in progress, but, quite another to know that alot of these issues have been going on for years!! I wish I would have looked closer at the bad reviews before going, as they are spot on. The moment we walked in the door, we were overwhelmed with the smell of cats and mustiness. They have SIX cats on the premises, and never stated that on the website. The litter box, well that was in the adjacent room to the kitchen. While looking for the owners, I noticed that a food license was expired. Also, the shared bathroom ceiling has drywall that is just hanging on from water damage. The rooms have water damage so bad, that the wallpaper is just peeling off! Our bathroom did not even have a ceiling in it. We wanted to leave as soon as we got there. We now wish we would have. The owners wife sat across from us at breakfast and just watched us. Did not try to converse, and, just generally creeped us out. We kept joking that it was like the Bates Motel. Guests check in, but, they don't check out! Save yourself some misery, stay somewhere else.

Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
9  Thank Gregg R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 May 2012 via mobile

The breakfast is very good
Wi-fi and plenty of outlets
Snacks and beverages, refrigerator on secnd floor is available to keep food in.

david and michel are very good hosts
Rooms are clean and neat
The house as a whole is gorgeous it is not as well kept as some but not a real problem
the exterior is a work in progress.

  • Stayed: May 2012
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2  Thank OhioDave_47
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 March 2012

This turned out to be our favorite inn on our recent roadtrip. And I might add, we spent considerable time researching Trip Advisor for every stop on our way. The inn has a special designation as an historical landmark, but this has proved to be a mixed blessing, because along with the special designation comes additional challenges. Despite this, the owners have poured their hearts and souls into the project and the result was comfort bordering on luxury. The breakfast was very generous and very tasty. I don't think my own mother could have matched that meal.

  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank ucanliv4ever
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 March 2012

As a belated Valentine's Day gift, my husband booked this particular B&B as a surprise for me on Feb. 27, 2012! Apparently he researched several different B&B sites and chose this one for its authenticity...and excellent rates!! Trust me, for the amount he paid for the library suite, which is located right on the main floor not too far from the main entrance, not only did we receive an awesome, warm welcome, but the accommodations were amazing.
Like some other reviews have stated...don't let the exterior scare you away...renovations take time and lots of money...let the interior speak for itself. We did get a small tour of the home, mainly the first floor and one bedroom on the second floor, and even though I dearly wanted to see more, I can understand that Dave was the only one home, so he was multi-tasking at its best. He did go up and beyond his duties as innkeeper by making me a pot of coffee later in the evening, which I truly appreciated (anyone who knows me, also knows that I drink coffee like its water, 24/7!!)
The breakfast that was served to us on Tuesday, Feb. 28, was NOT your normal run-of-the-mill restaurant breakfast! Crepes with a banana/pecan rum sauce, fresh fruit, scrambled eggs, bacon and homemade blueberry muffins, left us full and relaxed! We were also able to talk with Dave about the house, its history, a bit about his life and some of his experiences as an innkeeper...all of which, made the ending moments of our stay even more enjoyable.
Unless one has a severe cat allergy, I would highly recommend this bed-and-breakfast to anyone who wants to take a step back in time in a truly authentic Victorian home.

Room Tip: Ask for the library suite!!!
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank TLaehn2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 February 2012

Don't judge a book by it's cover. This grand ol' house is a thread-bare on the outside and currently going though renovation, but the inside of this mansion is quite amazing. My wife and I came up for the weekend to ski. When we first pulled up to the house I started to wonder what I was thinking when I booked this place, but then remembered the recommendations from tripadvisor. Yes, the outside needs work, no doubt, but then we were not staying on the outside.

The inside, however, was amazing. If you enjoy classic homes then you are in for a treat. Everywhere you look is something new. For instance, each room uses a different type of wood. Plenty of fine woodwork. Our room was massive compared to a hotel. Our bed was like something a king would sleep in. We even had our own real fireplace. We started our stay with homemade pumpkin cake. We set our time for breakfast the next morning and started off with homemade blueberry coffeecake, juice and coffee. That would have been enough, but then came baked peaches with pecans and brown sugar. OK, I can stop now. No, then came French toast, thick-sliced bacon and scrambled eggs with cream cheese and parmesan.

Needless to say we had plenty of fuel for our 2nd day of skiing, but opted instead to spend our 2nd day touring the town since we really haven't seen the city. Downtown has been renovated and for an old town, looks fresh. We went to the rivers museum in the morning then stopped at the Star Brewery for lunch. That was great, too.

In summary, if you enjoy space, character and a wonderful breakfast at an excellent value, then put this on your list.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank TVSAM1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 September 2011

This is an amazing house - stained glass windows, tile fireplaces, incredible woodwork and antiques (the Richards must have been quite prosperous in 1883), plus Michelle makes you a wonderful breakfast in the morning. Some may be initially put off by the exterior condition, but you are depriving yourself of a real treat if you let that scare you off. The renovation will probably be a lifetime project for Michelle and David, but as old-house fans, we like to go back every year or so and see their progress. David is currently replacing the slate roof himself - rigging himself up every morning and going out on the steep roof to work (this is a three story building, so he is way up there), so you can tell they are dedicated to preserving this wonderful old house!

Room Tip: The Library (first floor) is especially nice. Any of the second floor rooms (private baths) are als...
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  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank David H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Richards House Bed and Breakfast

Address: 1492 Locust St, Dubuque, IA 52001-4714
Region: United States > Iowa > Dubuque
Amenities:
Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 8 B&Bs / Inns in Dubuque
Price Range: £37 - £84 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Richards House Bed and Breakfast 3*
Number of rooms: 6
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Also Known As:
Richards House Bed And Breakfast Dubuque, Iowa

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