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“A LITTLE BIT OF NORMANDY IN WEST VIRGINIA” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Hillbrook Inn

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Hillbrook Inn
Ranked #1 of 6 Charles Town B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Manassas, Virginia
Level Contributor
77 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“A LITTLE BIT OF NORMANDY IN WEST VIRGINIA”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 December 2013

Have you ever thought of being in Normandy, in a beautiful "villa on a hill"? Well, here is an opportunity to do so and it doesn't require a passport. The place--Hillbrook Inn near Charlestown, West Virginia.

Hillbrook Inn was built as a private home by Brigadier General Frank E. Bamford, at the height of the roaring 20’s on land George Washington once owned and farmed. Timbers and stone from the Locke Farm, which occupied the site in the 1800’s, were used in the construction (you can still see a bit of this in the small dining area at the back of the house.). The general modeled Hillbrook after an inn he loved in Normandy, where he stayed after the First World War. So it especially fitting that Hillbrook should now be a country inn in the European tradition, graciously refurbished by the Carroll’s, who acquired the property in 1984. The Zanella family carries on that style and tradition since their purchase of Hillbrook in 2004.

I don't think General Bamford would have imagined that his beautiful home built along the crest of a hill would become an inn such as the one he admired in Normandy. But today, Hillbrook holds forth, inviting all to come and stay and relax in this pastoral place.

My wife and I have been here many times in the past but there was something about this visit that seemed to be very special. We stayed for three nights and enjoyed some of the finest meals we have ever had. The inn has two young chefs, Justin and David but don't be fooled by their youth-they are excellent chefs, graduates of fine schools and with a wealth of experience under their belt. I have a chronic illness, which demands certain dietary restrictions . Thus I notified the inn of my dietary requirements in advance of our arrival and all went out of their way to find ways to provide me with very delicious meals. I won't bore you with that any further; instead I want you to see the meals we were served.

11/30-This was the Five Course Dinner. We had the wine pairing with this dinner.

Beet salad with burnt honey vinaigrette
Butternut squash soup
Grilled swordfish with shaved fennel, roasted tomatoes and bak choy
Roasted filet mignon, pea puree, fondant potatoes
Chocolate pate

12/1-This meal and the subsequent one were the Three-Course Dinners.

Curried carrot soup with jasmine rice
Sea scallops, leek fondue, roasted cauliflower and broccoli
Carrot cake with cream cheese icing

12/2

Celery silk soup
New York strip, saffron rice, roasted Brussels sprouts, beef jus
Chocolate Banana and Toasted Pecan pate, vanilla bean ice cream

All of these meals were exquisite. The roasted filet mignon was as tender as it could be—you could almost cut it with a fork. The soups were creamy with a perfect blend of spices—my favorite was the Curried Carrot Sop with Jasmine Rice. And desserts…well, I have a weakness for Carrot Cake—moist, just enough spice and a delicious cream cheese icing.

The breakfasts are two courses in addition to a variety of juices and coffee or tea. They consist of such things as a Greek yogurt and granola parfait or fresh fruits followed eggs and sausage or bacon, pancakes with sausage or bacon and, of course, good strong coffee.

We stayed in the Bamford Suite, which was the original owner’s master bedroom. It is large with a nice sitting area and an old-fashioned tall four-poster bed with an excellent mattress and crisp bed linens. There is a wood-burning fireplace and split wood is conveniently stacked just a few steps outside the back door. There also is a single serve Keurig coffee maker and coffee or tea. An i-Pad is provided for each room.

With Tina’s hearty and warm welcome with a glass of cold Proseco , Bobbie’s constant attention to detail and Marcy’s warm farewell when we left, I must say this was a grand stay. Everybody went out of their way to make our stay enjoyable.

I must mention that there are other accommodations outside the manor house that include The Cottages Quadplex, a short walk from the manor house, the Gate House, The Hawthorne House and The Farm House, a little short of two miles from the manor house. They also offer a variety of spa services and concierge services to make your stay all you would want it to be. Charles Town is a short drive if you wish to gamble and shop. Harper’s Ferry, the site of John Brown’s failed resurrection, is also a short drive away

I will confess that Hillbrook can be a bit expensive but a Saturday night stay with the Five Course Dinner is well worth the fare.

Will we be back? You can bet on it!

Room Tip: Hillbrook is unique in that no two rooms are on the same level. There are plenty of stairs and some...
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  • 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
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank PodgeH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hillbrook, Owner at Hillbrook Inn, responded to this review, 4 January 2014
Thank you so much for sharing your experience in such detail. It is very much appreciated and will hopefully help to give others a sense for what it's like to visit Hillbrook Inn. I am glad to hear that our gracious staff went above and beyond to make you feel right at home. It's our pleasure to serve you!

Your explanation of the inn's history, meals, and accommodations are a great representation of the "Hillbrook experience." We appreciate your repeat business and look forward to your next visit!

Sincerely,
Carissa Zanella
Owner/Innkeeper
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review

405 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
    310
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    18
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See reviews for
16
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (156)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 December 2013

My wife and I purchased a deal through Living Social for $159 for a one-night stay that included a $50 spa credit and a $25 dining credit. In itself, that is an excellent value.

The inn is only about 75 minutes outside of downtown DC (we live on Capitol Hill). The property is beautiful and very well maintained. The room itself was fine, spacious and well decorated with an en-suite bathroom.

Shortly after I booked, I received a call asking about my dining preferences, food allergies, etc. I do not have any allergies to food, but when I mentioned off-handedly that I didn't care for duck or beets, that was meticulously recorded. When we arrived, the manager told us that the night's menu featured duck, but that the kitchen was preparing swordfish for me. That is, the inn takes those preferences extremely seriously. We had dinner and breakfast at the inn. The food was superb, as good as anything you would find in an upscale restaurant in DC. I overheard two other couples request last-minute substitutions (including one from a woman who acknowledged that her preferences had been solicited over the phone and that she didn't take the question seriously); their requests were accommodated.

That attention to customer service is the hallmark of this establishment. A member of the staff took us on a tour of the inn and offered to build a bonfire when the sun set (it was too cold to sit outside, even in front of a bonfire). When we checked in, my wife was given a complimentary cocktail. We sat in a small room for a while before the room was ready, and we regularly asked if we wanted water or coffee or tea. I watched a football game in the main living room, and I was served two bowls of curried nuts while my water was routinely refreshed. I was regularly asked if I needed or wanted anything. At one point, in fact, one member of the staff admonished another not to walk in front of me because I was watching television. Any request we had at the meals was quickly accommodated. In short, I'm not sure I've ever had better customer service and I am fairly well traveled.

We had four spa services: a massage, a body scrub, a pedicure and a facial. The first two were good but not great, but the pedicure and facial were terrific.

In sum, we had a very pleasant experience and we highly recommend it.

Room Tip: The main house doesn't accommodate pets, but there are four rooms on the property that do.
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Todd P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hillbrook, Owner at Hillbrook Inn, responded to this review, 12 December 2013
Todd,
I cannot thank you enough for writing such a raving review. You saying "I'm not sure I've ever had better customer service" is such a wonderful compliment. From accommodating dietary needs to making guests comfortable in our common areas, serving our guests and ensuring they have a memorable experience is extremely important to us. In fact, it's something our entire staff strives for on a daily basis. Thank you again for sharing your experience! We hope you can visit us again very soon.

Sincerely,
Carissa Zanella
Owner/Innkeeper
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Virginia, United States
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 December 2013

I surprised my boyfriend with a 2 night stay in the Point room for his birthday. Not only was the staff welcoming upon first arrival but they were very attentive to every need and accommodation. We enjoyed a bubbly cocktail as we were checked in and then were off to explore the ground. This place is BEAUTIFUL! its tucked away down a long gravel road so there is no traffic near by (not as if there is much in Charles Town). Also, location wise--great distance from 'down-town' Charles Town. The room itself might be small for some people but we thought if fit just right. I really appreciated the unique and personal touches that the owners put into decorating. But I must inform you of the best part about this place....THE FOOD. Breakfast is included and this does not mean they skimp...its 2 courses and absolutely delicious. As for dinner...oh my oh my!! 2 options (3 course and 5 course) if you have the money then I'd say go for the 5!!but the 3 is great too. There are no menu options but the cook will take suggestions on what not to cook/what you don't like.

Loved this place and can't wait to go back.

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 3 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 Mikala S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hillbrook, Owner at Hillbrook Inn, responded to this review, 5 December 2013
Mikala,
Thank you for writing such a wonderful review. It is a joy to receive such great feedback from a valued guest. We really appreciate it! I am also glad you noticed the personal touches that make Hillbrook feel like "home." We look forward to your next visit!

Sincerely,
Carissa Zanella
Owner/Innkeeper
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 November 2013

We did a two night stay at the Hillbrook Inn. The grounds are beautiful as are the accommodations. We stayed at the Farmhouse which is located approximately 2 miles from the main lodge. We stayed at the Sunset room which I highly recommend. The room was beautiful, comfortable and clean. The bathroom was very luxurious. The Farmhouse is isolated with apple orchards on one side and fields on the other. If you're looking for peace and quiet this is the place to stay. You have access to a full kitchen, dining room, front porch and a deck on the back. Breakfast was included in our stay. You don't know what the meal will be until they actually serve it to you. The food was very good. We didn't have dinner there and that would be my one and only criticism. You don't know what you're getting until you have it served to you. Unfortunately, my wife and I are picky eaters so I want to know what I'm getting before i make a commitment
to have dinner. The staff was very attentive and friendly. I would definitely stay there again.

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 4 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 2inlove718
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hillbrook, Owner at Hillbrook Inn, responded to this review, 29 November 2013
Thank you for your review! I'm so glad to hear that you enjoyed staying at the Farmhouse. I also appreciate you sharing your feedback about the dining experience. Our talented culinary team prepares daily prix fixe menus designed to please even the most discerning pallets. However, we are more than willing to accommodate our guests’ dietary needs upon request. Hopefully you can stay with us again and try our three or five-course dinner next time!

Sincerely,
Carissa Zanella
Owner/Innkeeper
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
153 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 November 2013

Just enjoyed a two night pampered experience at the Farmhouse with two girlfriends. We all had our own suite and hope to return with friends next spring. The staff are attentive to every need -whether dietary or just plain comfort. The welcome received from Bobby at check in was very nice. Upon check in, your services during the stay are reviewed along with an automatic gratuity added for spa services; dinner ( we had the 3 course $45 dinner) along with tax/gratuity for dinner/breakfast. Nice that no unexpected charges at check out. At check in, staff review your dietary needs for both breakfast and dinner. The breakfasts both mornings were a delightful surprise -poached pear and eggs benedict with fresh fruit/juices and yogurt with raspberries/slivered almonds and veggie frittata with crisp bacon or sausage. Dinner is equally a surprise and only posted around 3 p.m. Chef Justin's dinner on Sunday was unbelievable. Potatoe/leek soup; grilled rockfish over polenta with beet glaze and sautéed brussel sprouts. All just delightfully presented and dessert -wow.......Freshly baked cookies available at Inn and in our Farmhouse. Rooms were spacious and beautifully decorated. Nice linens and Krueg machines in every room along with courtesy in room iPad. Like many, our visit was a result of a living social purchase which included a credit for dinner and spa service. While our stay was awesome, it was a bit pricey for a girls getaway. Would definitely return if there are future packages etc for returning guests.

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 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 mariePennsylvania
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hillbrook, Owner at Hillbrook Inn, responded to this review, 22 November 2013
A girl’s getaway at Hillbrook is the perfect way to enjoy our well-appointed Farmhouse! I’m glad you appreciated the freshly bakes cookies, gourmet breakfasts, nice linens, and special room amenities that we provide to our guests. You may want to take advantage of our upcoming Black Friday promotion or Living Social getaway offer to book a return stay. We enjoyed having you and hope you and your girlfriends can visit again sometime!

Sincerely,
Carissa Zanella
Owner/Innkeeper
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Alexandria, Virginia
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 November 2013

Over the past weekend we enjoyed a romantic stay at the Hillbrook Inn. The inn and grounds are gorgeous, and service is fairly attentive. One of the best parts of our stay was the courtesy in-room iPad. Through a living social deal, we opted to stay in the Snuggery. The room was cute, clean, and cozy. While the room does have a roman soaking tub, it is not ideal for two people as it's deep but not very long. We felt that the food and amenities were overpriced (which isn't unusual at certain fancy inns, but not what we as customer's are looking for). You are encouraged to make reservations for a 3- or 5-course dinner. At $45/person, this came to more than $100 with gratuity even with a $25 dining credit applied. You don't find out the menu (1 option) until the evening of. This can be fun & exciting for high rollers, but that is simply not us. It was far more than we usually spend on dinner. But for many, this could be suitable and it could be enjoyable to feel lavished and as if you don't need to leave the property. We just may be too young and too budget conscious to enjoy such amenities properly.

Overall, we truly enjoyed the service, walking the grounds and the room. I think most who seek out this inn won't be disappointed. The history was wonderful & everyone was kind.

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 2 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
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Kirsten O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hillbrook, Owner at Hillbrook Inn, responded to this review, 19 November 2013
Kirsten,
I appreciate you sharing your honest feedback. I am glad to hear that you enjoyed your room and the property, as well as the service we provide to our guests. By offering deals through Living Social, our goal is to make it affordable for more guests to enjoy the “Hillbrook experience,” which includes our exceptional fine dining restaurant. Thank you for staying with us and sharing your thoughts!

Sincerely,
Carissa Zanella
Owner/Innkeeper
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Maryland
Level Contributor
138 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 November 2013

The Winter Cottage was our home away from home for three nights during our "mini-moon" -- a short trip to get away close to home after our wedding. The cottage itself was cozy, inviting and well-appointed with a king-size bed, working fireplace (so nice!), iPad for personal use, television and very nice bathroom. (Just a note about the cottages: the four actually share walls, though with separate entrances and private porches. Even with other guests staying around us, we never heard anyone else; it was private and secluded.)

The seasonal cottages are a short walk from the main house, where breakfast and dinner are served. We made a dinner reservation for our first night at Hillbrook and really enjoyed our meal. Even in a very formal dining room, it didn't feel "stuffy." I actually felt very comfortable and really enjoyed our wanderings through the main house! Breakfasts were all very delicious and different each day, my favorites being the cinnamon baked apple and delicious spinach pastry pinwheel.

I would advise that the shower in the Winter Cottage has a very narrow opening; some guests may find it too small to enter. The spa tub worked well and was very relaxing. The housekeeping staff was very kind and on top of things -- new linens and extras were supplied each afternoon after we left for the day. Andy and Marcy were friendly and attentive to our needs, and seemed genuinely interested in ensuring our stay was pleasant.

We used our stay at Hillbrook as a springboard to visit Charles Town (where we had a great meal at the Mediterranean Cafe and enjoyed wandering into the shops) and Harpers Ferry, which was quiet in November -- but still worth a visit! The Hillbrook Inn was centrally located for our day trips and provided a very relaxing place to unwind at the end of the day. We enjoyed our time here and would return!

Room Tip: The seasonal cottages are a short walk from the main house, and the Winter Cottage seems to boast th...
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  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank MarylandCupcakelover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hillbrook, Owner at Hillbrook Inn, responded to this review, 22 November 2013
I am so glad you were able to enjoy your “mini-moon” with us. After a busy wedding weekend, I’m sure you were ready for a respite at Hillbrook! It’s great that you were able to explore the area a bit and get to know our caring staff. Congratulations, and we hope to see you again soon!

Sincerely,
Carissa Zanella
Owner/Innkeeper
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hillbrook Inn

Property: Hillbrook Inn
Address: 4490 Summit Point Road, Charles Town, WV 25414
Phone Number:
Region: United States > West Virginia > Charles Town
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Spa Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 6 B&Bs / Inns in Charles Town
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3 star — Hillbrook Inn 3*
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Discover an unforgettable West Virginia Inn and Restaurant in lovely Charles Town. Our fantastic Select Registry property is an historic country estate with beautiful gardens on 17 wooded acres. Relax in a romantic suite with comfy beds, whirlpool tubs & fireplaces. Experience the gracious service and award winning dining at our secluded inn that makes us stand apart from any property in Harper's Ferry. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hillbrook Hotel Charles Town

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