It was time for another Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club (VJMC) show, this time in the charming town of Solvang, which everyone knows is famous for its Danish decor and numerous excellent bakeries (I recommend Mortensen's next door to this hotel). It was a three night stay this round, and since it was on a weekend the room rates are jacked up $100 a night (to $250) on Fridays and Saturdays. We arrived on Thursday late, our confirmed room which had been booked on Expedia (Room 339) was waiting for us (although for some unknown reason the air conditioning had been set on "freezing" and the place was cold as an igloo in Alaska when we walked in out of the much warmer interior hallway.
No problem, we turned the heater on and the nice size room with the extra wide King bed became homier in a short time. There are a couple of odd things that have been mentioned by others on TA, the regular old fashioned (and obviously less secure) metal room keys instead of the electronic scanner cards for room entry that are almost universal in the hotel industry due to security and liability concerns, and then the 19 inch tube type televisions in the cabinet that would easily accommodate a modern flat screen of 26" or 32" size. At least they did have satellite television and access to the Speed Channel, although not Velocity. When you're charging $250 a night for most of the rooms in a 40 room establishment ($10,000 a weekend night gross revenue if fully booked) the lack of easily and cheaply available LCD flat screens and proper security key locks become glaring shortcomings to modern travelers. How does this place maintain its AAA Four Star rating? It's superb staff and the charms of the town. But the nice family that runs this place ought to replace those awful CRT screen TV's. Please.
After being there four days and considering the situation, it's kind of obvious why the door locks aren't updated as a practical matter: this town is about as safe as Mayberry and the Andy Griffith era of living. It's all about tourists, and the locals know it. There's minimal police presence (because not many really bad things seem to happen here) and the friendly police that are here are plainly here to protect you, rather than fleece you like rabid revenue agents writing tickets for every possible transgression like they do in some tourist towns.
The beds are very comfortable, the only problem we experienced was a lot of traffic noise from the Mission Avenue cars and trucks which run late into the night. You should request a room that does not have windows overlooking Mission (the main drag) if you are used to sleeping in a very quiet place. There's Solvang Brew Pub across the street, and their bar has live music and a young noisy crowd. Although we did have a good meal there, even though the service was poor. (I'll review that in another post.)
Parking can be somewhat of a problem, particularly if you drive a large pick up truck or are towing any kind of trailer like we were. There's no place to park a trailer on the Inn property, but there is a well lit city owned parking lot on the west side of the Inn which is free. You can even park there all night, even though you're not supposed to, as long as you don't try to sleep there in your vehicle. You will likely be rousted by your local gendarme if you try that, according to the locals. We even unhitched our trailer and left it there for two days, without any problems, with the truck parked behind it to prevent access to the back doors of the trailer. It was a small thing, but important to us, and we appreciated not being hassled about it while we stayed there in town and spent our money.
Over all, the Petersen Inn is a fine establishment. The complimentary breakfast is not large, but the quality of the cereals, the fresh orange juice, coffee, and most of the all wonderful pastries from Mortensen's Bakery made each day start happily. We did not eat at the in-house restaurant because it is fairly expensive. I would be happy to stay here again.
Don't get a room with windows on Mission if you need a quiet place to sleep. Much traffic noise...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.