I stayed at Spencer on Main on a weekend when Caroline was in California. That left my wife and I as the only guests and Etienne as our very gracious host. The house itself is lovely - as described below - but what truly made our stay memorable was Etienne's hospitality. As soon as we arrived and got acquainted, he made an effort to understand what we wanted out of the weekend, and worked with us to make everything go perfectly - from giving us directions, to recommending spas and shopping venues, and making dinner reservations for at two wonderful restaurants - one of which was very last minute.
Evidence of Etienne's attentiveness was everywhere. We arrived in the evenings to find a bottle of wine left out for us with a handwritten note. In the course of conversation, he found out that I loved Belgian dark chocolate and he left Guylian squares on the pillows. He printed menus for the restaurant we were going to and left them in our room. When my wife left a sock behind, he even washed it and mailed it to us!
As for the Bed and Breakfast experience - here are the details:
There are three guest rooms at Spencer on Main. Each of them has a different feel, and each of them has a library room stocked with hundreds of books which - being the only guests in the house - we got to browse. We stayed in the king suite, and found it very comfortable. The bathroom is spacious with a large pedestal sink, dressing table, towel warmer, and standing shower. The bed is a canopy with a luxurious soft mattress and down comforter. Both the bedroom and the library had fireplaces filled with candles. (If it were my own private place, I would have a fire roaring in them all the time - but if I were a B&B owner, I would have to concede a preference to keeping my beautiful house from turning into a pile of ashes.)
The rest of the house includes the owner's quarters, two sitting rooms (one with a grand player piano), a dining room (where I assume breakfasts are served when the other rooms are filled), the kitchen, and a living room with a working fireplace aside the kitchen (which is where we ate breakfast, since we were the only guests).
Ah, breakfast. Where to start? When we arrived, one of the first things Etienne tried to get a feel for was what we liked for breakfast, which is no easy task since my wife and I have very different morning routines. We found ourselves in front of some very good eggs benedict, along with an assortment of breads and rolls, fruit, cheese, coffee, and orange juice. The next day we had Belgian waffles with strawberries and fresh whipped cream, and discovered the joy of nutella spread liberally on a Croissant. (Yes, Etienne, our children are now hooked.)
It was a perfect weekend - due in no small part to our host. I'm sure we will be visiting again, and I hope we'll have the opportunity to meet Caroline - who we've heard so much about - and spend time enjoying their company.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- An 1870 Second Empire house with two suites and one bedroom, all with private bathroom. Open in September 04 after one year of renovations. Each guestroom decorated with period antiques but offering modern amenities such as cable TV, DVD/VCR, stereo system, WIFI, and central A/C. Eight acres of land, swimming pool. Full breakfasts blend Belgian and American traditional recipes. Free pickup is provided to and from Bradley Airport and Amtrak station. ... more less