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“First Timers Experience Strangely Familiar Sensation: Tranquility” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Inn at Vaucluse Spring

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The Inn at Vaucluse Spring
231 Vaucluse Spring Lane, Stephens City, VA 22655   |  
Hotel amenities
Springfield, Virginia, United States
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“First Timers Experience Strangely Familiar Sensation: Tranquility”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2013

We recently spent a weekend at the Inn to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. As first-timers, we had few expectations, leaving our three teenagers in charge at home (another first) and aiming for the Shenandoah Valley. Upon arrival, Neil greeted us in a low key, yet familiar way that made us feel as if we were long-time guests. Neil informed us that dinner was at 7:00, but that it was a tradition for guests to have a bit of social time just before at 6:30. Neither of us were really in the mood for that, and it was of course optional, but we overcame our need to hibernate and showed up to enjoy some excellent mulled wine and chat with fellow guests.

The first three couples we met had been to the Inn several times over the past decade or more. One couple from the Philadelphia area drove 4 hours to come to the Inn. I asked them why they came here when there were certainly nice places much closer to where they live. He looked at me earnestly and said" "I can't seem to relax anywhere else like I can here." Another couple had brought with them old friends, to introduce them to the Inn at Vaclause Spring.

I thought to myself: "You can't buy this kind of advertising." What is going on here? A secret society? Funny hats after hours? Code signs?

Barry then appeared and proposed a series of toasts. Our group gathered around, while Barry welcomed old guests and new, and made a series of brief eloquent toasts, honoring the season, our country and those who serve in its defense. Barry was straight out of a Currier and Ives print that might = be called - "The Inn Keeper." l looked at the circle of faces, at Barry, all with glasses raised high, and a genuine warmth, a community of guests in place and time grounded the moment.

Neil had informed us when we made our reservation by phone that she would be cooking the night we were there because Adam, the regular chef was off. She said the theme would be "comfort food," and mentioned a beef stew with corn bread. After enjoying Neil's creation, I can only say this was not comfort food. Cracker Barrel is comfort food. Neil's offering was high cuisine, delightful, comforting yes, but very nuanced. She is a gifted, sophisticated chef.

We had hoped for the log cabin but this was booked. We ended up in the Gallery, and found it very comfortable. A fireplace upstairs, a fireplace downstairs. No TV - a Godsend to the video addicted. Quiet. A roaring fire, wind in the eves, mid-winter ink out the evening window. Yes, tranquil.

We will be back.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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549 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (85)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Warrenton, Virginia
Top Contributor
74 reviews 74 reviews
35 hotel reviews
Reviews in 46 cities Reviews in 46 cities
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2013

I do not know where to start. When we arrived at The Inn at Vaucluse Spring, we were greeted, first by Neil and then a few minutes later by Barry. They have owned the Inn for many years and from our experience, they always greet their guests with a warm welcome and a sense that you are special guests. We have stayed there for a number of years and I must say that a few of the reviews I have read below, do not do justice for the warmth, service and excellent food they provide. I cannot believe that any one would not find Barry charming and sincere; I can believe that if you are over demanding, or park wrong, then, you might want to find a hotel and not a charming Inn in this area. I have read about the "stink bugs" and the problem one guest encountered. I have to reply that they have "invaded" the northern and western part of Virginia and you can try and trap those in or around the rooms you are in (which we have been doing in our home.....but, they find a way to come in anyway. It has nothing to do with the innkeeper or the house-keeping. It has to do with an invasive species that can get in to a house very easily. We are still picking up "stink bugs" in our house and it is the 10th of January). When you are considering a B&B or an Inn in the area of Winchester, Stephens City, Middletown or any where near Front Royal, you should consider The Inn at Vaucluse Spring as a special place. If you want a nice motel, there are plenty in Winchester or Front Royal. However if you want to spend a night or two in a super place (especially around New Year's Eve) you might want to consider The Inn at Vaucluse Spring. I did forget to mention the chef at Vaucluse.........Adam. We did spend New Year's Eve night there and had a very nice dinner...but New Year's Eve was a special event with a 6 course dinner; and my wife and I agree that the beef tenderloin was about the best we have had. It was a small but nicely done piece of beef (we are not big eaters so this was fine for us) and with the other courses, was just right.

We stayed in The Thornton Room in The Winter Kitchen and it was a very nice, comfortable room (there were two other couples staying in The Barton Room and The Marshall Room so we had the "run" of the common room outside of the three rooms, and could sit in that area and turn on the hugh fireplace and enjoy each other's company).

In a nut shell, no place is perfect, and some people will find something wrong with anywhere they stay.......but I would recommend this place as a great to stay, eat and meet the owners!

Room Tip: It depends on if you are a couple traveling and want privacy, then you may want to stay ......oh, yo...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2013

My wife and I first went to the Inn in 1996 when we were working in Washington D.C. and saw an article in the Washingtonian Magazine about "get aways". We went and loved it. We went at least once a year 'til 2000 when we move to the west coast. On trips back east to visit family, we have taken a couple of side trips to visit our old friends, Neil and Barry. Our son proposed to his wife there and was married there, too! Getting the drift. This is just the most beautiful, relaxing, and comfortable place to spend time. The hosts are wonderful and there are so many choices of accommodations that will suit all tastes. Thanks Barry and Neil!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VaucluseSpring, Owner at The Inn at Vaucluse Spring, responded to this review, January 10, 2013
Thanks so much. We have some wonderful memories with you and your family as well. It was great to see you again! Glad you could work us in to your East Coast trip.
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NC
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2012

After innumerable trips, you might think a place might get old. Instead, the Inn gets better with time. Barry and Neil always make you feel like you have returned home. Words are really inadequate to express a stay here, you must experience it. The view, the ambiance, the world class meals, there is no better value for the dollar. We will go back, likely again and again.

Room Tip: Any room, but the Jones is great.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oakland, California
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2012

While visiting our daughter in Washington DC, my husband and I wanted to explore the countryside with her. The 3 of us stayed at The Inn at Vaucluse Spring, booking the Gallery cottage for two nights, and enjoyed every moment. Neil and Barry, the proprietors, were charming, going out of their way to make us feel welcome. At their recommendation, we visited the Valerie Hill Winery, a short drive on the gravel roads surrounding the Inn, and our California wine snob palates were pleasantly surprised by quality of the wine, which we sipped while listening to wonderful live music in the back garden of the winery. The Chef's Dinner Saturday night was delightful, from the signature "Fall in a Glass" cocktail shared with other guests in the parlor to the 6 courses of the superb, locally sourced meal paired with wine. We stumbled down the hill to our two level cottage, where we took full advantage of both the wood-burning and gas fireplaces. The rural setting is perfect for exploring Shenandoah National Park, the Appalachian Trail and the many local apple orchard farmstands. It was well worth our frantic drive back to the District just in time to escape the wrath of Sandy!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MA
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
88 helpful votes 88 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 30, 2012

We stayed for one night in October; perfect place for a respite from a crazy summer. I was a little concerned when we drove past the 'old car junkyard' and the power lines, but don't let them scare you away. The inn and grounds are beautiful and serene All you see and hear are nature and grazing cattle. We stayed in the Jones Room; all of the rooms looked perfect. The place is tastefully decorated, the furniture is comfortable, and the bed divine! The private chef's dinner was delicous (many thanks to Adam, especially for the wine!), as was the breakfast. We loved being able to dine in the inn and then walk upstairs after dinner - no driving in the dark. Neil made us feel very much at home as she welcomed us. Everything about this inn is perfect! I was thrilled that I chose this inn, rather than one of the many others that are located on the main street of their small towns in the surrounding area. Perfect ambience!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VaucluseSpring, Owner at The Inn at Vaucluse Spring, responded to this review, November 2, 2012
Thank you, and thank you for posting the photos! We love seeing the Inn through our guests' eyes (and camera lenses). It's always another perspective we haven't thought of before.
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Alexandria, Virginia
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2012

We recently stayed at the Inn at Vaucluse Spring for a last getaway before the birth of our first child looking for a relaxing, friendly experience. It started out that way. Neil, one of the owners was perfectly lovely. She was very welcoming, informative, and friendly. She made us feel at home. Our room was terrific--clean, cozy, and traditionally decorated without being stuffy. We had had three experiences that made the stay however end on a poor and perplexing note. The elegant, six course dinner Saturday night was run well but the food was mediocre as was the simple breakfast the following morning. They did not do a good job accommodating vegetarian or pregnant needs. The vegetarian replacements were poorly prepared and repetitive (and completely non-existent for the breakfast, the sausages were not replaced with anything) and the meat for the pregnant requirements was medium rare Saturday night despite us being told it had been cooked well. At the time these were minor concerns because the overall experience thus far was great. The other owner, Barry, was what really made the overall experience unpleasant. For reasons we are still unaware of (we never mentioned the food issues) he was initially friendly and then became publicly cold and unfriendly towards us from Saturday evening onwards including publicly bypassing us in the small room where they seated four other couples. Then, as we were checking out he was outright cold, snappish, and dismissive. We were also charged for an extra glass of wine we did not drink. No idea why we were singled out or treated this way. Wish we had said something at the time. His rude behavior coupled with the mediocre (and expensive) meals made our stay with Vaucluse far less than it could have been. Given the expense of this Inn, we would recommend not taking the chance and choosing a different B&B in the area.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VaucluseSpring, Owner at The Inn at Vaucluse Spring, responded to this review, November 2, 2012
We are so sorry that these guests had such a disappointing end to their visit. A last getaway before the birth of a child is an important time for a couple and we very much want it to be a perfect experience.

It is difficult to respond to a perception of our food as “mediocre” without knowing the basis. We believe our Saturday dinner menu is anything but mediocre. For example, the risotto starts with Arborio rice toasted in hazelnut oil for a nice fall flavor and is prepared with a 3-year aged cheddar in two forms: creamy stirred in as well as a finish of cheddar crisps sprinkled on top for a crispy counterpoint. The risotto is served with cider-infused local apple and toasted pumpkin seeds. We consider a flawlessly prepared risotto with these inventive seasonal touches hardly mediocre. As we prepare the dish here, it is completely vegetarian, so there was no variation required to accommodate a vegetarian diet.

Similarly, the fish course of Faroe Island salmon smoked tableside is a lovely presentation designed to impart a subtle applewood smokiness without the harshness on the palate that can result from charring. The brightness of the carrot purée (from carrots cooked in carrot juice) cuts through the richness of the salmon. The crispy shiitakes are sliced paper thin, dusted with potato starch and flash fried to create a crispy and earthy element that is not overly dominant. The vegetarian substitution of tofu crisped in butter and presented smoked in the same manner as the salmon continued the same progression for the vegetarian diner, lending a texture similar to that of the fish.

The Tempeh, the vegetarian substitution for the duck, was chosen as the anchor for the meal based on its dense protein, fiber richness, and contrast in texture from the preceding course’s tofu, so hardly seems repetitive. The duck breast we fully believed to be well done in that it had been specially prepared, but we would certainly have been happy to cook it further and replate completely if we had known at the time that the diner considered it not to be cooked to her wishes.

Regarding the omission of meat from the vegetarian entrée on Sunday morning, we could have used a soy sausage, but have found these “fake-meat” products to be unacceptable substitutes, so are at a bit of a loss as to how to handle this to the guest’s satisfaction. We do take these comments seriously and have contacted the guests directly to initiate a dialog about how we could have better met their needs and expectations regarding dietary issues (as well as to refund the overcharge for the glass of wine).

Regarding the “cold and unfriendly” treatment by the innkeeper on Saturday night, we truly regret this situation. We walk a fine line between engaging our guests and yet giving them enough space to engage personally and privately with each other. A lack of response from a guest can generally indicate that they prefer to be left alone together. Our job as innkeepers is to be able to “read” these reactions and respond appropriately. In this instance we clearly failed, and for that we offer our sincerest apologies.
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Additional Information about The Inn at Vaucluse Spring

Address: 231 Vaucluse Spring Lane, Stephens City, VA 22655
Location: United States > Virginia > Stephens City
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 B&Bs / Inns in Stephens City
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A charming and secluded B&B in the Virginia countryside. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
The Inn At Vaucluse Spring Hotel Stephens City

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