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“Wonderful!”
Review of Ballard Inn

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Ballard Inn
Ranked #1 of 1 Ballard B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 21, 2012

Very nice getaway! Lovely rooms, GREAT breakfast in the morning, fabulous staff! Happy hour every day with wine and appetizers...cookies at night...what more could you ask for! A bit pricey, but you won't be disappointed!

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank Fay T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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111 - 117 of 178 reviews

Reviewed July 6, 2012

You might think you're getting a better room if you reserve the little cottages apart and across from the hotel, but you're not. The noise from the kitchen is even worse, as it's directly across. You can't have your windows open, and even when they're closed it sounds as though you're in the kitchen with the cooks. This is a major problem with this site. The restaurant itself is a delightful dining experience, but many of the rooms at this hotel suffer from the noise issue. I'm not sure about all of the rooms, but we stayed in the Wildflower Room and paid a higher price than the standard rooms. The ones at the end furthest away from the kitchen may actually be a better deal. Could not recommend as I don't know that the hotel would be honest with you when you're booking a room whether you're going to encounter a problem with kitchen noise or not in your particular room. They also made an unannounced turn down in our room, and I didn't like that. Had my jewelry box out, and everything was fine, but they could warn you with a sign of the turn down time.

Room Tip: Ask for something that will not be afflicted with kitchen noise. But whether they will be honest ab...
  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Happywanderer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 1, 2012

This is my second visit here, and it was just as charming as the first time. The rooms have been updated with a countrified feel to them. Some have fireplaces and balconies. No bad rooms judging from what I saw. The staff is friendly and low key. Lovely lounge with a fireplace where the free Happy Hour takes place. Great wines and scrumptious finger foods. There isn't anything in the town, but Los Olivos is close with some good restaurants like the Los Olivos Cafe and the Panini restaurant and quaint boutiques as well as wine tasting establishments. A lot of vineyards are close by also. Beautiful flowers in the garden and a large communal porch with comfortable chairs to sit on, and to have a meal on outside the restaurant. We had booked the restaurant, but the choices were minimal and a bit pricey, so we went to Los Olivos instead. Overall, this is a super nice place to stay, and I'll be back.

Room Tip: No bad rooms. All individually and uniquely and comfortably furnished.
  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank HppyWanderer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 13, 2012

My honey and I were anxiously anticipating our mini getaway from the city to celebrate our anniversary in wine country at Ballard Inn after reading the rave reviews here on TripAdvisor. We were most looking forward to enjoying a romantic dinner at the restaurant after receiving several recommendations from friends to try Chef Budi's culinary masterpieces. Unfortunately, we were unpleasantly surprised by the poor customer service from nearly the very beginning of our stay until the very end. First we were unable to eat at the restaurant because they said that they had booked the entire dining room for a private party. We noticed open tables on the veranda, however, they claimed those were unavailable as well. We had friends staying at a nearby B & B that also ran into this problem, however, their inn demonstrated excellent customer service and problem solving skills and offered to prepare their meals and have them delivered to their room; no such compromise at Ballard Inn. Secondly, the room they placed us in was directly above the dining room and lobby and we heard every single conversation, laugh, cough and giggle that was being made by the robust group of older gentleman that comprised of the private party. The santa clause like laughter, "ho ho hooooo," echoed into our room well into sleeping hours until finally I had to go down to the lobby (no telephone in room to call down to front desk and no cell phone service at the inn) and ask how much longer the party was going to be carrying on as we were trying to relax and would like to sleep. The noise finally quieted down some time after 10:30 pm, however, at this point we were so frustrated and had been tossing and turning that we could not get to bed and could still here the managers, service staff and kitchen calling out to one another as they cleaned up and it made for a very unenjoyable evening in what we thought would a romantic, peaceful setting. We missed the afternoon wine and hors d'oeuvres hour by a few minutes as we arrived after work from Santa Barbara, no offer to give us a welcome glass of wine or anything in lieu. And yes, I am aware that that is not an expectation or necessity, however, it would have demonstrated good customer service and pose no serious inconvenience to the staff I am sure. The next morning we were eager to put the awful night before behind us and enjoy breakfast in the restaurant that we still had next to try. At first all of the tables outside were taken so we sat down at a table inside. Within about one of minute of sitting a table outside opened up so we asked if we could take that table instead because it was so beautiful outside and the garden like landscaping created the perfect ambiance to enjoy a morning meal. Our waitress responded less than thrilled but said that was fine, so we headed out to the table. This is where things get very strange. She had not cleared the table before us yet and had us sit there amongst the prior guests half eaten food, coffee, jam, etc. After about 5 minutes of patiently waiting, we moved their dirty dishes to the table that had just left next to us so that we could at least have surface room to place our coffee. Then she brought our water and silver wear and placed it on our dirty table in front of us. It was riddled with bread crumbs, sticky jam, butter and drippings of coffee all over the table cloth but she kept on going about serving us without ever offering or initiating to replace the table cloth with a fresh one as every other guest was receiving. Finally, I reminded myself of waiting table days of youth and thought, I am not above changing my own table cloth, so I got up, went to the front desk and asked someone there if they had a clean table cloth in the back that I could use for our table as it had never been replaced between guests. Our waitress then brought us the table cloth and my honey and I got to work, removing our coffee, tea, water, sugar containers and silver ware (placing these items skillfully on our laps, on the banister and ground around us) and placed the clean cloth down and replaced all of the aforementioned items back on table. We did this just in the knick of time too because our waitress brought out our food moments later. Like I said, I'm not above bussing other people's food, cleaning and setting my own table, however, when I am on vacation at what is supposed to be a 5 star bed and breakfast I just don't think that I should have to. In our experience, this was the straw that broke the camels back and really ruined our stay at Ballard Inn. We had emailed management ahead of time to let them know that we were celebrating our anniversary, forget little touches like a card in the room, not at Ballard Inn. We did not even receive a reply to that email. We did however receive two post cards after our stay, thanking us for our stay and looking forward to our return. No thank you, not until some serious changes are made in guest relations. I would have appreciated being notified at time of booking that there was a private party that weekend and that the restaurant would be closed to guests so that we could make other arrangements or book an alternative weekend. Based solely on our stay I give Ballard Inn two stars. 1 - star because at least our room was clean and another star for turn down service (the romantic compilation CD was a nice touch though it was unable to drown out the noise underneath us and the cookies were delicious). We've travel as a couple all over the world together and stayed in copious amounts establishments, unfortunately for us, this was our absolute worst stay of them all in terms of customer service, comfort and relaxation and we are very disappointed. I do not suspect that this is the norm for Ballard Inn, based on the reviews of other guests. I suppose this was an isolated incident, however, it does not excuse the fact that we received subpar treatment. We sincerely hope that no other guests in the future have an experience as poor as ours. - Brent & Danah

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled as a couple
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14  Thank Danah W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 23, 2012

Treat yourself to a visit to the Ballard Inn. It's everything you hope an inn would be -- beautiful, charming, clean, excellent service and one of the best restaurants in the entire area. Speaking of the area, the Santa Ynez Valley is breathtakingly gorgeous. The town of Ballard has only 500 people but it is not far to the Danish village of Solvang, the old west town of Santa Ynez and the village of Los Olivos featured in the movie Sideways. Aside from breakfast, the Inn offers a complimentary wine and hors d'ouerves hour in the late afternoon, lovely way to meet other guests. No elevator so be sure to request first floor if walking is a problem. No gym or pool

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Highroads
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 5, 2012

This is a beautiful inn and very peaceful. Each room is individually decorated: we especially liked the gas fireplace in the room, as it's quite romantic but also easy to use. The beds are comfortable and the soaps smell wonderful. A delicious cooked-to-order breakfast is included and it's only open to guests of the hotel. Plan on having dinner there, too, as it's magnificent, a really tremendous meal.

However, plan on spending an additional $50 or so on taxes and the 10% service charge. They do tell you about the charge on their site, but it's a surprise when a $275 room, turns into more than $330. Santa Barbara County has a 10% tax, there's a local $2 tax, and then the 10% service charge to give gratuities to the staff. I think those gratuities should be included.

Also, there's not really anything to do in Ballard. You'll want to drive into nearby Solvang for shopping and restaurants.

Remember to check their website for specials, as you can usually get golf included or some other deal.

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank DCKathy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 29, 2012

Just spent 3 nights in the Vineyard Suite at the Ballard Inn and had a wonderful time. We didn't really know what to expect as Ballard is the tinest town that doesn't appear on all maps. It's actually in the perfect location for wine tasting in 3 main regions of the Santa Ynez area...less than 10 minutes drive to Solvang, or Los Olivos or Santa Ynez. There must be over 60 wineries within a 30 minute drive from Ballard so the biggest challenge is which ones to visit! Inb Los Olivos, you can walk two blocks of the Grand Avenue with a dozen+ tasting rooms side by side -- a very efficient way if you're pressed for time or don't want to drive, although without the fun of visiting actual wineries.

The Vineyard Suite is very charming with furniture that looks as if it were made from grape vines....much more comfortable than that sounds. The room has a king bed and small glass dining table with 2 chairs in a nice size room. Interestingly, the basin is in an "antique" vanity in the main room, outside of the shower and toilet room. It works.

I peeked in a couple of the other rooms and they're all decorated quite uniquely, but all very nice. Some of the suites had a fireplace, but no dining table. Note that all the sleeping rooms are on the second floor...and there is no elevator. There are also no tv's in the rooms -- a smallish set is hidden in an armoire in the public sitting area.

The included breakfasts are a step above a normal b&b, with 4-5 selections on the menu. It's basically a small restaurant with fruit, juices, cereals and muffins set out. Each guest then orders a hot dish. There were two special breakfasts offered each morning.

There's nightly turn-down service with freshly-baked cookies left on the pillows. At 4:30 - 5:30 daily, there's complimentary wine and finger-food in the living room where it's fun to meet the other guests in the inn.

We had dinner in the dining room one evening and were impressed with the cuisine. The chef is originaly from Indonesia but he's had a lot of West Coast experience which results in an interesting menu with an international flavor. It's one of the top local restaurants and non-hotel guests drop by just for dinner; you definitely need a reservation. The restaurant is closed on Monday and Tuesday, which sent us out searching for other outlets. There is a great selection of excellent restaurants nearby -- our favorites being Don Carlitos and Trattorio Grappolo.

I'd have no reservations recommending the Ballard Inn for couples. It generally seems to host an older clientele and would definitely not be appropriate for families with children.

Room Tip: The rooms facing Baseline Street have a little traffic noise in the morning but Ballard is such a sm...
  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank HoffersHawaii
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ballard Inn

Address: 2436 Baseline Ave, Ballard, CA 93463-9711
Location: United States > California > Ballard
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 B&Bs / Inns in Ballard
Price Range: $263 - $447 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Ballard Inn 4*
Number of rooms: 15
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
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