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“Very surprised - not in a good way”

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Gaige House, A Four Sisters Inn
Ranked #1 of 3 Glen Ellen B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Salem, MA
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Very surprised - not in a good way”
Reviewed June 25, 2008

Checking in, we were treated sort of like second class citizens becuase we'd booked through hotels.com. It was strange (but not the first time that'd happened booking that way).

They welcomed us with wine and cheese on the veranda, which was nice, and "home made" cookies which were hard as rocks. The pool looked nice, but the hot tub was broken.

The room we got was nice, but the linens (which were supposed to be 400 thread count) were rough. The bathroom was not clean -- there were streaks of something coming down the wall. When I called to let them know - they never said "sorry", though they tried to clean it while we were at dinner.

The breakfast was not included -- and for $15 each - was not great. The brioche (which is supposed to be soft and delicate) couldn't even be cut into with a fork. The toast was cooked so well done, it was hard to bite into! When I asked for a more lightly toasted piece, they seemed annoyed. While open kitchens can be cool, their idea of it was a bit strange. This (what would have been) tranquil dining room was filled with the sounds of the chef instructing her staff on this and that.

They never asked "how was your stay" at check out ... else I would have told them the same thing.

  • Liked — the porch overlooking the pool - the hammock in the garden
  • Disliked — staff / quality of service and the breakfast - quality of the food.
  • Stayed June 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank HM01970
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (129)
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English first
Petaluma, California
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed June 18, 2008

My husbanbd and I spent our anniversary at the Gaige House in June 2008. And while the Gaige House is a very lovely property, I do not believe that it is worth the $300 per night price. First of all, I thought it was a “bed and breakfast" but it is not. Upon check in they didn't mention that breakfast is an additional $15 per person. Breakfast was yummy but not fantastic. And you have to reserve a spot in advance.

They do serve wine and appetizers from 5-6pm. But they are very slow to bring out fresh appetizers when they run out and the wine bottles were more often empty than not.

Our Zen Suite was a lovely room. It was at the end of a row of rooms next to a herb and flower garden. In our room there was a large two-person granite soaking tub, set beside a small private Japanese courtyard. There was a large bedroom, with a King size bed, gas fireplace, a flat screen plasma television, a second private garden backed onto the creek. The large second garden featured lounge chairs and a private table for two next to the creek. It felt quiet and private. One unpleasant item is that there is an additonal charge if you use the coffee maker in the room. The Gaige Hotel is in a great location. You can walk to a couple of restaurants for dinner and there is an abundance of wineries nearby.

The swimming pool was a bit cold and the hot tub is small and not hot enought. But the setting is lovely, very quiet and romantic.

We did not bother with any of the Gaige House Spa Services due to what we felt was unbelievably expensive pricing.

The service was pleasant.

In this day, it would be nice to see that they were doing something to save water, recycle and reduce energy use. They had planted high water use plants in the garden area. I would have prefered to have seen native plants. I would like to see this hotel install solar for both the pool and solar for the hotel.

The robes in the room are nice - but not thick or cozy.

  • Liked — location
  • Disliked — paying extra for breakfast
  • Stayed June 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Sharongcc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Level 4 Contributor
43 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
Reviewed April 14, 2008

We stayed at Gaige House for one night in early April during a tour of the wine region and San Francisco.

The Property:
Well-kept, 'traditional' looking large house that has been converted to a hotel at some point. It is set in nice grounds with a pool, hot tub and piped music (kind of spa-like!). The inside of the main house is decorated in a very classy modern style, lots of beige/mushroom colours and is clearly kept to a high standard decoratively.

General Amenities:
In the main house there are two sitting rooms where you can relax in addition to an outside decking area.
Tea, Coffee, chilled water and soda is available free of charge in the main house. There is also a cookie tin with home-made cookies (fantastic by the way! especially the peanut butter ering advice on where to eat/what to do.ones) which is a nice touch.
There is the pool/garden/hot tub area which is for general use and looked very clean and well maintained. If you visited during the summer I think you would definitely benefit from this.
The office has a good selection of maps/itineries for exploring the local area and the office staff were helpful in off
DVD selection available (complimentary) to borrow from the main sitting room.
Flashlights available to borrow for making the journey back down the dark local roads after eating dinner in Glen Ellen.Plenty of parking spaces close to the rooms (would be suitable for people who are not able to walk far).

The Room:
We took a Zen suite which worked out at around $380 for the one night. It seems like most of the rooms are actually Zen suites, which are not located in the main house but are a more recently-built set of cabin-like structures off to the side of the house. They are one story bungalows and all look identical.
The room was beautiful - very nicely decorated and seemed new, fresh and modern. A large king bed, feather pillows, two mini-couches, a gas fire, plasma tv, outside area with deckchairs and fridege/coffee making area. Slippers and robes included. FRESH products in the bathroom (very nice and makes a change from bliss or molton brown in these places!). The bathroom was really the piece de resistance in the suite as the huge granite bath, double shower, floor-to -ceiling glass doors onto the zen garden made for a really wonderful room.

Overview:

Room - overall was very good. High standard, comfortable and well decorated/equipped.

Location - was very good. Perfect positioning for exploring sonoma and napa (you do need a car though).

Staff - were fine, friendly but not overly so which is my preferred style. However, they could have probably been a little more 'welcoming' considering the small nature of the hotel and on check-out I wasn't really asked too much about how I found my stay.

Breakfast - other people have commented on the breakfast. Yes, it was 'good' but it is not a standard breakfast - we had: citrus salad with berry sorbet and candied chillis to start, then cheese and quince, then french toast with fruit. It was quite fancy even by other hotels standards and I felt that it seemed as if the chef was trying to cram in a dinner menu into a breakfast service.... The quality was very good though and quantity just right (not large portions note for those who need a large brekkie). Fresh tea, coffee, juice all great. $15 seems ok for the food that you get but there is not really a choice of menu so its really pot luck if you like what you get on the day as it changes.

Noise: some people have commented that Gaige house is close to the road. It is....but if you are from NY like me you won't be too bothered, we didn't hear a thing! Also its in a village so the traffic is not heavy during the night but I can see if you were sensitive to that kind of thing it might bother you. The zen suites next to the road (were were in one) were numbers 12, 13, 14, 15 so you probably want to avoid those or any of the rooms at the front of the main house. In general though it seemed to be pretty quiet and restful.

A very nice touch: the cookies, the fire, the fresh bathroom products, the free glass of wine at sundown

Not so nice: the fact that tea/coffee/soda and water are free in the main house but they charge you for them (handsomely) in the room.

A final word:
I would definitely stay here again although I think the price is slightly too high for the property when you compare with other 'luxury' properties in the area which are true '5 stars' or offer super luxury experiences/amenties.
Gaige House is more of a cross between a boutique b&b and a W hotel - it kind of offers a half way house. Its not quite exclusive/luxury/special enough to be a true boutique hotel but its much better than your average Inn or chain hotel.

  • Liked — Bathroom, cookies, location
  • Disliked — Slightly over-priced
  • Stayed April 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank AdQueen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
surrey, british columbia
Level 6 Contributor
143 reviews
73 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 334 helpful votes
Reviewed March 26, 2008

My wife and I spent five nights in a “Zen Suite” at the Gaige House from March 19 to 24, 2008. And while the Gaige House is a very impressive property, I do not believe that it lived up to the hype. That is not to say that you should “give it a miss”; rather, you should enjoy the Gaige House for what it is, not what others (on the internet and in travel books) would have you believe it is. Let me explain.

In my humble opinion, the Gaige House is not a “bed and breakfast.” Rather, it is a small, distinctive hotel, and the plaque beside the front door of main building -- a lovely 19th-century Queen Anne-Italianate mansion – confirms it! With 23 guest rooms spread throughout the property and the need to reserve your place at breakfast in advance (and pay an additional $15 per person), it does not qualify as a bed and breakfast.

Our Zen Suite was a very nice room. The large two-person granite soaking tub, set beside a small private Japanese courtyard, was the focal point of the washroom. Off the large bedroom, which featured a very hard King size bed (Serta “Presidential Suite Diamond” mattress), gas fireplace and a 32 inch flat screen plasma television, a second private garden backed onto the creek. The large second garden featured lounging chairs and a private table for two over the creek. Six foot tall wood fencing ensured privacy from the wandering eyes of neighbouring suites, although the road and horse paddock across the creek were noisy at times.

Our room had a rate of $325 per night for three of our nights, and $575 per night for the Friday and Saturday. Once tax and breakfast were included, our bill for five nights came to $2514.05 (I pause to note that we were charged – in error -- $4 for a package of “Altoids” which neither my wife nor I took from the in-room mini-bar. I did not notice this additional “charge” on my bill until we were at the airport, so my fault for not bringing this error to the attention of management). All-in-all, the room was nice and above-average, but not spectacular. And while the setting was peaceful, it could not match the physical beauty or romantic setting of other small distinctive hotels we have stayed at such as the Wickaninnish Inn (located in Tofino on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada) or Hotel Capitán Suizo (located in Tamarindo, on the Pacific Coast of Northern Costa Rica).

The thing about the Gaige Hotel is that it is ideally located for a great weekend of wine tasting in Sonoma and the surrounding counties. The employees at the Gaige House are knowledgeable about the area and they truly want you to have a good time exploring the area. We found Peter (at the front desk in the mansion) to be especially helpful. He spent a great deal of time helping us map out our various days, including tours of wine country. As a result of Peter’s advice, we spent several hours at the Benziger Family Winery, located just up the road from the Gaige House. Not only was the tour excellent, but their wine tasting after the tour was worth every penny. We were so impressed that we bought a case of assorted premium estate wines from Benziger. Over the course of the weekend we visited several other wineries within minutes of the Gaige House, including the Mayo Family Winery, the Chateau St Jean Winery, and the Ledson Winery. We also took trips into the Redwood forest, the Russian River Valley to the northwest of Glen Ellen, and the Napa Valley to the east.

Other Notes:

The breakfasts were excellent! To be frank, you would be hard pressed to find a $15 breakfast anywhere else that could compete with the Gaige House breakfasts we were served.

Despite the website stating that the swimming pool was heated from March through November, we found the pool to be “ice cold” and thus not useable. The hot tub was heated and operational, and so we tried it. I found it relaxing, although my wife would have preferred it a few degrees hotter. Also, since we had the large Japanese soaker tub in our Zen Suite, there really was no reason for us to use the hot tub more than the single time we tried it.

We did not bother with any of the Gaige House Spa Services due to what we felt was unbelievably expensive pricing.

Parking is adequate with two lots: a central upper lot for 15 or so vehicles, and a smaller lower lot by the Zen Suites allowing for a further 8 vehicles.

Pros:

1. The Gaige House is located in Glen Ellen, a small town in the heart of Sonoma County’s wine country. It is a very relaxing, quiet location.

2. Jack London State Historic Park and various excellent wineries are located just minutes from the Gaige House.

3. The Gaige House has an excellent staff that is eager to please.

4. The Gaige House is a small, distinctive hotel, with better than average accommodations.

5. Zen Suites are peaceful.

6. Breakfasts are excellent.

Cons:

1. Too expensive. But then again, perhaps that is the appeal of the Gaige House. You know that the price buys you great service, fine accommodations, and no worries about a vacationing family of five squeezing into the room beside yours!

Conclusion:

With all the great choices for accommodation in San Francisco and the northern counties, the Gaige House is well situated to cater to the wine tasting crowd. My wife and I will definitely stay at the Gaige House again, although perhaps not for five days in a row. But since I always measure a property’s worth by the simple test of whether or not I would stay there again, I say “yes” to the Gaige House. Go ahead; treat yourself for a couple of nights. You will be glad you did!

  • Liked — Location and Staff
  • Disliked — Too expensive
  • Stayed March 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank David P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas
Level 2 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviewed March 24, 2008

My husband and I just got back from three nights in Sonoma and I can''t say enough great things about our stay at the Gaige House.
Where do I start. When we arrived we entered the main house which is very elegant and comfortable. The staff was very friendly and helpful giving us information about tours and things to do in the area. In addition, they told us about the most lovely restaurant just a block away called the Fig Cafe (A must).

The manager took us on a quick tour of the house and then our to our suite. We stayed in the Zen suite. My gosh, it is wonderful. Clean, classy and very private. The pictures on the website are nice but in person it is incredible.

Breakfast every morning was one of the highlights of the day. My husband and I were anxious to see what creative and delicious meal we would be getting to start off our day.

I have used this site to help in my decision making in the past but I have never posted my own before. This trip and hotel were wonderful. Which has inspired me to share with others.

I had always wanted to go to the wine country but was a little overwhelmed by all the wineries and the big question of "where to go and what to do." The staff at the Gaige House arranged a private driver and I can't believe how much fun we had. No drinking and driving and our driver was a local and took us to wineries that we would of never found on our own. One of our two day's he took us to the Redwood Forrest with a picnic lunch. It was great.

  • Stayed March 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank tlncg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 5, 2008

My wife and I needed that getaway urgently. We booked for two nights (weekend) in the Poolside Suite.
Everything about this place was suited for the ultimate disconnect. The location is just about on the map. i.e. minimal traffic. The grounds are beautifully maintained and the service is classic. You hardly see the staff; they're available but not intrusive.
Definitely book some of their first rate spa treatments.
After checkout we drove the scenic route through Napa and returned to San Francisco refreshed and energized.

  • Liked — tranquil atmosphere
  • Stayed February 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank Mottele
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Level 2 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed January 18, 2008

Gaige House was a beautiful place to stay in wine country. The property has an inn feel but has all of the modern amenities you would want. The breakfast offered every morning was amazing - multiple courses, different every day and delicious. It was also nice that throughout the day you could stop by the breakfast room and help yourself to home baked cookies (which were tasty) and sodas.

Each room is different and we got to see a few of the rooms... they were all beautiful and charming.

The pool was small, but we weren't there to swim.

The property was well kept and the concierge was incredibly helpful planning our days in Sonoma and Napa.

We also loved the daily happy hours. They had local vineyards come to the hotel and pour and discuss their wines, which was really nice.

I would definitely go back!

  • Liked — cookies
  • Disliked — pool
  • Stayed August 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank regnyc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Gaige House, A Four Sisters Inn

Property: Gaige House, A Four Sisters Inn
Address: 13540 Arnold Dr, Glen Ellen, CA 95442-9305 (Formerly Gaige House, a Joie de Vivre hotel)
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Sonoma County > Glen Ellen
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 B&Bs / Inns in Glen Ellen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Gaige House, A Four Sisters Inn 4.5*
Number of rooms: 23
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Tucked into the Sonoma Valley hamlet of Glen Ellen, the Gaige House feels like a secret hideaway. Of course, it's not really a secret; the Gaige House is regularly recommended in Michelin and other guides, and has been listed repeatedly in Conde Nast Traveler's Gold List of the top hotels in the world. Gaige House is part of the prestigious Four Sisters Inns collection and is an elegant blend of vintage and contemporary architecture. The inn features 23 thoughtfully appointed guestrooms with a modern, Asian flair. The verdant, secluded setting along Calabaza's Creek includes an outdoor swimming pool and hot tub, and is accented with delightful surprises in hidden spots: a hammock shaded with ancient oaks, a miniature pagoda in a rock garden, a gurgling fountain. After a day of visiting nearby wineries, boutiques and art galleries, return to the Gaige House to indulge in luxurious spa services provided either in-room, or outdoors in a peaceful and private cabana. All guests enjoy a complimentary, full breakfast every morning, and an afternoon wine and cheese reception. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Gaige House, a Joie De Vivre Hotel Hotel Glen Ellen
Gaige House, A Four Sisters Inn Glen Ellen, CA - Sonoma County

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