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The Darling House
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Reviews (79)
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Reviewed July 12, 2012

We stayed in the Pacific (or is it the Ocean?) room, the one that has a big bay window overlooking the bay. It was the best B&B we've ever stayed in. It was like stepping into the past, and I mean that in all the good ways. The breeze from the sea and the rumble of the surf lulled us to sleep every night. We slept like rocks, knowing that in the morning we would be feasting on fresh fruit and scones and yogurt and the occasional hard-boiled egg, all artfully arranged--we even took pictures of the fruit arrangements! Karen and Darrell and Denise were terrific hosts, and I especially enjoyed the long conversations with Darrell. on a wide range of topics. We watched fireworks over the bay, first from the porch, then from our room window. An amazing fourth. We stayed four nights, and we will be back.

Room Tip: The other rooms looked just as cool when we glanced in, but they don't face the ocean.
  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Larry L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management response:Responded July 16, 2012

One of the favorite benefits to being an innkeeper are the wonderful people that we meet & the time we get to share with new found friends. Exchanging life stories & engaging in stimulating conversation is an attractive difference for a number of our guests.
We're blessed by many people who walk into our home as travelers and leave as lifetime friends.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 8, 2012

Karen and Darrell have done an excellent job in preserving the house to its original splendor. It is within walking distance of the Boardwalk and other Santa Cruz attractions.

  • Stayed: July 2012
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Thank tpcraig
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 6, 2012

We arrived at the Darling House at 3:40pm thinking that check in was at 3pm. However, I realized I had my times confused with other places we were staying along the coast during our trip. So after ringing the doorbell and then realizing we were early, we decided to just sit on the porch and enjoy the view until 4pm. A few minutes later, Mrs. Darling opened the door and she told us to just come on in. She asked us to fill out a registration card, and then asked us if we needed a Santa Cruz map. She was very nice and told us all the places we should visit during our stay.

We stayed in the Pacific Room, which has the best view in the house. The bed was very comfortable and sheets seemed fine, contrary to what another reviewer mentioned. Our room had its own bathroom, but I did not expect to see a bathtub without an attached showerhead. Then I saw the pitcher, so I knew we had to use that to bathe. However, when I tried to turn on the water, there was no space between the side of the tub and the water flow so it was difficult to even collect water in the pitcher. It was somewhat late in the evening so we just took a quick shower in the hallway bathroom.

The breakfast was very good and filling. The homemade croissants were kind of chewy, but I like it that way anyway so no complaints. There was also fruit, yogurt, granola, and various teas and juices. Mrs. Darling and her daughter were so hospitable, and we had a good conversation before leaving.

This was our first B&B experience, and overall we enjoyed our stay. I found it to be a very good value ($143 through a Groupon deal) in comparison to some of the other prices I found in the area.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Zippidydooda000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 3, 2012

We enjoyed our stay at the BEAUTIFUL Darling house. We (my husband, our 9 month old son and I) stayed in the Rainbow room which had a great view of the ocean and was very spacious and had a cool vanity that I wish I could have taken home! The location was perfect and we were very pleased with it.
Our room and private bathroom were both clean. The house is very old and historical, which we loved! Yes, some art was strange or "creepy" as one review stated, but we liked the eclectic collection throughout the house. As some other reviewers mentioned some upgrades could be made such as new towels, dry cleaned or spot cleaned rugs, miniature shampoos/conditioners/soap would have been nice, etc. (I packed our own because I always do & also read a review before booking that shamp./cond. wasn’t provided) The beautiful rug in our room could have used a cleaning (looked stained from traffic) and the towels, yes were not brand spanking new, however they were clean and that’s what matters most to us. We were content with the accommodations. The oversized robes were a plus and very comfortable and a nice way to wrap up after a cozy hot bath in the antique tub! :)
I did a lot of research for places to stay and santa cruz is pricey, especially if you want an ocean view. I spoke with hotels/motels asking 190+ a night without breakfast offered and in an area I wouldn't want to stay, especially with a baby! The price seemed like it was fair for that area & the Darlings and their daughter were very sweet! We enjoyed speaking with them and learning a little about their lives. Mr. Darling even read us a beautiful poem he wrote about their son.
Breakfast was very delicious. We typically prefer to have a big warm breakfast when we travel, like scrambled eggs, bacon/sausage, fruit, pancakes…the Works! However, what was served was very filling and yummy. Mrs. Darling made homemade croissants & scones, served a beautiful platter of fruit, homemade granola, lemon curd, jam, hard boiled eggs and yogurt and offered juice and coffee. (coffee was a little weak for our taste, but again…it did hit the spot).
So overall, we had a nice and relaxing experience. If I compare to what I was expecting with my usual amenities at a 3 or 4 star hotel there was a slight disappointment, but this was our first time at a Bed and Breakfast so I didn’t know what to expect and it was REALLY neat! Also, I think you must consider the location and area. Santa Cruz is an expensive place to stay the night.
I think the Darlings are extremely nice people. Take the time to have a conversation or two with them. They are great! We will definitely be back this summer and are looking forward to staying upstairs this time.

Room Tip: Next time we stay, we will request a room upstairs...better view in front facing rooms and the ambiance was much more pleasant in my opinion.
  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with family
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Thank Ruleys
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 2, 2012

Really creepy upon arrival. The art work is in no way welcoming but CREEPY. I stayed in the Pacific room $$$$. The sheets were probably from the Dollar store... 30 years old. So that is not the worst part, not only were they stained there was a pair of panties in the bed...yes and they were not mine...DISGUSTING. The TOWELS were old and dingy. UPON ENTERING THE PACIFIC ROOM the owner lead us up there and immediately took off the blue comforter (the one in the pictures) and folded it and removed it from the room. Then there was the BATH TUB that was shown in the pictures as a claw foot tub and it was the most disgusting tub I have ever seen in my life. The water trickled out of a faucet that was so close to the side of the tub that a pitcher was placed to use to bathe with. I was told by the owner that I could not use the shared shower, it was for other rooms. There was also a mans used hair brush on one of the dressors. The door to the room only locked from the inside, therefore upon leaving for the day we could not secure our belongings. We were given a very small discount and then told we would not be allowed to eat breakfast there. When leaving we met a family in the parking lot and the man had walked out of the house shaking his head...I asked "how was your stay?" He replied "TRIPPY" AND THEN TOLD ME ABOUT THE WEIRD FEELINGS HE GOT UPON ARRIVAL AS WELL. WHEN CHECKING IN HE BECAME DIZZY AND NAUSEATED. wE THEN COMPARED NOTES AND I TOLD HIM THAT I FELT THAT SOMETHING WAS REALLY BIZARRE UPON OUR ARRIVAL. I had asked the owner, had it always been a B&B and had someone died there? She said they had bought it 30 years ago. She was very avaisive and would not talk about what room she sleeps in. She said just call me if you need something, we sleep all over the house. The list goes on....IJUST CANNOT BELIEVE THE PRICE OF THE ROOM WITH SUCH POOR ACCOMADATIONS. IT RATES BELOW ZERO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank TRUESTORY123456789
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management response:Responded July 10, 2012

Upon entering the room and seeing the breathtaking view, the personal touches that are often appreciated as personalizing the room such as brush sets, bottles of perfume, journals, desk top telescope, as well as the the neatly laid fireplace waiting to be lit & enjoyed, most people are quite at home for the time they stay in the Pacific Ocean room and consider it their own. We select and launder our own linens and towels consistent with each room's design, custom spreads and window coverings. We make every effort to ensure there is no extraneous articles among the bedding & towel sets, all of which we personally wash and iron daily.
It has been our experience that on occasion guests lie on top of the custom-designed bed spreads, spilling wine, or leaving other types of stains that are costly to have cleaned so it is simpler to remove the spreads and prepare the bed for our guests since we do advertise & provide “turn down service.” Those who are used to the impersonal attitude of hotels are sometimes surprised by this personal touch of service.
When the room is misrepresented, when guests are ill-treated, when the vibe is truly “bizarre,” especially if there is actual evidence of neglect, standard practice is to ask for a refund & go elsewhere instead of staying for 2 days in the luxury of this setting , giving all the signs of having an enjoyable time.
The pictures posted on the website are accurate with no evidence of “claw foot” tubs nor reference of such a claim. The tubs we have are the original, large, deep porcelain tubs that are actually called pedestal tubs. We are quite familiar with the difference. We've taken great pride in maintaining the originality of the fixtures, features & integrity of this beautiful turn of the century mansion.
When people stay in rooms with “private bathrooms” they certainly don't expect that other guests will be allowed to use the facilities assigned to that particular room. We do have 2 rooms that do not have an exclusive bathroom but rather share a full bathroom that is on the hall between those 2 rooms. It is made clear that both of those bedrooms share a single bath. It is also our policy to maintain that particular bathroom not as a “public bathroom” to be used at the discretion of other guests who do in fact have “private bathrooms.” It is a deliberate breach of privacy when guests are told the bath on the hall is for exclusive use by other rooms & individuals feel entitled & use the shower anyway.
When a person calls & threatens to write bad reviews before ever setting foot in our establishment we are on alert. However, I try to be optimistic and for this particular time went against my initial response. I agreed to upgrade this reservation to the room that was insistently requested with the understanding that breakfast was not included, as we frequently do for people wanting to economize: no hidden surprise but clearly stated from the beginning of the conversation. A $121 discount is not insignificant.
Our art collection is varied, original & creates many interesting conversations. Many of the art collectors that have stayed with us over the years use “thought provoking” as the term to describe some of the pieces but never “creepy.”.Artists whose original work we have range from Rembrandt & Eisenstadt to Peter Max & Disney Studio artists among others.
No one has died in the house.
There are private owner/manager quarters on site.

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