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“Best Way to See SB Wine Country”
Review of ForFriends Inn

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ForFriends Inn
Ranked #1 of 1 Santa Ynez B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Best Way to See SB Wine Country”
Reviewed June 10, 2013

We stayed here for two nights for our anniversary. The current owners have been running this B&B for about a year. There is a certain degree of new owner enthusiasm that exudes from the hosts. They try very hard to make everything about the stay as comfortable and fun as possible. The highlight of our stay here was the hosted happy hour. One if the evenings they brought in Sanford Winery to pour a tasting, which was great. The other major plus is the location. Santa Ynez is our favorite of all the little towns in the Valley. Lots of great restaurants now, too. There is lots to do within walking distance of the Inn. Every couple except for us had been to the Inn multiple times before, a fact that speaks volumes for this establishment. We will definitely be back.

Room Tip: The water tower and cottage are separate structures that provide extra privacy. We stayed in Roblar...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Shipitsyna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ForFriendsInn, Owner at ForFriends Inn, responded to this review, June 11, 2013
Thanks for the wonderful a five-star review! We're honored!

We're so happy you chose us for your weekend getaway from work and the kids. It sure was a special one here. You're right, we were enjoyed many return guests that weekend (folks who have visited both four and five times in the one year since we bought the inn). Hopefully we can add you two to the growing list of new friends who return and share the special times we create here.

I enjoyed our talk about international living. I've been fortunate enough to travel a bit, but not to the places we talked about. I'd love to see some of them someday. Maybe a cycling trip across eastern Europe?

Please come back soon!

Jim, Debbie, Katie, Dave. . . and Smitty
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219 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (72)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
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English first
Encino, CA
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed June 9, 2013

We just returned from another visit to the For Friends Inn in Santa Ynez. We are never disappointed when we visit. The owners are always warm and friendly and really do make you feel like friends. The location is close to so many things that it makes it even more relaxing. There is wine tasting near by at many wineries or in town. There are good restaurants with in a few blocks walk or less. The afternoon happy hour is always enjoyable with music played by Jim and Dave. It gives you a chance to meet a visit with people that are also staying at the inn. Debbie always makes great appetizers to go along with wine and the music. This past week end the town was celebrating Old Santa Ynez Days with their annual home town parade. The whole town was in a very friendly mood for the event! Debbie always fixes the best homemade breakfasts. Today we left with a relaxed feeling as well as a happy tummy from all her fixings! We will definitely be returning for another visit,

Room Tip: There are three rooms upstairs. We stayed in the room called Imagine, which has a lovely private p...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Pam T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ForFriendsInn, Owner at ForFriends Inn, responded to this review, June 11, 2013
Pam,

They say three time's a charm . . . Well if that's so, then four times is the whole charm bracelet!

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the glowing five-star review. It's magnificent! . . . as are the Ginger cookies you brought for us. Admittedly, I'm not really the best cookie sharer, so Debbie has hidden a few for herself. Hopefully she'll just whip up a batch now that you've given her the recipe.

It sure was a fun weekend with a lively inn, full of friendly folks enjoying the local festivities here in Santa Ynez and the Jazz fest in Los Olivos. Not to mention the good times we all created in the Wine Garden each afternoon/evening. Those were pretty special nights — especially Saturday when Dave has going to town on that ukelele. It's not a Happy Hour with that uke!

We will be counting the days until your next visit!

JIm, Debbie, Dave, Katie. . . and Smitty
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed June 8, 2013

Dear Debbie and Jim,
We stayed in the Water Tower for just one night this week. The stairs:-( to get upstairs are treacherous!! GOING DOWN EVEN WORSE!!
You have a policy for only 2 persons per room but I thought this would be a perfect room for Grandparents and grandchildren sleeping on the futon. Okay...
My observation/complaints are the toilet seat was all scatty womps We actually tried to tighen the screws in the back of the toilet seat!!
Then we tried to light the fireplace to no avail:-( The wallpaper in your bathroom is peeling up. And the shower no matter how many times we tried to get both shower heads working at the same time as you stated DID NOT WORK! clogged or something.
UM your breakfast not really what I expected. When I stay at B&Bs they usually go all out for the patrons. I felt that your breakfast menu was pretty undesirable considering my travels.
You need to dial it up a notch considering the amount of money you are charging for your rooms. If you are not a cook well then hire someone with culinary skills that can give us our money worth. Many B&Bs have a professional cook, something to think about because the reason I am giving you this rating was the breakfast!! Plugh

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank outabout2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ForFriendsInn, Owner at ForFriends Inn, responded to this review, June 15, 2013
We're so sorry you feel this way about our little inn. We love (and our very proud of) our five-star reviews, but understand we can't be excellent for everyone, and we want to learn from each experience. We've read and discussed your review would appreciate the opportunity to respond to some points you've made.

1) "The stairs:-( to get upstairs are treacherous!! GOING DOWN EVEN WORSE!!"
We're sorry that you've found the stairs so uninviting. We've had many adults of all ages up and down those stairs and have not heard this concern. To be fair, we love our guests and would never subject them to any treacherous environments. Lastly, we always allow guests to change rooms during their stay if they desire. We're sorry you didn't take us up on that, as we had four lovely rooms available that night.

2) "You have a policy for only 2 persons per room but I thought this would be a perfect room for Grandparents and grandchildren sleeping on the futon."
Thank you for this insight/advice. Our business' model is to be an adult couple's getaway. We love children, but feel they would be happier elsewhere, and our guests LOVE a few days away from the kids where they can let their hair down, drink wine and act like. . . well, adults, without the little ones running around. It's been a very good recipe for success for us, and one that we will probably stick with. As far as grandparents on the second floor of the Water Tower, it's surprising you might suggest that after describing the stairs as treacherous. Although we have booked many seniors in the Water Tower who have absolutely loved it. Perhaps we will consider your point about marketing to older folks who may not have difficulty with stairs.

3) "My observation/complaints are the toilet seat was all scatty womps We actually tried to tighen [sic] the screws in the back of the toilet seat!!"
We're so sorry about that. Somehow it got past our pre-guest inspection and was fixed upon your departure after our housekeeper pointed it out. We would have been happy to fix it while you were here and apologize for this inconvenience.

4) "Then we tried to light the fireplace to no avail:-( "
We are sorry you had difficulty operating this standard thermostat. We're not sure why it didn't operate for you, as the fireplace/thermostat worked normally when we tested it during your walkthrough. It also worked after your checkout during the next guests' walkthrough, and then again for the three guests since (one of those guests was returning for her fifth stay in the last 12 months — three in the Water Tower suite.)

5) "The wallpaper in your bathroom is peeling up."
You are correct, there is a 1.5" x 1" portion of wallpaper peeling back in one area. We are truly sorry for this. Actually, we've been going room-to-room stripping wallpaper and repainting with lovely earth tones and adding local artists' works. The new look has been well received by our guests. The Water Tower's bathroom is on the list for this work and will be done shortly. Thank you for notifying us of this problem.

6) "And the shower no matter how many times we tried to get both shower heads working at the same time as you stated DID NOT WORK! clogged or something."
Sorry for your confusion here. The shower heads have always worked independently and never in tandem. Rest assured there are no clogs and/or problems. The guests before and since your stay have loved using either the massage head or the rain shower. For over a year, we've walked hundreds of guests through that bathroom and none have been instructed that both shower heads work at the same time.

7) We're sorry about your dissatisfaction with your breakfast. We (like most other small B&Bs with less than 10 rooms) do not have a chef on staff. Truthfully, our three-course breakfasts have been so very well received that we've never even considered hiring someone else to prepare them. The breakfast that morning of your stay was well received by the other guests (including some nice notes in the guestbooks) . We're sorry this menu didn't appeal to you:

Starters
Debbie’s Homemade Granola*,
Fresh Seasonal Fruit
and Organic Vanilla Yogurt

Entrée
Crustless Fresh Vegetable Quiche
with a Side of Sweet and Spicy Sausage and
Homemade Whole Wheat Toast

Breads
Homemade Ginger Pear Bread
and Debbie’s Rosemary Popovers

Coffee
We proudly serve our ForFriends Inn Blend*
specially made for us by The Valley Grind.

We stand by our motto: Arrive as guests. Leave as Friends. It's difficult for us to hear that new friends were so dissatisfied. But we also take all things into consideration, including their previous Trip Advisor reviews. That said, we welcome valid and constructive insights and we will continue to improve by learning from friends like you. We were happy that you received $95 off the visit you have just reviewed, and, should you decide to stay again, will be happy to honor our return guest discount that we offered you at checkout.

Sincerely,

Jim, Debbie, Katie, Dave. . . and Smitty
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Maria, California
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed May 28, 2013

Jim and Debbie are wonderful hosts. They take the time to introduced the guests to each other and to make everyone feel at ease. The daily happy hour is a great opportunity to socialize. Jim is a great singer/musician and all are invited to join in. Debbie makes wonderful nibbles to accompany local wines. The breakfast is amazing! We stayed in the Tower and it was so much fun! Very convenient location for wine tasting. Excellent local restaurants are steps away - the new SY Kitchen is highly recommended. I would stay again and will make sure to tell my friends.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank esteban f f
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ForFriendsInn, Owner at ForFriends Inn, responded to this review, June 11, 2013
Esteban,

How nice of you to take the time to write such a wonderful five-star review. It's an honor to have such kind new friends in our lives. You two touched our hearts and we are hoping that the friendship grows and lasts a long time. We're so happy to have been part of your special getaway. And inside a tower room to boot! — Your favorite style room to find when traveling. Isn't that a wonderful coincidence?

Thanks for the compliment on the singing and music. We SO enjoy our Happy Hours and sing-alongs. It's the perfect capper to a perfect day. . . until you go out for a perfect dinner only steps away in town. So many choices to dine, and we certainly like yours — S.Y. Kitchen.

Please come visit again soon!

Jim, Debbie, Katie, Dave. . . and Smitty
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed May 20, 2013

The people at For Friends Inn went above and beyond to make our recent trip to Santa Ynez a real treat. We were traveling with friends up from LA to celebrate our wedding anniversary and the completion of my masters degree at USC. Because we were coming straight from the commencement ceremony, we were very delayed on our departure. Check-in at the Inn is supposed to end by 6pm. We had already emailed that we would be a couple of hours later than that, but we didn't get out of LA until 7:30! Jim was very understanding when we called with our new ETA. When I asked if any restaurants would still be open for dinner when we arrived around 10 he said not to worry, there are several options. Well, not only did he and Debbie meet us at the Inn to check us in and show us our rooms, but he had called a nearby Italian restaurant (SY Kitchen) to have them reserve a table and keep the kitchen open! Sure enough, the host at the restaurant was eagerly awaiting our arrival and we had an amazing meal.
The rest of our stay was no different. Debbie's breakfasts were delicious and Jim gave us excellent advice on which vineyards and tasting rooms to see. Happy Hour at the Inn was a very nice touch. Jim and Dave provided live entertainment and there was complementary wine and snacks. Jim's dinner recommendation for the second night was terrific, and we ended up returning to that Italian restaurant at the end of the night for dessert (we were too full the first time but the menu was so tempting we had to come back).
The Inn itself is tastefully decorated and landscaped. We stayed in the Water Tower and our friends had the William-James. Both were clean and comfortable. We have every intention of coming back to the For Friends Inn many more times.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Stephen O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ForFriendsInn, Owner at ForFriends Inn, responded to this review, June 11, 2013
Stephen,

Thanks so much for this wonderful five-star review. We were so honored to have the four of you choose our inn to celebrate such momentous occasions. The weekend was fabulous! And thanks for the nod to S.Y. Kitchen. As one of the new restaurants in the area, they have fast become a favorite here. We're so glad they took such great care of you. and we have passed your kind words along to them.

We all love Debbie's three-course breakfasts. Fortunately for me, she makes just enough for the guests, otherwise I'd be helping myself a little too much to her goodies (although I do sneak a bit every now and then). We're so glad you folks enjoyed your rooms. The two-story Water Tower is something, isn't it? And how about that shower in William James? It's huge!

Thanks again for staying and the kind words. Please, please, please, come back and visit soon.

Jim, Debbie, Dave, Katie. . . and Smitty
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Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
16 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed May 18, 2013

The For Friends Inn says you come as guests and leave at friends. That's the truth. The rooms were perfect (large and well appointed). The location in the Santa Barbara Wine Country was very convenient to get to the vineyards, restaurants etc. (I did the half marathon there and was within a block of the start line). The owners (Jim and Debbie) are wonderful people. They bend over backwards to help you find what ever you are looking for (restaurants, horseback riding, wine tasting) and make suggestions. The breakfast is 3 courses of yummy. Debbie makes her own fabulous granola. Happy hour is lovely. It is so gorgeous and peaceful there. You can really relax. And finally, there is Smitty, the golden doodle doggie with a personality that finishes the perfect package. Didn't want to leave and can't wait to go back!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank 1honestfoodie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ForFriendsInn, Owner at ForFriends Inn, responded to this review, June 11, 2013
Thanks so much for such a glowing review. Sorry so late to respond. It's been very busy here!

We were just reflecting on your stay. That was the first time we got to go horseback riding with guests and it was fantastic! Even better that it was on my birthday. We were so happy for your fabulous finish in the half marathon. But best of all is our newfound friendship. It was a magical time when you both visited and we miss you a lot. We're looking forward to seeing you both again someday soon. If not another visit here, then we'll see you when we visit Chicago (our hometown). Keep the pizza and hot dogs warm.... :^P.

Please come visit again soon. Smitty misses you so!

Jim, Debbie, Katie, Dave. . . and Smitty
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Orange, California
Level Contributor
58 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 92 helpful votes
Reviewed May 1, 2013

Sometimes when you go away for the weekend, you have a good time at a hotel and come away with fond memories.
This last weekend we had that and much more with a stay at For Friends Inn in Santa Ynez! For Friends Inn is a delightful wine country B&B where hospitality and a sense of community elevates a weekend stay to an experience that you just can't get from a hotel!

The innkeepers hospitality started the moment we arrived during the wine and appetizer happy hour out in the beautiful garden. Local wines were highlighted while Jim and Dave entertained us with their musical talents. Guests are invited to participate, and it is certainly a highlight of our stay!
My husband and I enjoyed the gold rush era Roblar room complete with an iron stove fireplace and a beautiful claw foot tub/shower combo in the bathroom. The grounds of the inn are a gardener's delight with so many beautiful roses and flowers everywhere! Our senses were also tempted in the mornings as the delicious smell of breakfast cooking came drifting to our room. The delectable breakfast and great conversations with the innkeepers and guests was a great way to start our day! Another benefit to staying here is the "Friendship Pass" that gives you 2 for 1 tastings at select wineries and a free appetizer or dessert at some local restaurants. We definitely took advantage of the pass to try some new places we might not have gone to otherwise.

Once again, Tripadvisor succeeded in helping us choose our wine country weekend at For Friends Inn, and we look forward to returning to this memorable place in the future!
If you are looking for an experience in the wine country that is more than your average hotel stay, I highly recommend the beautiful For Friends Inn and their unforgettable hospitality and inviting accommodations!

Room Tip: It's good to remember that you are staying in a house which is part of the charm of a B&B. Y...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Debra M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ForFriendsInn, Owner at ForFriends Inn, responded to this review, May 9, 2013
Thanks so much for this wonderful review with all of your fabulous words of praise, encouragement and recommendations. It was such a pleasure meeting and getting to know both of you — from the wonderful breakfast conversations to the fun times in the Wine Garden during Happy Hour. We know how well-traveled you both are and are honored that you choose our little inn for your getaway that weekend. To be able to deliver in ways that you've described just makes us smile with pride. Thank you SO much!

We're also SO happy that you were able to take advantage of our Friendship Pass, offering both of you nearly $300 in complimentary wine tastings and food at two dozen vineyards and half dozen restaurants. It's a pretty unique perk that all of our guests just love. It certainly saves them a lot of money when traveling to Wine Country.

We look forward to your next visit. Perhaps with friends? There's nothing like a group of friends relaxing at ForFriends Inn. . . It's what we live for.

See you soon!

Jim, Debbie, Katie, Dave. . . and Smitty
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Additional Information about ForFriends Inn

Property: ForFriends Inn
Address: 1121 Edison St, Santa Ynez, CA 93460-9651
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Santa Ynez
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 B&Bs / Inns in Santa Ynez
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — ForFriends Inn 3.5*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in downtown Santa Ynez, CA, in the heart of Santa Barbara Wine Country: Minutes from Solvang, Los Olivos and all the wonderful wineries. ForFriends Inn is a luxurious eight-room B&B where you arrive as guests and leave as friends. Your stay includes:• Daily three-course breakfast• Daily Happy Hour with wine, hors d'oeurves and socializing, and our Friendship Pass with over $300 in complementary wine tasting and local restaurant discounts. ... more   less 
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