After the busyness of Orange Grove Avenue (aka Millionaire’s Row), this large Victorian, home to the inventor of the Bissell carpet sweeper, offered a quiet welcome. The driveway is lined with pink hydrangea, orange sherbet gladioli, lilies, and bright pink liatris. It’s scented with lavender, gardenia, and roses, which are mainly pastel in color but punctuated with red.
The large porch nearly wraps around the house and is covered with a climbing rose (a hummingbird’s nest on one branch of this rose is visible from the dining room window). Wicker chairs with floral cushions invite you to sit and admire all the potted plants: scented geraniums, ivy, ferns, clivia, palms—and decorative birdhouses.
The Bissell House innkeeper sisters, Juli and Jennifer, are terrific! Jennifer gave me the tour and settled me in Victoria’s Room on the second floor. It’s the smallest of the six rooms but has all the amenities (including snuggly robes and a feather-top mattress) and an enclosed balcony that overlooks the pool. Yes, the pool! Inviting in the summer heat and lined with potted palms and orange trees.
The beautifully appointed parlor has self-serve tea and homemade goodies (on my visit, Jennifer’s orange and chocolate chewy brownies and fruit chocolate chip cookies were available to guests—mmm good!). They also offer a High Tea (really a Cream Tea) by appointment. In the dining room the furnishings are original to the house—Albert Einstein was a dinner guest here—and the Library has a TV and Internet-access computer for guests’ use.
As an example of the tasteful touches and elegant decorating found throughout The Bissell House, the dining table centerpieces commemorated the 4th of July with fresh-cut blue hydrangea flowers flanked by two vases of red and white tulips. The use of crystal, silver and fine china definitely helps start your day off on the right foot.
Breakfast is provided by a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef and served family-style, which is a great way to meet the other guests. On my visit, I enjoyed a fabulous meal prepared by Jennifer (the chef was out of town): we began with fresh fruit in sweet cream, then individual soufflés and homemade croissants, and finished with a passionfruit sorbet. All supported with organic dark roast coffee. What a treat!
The Bissell House in listed in the Select Registry of Distinguished Inns of North America. It was voted among the top 10 most romantic inns in the nation in 2006 and also in the top 9 of the best Get-A-Ways in Los Angeles. This is a very special place!
Of special note to gardeners: they have a good collection of Dinner Plate dahlias that bloom in August.
There is easy access to the public gardens in the area: Descanso Gardens, the Huntington Botanical Gardens, LA Arboretum, LA Museum of Natural History, Tournament of Roses Wrigley Gardens, and even Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden in Claremont.
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to The Bissell House—I felt like I became part of the family—and I can’t wait to return!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome to The Bissell House Bed and Breakfast, a uniquely charming, three story shingle Victorian, with craftsman style influence. Step back in time and experience a piece of Pasadena's heritage in a home that was built in 1887 and is elegantly situated in an upscale residential neighborhood located in beautiful, historic South Pasadena, California. Discover small town America a short half mile walk to Mission Street with it's many and varied eateries, metro station, bookstores, antique shops, wineries, art galleries, yoga studios and historic library. We are located approximately 1.5 Miles from the heart of historic "Old Town" Pasadena dining, shopping district and convention center and only six metro stops from Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. The Norton Simon Museum, Fenyes Mansion Estate, Wrigley Tournament House, Greene and Greene Gamble House and Rose Bowl Stadium all either line or can be accessed off Orange Grove Boulevard within one to two miles north of us. ... more less
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