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“Elegant, welcoming & delightful!”

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The Bissell House Bed & Breakfast
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 17, 2006

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!

1  Thank flowertripper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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A TripAdvisor Member
Oakland, CA
Reviewed July 9, 2006

I stayed at the Bissell House while travelling on business when the downtown Pasadena hotels where I usually stay were full. The house is well appointed with luxurious furnishings and no detail is left to chance. My bathroom was loaded with many types of bath salts, soaps, lotions, etc. to enhance my stay. Wifi was available from within the room, and breakfast was absolutely yummy, and well presented! My stays were two weeks apart, and the innkeeper had noted what I had been served for breakfast two weeks earlier and made certain I had a different entry on the second stay!

Afternoon tea actually is 24-hour tea, that is to say, you can have tea at any hour you so desire. As you enter the parlor, there is a beautiful table laid out with an electric kettle, many kinds of tea, and some scruptious goodies, to be enjoyed at a guest's whim in terms of timing.

I highly recommend the inn for a pleasurable stay!

Stayed: June 2006
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 27, 2006

My wife was very enthused by the glowing reviews she read here on TripAdvisor, so she booked us for 3 nights at the end of May 2006. Unfortunately, we ended up very disappointed. For one thing, the location is terrible. Contrary to the advertising that describes the place as "quaint", what they don't tell you is that the house sits at the intersection of two high-traffic roads, with a quasi constant rumble of loud motorcycles, boomcars and other charming background noise (and we were lucky because there were road repairs at the time, which cut and slowed the traffic, so you can imagine what it'll be like once the repairs are over). For a second, the outside looked poorly maintained. The lawn was covered with leaves and had obviously not been raked in a long time. The veranda was dirty. And finally, although we had specifically asked if the house had wi-fi and been assured that it did, it took me three minutes to realize that the only place I could get a feeble signal was right in the middle of the entrance hall. So forget wi-fi in our room. Fortunately, they had cable connectivity, and that saved the day, or we would have had to ask for a refund for false advertizing. Service was so-so, not the stellar service we expected from a place with these kind of prices. The only redeeming element was the large room and bathroom, which we both did enjoy. But on balance, it wasn't worth the experience and we left unhappy. One thing is sure: we will never set foot at the Bissell House again. And beware: once you've paid, there is no refund, so you're stuck. Not a good deal.

  • Stayed: May 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank jjs110
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Provencesister, Innkeeper at The Bissell House Bed & Breakfast, responded to this reviewResponded August 20, 2006

As most every other inn keeper would agree, we are always happy to have constructive suggestions--and yes, even complaints--when they help to point out a deficiency in service. In this case we are especially grateful for this information as these guests did not share any these frustrations with us over their stay on Memorial Day weekend.
Why they would choose to post their comments on line--when no complaints were voiced during their stay--does leave us a little mystified, but that's how these internet review spaces are sometimes used. Unfortunately, they can leave potential visitors wondering what really happened. But in this case, they have left the inn keepers themselves wondering the same!
In all fairness, we did see considerable anger voiced at the housekeeper for forgetting to clean their room after they left in the late afternoon one day for an outing. But then when they left her a total $60.00 tip we assumed that the anger must have been over a private matter and that it landed on her quite unintentionally. We're all guilty of misplacing anger sometimes. But normally when a guest leaves such a generous tip it surely means they are happy with the service, which is exactly what we presumed. SIXTY DOLLARS! WOW!
Likewise, since we have a very good wireless & cable system with the highest speed DSL as well as a booster on the 2nd floor, and no other guests have ever reported problems, we weren't surprised when the husband told us that his numerous failed attempts to get connected had nothing to do with our system at all, but that in fact he had not been putting in the correct server address.
I truly regret that for whatever reasons, this couple chose not to speak to us about their concerns. Their decision to NOT do so, certainly had nothing to do with our refund policies as we were never approached by them to discuss it. Had we known they were so unhappy, I would have personally paid out of pocket if necessary, to locate another venue for them immediately. People spend a lot of time, energy and money getting a little time off for themselves. Having a "great time" is what everyone deserves to feel about their time away.
I can honestly say that in a sort of paradoxical way, I am very happy this review is up on the net--because it gives me the chance to go on record:

We love having guests who appreciate the beauty of this property and with a 119 year old house, we would never advertise ourselves as if we are an insular hotel. B & B’s certainly are not for everyone, but we are happy to tell you that this is the first and only report we have ever received expressing this sort of dissatisfaction.

We look forward to all our guests staying with us, and look forward to welcoming you, the reader, as well. Please know that we go above and beyond to accommodate every guest and his or her needs. So, if we've overlooked something, for goodness' sake--let us know! This isn't a hotel. It's a private Inn. We live here too!! And we want you to love The Bissell House as much as we do.
We look forward to welcoming you soon. And of course we wish these guests the best in their future search for perfect accommodations!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed June 16, 2006

My stay at the Bissell House was a true Victorian odyssey. This beautiful Inn will make your jaw drop when you walk inside. The decoration and abundant antiques throughout the house left me in awe. It is truely authentic and highly aesthetic for those who love big, old beautiful mansions. I planned to come back many, many times. The Inn keepers were so generous and treated me and my husband like family yet they still gave us plenty of space to enjoy the house as if it were our own. The breakfast was delightful. We felt like we were eating at an elegant restauraunt. They have a wonderful library too. I just can't believe places like this still exist!!

  • Stayed: March 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
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2  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Northern California
Reviewed June 5, 2006

Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Los Angeles
Reviewed May 20, 2006

1  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 15, 2006

  • Stayed: April 2006, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank wingsofthemorning
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Bissell House Bed & Breakfast

Address: 201 Orange Grove Ave, SW Corner Orange Grove Ave and Columbia Street With Front Driveway Entrance Access From Columbia Street, South Pasadena, CA 91030-1613
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > South Pasadena
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 B&Bs / Inns in South Pasadena
Price Range: $177 - $308 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — The Bissell House Bed & Breakfast 3*
Number of rooms: 5
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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