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Balch Hotel
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All reviewsstep back in timeprivate bathrestored hotelview of mt hoodwheat fieldshistorical museumrolling hillsgrounds are immaculatequichelovely old hotelking suitewhite rivergourmet breakfastcentral oregonbreakfast was amazingthe columbia gorgefalls state park
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Reviewed August 17, 2012

We recently stayed for the weekend in the suite at the Balch Hotel and had a thoroughly wonderful time. Although the little town of Dufur is somewhat remote, I would highly recommend the Balch Hotel as a home base if you are exploring the area around The Dalles or even as a stopover on the drive from Portland to Eastern Oregon. The 12-15 minute drive into The Dalles is a scenic one, through grassy, rolling hills, and goes by relatively quickly.

If you’re any kind of a history buff, you will enjoy staying at this hotel. A lot of the historical details of the 100-year old building have been retained, but with modern conveniences where appropriate. There are no televisions, phones, or coffee makers in the rooms. Even though it is an old building, it is kept exceptionally clean. The grounds are beautifully maintained as well, with many little sitting nooks and outdoor bistro tables. The vibe while we were there was very peaceful, with many guests relaxing on the patio while reading a book. If you intend to bring children, it would be best for those who are older and can respect the quiet.

The suite is on the top floor and features a lovely king-sized bed, sitting area, and a large bathroom with a VERY large Jacuzzi tub. I honestly have never seen one that big in a bathroom. You could probably fit four people in there. The only drawback to the Jacuzzi tub is that there is no shower so if you want to take a shower, you need to use one of the communal bathrooms down the hallway. Although there is a beautiful view of Mount Hood from this room, it is also on the street side of the hotel which was surprisingly noisy at night. We were sleeping with the windows cracked to let some fresh air in and were awoken quite a few times in the middle of the night by noisy trucks driving by. I am not sure where all of these trucks were going, and why at that hour, but it happened again the next night. It is not a particularly busy road otherwise, so it was a little strange that there was so much traffic at night. Anyway, if I would have known, I would have asked for a room at the back of the hotel or brought earplugs.

What really makes this hotel great though is the service of the staff. They were all so friendly and would go out of their way to accommodate any requests we had or to research any information we may have needed. Although it may be slightly annoying that reservations are only made via the phone, it stays in tune with the general s.o.p. of the hotel in making sure there is a personal touch to everything they do. There is always a staff person on site and they identify what room you should go knocking at if you have an emergency in the middle of the night.

There were the best little fresh-baked cookies available in the lobby in the evenings and the breakfast in the morning was wonderful (both mornings consisted of a crust-less quiche, muffin and fresh fruit) and you could take it outside to eat on the beautiful patio. The staff was great about coming around with more coffee, even if you were eating outside. Although we did not receive the bottle of wine or brownie that other reviewers mentioned, we did receive a lovely little tote bag filled with goodies (see picture). One word of warning to early risers: coffee is not available until 8:06 a.m. If you desperately need coffee prior to that, you may have to go across the street to the little market, if they are even open that early (not sure).

Just a few notes on the area in general. One of the great things about this area is the weather. We were here in August and it was in the low 90’s during the day (it was a dry heat though) and cooled off substantially at night, to the point of needing a jacket. Although there is not much in Dufur, there is a nice store with quite a variety of food and wine, including some hot deli items and made-to-order sandwiches to take on your way (perhaps to one of the wineries?). There is also a pub across the street from the hotel that serves food, although we did not go there. However, there is no gas station so be sure to fill up in The Dalles. Also, if you have a clear night while you’re there, be sure to look up. The stars are incredible! We were lucky enough to be there during the Perseid meteor shower – some of the meteors looked like bottle rockets shooting across the sky! A very memorable evening.

Thank you, Balch Hotel! We will be back!

Room Tip: Ask for a room in the back of the hotel away from late-night road noise.
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank PDXLadie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 3, 2012

I have to share that....I was instantly fascinated with Eastern Oregon when I drove through the state the first time when I moved to Portland - I feel like I am on another planet honestly. Like the rolling hills of Venus. I am used to large Mountains of Colorado or deciduous forests in New England, but I couldn't deny it, I just loved the unique landscape! But...I figured there was nothing "to do" out there and wouldn't really consider staying out there. But seeing the Balch hotel completely opened my mind to that, and I thought, "Oh I can really enjoy this!". Then after staying there, I realized the Hotel and the neighboring area is oozing with history. I fell like I have traveled back in time and almost can feel what it was like to live in the Old West...but in modern luxury. THEN, on top of it the hospitality, delicious food, the gorgeous room, the most comfortable bed ever (including each blanket, pillow, and sheet)...I feel like I was at the home of my dreams....seriously. There are many nice hotels, but they are so "perfect" that they are austere and a bit cold. The Balch and it's history, the added touches and warmth by the owner and staff make it truly memorable stay.

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank BethUrbanCraft
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 16, 2012

We first learned about the Balch Hotel through Living Social; what a great way to learn about great places around the Pacific Northwest. The Balch Hotel is quaint, comfortable and surrounded by beautiful grounds and country side,has an awesome view of Mt. Hood and is super, super quiet. We were greeted by Samantha (owner) and invited to make ourselves at home; which we did. On our arrival we were treated to champagne and the MOST wonderful brownies, yum! In the evening more calories were served up in the form of warm chocolate chip cookies. If you just want to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, this is definitely the place to go. Not far from Portland, it's a beautiful drive through the gorge and once in Dufur, a walk to the museum, going to the park or just sitting out on the patio reading, it's AAA
+. The staff is accommodating and you can't get a better breakfast than those served in the cozy dining room each morning.

Room Tip: We liked all the rooms but would definitely reserve one with a private bath.
  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Sally M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 9, 2012

Nice place to getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. The owners are very friendly and make you feel right at home from the moment you arrive. Rooms are small and simple which is part of the charm of staying at a historic hotel. We didn't experience the noise reported in other reviews but perhaps this was due to the fact that we were on the 3rd floor and the only guests those days on the top floor. Nicely landscaped grounds with patio. We had a 3rd floor shared bath room on the southwest corner with a nice view of Mt Hood. We aren't normally into shared baths but this didn't bother us because the hotel is exceptionally clean. They also have rooms with private baths. Breakfast was good and nicely presented. This is a sleepy town but its a short drive to a park with a waterfall, ghost towns and a loop drive to Mt Hood. Will stay again.

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank 150pounds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 5, 2012

We enjoyed this wonderful old place. The grounds were beautifully maintained, making this a great place to relax. The staff are very warm and friendly. A nice breakfast was included. Yum!

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank pdxsuz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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