We just returned from an overnight stay in the Champagne Room at Baker House and we're already trying to plan our next visit. As a cynical Chicagoan, I really couldn't believe that any hotel was worth 5 stars from every single reviewer. Then I went to Baker House... and now I understand.
Let me just start by saying that the 5 stars are for the amazing service you get from everyone who works there. I was in shock at how well-trained, gracious, and amazing the staff truly were. We walked in and were greeted by Katrina (sp?) who immediately knew who we were (I think we were the only check-in that day... or maybe just the last to arrive?) and the reason we were staying. She took our bags up to the room, made sure everything was in order, gave us a tour of the house and then brought us to the room.
I should state that we were there for the evening of July 4th, it was over 100 degrees and humid outside, and I was 8.5 months pregnant. This was a final getaway for my husband and I prior to the baby arriving and we couldn't have picked a better place. Lake Geneva was hopping because it was the 4th, but we felt like we were in our own slice of heaven at the Baker House. It has a prime location right next to the water, a block from Main Street, so you can just walk to everything (even when it's 100 degrees!). But honestly, who needs to go anywhere when you're trying to have a romantic getaway?? I should also state that the last time we were in Lake Geneva (and the only time my husband had ever been there prior to this stay) we stayed at the Grand Geneva and it was awful. I still don't understand why it gets such rave reviews. So this time around, I knew that if I was going to get my husband to come back, we had to be on the Lake. I have always enjoyed the ambiance of Lake Geneva, but I knew this was my "last chance" to get my husband to give it another try... so the Baker House needed to deliver, and it did.
The room was great, the bathroom was amazing... the pictures online really don't do it justice at all. I now know that when I am able to re-do my bathroom at home one day, I want a shower like the one in the Champagne Room. I wish that we could have seen the other rooms because I'd love to just peek in... but we figure that one of these days we'll come back and do the Tour de France and see the rooms that way.
I should also state that my husband and I are NOT B&B'ers... but I wouldn't say this is a B&B. It's a luxury hotel where you get personalized service, but you can also have as much privacy as you want. Truly this was the most romantic getaway weekend we have ever had. We could see the lake from a window in our room, even though we were in the "back" of the house. And as a very pregnant woman, I was slightly concerned that an older home wouldn't be that cool. But there was no worry on that front! I actually got to sleep under the super soft sheets for the first time in weeks because the room was cool enough for me!
One of the highlights for me (besides all of the sprayers in the shower) was getting to see the fireworks over the lake. The second floor of the house has the rooms along with some lounge areas just for the hotel guests. In the main area upstairs is a huge picture window overlooking the lake with comfy chairs and tables. After talking to Katrina about possibly seeing the fireworks, but not wanting to sit in the heat outside to watch them, she informed us that we would have a great view from that room. Furthermore, as a hotel guest, you can have food brought up for dinner (or any meal at any time) anywhere in the hotel, including that area. So we "reserved" a chocolate fondue and decaf coffee to be upstairs in that front room during the fireworks. It was probably the best way to view fireworks that I could ever think of... sit in an air-conditioned room with a beautiful unobstructed view of the lake and fireworks, eating fondue and drinking coffee. And then when the show was done, walk down the hallway back to our room and that was that. It was great (and it pains me to write this knowing that someone will read this and now the "secret" is out and we may have to "fight" for that window space next time!!). The breakfast brought to the room the following morning was excellent and it was just a joy to lounge around eating breakfast in bed. When you live with a toddler, it truly is a "gift" to lounge in the morning and enjoy breakfast, a late wake-up, etc.
The only "low" point of the entire trip (and I hesitate to even call it a low point) was our service at dinner. The food itself was good... perhaps a bit pricey for what it was, but being from Chicago it wasn't overly surprising. But our waiter, Chaz (sp?), wasn't really that great. It seemed like after we were seated we were just forgotten. He came out a couple times to help other tables in the section, but never came to the table to introduce himself, ask for a drink order, etc. for at least 10 minutes. He did ask for the drink order of the table next to our's after they were seated at least 5 minutes after us. That was a bit annoying to see a table seated after us get served first... the hungry pregnant woman was beginning to rear her head at that point! I honestly wondered if he realized we were in his section. As I watched him serve the other tables in our section (there were only 4 tables total... unless he had more in a different section of the house) it appeared that he is not a multi-tasker. And that was likely the problem. He would go to one table, get the drink order, then go to the kitchen and put that order in. Then he'd go to the next table, ask what they needed, go back and do that, then come back in again. But I don't think he could have actually handled taking the drink order or meal order from multiple tables at once. I suppose if he knows his limitations, that's a good thing. And we weren't in any sort of rush, so it wasn't the end of the world. But after the AMAZING service we received from Katrina and Lisa earlier in the day (and our chambermaid, whose name we can't remember) there was definitely a drop in the level there. I'm glad we had had such great service prior to that, or it may have adjusted how we felt about the place.
But otherwise, the experience was great. If you are staying in the hotel you get to sit in the prime location on the air-conditioned glassed-in porch overlooking the lake for all meals in the dining room. Again, this was a wonderful thing for the always over-heating pregnant woman. When we booked in May we had been hoping to sit outside in the garden area to enjoy the weather, but that definitely wasn't happening in this heat! Next time we will come in spring or fall so that we can enjoy some time in the garden also. And we also want to be able to use the fireplace in the room (it looked so great, but not when it was 100 degrees!) and the heated floors in the bathroom.
Baker House is a place that will leave you wanting (and planning) to come back again. The owners have clearly poured their heart and soul into this hotel and the service is beyond belief. I don't think there are enough words to describe it... you just need to experience it. So don't be afraid of the fact that it's set in a time period... you can take part or not take part as much as you want. It may sound a little cheesy, but when you get there, it really isn't. Honestly, I would never stay anywhere else in Lake Geneva now that I've been here. And while I hope that all of these reviews will entice more and more people to experience the wonder that is Baker House, it also pains me to think that others will find out about this gem and make it harder to get reservations in the future. But that's a good problem to have... :)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Indulge Yourself at Lake Geneva's MOST LUXURIOUS Boutique Hotel on the lake. Designed with a hint of vintage glamour, and a dash of old world aristocracy you will be completely swept away to a world of Gilded Age living within this decadent lake-front mansion. Every room has lake views and original working gas fireplace, stretch out across the signature "Baker House Bed" with King size, hand-made mattress by OSTERMOOR and travel back in time as you melt into the softest sheets you've ever experienced. Guests are provided with room service, private bar and lake view dining room as well as private Butler and exclusive access to the English gardens during the day and reserved garden pavilion for al fresco cocktails in the evening. The "Baker House Bath" is rumored to be ranked as one of the "Sexiest in America". Select between decadent steam showers built for 2 with rain head and multiple massaging sprays or submerse yourself in an over-sized soaking Jacuzzi tub with aromatic bath salts. All baths are equipped with heated marble floors, state-of-the-art Grohe fixtures and Gilchrist & Soames toiletries. For your convenience and enjoyment, modern amenities of flat screen television with DirectTV, in room Wi-Fi, refrigerators, safes and hair dryers are standard in all rooms. BEST Panoramic Views, Lakefront Garden Lounge, Listed on the NATIONAL REGISTER of HISTORIC PLACES, 13 Original Fireplaces, Decadent Furnishings make the Mansion suites a truly memorable time for every guest. ... more less
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