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All reviewsitalian marketsouth streetsummer breezesecret roomcontinental breakfastfull kitchenparking garagefirst floorwithin walking distancecoffee makerfew blocksmini fridgethree blocksopened the doorhistorical areaair conditionerbed was very comfortable
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Reviewed April 19, 2012

Our experience at Bella Vista was very disappointing. We had two apartments--nice and spacious--both on the upper floor. The location was great--and the idea of the place fits us perfectly--we would just as soon have the "serve yourself" style B&B. And we're fine with mix-and-match "funky" furnishings, old homes, etc. But there are a few things that would definitely 1) keep us from coming back and 2) keep us from recommending to others:

1) Safety seems to be a complete afterthought. There was no sprinkler system, fire escape or other instructions for emergency evacuation--and it seemed like the fire detectors were few and far between. One wooden center stair case--no exit other than a temperamental front door.
My teenage kids room had no "working window" through which they could escape...two had window airconditioners and we were instructed to not open the third as it wasn't working properly. But even with a window that would open, that would hardly constitute an evacuation plan given the height of the building. As we were on the 3rd/3+ floor--and my teenage kids were not in the same room with my husband and I--this really gave me pause and I wouldn't stay there again simply for that reason.

2) Relating to #1, there are pretty obvious maintenance issues throughout the house-some of which seemed like they could develop into a safety issue pretty rapidly. The front door knob is literally falling off and the dead bolt was finicky to deal with. Paint peeling, etc. Our apartment (Magnolia) had two lamps literally held together by duct tape. One wall outlet had no "cover" and you could see the wires easily behind the outlet. There was a large hole in the brick "chimney" running through our lounge space and peeling paint, stains, etc. on the bathroom walls. The kids room had similar issues--one of the lamps turned on but then shorted out and wouldn't turn back on. And there were many other obvious signs of disrepair in the hall, etc.

3) Upon arrival, we were greeted by Dan, who shared with us that he is recovering from cancer and had a death in the family--so I know he was probably not on his best and we certainly empathize with his situation. That said, he seem disheveled, a little confused, and was not what you'd call a "welcoming host"--focused more on telling us what not to do, making sure we understood the rules, etc. Understanding that we may have gotten him on a particularly bad night, I must say It felt a bit like a reluctant boarding house welcome, not commensurate with a someone who is welcoming guests for a living and enjoys it.

4) Basic things like comfortable pillows, towels without ragged edges and stains, etc. were no where to be found. The pillows in the Magnolia Room were honestly the worst excuse for a pillow I've ever seen--an embarrassment. The towels in our bath were literally ragged along the edges and visibly stained. There was not one extra towel to be found. The kids' room was a little bit better, but more "hostel" standard than this price range.

5) Our room had dirty dishes in the dishwasher when we arrived. The kids room had clean dishes in the dishwasher, but typically in a serviced apartment you'd think the service staff would unload the dishwasher for the next guests. In neither apartment were the kitchens serviced during our stay--but there also wasn't any dishwashing liquid or dishtowels to make it easy for us to wash up after ourselves.

6) There was no sign of anyone on site, no clear way to contact anyone about any concerns. We were truly on our own. Even on Sunday, as we were preparing to leave at around 10:00, we looked for somewhere to store our bags to while we took a quick walk over to the Italian Market. Not finding anyone, we vacated one room and left our bags in the other--all packed, right by the door. By 11:10, they were calling me to be sure we were going to vacate the room. Ironic to say the least.

In short, I'd have to say that this is not what we'd expect for $540 in charges for a two-night stay. I would not stay there again and would caution anyone considering it to think again, at least until they invest in some basic and essential up-keep of the property.

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with family
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5  Thank cftyler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 12, 2012

This was our second stay at the Bella Vista B&B in 5 years--both times just as the streets were festooned with cherry blossoms. This spot now has 2 townhouses on a quiet little street a few blocks from the heart of the Italian Market district. Our sunny yellow room was delightful, and had a double and a single so we could have our teen daughter room in with us. A young lady (not the owner) did a nice job welcoming us, explaining the keyless entry, etc. Bathroom freshly and beautifully renovated, fittings in the room all very up-to-date but lots of quaint Victorian antiques for old-time Philly atmosphere. Nice big TV, too. Only downer here is the "breakfast." It's sub-continental DIY: a closet-like fridge and coffeemaker set-up in the room, and a truly underachieving little basket of dull cello-wrapped pastry and supermarket apples and bananas placed downstairs in the hallway the night before. There are world-class Italian bakeries a block from here!! Fortunately, the Morning Glory Diner at the end of the block serves epic breakfasts, so we took a pass on the sad plastic Danish and Mr. Coffee and repaired there for bacon and eggs. For dinner, another nice option within a 5-minute walk is Ralph's, an ancient family-run red-sauce joint with nice fresh food reasonably priced. Our room was about $155 for the 3 of us for one Monday night stay, not bad. Overall, a nice mix of high-end motel amenities and old-time B&B charm; now all they need is a real effort on that breakfast basket and maybe a fresh-made pot of coffee in the AM.

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with family
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Thank Brenda B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 3, 2012

I recently stayed at Bella Vista with my husband, my daughter and her husband and a friend. First off this Bed and Breakfast is not for everyone. If you do no care for antiques and eclectic design, if you prefer the decor of most boring hotels don't go here. I personally loved the decor and BEAUTIFUL large rooms, I adore old and vintage so it was a real treat for me. Something different and interesting! It was very clean, spacious and we were all extremely comfortable.
As far a breakfast, I read reviews on here and knew what to expect. They don’t promise a giant meal on their web site either. It was fine for us- coffee, juice, cereal, bagel, muffin, and banana. No one should expect steak and eggs for the reasonable price they charge.
The location is awesome in a really charming neighborhood. We could walk to South Street, Italian Market and a parking garage was located close by.
Ok, hospitality…the young girl who I made arrangements with on the phone prior to our trip and who greeted us upon arrival was fabulous, very nice and helpful. But the man, I’m assuming the owner pretty much insulted everyone in our party. Please be a little more kind we all laughed and brushed it off but other guests may be very very offended.

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank MaryJanetravles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 1, 2012

Well it had a "bed" but it was so uncomfortable that I slept on the floor. It had "breakfast" but that consisted of a 2 pieces of bread in a plastic bag left in a bowl in the hallway.

Room Tip: If you're looking for a good room, go to another hotel.
  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Delilah113
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 23, 2012

I am blown away by the lack of professionalism and cruelty with which Barbara the owner of this B&B has shown towards me. I will give you the short version. My wedding happens to fall on the same weekend as a huge medical conference in Philadelphia. I learned this when I starting calling around 8 months in advance to block hotel rooms for my out of town guests. Panic set in when I realized EVERY hotel in Philadelphia was booked solid. Then I found Bellla Vista B&B. I told Barbara my woeful story And was elated when she blocked her entire 20 room in for my guests. Things were looking up. I spent $700 to rent a bus to pick up my guests at the B&B on wedding day and transport them to and from. A few months later (5 months to wedding day) Barbara calls to tell me she made a mistake, she can't give me 20 rooms only 10. When I asked why she gave me a very lame excuse about not having enough staff to turn over the rooms. I knew immediately she was reneging due to what I am guessing was dozens of calls from participants in the medical conference that hadn't yet reserved rooms elsewhere. I was angry and stressed, but held my tongue in fear she would take the ten rooms back ( our arrangement was verbal only and Barbara proved to not be a woman of her word - lesson learned) . A week later she emailed to say she miscalculated - she only has 8 rooms for me !!!! So now 2.5 months before my wedding another call from Barbara asking me if I still wanted the 8 rooms - ARE YOU KIDDING ME? She proceeded to ask me if I've checked around to other hotels outside of center city as it "would be nice if my guests were all together" . I realized right then and there this woman was trying to trick or bully me out of the 8 rooms I had left. I lost it and decided there was no way I wanted her to have my business. In the end this awful person wins - I'm sure she barely hung up with me before her inn was booked with doctors for the conference. I get it , she needs to make money like the rest of us, but I am 2.5 months out and have NOWHERE for my guests to stay . I implore you do not do business with this woman.

  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled with family
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9  Thank Nora F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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