A romantic inn with a high level of personal service, extravagant setting and a gourmet breakfast—if this sounds like your list of expectations for lodging on the Pacific Coast, I know where you can find it. Step inside the garden gate of Mill Rose Inn, a European-themed bed and breakfast in Half Moon Bay, California and let the romance begin.
On a recent coastal California sports car road trip, my husband and I experienced the charms of Mill Rose Inn when Select Registry, Distinguished Inns of America invited us to try the property. The moment I spotted the gazebo in the front garden, overflowing with gigantic pink hydrangeas, I was hooked.
Our romantic accommodations in the Renaissance Room offered a sitting room with bay window. The separate bedroom included a king-size bed placed near a gas-burning fireplace. On the nightstand, a note next to the chocolate-filled candy dish wished us sweet dreams. Across the room, a personal welcome note was propped against glass decanters of sherry and brandy on a breakfast table by the window.
Gilbert and Soames toiletries provided a luxurious touch in the bathroom, where the claw foot tub looked inviting. A mini-refrigerator was hidden away underneath the vanity, filled with complementary beverages, including a carafe of white wine, beer, soft drinks and bottled water.
On a tour of the other 5 bedrooms at Mill Rose Inn, I noticed that each one included an extravagance of wallpaper, antique furniture and floral decorations. The exuberant decor spilled outside to lush displays of flowering plants in both the front and back garden where seating areas provided a comfortable setting to enjoy the colorful view.
A jacuzzi in the back garden offered guests the ultimate in a romantic, private retreat. We placed our names in the sign-up book guaranteeing an hour all to ourselves. Wearing the plush robes and slippers provided in our room, we walked out to the jacuzzi building. Decorated with miniature lights on the outside, special night lighting on the inside set the mood for a hot soak. From the tub, a garden highlighted by a soothing fountain provided visual interest.
Ideally located in Half Moon Bay, Mill Rose Inn is close enough to explore the town’s shops, restaurants and galleries on foot. And, the beach is just a 10-minute walk down the road. Hosts Terry and Eve Baldwin, long-time Half Moon Bay residents, also offer touring suggestions to their guests. When it’s time for a break, choose a DVD from the extensive movie collection, cataloged with short reviews, for watching in your room.
Before walking to your dinner reservation, which the Baldwins are happy to arrange, enjoy wine and cheese in the dining room, parlor or garden. Be sure to stop back after dinner to sample the homemade cake and cookies from the complementary dessert bar.
During our stay, we woke to a rainy spring morning. My husband flicked the switch to light the fireplace when he got up to make our morning coffee. Soon, I was sitting in bed sipping my warm brew while watching the dancing flames from the firelight. A practice that I highly recommend.
Later, we joined other guests in the dining room for the hot, gourmet breakfast. The meal began with fresh-squeezed juice, fruit plate, muffin and champagne. An elegant hot dish, served on china plates, completed the breakfast. Of course we also had the option to dine in our room for a more private experience.
A night at Mill Rose Inn is like staying in another place and time with hosts who’ve thought of everything. Romantic indeed.
If you go:
Mill Rose Inn
615 Mill Street, Half Moon Bay, CA
Photos courtesy Alan and Donna Hull
Review by Donna L. Hull, My Itchy Travel Feet, The Baby Boomer’s Guide to Travel