Some people hear “bed and breakfast” and they think of an ornate historic home; others have been disappointed to find their bed-and-breakfast was no more than an average, mundane house in the suburbs that was like staying with relatives.
The truth is bed-and-breakfast inns vary wildly from house to house and from inn to inn, and it makes good sense to do some research on the property you’ll be visiting. We all have our preferences and it’s not hard to find a bed-and-breakfast that will suit your particular tastes. In our case, we’ve always preferred the bed-and-breakfast that is more inn than house, more private than communal. And here are a few of the bed-and-breakfast stays we have enjoyed the most:
Casa Tropicana Inn
If you want to tie in a beautiful Southern California beach with your bed-and-breakfast experience, the Casa Tropicana Inn in San Clemente is the place to go. Situated across the road from a gorgeous beach and San Clemente Pier, Casa Tropicana really couldn’t be in a better location if the main purpose of your getaway is relaxation.
Known as the beach community where former president Richard Nixon had his Western White House, San Clemente is an oceanfront city of red-tile-roof Spanish style homes built with commanding views of the Pacific on land that almost seems like it was created to provide homeowners the best panoramic views on the Southern California coast. Spanish-named streets wind and weave their way down to the waterfront below where one of the most charming areas is the tiny enclave of shops, restaurants and vacation properties next to the San Clemente Pier.
It’s there that you find the Casa Tropicana Inn, a five-story inn that is ideal for couples and fits right in with the Mediterranean motif of this quaint beachfront area. Each of the eight guest rooms is designed with many special attributes that include romantic touches like fireplaces, over-size Jacuzzi tubs, the highest quality linens and bed treatments and cozy robes, as well as more practical amenities such as refrigerators, flat screen televisions, DVD players and high-speed internet. Beyond that, the rooms each have individual amenities such as the ocean views and four-poster bed in the room we enjoyed called the Casita Arena.
It was especially nice to have a second-floor terrace — footsteps from our room — where we could enjoy a cocktail or read a good book with a wonderful beach view in the background.
Although the service in general was excellent, the Casa Tropicana is not where you go to have your innkeeper prepare a gourmet breakfast. In fact, the inn’s breakfast is continental style with pastries, yogurt, orange juice and various snacks available for you anytime in the room. Even wine and champagne were available for us anytime and, unlike most mini-bars, these came at no extra charge.
But gourmet food is not very far away: On the first floor of the inn you’ll find the White Horses Restaurant and Bar which boasts numerous dining awards, including being named the best gourmet restaurant in Orange County. Based on our dinner, we completely agree with the judges.
Our time spent in this beautiful beachfront environment was a feast for the senses – unbelievable views, small markets, sidewalk cafes, long beach walks and upscale shopping only minutes away in downtown San Clemente. Friends who joined us on this getaway also pronounced the Casa Tropicana the ideal couples getaway.