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Trip Report: Burlington's Willis Graves Bed and Breakfast Inn (near Cincinnati, OH)

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Absolute Perfection, Exceeds all Expectations!

I do not even know where to begin, and from the length of my normal reviews you may note that I am usually not short on words. Burlington’s Willis Graves Bed and Breakfast Inn is perfection; there is just no other way to say it. Other innkeepers should take notes from Nancy and her team…

(Note: We have stayed here twice in the last two months. The following review combines both experiences.)

Before I book a bed and breakfast, I always check two popular travel sites for previous guest reviews or posts and then I visit the inn’s website. If they do not include photographs of the rooms and bathrooms, I am generally a bit leery to stay there. My policy is that the more information I can “see” to know what the inn will be like, the better. Burlington’s Willis Graves Bed and Breakfast has one of the best websites I have visited. They cover all the essentials: room types and descriptions, information about the area, amenities, and breakfast. It is organized, easy to navigate, and displays crisp, clear photographs. It is a breeze to check availability and make your reservation online. If only all bed and breakfasts advertised this well!

On both visits, Nancy greeted me at the door when I arrived. She showed me around the house, noting where breakfast would be served and where to find beverages and movies should we need them during our stay. She also showed me a covered back porch where guests can relax. It is furnished with outdoor furniture and would have been a great place to read a book if the weather had been better. When we went up to our room, I received excellent instruction on the air-jet tub and media equipment.

The first time we visited, we stayed in Thomas’ Room and on our second visit Nancy gave us a complimentary upgrade to the William Rouse Retreat on the second floor of the log cabin. Like the rest of the main house, both rooms are beautifully decorated with antiques. The pictures on the website accurately depict the beauty and detail of both guest rooms; if anything the rooms exceeded our expectations after viewing the pictures online. You will arrive to warm chocolate chip cookies and bottled water in your room. The bedding in both rooms is top notch and includes fine linens, triple sheeting over a light down-type comforter, and lovely quilts. We certainly felt pampered in these comfortable and luxurious beds.

Thomas’ Room is definitely smaller than the William Rouse Retreat. If you are only staying for one night or need to stick to a specific budget, I would not hesitate in booking Thomas’ Room. We plan to stay there again during future business trips. If you are visiting for more than one night, celebrating a special occasion, or plan to spend considerable time in your room, I would definitely recommend the William Rouse Retreat or one of the other suites instead. There is a microwave and small refrigerator in the William Rouse Retreat. Both rooms have desks and wireless Internet for those who need workspace. Since we both tend to work on the road, we liked the couch in the William Rouse Retreat as it provided plenty of additional space for my husband to spread out with some of his paperwork while I worked across the room.

Can I have Nancy design my bathrooms someday? Seriously, both bathrooms are fantastic. The bathroom in Thomas’ Room includes a one person air-jet tub (two people can fit, if neither are too tall), a beautiful Kohler pedestal sink with large sides for toiletries, and plush towels and robes. For the ultimate in bathroom luxury, head on over to the William Rouse Retreat. This bathroom is gorgeous! It includes a huge two person air-jet tub, steam shower (with great water pressure), a beautiful sink with plenty of room for toiletries (or you can store them inside the large mirror over the sink), and plush towels and robes. Both rooms include travel sized toiletries and a hairdryer, in case you forget something you might need.

Unbelievable! I wish all establishments were this clean. The attention to detail shows when it comes to housekeeping. The rooms and common areas are spotless. Nancy and her team personally iron all of the linens that go on the beds. Saran wrap covers the glasses in each room, so you know it has not been used and has not collected any dust in between guests.

Depending on your needs, location may be the only “downside” to this property. Burlington is a bit outside of Cincinnati, so you may have a longer drive to get to attractions or restaurants if you need to be in the city. Both times we have found places to eat within 10-15 minutes (there are other options closer). That said, I would stay here in a second over any hotel accommodations in Cincinnati and just commute into town. It’s that special.

One of the reasons this place is so special is because of the gracious hospitality shown by the hosts. Nancy is warm and friendly, definitely adding to the charm of this place. Ask her about the renovation work they have done on the property if you enjoy that type of thing. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing about their experiences and looking at the pictures that chronicled their journey (the albums are located in the dining room). I had the pleasure of meeting Margaret and Bob on my first visit as well. They are all kind and courteous hosts. You will not want for anything during your stay. They have really thought of everything for you, so that when you get there you can focus on enjoying your visit.

Breakfast is an experience. The tables are exquisitely set with white tablecloths, cloth napkins, and fine china. You have your choice of assorted juices, along with coffee and tea. Nancy provides a long list of options for your meal; you will have a difficult time deciding what to eat! All breakfasts begin with fresh fruit. Both times we have had a delightful medley of fresh berries. My husband has ordered the Orange Marmalade Stuffed French Toast on both occasions and he gave it rave reviews. The first time I had the breakfast pie, which was extraordinary. I was able to print the recipe from their website but I have not attempted it on my own yet. The second visit I tried the waffles with a side of sausage/potato casserole, both were terrific. You will definitely experience a gourmet breakfast at this establishment, and it all includes beautiful plate presentation. Plan to skip lunch, you will not be hungry.

In our experience, the type of attention to detail we encounter here is beyond compare. They have created such a comfortable and classy environment. You will not want to leave!