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Delaware

The Bellmoor

The Bellmoor

Address: 6 Christian Street
Phone: 800-425-2355
Web Address: http://www.thebellmoor.com

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There is something oddly romantic about a nearly deserted beach town in the winter. In season, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware is a bustling seaside resort overflowing with vacationers, but off-season, the pace slows and its real charm shows through. Casually browse the shops in town, stroll the isolated beach, enjoy a fireside drink…..just what you need to recharge the batteries.

Seasonal beach towns are not usually known for great accommodations, but the Bellmoor Inn in Reboboth is so special, it is worth the trip at any time of year. In fact, our trip in April, provided the perfect “Quick Escape” from the dreariness of an eastern winter. Even better, the Inn offers some wonderful rates that are a real value even on summer weekends.

THE INN
This is an exquisitely furnished and maintained Inn. The grounds are immaculate with mature plantings and brick and slate patios. A waterfall adds a sense of tranquility and I could just imagine a summer day with the gardens all in bloom and a warm morning breeze off the ocean….what a way to start a day.

It is not easy to achieve elegance and comfort at the same time, but the public rooms here hit the mark. They are wonderfully decorated with stylish furniture, antiques, beautiful accessories and artwork and fresh flowers. The lobby, library, sun porch and game room are as nice to relax in as they are to look at.

THE ROOMS
There are 78 total rooms including 21 suites and 1 cottage. Accommodations range from somewhat modest Garden Rooms at about 260 square feet to Deluxe Rooms at about 425 square feet to the sumptuous Bellmoor Club Suites at 700-1100 square feet. We stayed in the Dagsworthy, one of the Bellmoor Club Suites. At 710 square feet it was wonderfully spacious with a sitting area, a private balcony, fireplace, two person Jacuzzi and a web bar. The pillow top bed had a rattan style head and foot board, luxury linens and a down comforter and pillows. The marble bath had natural toiletries, plump towels and silky robes. Access to the Club level is by a private elevator and there is a beautiful library with a fireplace, lots of reading material and complimentary drinks and snacks.

DINING
Breakfast is the only meal served at the Inn and it is provided by the popular local restaurant Porcini House. The delicious buffet includes fluffy scrambled eggs, smoked bacon, pancakes, oatmeal with vanilla and brown sugar, yogurt, fruit and pastries and muffins. On weekends a chef prepares omelets to order.

For lunch we tried two funky local pubs, The Purple Parrot, a place that brings to mind the wild bars of Key West and the Dogfish Head, known as much for its beer as its food. The Purple Parrot has a very festive atmosphere, good food (Italian roast beef wrap and “crab balls”) and has Shut the Box, one of our favorite games, on every table. Dogfish has “build your own burgers”, great wood grilled pizzas and delicious fish sandwiches and oh yeah….their own beers. They also have some great infused vodkas made in-house.

Before dinner you’ll want to stop at Eden for one of their amazing martinis. Cool place….tables are divided by flowing curtains. Or, try Fins where you can enjoy ½ price Happy Hour cocktails and seafood. For dinner we headed to the renowned Blue Moon restaurant, consistently voted one of the top 10 restaurants in Delaware. Housed in a beautifully restored Victoria beach house, the dining rooms have beige walls, dark hardwood floors and an eclectic collection of colorful modern and beach artwork.

Our meal started with an amuse bouche, flatbread with black olives and white anchovies. For starters there is a good selection of artisanal cheeses or a delicious antipasto, but we shared a wonderful lobster fricassee; a lobster and gnocchi dish. One of our entrees was an outstanding roasted baby rack of lamb with a grain mustard-herb crust, butternut-potato-gruyere lasagna, asparagus, baby carrots and a pinot noir reduction. The other was a squid ink fettuccine shrimp and lobster. We split a terrific crème brulee for dessert and chocolate truffles came with the check. Great meal.


There are about 15 wines by the glass and the wine list itself is compact, but with some good choices. Thankfully most are priced below $50. We had an excellent Pinot Noir, Bouchaine, Carneros 2005 at only $34.
Appetizers: $8-$14, small plates and pastas: $14-$27, entrees: $23-$38. All credit cards. Casual dress. There’s music from Sunday-Thursday from 6-8pm, drag shows on Wednesday nights and karaoke on Thursdays.

SERVICE
The Inn provides a computer center for checking email, free wireless if your brought your laptop, a “Today” flyer with local events, 24 hour coffee and 4pm tea and cookies….all wonderful amenities, but it is the gracious and subtle level of service that makes this experience so enjoyable. The staff is pleasant and friendly and always willing to help. The on-site concierge, Drew, truly relished helping us decide where to have cocktails before dinner, where to eat and what to do after dinner.

RATES
The Garden Room weekend rates range from $145 in winter to $445 in August. Deluxe rooms are $165-$465. The smaller Bellmoor Club Suites range in price from $195-$495 and the larger ones $305-$605. Rates on our room range from $275-$575. There are other options as well.

WHAT OTHERS SAY:
-Member, Select Registry, Small Elegant Hotels.
“You’ll “feel like you aren’t anywhere near the sand” at this “surprisingly elegant” Rehoboth Beach B&B with “immaculate rooms”, including “top-shelf” suites on a child-free “private floor”; sybarites savor the “divine” massages while relaxing at its “upstairs pool” and “wonderful” spa, and surveyors unanimously swoon over the “delightful” complimentary breakfasts “overlooking the garden”; alas, there’s no full-service eatery, so for other meals, ask the “helpful” staff for nearby dining recommendations.” ZAGAT

WHILE YOU ARE THERE
The Inn has two pools, one for families and one for adults and a hot tub for adults. There’s also a fitness center with treadmills, bicycle and Nautilus. The Spa has a full range of treatments including “beach” themed body treatments. My wife said her massage was the best she ever had….and that says a lot. Outside of the Inn, during the season, there is the full range of “beach” activities that you might expect; biking, fishing, boating, swimming, golf (www.delawareseashoregolf.com) and tennis. Off season, there are 100 antique stores in Sussex County, regulated hunting is permitted throughout many parks and on several private tracts-acres of prime territory for waterfowl, deer, and small game (go online at www.fw.delaware.gov) There are vineyards, lighthouses and museums to tour and a few minutes away is a 160 store factory outlet mall.

DRIVING DISTANCE: Washington DC: 2 hours, 35 minutes, Baltimore: 2 hours, 30 minutes, Philadelphia: 2 hours, 13 minutes, New York: 3 hours, 37 minutes.
 

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