Delightful! In Petaluma, California
This 140-year-old, Parisian style hotel, was full of surprises! Don discovered the place 4 years ago and loved it. He booked it for us, this past July.
I think I had the proper response when we pulled up to the front. "Wow! This is totally charming! So much cuter than the website photos!" I was ready for a trip to Paris!
We arrived at 2:15, on a Monday. Don drove us around to the curious parking lot in back. We were early, so there were no other cars during our parking adventure.
We pulled in, next to the little blue and white sign. The figureinabed image, was very European! Then Don headed under the carport, (made of solar panels) and aimed for one of the yellow chains, hanging on the blue fence. This kept the parking orderly, for later when more cars arrived.
Toddler Near the Airstream!
"Watch out!" I warned Don, when I spotted a small child on the pavement, near a pair of Airstreams. (We could have booked one of those fun trailers!)
I alerted Don when that I spotted another toddler! Or was it the same one? They seemed to be popping up, like Munchkins in Oz.
Dad and Kiddos
Actually the tiny twins were not in danger. Their very serious looking, young dad, was the third Munchkin to appear. He herded them up, then greeted us near the blue picket fence.
The Dad/host seemed to be the only one in charge at that moment. We offered to come back later, since we'd arrived early. But he motioned for us to come along. He guided us past another Airstream and a Bocce Ball court. We followed him and his toddler twins, in a side door.
As soon as we stepped inside, I could not wipe the silly smile off my face! Don had set this stay up because he knew I'd love it. I swear this hotel was made for me.
I'd gotten excited weeks earlier, when I saw the photos on the hotel's website. But when I saw the bold mix of classy antiques and whimsical curiosities, I was blown away! School desks, chandeliers, mannequins...! The website needs to be updated. This was way cooler!
Dining & Music Room?
I followed our host, while glancing into the room off to the left. I tripped over my feet as took in all the fun decor. What a table! What was with those large, colorful framed prints?
I saw a piano and another antique instrument, with keys. I love old instruments. What warm and worn, wooden floors and such modern lighting!
Don and the Tots
There was so much to take in, but I had to make sure I didn't trip over the kiddos either. Oh my, they were so incredibly adorable, trying to keep up with their daddy.
The little girl followed our host into the office, but her brother was a little slower, since he was busy dragging an orange cone over to Don. Such a good helper!
Cafe and Front Entrance
We followed into the office, but I kept peering out, towards the front of the building. I could see the cafe tables, where we'd have breakfast in the morning.
There was light coming in through the front door entrance, near a huge framed smiling face. Oh, I couldn't wait to explore.
While we checked in, Daddy scooped up the kids and placed them in a double stroller. At one point the little boy stood and nearly tipped the stroller, trying to get to something breakable. I quickly distracted with a game. I used to be good at that. But it was hard to compete with the playful surroundings.
I tried to imagine what it would be like to be 18 months old, running around this magical place, with all the bright colors... and all the antique toys! What a crazy collection of gnomes! Then I wondered about being a parent in a place like this! Whew! Exhausting.
To the Stairs
Our host grabbed our key and gave us a quick tour. Then he headed briskly towards the front door, with the little ones toddling behind.
I spotted the narrow, curling staircase, near the front door. I wondered how the tots would handle that.
The dad didn't skip a beat. He scooped up a twin in each arm and zipped up those stairs.
I held that slick white railing and huffed my way up. I wasn't even carrying luggage. (which was tricky later)
I reached the second floor, just in time to see the trio at our door!
I'm afraid I didn't write down our host's name. It was French though. He showed us a few things in the room and asked if we had questions. I mostly wanted to ask about the cute kids and if he was an owner... but we'd taken enough of his time.
Our welcoming committee left moments later and I grinned at our room! Was that a purple chalk board? I'm not sure. I didn't find chalk.
Yes, the room was small, but it worked perfectly for us. The little lamps and tables were fun and functional. The quaint cafe chairs & table, felt like Paris.
The TV was almost too large for the space, but I won't complain. I appreciated the reminder sign, to keep volume down in later hours.
I made sure we got our goose turned on. I heard that every room had one.
I took a good look at the pillow and smiled. "Let's do!"
French Words & Colors
Our room had at least 3 large framed prints. They totally amused me. I could have practiced my French with the print, Signaux De Danger.
I loved the blue doors and the red accents here and there. The colors and words of France, were everywhere. Even our "privacy sign" on the door was in French.
A sliding blue door, opened to the bathroom. The little sink and grand mirror felt European. The bath products were attractive, in blue bottles. The hairdryer even managed to look cute, hanging in a tasteful bag.
I loved the retro tile floor and the mini claw footed, red tub and surprise skylight!
I found a tinier surprise on the roll of toilet paper. A cupcake sticker!
There were surprise duckies in the bottom of the tub. I used just little of the bottled bubble bath, in the smallish tub. Very cute!
Narrow Halls, Big Art
After admiring the room a bit, I took off to explore! The upstairs had a couple narrow halls. I believe there are over a dozen guest rooms, but not totally sure.
The halls and many of the spaces were filled with the most intriguing vintage prints!
I wanted to study each one for hours.
It turns out that these posters were really used for studies. Children used them in French schools, in the 1950's. They were tools for observation, vocabulary... problem solving. I love that kind of learning!
Connected to The Metro
I always love the exploring part of our hotel stays. As I wandered the colorful rooms of The Metro, I felt like I was connected to every whimsical item. Every curious displayed item! Out of all 265 hotels that I've blogged about, The Metro Hotel pleases the kid side of me, more than any other.
I grew up with antique furniture and toys. I played school with my sibs, using the antique school desks, in our family room. These desks reminded me.
French Guignol Puppet Theatre
I was fascinated by these two puppet theaters, displayed on the wall.
I did a little Googling and learned that Guignol puppet shows weren't intended for kids originally. There's some fun history there!
I love how hotel adventures lead to eager researching. And I love how this hotel's treasures, reminded me of the treasures I grew up with.
Seeing these Guignol faces made me think about the Punch & Judy bookends that were in my childhood home. And the Sicilian puppet, that our family bought in Italy and now hangs from my mantel. I wish I could have met the owner, because we have similar taste in treasures.
I stepped out to see what I missed outside. I studied the building at different angles. It was built in the 1870's. Oh how I wish there were photos of the family and home, back then. What place!
I had to smile when I spotted the sweet critter-combo near the gate. The chicken in French flag colors, seemed unaware of the little black cat below.
During my exploration, I hunted down the best spot for a glass of wine. Don and I always bring a little wine and to "celebrate" our hotels.
There were tables on the front and side patio. That could have been a good place for our evening toast.
Tea for Two
I looked around inside, for a cozy place to sit and sip.
I loved these two pairs of chairs. But really they didn't look too comfy. Maybe better for sitting up properly, with a cup of tea.
The cafe was empty and there was coffee. We decided to just go for a little cup of caffeine and venture out later for a drink.
Drink & Dining Options Within Walking Distance
If it hadn't been a Monday, a little Peruvian food at Quinuia, would have been lovely. The green painted restaurant, was on the property and it looked wonderful, when I peeked in the windows. Closed on Monday.
We ended up having dinner at McNear's, in the old 1886 building.
Before that we wandered on foot and found a good brewery and some fun scenery. All was in walking distance from the hotel. That is a huge perk.
By 9:30, our hotel was quiet.
The lighting was so pretty from the street. I think I heard the twins in one of the rooms, when I stepped inside. Do they live here? Who is the actual owner? I heard that a French woman bought the hotel in 2010 and that she's passionate about filling the place with the treasures, she finds on trips home to Paris. Oh how I would have loved meeting her.
In the morning I expected to find the cafe, as quiet as the hotel felt at night. But guests had come out of the woodwork and filled the tables in 2 rooms.
A sweet woman greeted from behind her red mask. I spotted a cooked eggs and sweet breads, set out near the gnomes.
There was a Nespresso maker for fancier coffee, as well a drip coffee. The woman was very busy cooking up crepes on a sizzling grill.
We found Nutella, jam, fresh berries, whipped cream and butter for our crepes. Then we found a nice table, near an amusing old highchair holding a lunch box. Oh my eyes were so busy!
I was sorry that check out was so easy. There was a little wooden box near the front door for our keys.
I said good bye to our bell hop. I really wanted to say good bye to those sweet twins. They were no where to be seen.
What a sweet Parisian boutique B&B experience! No corny Americana stuff. (Then again, Airstreams & flamingos...) But I really did feel like I had taken a quick trip to Europe. And that was a treat, since I'm not doing that until the pandemic is over.
I loved the exterior, with all the blues and reds, and its 140-year-old charm. But the interior was perfection to me. There was quirky, whimsical charm in every corner. But this place did not have random "old stuff" hanging from the ceiling or spilling off shelves. No dusty old thrift store junk. Every piece fit perfectly and I'm pretty sure every item had a story. I love my own treasures and I appreciate a place that shares theirs!
My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!