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Ballard Inn
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Reviews (184)
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All reviewswine countrywine tastinglos olivossanta ynezbrown roomrooms are individually decoratedcold buffetfreshly baked cookieseach afternoonnoise factortasting roomwe've stayedqueen bedyogurtchef budifireplaceannex
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Reviewed 6 April 2012

This is a beautiful inn and very peaceful. Each room is individually decorated: we especially liked the gas fireplace in the room, as it's quite romantic but also easy to use. The beds are comfortable and the soaps smell wonderful. A delicious cooked-to-order breakfast is included and it's only open to guests of the hotel. Plan on having dinner there, too, as it's magnificent, a really tremendous meal.

However, plan on spending an additional $50 or so on taxes and the 10% service charge. They do tell you about the charge on their site, but it's a surprise when a $275 room, turns into more than $330. Santa Barbara County has a 10% tax, there's a local $2 tax, and then the 10% service charge to give gratuities to the staff. I think those gratuities should be included.

Also, there's not really anything to do in Ballard. You'll want to drive into nearby Solvang for shopping and restaurants.

Remember to check their website for specials, as you can usually get golf included or some other deal.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank DCKathy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 March 2012

Just spent 3 nights in the Vineyard Suite at the Ballard Inn and had a wonderful time. We didn't really know what to expect as Ballard is the tinest town that doesn't appear on all maps. It's actually in the perfect location for wine tasting in 3 main regions of the Santa Ynez area...less than 10 minutes drive to Solvang, or Los Olivos or Santa Ynez. There must be over 60 wineries within a 30 minute drive from Ballard so the biggest challenge is which ones to visit! Inb Los Olivos, you can walk two blocks of the Grand Avenue with a dozen+ tasting rooms side by side -- a very efficient way if you're pressed for time or don't want to drive, although without the fun of visiting actual wineries.

The Vineyard Suite is very charming with furniture that looks as if it were made from grape vines....much more comfortable than that sounds. The room has a king bed and small glass dining table with 2 chairs in a nice size room. Interestingly, the basin is in an "antique" vanity in the main room, outside of the shower and toilet room. It works.

I peeked in a couple of the other rooms and they're all decorated quite uniquely, but all very nice. Some of the suites had a fireplace, but no dining table. Note that all the sleeping rooms are on the second floor...and there is no elevator. There are also no tv's in the rooms -- a smallish set is hidden in an armoire in the public sitting area.

The included breakfasts are a step above a normal b&b, with 4-5 selections on the menu. It's basically a small restaurant with fruit, juices, cereals and muffins set out. Each guest then orders a hot dish. There were two special breakfasts offered each morning.

There's nightly turn-down service with freshly-baked cookies left on the pillows. At 4:30 - 5:30 daily, there's complimentary wine and finger-food in the living room where it's fun to meet the other guests in the inn.

We had dinner in the dining room one evening and were impressed with the cuisine. The chef is originaly from Indonesia but he's had a lot of West Coast experience which results in an interesting menu with an international flavor. It's one of the top local restaurants and non-hotel guests drop by just for dinner; you definitely need a reservation. The restaurant is closed on Monday and Tuesday, which sent us out searching for other outlets. There is a great selection of excellent restaurants nearby -- our favorites being Don Carlitos and Trattorio Grappolo.

I'd have no reservations recommending the Ballard Inn for couples. It generally seems to host an older clientele and would definitely not be appropriate for families with children.

Room Tip: The rooms facing Baseline Street have a little traffic noise in the morning but Ballard is such a small town that there are not many cars going through. Although our room faced the street, there are other rooms facing the parking lot that I imagine would be even quieter. Each room has a distinctly unique decor so be sure to check out all the rooms before making a choice.
  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank HoffersHawaii
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 March 2012

The Ballard Inn was an oasis between Los Angeles and San Francisco. We missed the restaurant -- closed the night we were there -- though the breakfast the next morning certainly indicated it to be of superior quality. The staff were very friendly and helpful in everything from booking a restaurant to explaining and starting the gas fire. We were very happy to be outside the main building -- unlike other inns we have visited, we did not discern that we had a lot in common with the other guests.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled on business
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Thank winst0n4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 February 2012

We visited Ballard Inn many years ago, right after it opened. It is still as lovely as it was then - if anything it is better as they've added nice touches over the years. It's clean and comfortable and has great public spaces. The breakfasts are nicely prepared and served by very friendly and accommodating staff.

Their appetizer and wine spread in the evening is a wonderful treat and a chance to share wine discoveries with other like-minded travelers, since this is a wonderful wine area.

The only complaint I have is that the room we were in had 2 very uncomfortable chairs and no work area to place a computer (they do have free wi-fi) and not many areas to lay out your toiletries and other items. There was adequate lighting which is always a pet peeve of mine.

If you're looking for first class, this is the place.

Room Tip: Don't take Jarado if you can avoid it. Alamo Pintado also had uncomfortable chairs and a very stiff settee (our friends had that room)
  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with friends
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Thank Discerningwon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 February 2012

This was our third visit to the Ballard Inn. We stayed in the "western room" which was on the lower end of their room rate costs, and really enjoyed it. We dined at the restaurant downstairs, which was excellent. We will definitely be back.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank landarch1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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