My boyfriend and I (don't be fooled; we are both 50-somethings!) were looking for a dog-friendly motel in Columbus (my hometown) for our trip to to attend my niece's graduation from MSU. I soon learned that options were limited and finally googled "bed and breakfast Columbus Ms", which linked me to A Painted Lady. Though not optimistic about such an elegant inn welcoming my 67-pound Australian Shepherd, complete with a long, full coat, my boyfriend made the call and was pleasantly surprised by Jennifer's response. Though A Painted Lady was booked during the dates we'd be there (and is not suitable for dogs), Jennifer described her other property, Moon Lake Guest House, which is a block away, had an available suite for the dates requested, offers a sweet lil back yard (not fenced!) for convenient dog-walking, and the rate is comparable to an ordinary, unequipped, bare, dog-hating motel-chain suite. We crossed our fingers and made the reservation for May 15-20, 2014.
Though we arrived later than we'd planned (after 9:00 pm), Jennifer promptly and cheerfully met us at the guesthouse and showed us around The Baby Doll Suite (named for and designed after the Tennessee Williams play). She is so enthusiastic when telling her guests about each room that it is very clear she loves what she does. I have to mention that though I'd described Ace to her on the phone, for one teeny-tiny fraction of a second, she seemed just a lil bit taken aback by his size and asked me if he would be okay, which I interpreted as concern that she'd just allowed a bull into her treasured china shop, and I certainly couldn't blame her for wondering. I quickly assured her that he would not chew anything (he didn't), bark (he didn't), climb on the beautiful WHITE linens (he didn't), make long-distance phone calls (only from my cell!), potty inside (he'd never!), and that I would pick up after him outside (always). I felt obligated to warn her that he probably would shed (he did), and she said she would take care of that with her routine and thorough vacuuming. As there wasn't so much as a speck of dirt on the floor anywhere, I knew this was the case. The refrigerator was stocked with milk, juice, fruit, yogurt, coffee creamer, canned Cokes (y'all may call them "sodas" as they weren't all actually Coke-flavored.....), and water. A tray with snacks (peanut butter crackers, granola bars, Cracker Jacks, etc.) was displayed on the bar. Jennifer presented us with a homemade quiche for the next day's breakfast (we merely had to pop it into the oven for half an hour), made sure we had her contact information, then left us to explore.
There are three rooms. The front room has a twin-sized bed as well as a sofa, a tv, a DVD player, and tasteful furnishings and decorations, all with "The Baby Doll" theme. The kitchen has a refrigerator, stove/oven, bar with barstools, washer and dryer, Keurig coffeemaker, electric water kettle, pots, pans, dishes, flatware, coffee cups, glasses, utensils, towels, potholders, and abounding charm. There is an area in the corner that is perfect for dog food and water bowls. The bedroom is not spacious, but having to walk single-file at the foot of the bed rather than side by side (I usually prefer solo trips to the restroom anyway) is a small price to pay for a plump, comfy king-sized canopy bed with a top-of-the-line mattress set, luxurious bedding, a romantic net draping and several fluffy pillows, a dressing table and chair, a nightstand complete with fresh flowers, an armoire that cleverly disguises a very modern tv and DVD player, and a walk-in closet that smells good and includes an armoire, plenty hangers, a comfy bathrobe, an iron, and an ironing board. The restroom is modern while at the same time plain enough not to spoil the historic theme, immaculate, and complete with most toiletries you'll need during your stay. Just bring your own toothbrush, makeup, and razor! Jennifer and her daughter have stayed in each suite she offers to be sure nothing is lacking, and they thought of everything, including an ample amount of fluffy towels, washcloths, a soft, fuzzy shower rug, heaven-scented soaps, travel-sized shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and bath gel (full-sized bottles are located in the closet), cotton balls, Q-Tips, and a blow dryer. The hot water is plentiful and the water pressure is strong.
Though I believe Jennifer has a partner and perhaps other staff, most of our business was handled personally by her, and not once did she keep us waiting. She responded to phone calls and texts immediately and professionally. Though there are details that must be taken care of every day (fresh linens, housekeeping, supplies, groceries, etc.), we were never inconvenienced by them as Jennifer always tried to handle everything while we were out. Our first day, we briefly summarized our plans and she managed to work around our schedule. She asked for specific items we would like to eat during our stay, and when we returned later, most of what we'd asked for had magically appeared. I can't begin to describe the freedom I felt at not having to run to the grocery store, not even once, from our arrival Thursday night until our departure Tuesday.
An added benefit of staying in the guesthouse rather than the "main" B&B is that we had the option of walking the block to A Painted Lady for breakfast each morning or staying in and having whatever Jennifer had delivered the previous evening. We chose the latter four of our five mornings and were delighted with something different each day: a homemade quiche that needed only to be warmed up, pastries from a local family-owned bakery, yogurt and fruit, and Krispy Kreme doughnuts (along with another quiche since the first one was so good!). We couldn't resist the lure of a leisurely breakfast at A Painted Lady at least once, and the fare included fruit/granola/yogurt parfaits followed by Jennifer's famous sausage cheese grits casserole and of course coffee and juice. We enjoyed a tour of the beautifully restored and decorated Victorian home highlighted by stories of Mr. Burris, for whom the house was built in 1890. Again, Jennifer became very animated when talking about her beautiful house, and clearly loves sharing its secrets. During and after the tour, Jennifer patiently took pictures of us in the house, on the porch, in the garden, etc.
Moon Lake Guest House is a beautiful and historical home that was built in 1929 and has been lovingly divided into suites and tastefully furnished and decorated. I am pleased to report we did not see any bugs of any kind. As someone who has a keen sense of smell, I notice scents (both good and bad) everywhere I go. The Baby Doll Suite greeted me with the not-unpleasant smell of aged hardwood floors and something similar to line-dried sheets. I couldn't resist inhaling deeply each time I entered just so I could enjoy the natural smell of old-fashioned goodness. There are scented plug-ins throughout the suite that capture your sense of smell after a minute or so, and the bedroom closet is particularly aromatic, though not overwhelming. The entire suite is immaculate to the core, not "showy" clean or surface-only clean. I was somewhat concerned that the suite is equipped with two window-unit air conditioners rather than a central unit (remember that I am 50 so I am hot most of the time!), but we found the temperature to be comfortable at all times of the day, and I believe we turned one of the units on only once (and very briefly) while we were there. If pressed to remark about anything at all that was lacking, the only thing that finally comes to mind is there is no microwave, a fact that Jennifer mentioned to me the very first time I talked to her. My boyfriend travels frequently for his job, and he can be...........well, let's just say that his lodging and travel standards are very high, and he has no problem whatsoever in alerting management if his comfort is inconvenienced in any small way. More than once, I have known him to check into a motel, ask to be moved to a different (cleaner, quieter, larger, etc.) room, and then promptly check out if not satisfied. Not only did he have nothing negative to say about The Baby Doll Suite, but he actually pointed out several of its appeals and mentioned that the bed was so comfy he'd slept several straight hours each night, which is not usual for him. The one teeny-tiny lil hiccup he encountered was difficulty accessing the wi-fi, and one text message to Jennifer resulted in someone arriving within minutes to get him connected.
As much as I enjoyed my niece's graduation and visiting with family and friends each day, I truly regret that we did not have more time to simply relax and enjoy everything this suite had to offer.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Enjoy Southern Hospitality in this Queen Anne Victorian home located just one block from historic downtown Columbus Ms. Voted as One of the Best Places to Stay by Readers Choice Awards. Pillowtop mattresses, gourmet teas and coffees, homemade cookies and cakes, flat screen TVs, English toiletries, plush towels and robes, rocking chairs and fountains, rose gardens, on site gift shoppe are just a few of our amenities. Enjoy breakfast in our courtyard or under the crystal gas chandelier in our formal dining room. Come see why guests call us the True Spirit of Mississippi! ... more less