I looked at my wife, and she stared back knowingly, as our youngest son thundered away on the drum kit in his bedroom like a hyperactive gorilla on steroids and the family dog continued to vomit chunks of my brand new Nikes all over the living room carpet.
It was time for a serious getaway; one that involved deluxe accommodations in stress-free surroundings, tables for two, and copious amounts of good wine. But the problem was that we had neither the time nor the excess income to go and hide out in a beach hut in Bora Bora for the next month, as compelling as the thought was.
No, we had but a long weekend to cram in as much downtime, relaxation, and romance as possible.
So my wife called The Bellmoor.
Rehoboth’s Bellmoor Inn is such a perfectly luxurious hideaway for two that I almost don’t want to tell you about it, lest the word gets out and they raise their rates. This locally-owned hotel conveys an elegant, classic feel that’s perfect for unwinding.
The building is rather unassuming from the outside, but from the moment you enter the Bellmoor’s lobby, you’re submerged in the rich scents of fresh flowers and wood oils, warmed by the crackling fireplace, and surrounded with exquisite furnishings and graceful artwork. It’s posh, but not the least bit pretentious, with a refined level of true hospitality. In fact, it feels a whole lot like visiting the home of an old friend for the weekend (albeit a very wealthy old friend). Even a clueless guy like me took note.
My wife and I opted for a Bellmoor Club suite on the adults-only 4th floor, and the spacious quarters were sublime: a king bed with a real mattress, comfy sitting area, gas fireplace, wet bar, refrigerator, and generous marble bath with a huge hydrotherapy tub and walk-in shower. And perhaps most importantly—it was wonderfully quiet. We were already a million miles away, with stress levels steadily receding.
Each suite on the Bellmoor’s 4th floor is uniquely designed and decorated with custom-crafted furnishings and is assigned an actual name rather than a number—a welcome break from the usual corporate hotel chain cloning. Down the hall, we found a leather-chaired sitting room with its own library, along with complimentary snacks, bottled waters, and soft drinks—an additional 4th floor exclusive. All very James Bond, especially since you need a specially-coded keycard to access this level in the elevator.
Another standout of the inn is its full service day spa. I lost my wife through its doors on Saturday morning, and she floated out a few hours later, massaged, pedicured, and smiling like she was on something. Needless to say, she loved it.
The Bellmoor really is everything that a top-notch inn should be, and nothing it shouldn’t. The complimentary breakfast buffet each morning is excellent, with an omelet chef, pastries, fresh fruit, and great coffee that we enjoyed while relaxing in the enclosed, sun-brightened porch area that overlooks the ancient Bald Cyprus and 82-year old Crepe Myrtle out in the garden. There’s even a high tea that’s served every Saturday afternoon at three by the concierge. And speaking of which, the concierge was exemplary. He was a load of fun, and really knew the ins and outs of the best restaurants in the area, right down to their wine lists. Impressive.
Another thing we appreciated is the inn’s location. Now, normally I’m strictly the waterfront type, but the Bellmoor is perfectly able to have you feeling completely removed and light years away from the bustle of a beach town (even in July), and yet you’re just one short block off of main drag Rehoboth Avenue and two blocks from the sand. You really can leave your car for the weekend in the inn’s underground garage and walk just about anywhere you want to go. Case in point, there are several outstanding restaurants that your shoes can take you to in no time at all. (more on that coming soon.)
Restaurants are one of Rehoboth’s strong points. There’s a good mix, and plenty of diverse choices. For relaxed and casual, we like the Tex Mex fare of Dos Locos (208 Rehoboth Ave), with their fantastic homemade guacamole, fresh tortillas, and dee-lish margaritas. Our other local favorite is Fins Fish House & Raw Bar (243 Rehoboth Ave), a cool, laid back seafood joint that specializes in fresh oysters from prime locations like Cape Cod, Prince Edward Island, Chincoteague, and Long Island Sound (the Blue Points alone are worth the trip). If you’re not sure which ones you like, order up the sampler and try them all. They’re marvelous. Fins also features an eclectic beer menu that’s more extensive than many wine lists.
But this weekend was designated as a romantic getaway, so something a bit more upscale was in order. The Cultured Pearl (301 Rehoboth Ave) is a superb Japanese restaurant and sushi bar that has a real flair for both traditional and fusion cuisine, as well as its very own river that runs through the dining room, and live cockatoos in the lobby. We’re big sushi fans, and the Cultured Pearl never disappoints. I’m getting hungry again just writing about it.
And based on the Bellmoor concierge’s recommendation, we chose Eden (23 Baltimore Ave) the following evening for its amazing steaks and loaded wine list with more than 100 different options, including a whopping 40 choices by the glass. The space is cozy and well-appointed, with curtained booths that create a warm, intimate feel. We’ll definitely be back.
After dinner, we arrived back at the inn, both of us quite full and a tad sleepy, and found the bed linens turned down with chocolate truffles resting on each pillow. A nice, yet unexpected touch.
The Bellmoor really is a first-rate getaway in any season, with the comfortable intimacy of a bed & breakfast combined with the luxury and superior service of a world-class hotel. Whenever you need a quick unplugging from the daily grind, you’ll find a sweet reprieve in one of their 78 rooms and suites (GB Tip: avoid the garden cottages). But don’t just take my word for it. The Bellmoor Inn comes highly rated by travel industry icons like Conde Nast Johansen’s, Select Registry, and Zagat, and they also say that a staggering 50% of their business is from repeat customers. Given the unlimited number of accommodation choices at the beach, this speaks volumes.
So, by the end of our getaway, we’d gone from haggard and frazzled to satisfied and smiling. I can’t say that The Bellmoor will allow one to reach supreme transcendental nirvana, but what we did achieve felt pretty good indeed.
The Bellmoor Inn
6 Christian St.
Rehoboth Beach. DE. 19971
Family Friendly? Yes
Pool? Outdoor (2), one is adults-only
Hot Tub? Yes
Wireless Internet Access? Yes-in room and complimentary
Business Services? Yes
Conference Room? Yes
Bar/Restaurant on-site? No
Free Parking? Yes
Fitness Room? Yes