A Victorian Bed and Breakfast in the Heart of Santa Rosa
Convenience, comfort and charm come together at Casa Bello, a 19th century, Victorian-style bed and breakfast located in downtown Santa Rosa.
The home is nestled at the entrance of the city’s historic Cherry Street neighborhood. The majestic structure was built in the 1870s, and is made from redwoods grown in Northern Sonoma County. A blue exterior, red door, and picket fence give it unmatched charisma, which bring on an immediate sense of coziness. Visitors fawn over the ornate moldings, high ceilings, and Victorian garden. The interior is just as elegant as the exterior: stained glass windows, and art — some of which was created by local artists such as Alana Ciena Tilman — adorn the walls.
The two-story bed and breakfast is managed and decorated by Eric Fraser, a native of Detroit, Michigan, who helped purchase the home two years ago for the Fraser-Marroquin family. After a summer of renovations, he said, Casa Bello welcomed its first guests in the Fall of 2015. In addition to Fraser, Casa Bello’s gracious hosts include friend Mario, brother Paul, local artist Alana, and Bello — a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Pekingese mix — for whom the home is named.
Bello’s exceptionally affable hosting skills include morning snuggles, and singing along to such instruments as the accordion and harmonica. With this cuteness overload, it’s easy to see why he’s the king of the castle.
While the home gets it’s name from the friendly canine, the house itself was an inspiration for Fraser to open a bed and breakfast. “This beautiful Victorian from the 1870s really called out to us to fashion a business from within,” he said. In addition to the newly formed BnB, Fraser operates several online-based businesses supplying commercial print and promotional products to organizations internationally, “Because we engage in business with people we don’t often see, it’s a splendid balance to have interesting and worldly guests stay with us. It is our pleasure to be of service,” he added.
While he enjoys traveling all over the world, he was particularly drawn to Sonoma County. “Santa Rosa is an amazing spot,” he said. Fraser further explained that around the time Casa Bello was built, a famed horticulturist, Luther Burbank said of his working farm a couple blocks away: “I firmly believe, from what I have seen, that this is the chosen spot of all this earth as far as Nature is concerned.” Among the city’s many claim to fames, Santa Rosa was also one of Alfred Hitchcock’s favorite places to film, and it the adopted home of Peanuts’ cartoonist Charles M. Schulz.
Of course, the rolling hill lines, weather and concentration of world class food and drink aren’t bad either, as Sonoma is home to some pretty spectacular views.
“If you want more, so much is available with just a short drive like the Marin Headlands, Tahoe region, Yosemite, State of Jefferson, Mendo/Humboldt/Trinity, and of course, San Francisco,” Fraser said. For this reason, Casa Bello has adopted the motto, “Right here, in the middle of everything,” even though they are also considering the slogan, “All Dreamers Welcomed.”
So far, Casa Bello has welcomed celebrity chefs, business executives, and families. The second floor hosts three rooms and a shared bathroom (with a delightful selection of organic body products) that can accommodate just about every type of traveler. Individuals or groups of up to six are welcome to reserve rooms, which include the King Room, the Queen Room and the Prince Room. Each room can be locked for security, and comes complete with incredibly comfortable bedding, windows and plenty of space.
While the hosts live downstairs, common spaces include the kitchen and its amenities, and a covered patio where guests can enjoy the serenity of a fountain, a smoke, a card game, or coffee and a croissant in the morning.
Speaking of breakfast… when guests awake, they are lured down stairs with the smell of fresh coffee or tea, and treated to fresh fruit, mouthwatering pastries, and friendly conversation.
The location of the bed and breakfast is ideal. The home is within walking distance to some of the county’s best food and drink offerings. The Russian River Brewery, for example, is just a few hundred yards away from Casa Bello’s front door. Others destinations within walking distance include highly rated restaurants such as Stark’s Steakhouse, Bistro 29, Best of Burma, County Bench, the Spinster Sisters and Ca’Bianca Ristorante Italiano. “We have over 80 restaurants within 1,000 steps of Casa Bello,” said Fraser, which represent cuisine from over 40 countries.
Whether in town for work or for play, visitors will find themselves in goods hands here. For those in town for work, Casa Bello offers free wifi, is one block from a Fedex Office, and the Sonoma County Fairgrounds are five minutes away. “Probably one of the best kept secrets are the large number of spas, salons, and specialty boutiques just steps from Casa Bello’s door,” Fraser added.
For those who’ve come to explore, Fraser can easily help plan and direct, as he’s a certified Sonoma County Travel Ambassador. He helps to ensure a fruitful trip, and is quick to recommend anything from day excursions to fine wining and dining.
“One of my favorite routes is to send guests along the Russian River to the towering Redwoods of Armstrong Woods, to the scenic overlook where the river meets the ocean and where eagles soar, along the rugged and picturesque Sonoma coastline with an eye out for whales, seals, and birds,” he said, “But whether I send our guests west, east, south, or north they are going to spend a day in paradise.”
For those who stay at Casa Bello, it’s easy to see that it’s much more than a bed and breakfast; it’s an experience. Guests will leave feeling more like friends than visitors.
For more information, visit CasaBello432.com
Leave a Reply