What We Love
- Bucolic escape less than an hour from New York City, two hours from Philadelphia
- Award-winning seasonal cuisine from executive chef Corey W. Heyer
- Wine Spectator–recognized wine cellar and sommelier Terri A. Baldwin
What To Know
- Free WiFi
- No two rooms are the same
- The inn is better suited for couples
- Popular with business travelers during the workweek
- The three-story inn has no elevator
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
A charming throwback to the turn of the 20th century, when New York’s captains of industry built lavish estates in the Somerset Hills, this lovely 1907 inn affords a slice of country charm. The Edwardian parlor, anchored by a marble fireplace, sets the scene for the 20 upstairs guestrooms, which are reached by a wooden staircase that has railings and balusters from the original Plaza Hotel in New York City.
Bed and Bath
Each of the guestrooms is individually decorated in a style inspired by the mansions that made these hills famous. For instance, Room 5 is dubbed the Westover and done in a French estate style in honor of the home of the same name built by descendants of Martha Washington and currently owned by Jeffery B. Haines, the interior designer who oversaw the inn’s renovation. Room 8 is named for and decorated in the style of Timberfield, a mansion owned by journalist and publisher Malcolm Forbes. Regardless of which room you book, expect vaulted ceilings and a country style, with antique furniture, four-poster beds and generously sized work desks. Bathrooms are all recently renovated and spotless; some have tubs, while others only showers.
The inn hangs its hat on its award-winning restaurant, and for good reason. Executive chef Corey W. Heyer’s progressive American cuisine mixes farm fresh produce and meat with modern preparations. Highlights include seared Hudson Valley foie gras with apple cider donuts and pumpkin puree, and roulade of Griggstown pheasant with foie gras, bacon, black truffle, chanterelle mushrooms and Brussels sprouts. Sommelier Terri Baldwin oversees the inn’s impressive 14,000-bottle wine cellar, and her picks pair perfectly with Heyer’s creations.
In the Area
Duffers should pop into the United States Golf Association Museum, home to an extensive collection of artifacts from the great players of the past and current stars such as Annika Sorenstam and Tiger Woods. Don’t miss the museum’s Pynes Putting Course, which recreates the renowned Himalayas putting course at St. Andrews, in Scotland. The nearby Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary is a birder’s paradise where more than 145 bird species can be spotted, including the Mississippi kite, the belted kingfisher and Cooper’s hawk.
How to Get There
In order to attend a party at 4pm, I asked for early check in, on Fathers Day Weekend, and without hesitation, accommodated and upgraded to Room #2!! A beautiful room, at the top of the stairs, overlooking the front door. Everything was high, especially the bed, this specific room is designed for tall people. Apparently, every guest room is a bit different.The only important fact to note: is the old fashioned staircase, and no elevator. This property would not be a good choice for anyone with difficulties climbing up and down stairs.
The Bernards Inn is venerable and delivers the feel of a small elegant boutique hotel, which is the heart of its charm. During our entire stay, the front desk staff, and management could not have been more helpful, attentive and happy. They quickly learned our names and also delivered on a couple of unique requests we had - so much so that we even tipped the front desk staff as we departed. We declined their offers to help with luggage up and down the stairs. The housekeepers did their jobs well (we tipped them, too, of course!), but they could communicate better if the Inn offered them English lessons. Though our beds were turned down each night, the Inn does not go over the top on the pamper factor and delivers just the right amount of prompt attention. We had wine and light food at the bar and enjoyed the piano player and her singing. Our room was generous in size and had plenty of electrical outlets for our electronics. Our in-room heating was satisfactory and, we think, likely better than having to call the front desk for temperature changes - something that most guests have to do. Some detail in the rooms might be refreshed, but that did not detract from our enjoyment. Bernardsville allows no on-street parking overnight, so the hotel parking is a free lot 1/2 block away - not bad even during a time of record cold in the area. We would return in a heartbeat if we ever have reason to travel to the area again (from Southern California). Very nice choice for a weekend getaway for those who live closer.
I stayed at this hotel last weekend for 2 nights. We hosted a lovely dinner on Friday night in the wine cellar— very good food and service in a nice setting. We also had a nice brunch on Sunday. Generally the staff was friendly and helpful,although we found the banquet manager supercilious and difficult. We understand that the rooms vary considerably, but ours was very disappointing. We had no control of the thermostat and the windows leak cold air. The curtains did not close completely and the blinds were inadequate to darken the room. The carpet and the chair in our bedroom were stained. We only had a shower in our “suite “. The bed was rock-hard. The room desperately needed a refresh. All for well over $300 per night. The chocolates and cookies were a nice touch, though. Totally mispriced for what they offer.