Within walking distance to Albuquerque’s Old Town with its historic adobe buildings and Pueblo-Spanish architecture are tree-lined streets of a residential neighborhood. When I lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico several years ago, this was my favorite part of town. This is also where you’ll find Bella Roma, a B&B with a European sensibility that fits into the city’s history.
The house built in 1882 in an Italianate style was one of the first between Old Town and downtown about the time the railroad hit Albuquerque. Like many large houses, its path to B&B status is a winding one. A military academy and an eight apartment building are two of the shifts in this stone building’s use before innkeepers and owners Laura Ferrary and Richard Chapman bought it for their business and their home. They live in the back section of the house leaving the front for B&B guests.
Laura and Richard’s eye for antiques and art, and knack for combining upscale and homey have created a lovely hub from which to explore shops, galleries, restaurants and museums just blocks away.
Laura, along with their dog Watson, met us when we arrived to show us our room–the Budapest, and to give us a quick tour of where we’d find the snacks and drinks in the dining room. “Help yourself whenever you like,” she said showing us how to work the coffee maker as well.
Watson wagged in a cheery, “Our home is your home,” kind of way.
Packed with sparkling water, sodas and juice, the refrigerator had enough options to satisfy anyone’s tastes, and the snacks ranging from chips to granola bars filled woven baskets in an inviting mix.
After Laura armed us with the code for the house’s main door and a code to get in our room, we could come and go whenever we felt like heading out or coming back. The Bella Roma is so lovely that my inclination was to stay put.
The Budapest, appointed with a queen-sized bed topped with a handmade quilt, and with antique furniture cleverly re-purposed to fit modern needs such as the cabinet that housed a small refrigerator inside and a flat screen TV on top. The dresser held the one-cup Keurig coffee maker and an assortment of teas and coffee flavors.
My favorite decorating idea was the two person-sized wooden table topped with a map under glass. A perfect table topper for a traveler.
There are two suites as well as one other room in Bella Roma’s lodging options. Each room and suite has a private bath with its own artistic touches.
Our bathroom had a walk-in shower with a handmade stained glass wall. Stunning.
The suites, big enough for four people, also have kitchenettes and living rooms.
Guests are also welcome to enjoy the house’s dining room and common living room that are large enough for several guests to share. In addition to our room, our favorite hangout place was outside on the back deck where we ate breakfast.
The deck has a wonderful view of a hand-painted mural on the garage. With hints of Van Gogh’s Starry Night meets an Italian village, the mural and flower boxes that overflow with color on the deck’s railing are a wonderful backdrop for a leisurely cup of coffee and reading the newspaper.
Our breakfast, a meal of fresh berries, orange juice and Laura’s special egg dish with its Frito pie inspiration was a splendid start to our day.
The day before we arrived, Laura contacted us to find out if we had any dietary restrictions to make sure we were served what we liked. As much as possible, ingredients are organic and local.
I’m so happy I found this treat of a place to stay in the city where I once lived. Bella Roma is listed on the State Register of Historic Places.
Photos and post courtesy of Jamie Rhein