With its vantage point overlooking the Mississippi River, the Goldmoor Inn is a luxurious and romantic hideaway that strikes a perfect balance. It's located fairly close to nearby Galena, but it's just far enough to offer a sense of seclusion. The ambience is not casual, but neither is it pretentious. The price is not inexpensive, nor is it too expensive. The cuisine is both accessible and exceptional. In short, it is just right.
This eighteen room bed and breakfast showcases what can be done when you partner a beautiful location with excellent staff and innkeepers who are passionate about hospitality. My husband and I had the opportunity to enjoy this romantic spot for a weekend, and we could not have been more impressed. At every turn we kept saying "they are spot on. They know exactly what they're doing. This is just right."
"They" are owners Slobo and Birgit Radin. Each has twenty-five years in the global hospitality industry, spanning three continents, and their longevity and experience shows. Birgit focuses on guest services and management of the Inn, and Slobo shares his expertise in the food and beverage side of things. From our interactions with them it felt they were perfectly suited for their appointed roles.
Goldmoor Inn's decor is quintessential charm, with hand-carved wood and Old World luxury. Some of the pieces in the common areas actually are from the Old World, and if you ask Birgit she'll share which are personal heirlooms. The rooms themselves are arranged in groups, and each group has its own communal seating area that's particularly good for reunions and wedding parties.
Each room is decorated individually, but they all share a full suite of amenities. They're definitely set up for romance, with king beds, two-person whirlpool tubs, comfortable robes, fireplaces, and a dining area so you can have your breakfast (or dinner) brought to your room, if you choose. There's also a mini-kitchenette with refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, and wet bar.
It was the little touches that impressed us the most, because the whole experience is made up of little touches that, combined, create an ideal getaway. Silly little things like a black washcloth for makeup removal had me gushing. It's embarrassing to leave a white washcloth marred with mascara and foundation; offering a black towel is a considerate touch. So, too, is the towel warmer. I don't care how hot it is outside, having a nice, warm towel when you step out of the shower feels luxurious.
The whirlpool tub with the provided milk bath is another aspect that's just right. It truly is built for two. Just be careful about how much of the bath bubbles you use...I wouldn't recommend using the whole bottle - not that I'm speaking from experience or anything...
What I would recommend, heartily and vigorously, is dining in their restaurant for dinner. The restaurant is, as Mike Blaum of Blaum Bros. Distilling said, the best you can find in a wide radius. Dining in the Goldmoor Inn is a marriage of the comfort found at a family-owned bed and breakfast and the fine dining you'd expect from a couple with the experience and resumes of the Radins.
It was one of the best meals I've ever had.
Their chef is Carlos Valdez, a native of Peru who has cooked for the Dalai Lama and was chef de cuisine at the Grillhouse by David Burke in Schaumburg. The menu is comprised of dishes like Beef Wellington and blackened salmon, charcuterie and crab cakes. Everything that came out of that kitchen, just like everything we experienced at Goldmoor Inn, was just right.
Our meal began with pickled vegetables. Nothing special, right? Oh, so wrong. They cleansed the palate, but they were more than just a utilitarian beginning to the meal. They were an amuse-bouche. I wish they sold them in jars. (Mr. Radin - please?)
We then "began" our dinner with the Goldmoor Salad, which they split for us in the kitchen (of course). We chose the Roasted Tomato Sherry Vinaigrette for the artisan lettuce, cucumber, roma tomatoes, carrots, crostini, candied walnuts and crumbled Purple Haze goat cheese. With each bite we exclaimed "how did he do that?" It was not too sweet, or tart. It was perfect. It was just right.
I chose the Herb Crusted Tagliata Steak Brochette as my entree, which was served a perfect medium-rare with a glossy demi-glaze, and my husband chose the double-seared pork chop with a black cherry and sherry wine reduction. Each was accompanied by roasted vegetables. These, too, were perfect, and Slobo explained that Chef Valdez cooks each vegetable separately because they roast at different rates.
Then there were the potatoes. I selected the gratin potatoes. These were just layered slices with cheese, but they were the most perfectly prepared gratin potatoes I've ever had the pleasure to experience. We heard another diner wonder loudly what in the world the chef had done to create these pockets of pleasure. Most gratins are messy masses of starch; this was a layered symphony of distinct notes.
We concluded our dinner with citrus cheesecake for me and caramel apple bread pudding for him. No elaboration needed.
The next night we elected to watch the sunset over the Mississippi and then have a light dinner sent up to our room. The sunset, like everything else at the Goldmoor, was magical, especially when viewed from comfortable couple-sized Adirondack chairs with footrests. They thought of those, too.
The Goldmoor Inn offers comfort, romance, fine dining, and beautiful views. It offers relaxing in a whirlpool, drying off with a warm towel, and lounging in your bathrobe in front of a fire. It offers an exemplary experience that is...just right.
Goldmoor Inn is located at 9001 W Sand Hill Rd, Galena, IL 815-777-3925. Check their website for wonderful packages including spa, golf, and equestrian getaways.