Originally published Feb. 5, 2012
The Nestle Inn Bed and Breakfast near downtown Indianapolis is one of the most charming, comfortable, character-infused, locationally-gifted B&B’s I have ever visited.
I recently had the pleasure of spending two nights at this urban B&B when my teenage daughter and I were in Indianapolis for a swim meet. Here are some of the things we loved about the Nestle Inn:
The home has the historic look and feel of an old dwelling, dating back to the mid-1800’s, but it has all the modern amenities tucked within its walls. Our room was furnished with a large, comfortable bed and an awesome mattress, a nice desk for working/surfing, fast, wireless Internet, modern bathroom fixtures and toiletries, and a beautiful antique wardrobe that housed a nice television and DVD player. Plus, despite the frigid temperatures outside, the house was WARM — unusual for an older structure.
The Inn is “nestled” into Mass Avenue in Indy, making it a great place to visit anytime of year because of its proximity to the theatre, arts, shopping, pubs, breweries and fabulous restaurants. It literally is in the heart of the theatre district, and although we didn’t get to enjoy any of the theatre venues because of our swim meet schedule, we loved the environment of the surrounding blocks. The area is busy with foot traffic and abuzz with people having fun, making it a fun place to be, even if you are going to be spending most of your time at IUPUI’s Natatorium. And speaking of IUPUI, it only took us minutes to drive from the B&B to the campus and the Natatorium, as well as all the other downtown hotspots. The Nestle Inn also sits on the Cultural Trail in Indy, which is a bike and pedestrian path that is nine miles long and connects all the “neighborhoods” of the city.
Innkeepers Leesa and Bob Smith strive to deliver individualized service to their guests. They helped us navigate the city (and even “talked me back” to the Inn one night when I managed to get hopelessly lost after leaving the pool); left movies in our room after I had inquired where to rent them because we just wanted to relax after a long day; and prepared a “breakfast care package to go” for my teen and left it hanging on our doorknob after learning that she had to be in the pool for warm-ups by 6 a.m. and would, therefore, miss breakfast at the Inn.
The library at the Inn is amazing. My first morning there, I woke before my daughter and carried my laptop into the library to answer emails and do some Internet research. The furniture was comfortable; the walls were lined with interesting books and periodicals; and the coffee, creamers and snacks set out on the table were a wonderful surprise, considering I was up before the sun the house sounded as though everyone was still sleeping.
Parking was easy, which was unexpected considering the urban setting. Most times, we were able to find a spot on the street right in front of the Inn. But, Leesa gave us a pass to a parking lot one block away in case we couldn’t find street parking or were unsuccessful achieving a solid parallel parking job.
The food was delicious and FUN. That’s because during the week, you are treated to breakfast next door at Henry’s Coffee Bistro, an eclectic coffee shop with lattes, hot breakfast sandwiches, sweets and waffles for breakfast and a host other tasty food for brunch and lunch. On Saturday and Sunday, breakfast is at the Inn and the one I enjoyed included delights such as “just right potato bites,” an Eggs Benedict-like entree, fresh fruit and homemade banana-bread muffins, among other treats.
Now that I’ve shared what I loved about the Nestle Inn, let me share some additional trivia about this wonderful B&B:
Bob and Leesa purchased the Inn in September 2011 from the previous innkeepers who wanted to retire. (They had operated the Inn since 2000). Bob is a psychotherapist and a 29-year career firefighter/paramedic. Leesa is an Innkeeper with more than 29 years experience in the hospitality industry and in business and marketing.
In the mid-1800s, Jonathon and Alice Stewart lived in a small, one-story dwelling on the site of the current Nestle Inn. In 1896, John built their residence as a two-family home, adjoining two structures together so that their families could live close to each other. They lived in the home until 1920 and then the entire house was rented to a long series of short-term tenants including Carl F. Mellian, a machinist and Grant Kelner, a cigarmaker. The house also served as a boarding house for young women who came to Indianapolis during the turn of the century to work at the Real Silk glove factory located nearby on Park Street.
In 2000, Steve and Barb Tegaren bought the home and restored it to a five-room Inn. They operated it for 10 years, welcoming visitors and friends and establishing the Inn as the No. 1 B&B in Indianapolis, according to Trip Advisor. (I’ll second that!)
The Nestle Inn has proven to be a great destination for a girls weekend getaway or a family gathering. In fact, Leesa recently rented the whole house to a family who was celebrating their mother’s birthday. Leesa was delighted to watch the kids hanging out in their jammies while parents relaxed drinking wine and the grandparents enjoyed having the whole clan gathered together under one cozy roof. She also hosted a women’s book club that found the Inn to be the perfect spot for their needs.
I honestly cannot wait to return to the Nestle Inn and am already trying to figure out what “occasion” I’m going to use as my excuse. So, the next time you want or need to visit Indy, whether for business, pleasure or kids’ sports, skip the chain hotels and give Leesa and Bob a call. You won’t regret it.