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Artists’ Inn Pasadena, Calif. In the midst of multi-towered monstrosities in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, there are only a handful of options for business travelers and tourists stopping by for the weekend. In fact, there are only a half-dozen or so inns and beds and breakfasts in the greater Los Angeles area according to the California Association of Bed & Breakfast Inns. But just a few miles outside of Los Angeles, in South Pasadena, is the Artists’ Inn. Minutes from downtown L.A., the Inn is only two miles from the Rose Bowl, Old Town Pasadena and a bevy of other attractions like the Huntington Library and Gardens. Nestled in a stately old neighborhood with majestic oak trees, the Inn blends perfectly with the rest of the block: a handsome older house, a well-kept garden and a picket fence. Inside the foyer, the house looks like many other bed and breakfasts. Visitors are welcomed into a small sitting room, which doubles as a serving area for afternoon tea and scones. The decor is quaint, with the typical assortment of knick-knacks and antiques. But the Inn’s main draw is the collection of a half-dozen rooms that are dressed up in motifs matching the works of different American and European artists. There’s the Impressionist Suite filled with muted pastels and the Grandma Moses room that blends sturdy New England furniture with solid colors. The Van Gogh room was designed to match the artist’s painting “Van Gogh’s Bedroom,” complete with a small double bed pushed against the wall and an even smaller writing desk in the corner. The success of each room’s decor is largely dependent on one’s own taste and sense of kitsch. The Gauguin suite can go either way. Filled with paintings of scantily clad Tahitian native women and bathed in hues of tropical blue, the room features a canopied bed complete with a stuffed monkey. OK, elegant it’s not, but still there’s a certain charm to the room. Decor aside, the Gauguin was undeniably comfortable. Filled with chairs and tables in a spacious two-room suite, the Gauguin offered ample space to spread out and enjoy a bottle of wine and a few appetizers after a day of sightseeing. There’s also a small table and chair set on the deck. The room comes stocked with plenty of glasses and a wine opener, making that last-minute trek back to the market unnecessary. There’s even a decanter of brandy and bottled water for those who didn’t bring any goodies with them. Don’t expect much in the way of music to accompany that glass of brandy. The Inn’s TVs boast some of the few remaining sets of rabbit-ear antennas left in California, and the clock radios don’t produce much in the way of stereophonic sound. At many small inns and B&B’s, the amenities often fall short of modern American standards. But each room at the Artists’ Inn has a private bath with shower and tub. Several of the suites even feature oversized Jacuzzi tubs. The rooms also come complete with the assortment of hair dryers, shampoos and fancy soaps found at bigger hotels. Of course, the Inn features a complete breakfast. On one recent visit it featured delicious glazed French toast with a touch of maple syrup warmed under the spongy, lightly battered pieces of egg bread. The assortment of scones and other breakfast items, however, was strictly middle of the road. On weekdays, breakfast is finished by 9 a.m., and on weekends it idles a half hour longer. B&Bs will always have problems, like the idle chitchat of hosts who feel obligated to talk with the guests, but for travelers tired of the antiseptic feel of the big corporate hotels, tiny places with the charm of the Artists’ Inn can be a welcome change. For a quiet weekend getaway, it’s even better. Bed & Breakfast: Artists’ Inn Location: 1038 Magnolia Street, South Pasadena, Calif., 91030 Reservations: (888) 799-5668 Rates: $110 to $205 per night

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