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The Joseph Ambler Inn
This is our page dedicated to our experiences while staying at The Joseph Ambler Inn, North Wales, Pa.
We planned ahead, and had requested a bottle of champagne and cheese and fruit tray be waiting in the room. The champagne was chilling in our room, and the staff thoughtfully waited to deliver the food until we arrived so it would be fresh. Our room was very large and had a lot ofwindows. There was also a door that opened onto a private covered porch (a cobbled stone floor) supplied with chairs that would be a nice adjunct to the room in pleasant weather. Our overwhelming sense of the room was that is was very white...the walls were white, and the huge bathroom was very white. There was a massive cherry king four-poster bed and massive matching furniture. There were a couple stuffed chairs and a desk (where the champagne and food was placed) and, strangely, a tv mounted up in the corner, reminiscent of a cheap roadside motel. The bathroom was very large, and very white. There was a border and shower curtain that matched the bedspread and valances, but no other decoration of any sort and it seemed very stark and cold. There was a pedestal sink, stall shower, toilet partially hidden behind a half-wall, and the spa tub.
The innkeepers had thoughtfully added oil lamps near the tub (and we had brought along scented candles). There were also ample towels supplied, and lots of room around the tub for things like ice buckets. The room and bathroom were very clean, but somewhat austere and too sparse to truly be considered charming. We would have liked to see more on the walls, perhaps some area rugs in the bathroom, some complimentary robes. Another problem became apparent early the following morning: the room was in the southeast corner of the house, and the windows were covered with light shades, insufficient for keeping out the morning sun. Lori awoke with the sun (at 5 a.m.), and it was too bright for her to sleep.
This is a basic bed-and-breakfast. There is no swimming pool or health club, but the grounds are pretty and pleasant to stroll.
We ate dinner at the inn's gourmet restaurant, located in the barn. It had great atmosphere...stone walls, deep windowsills, candlelight. Reservations are a must. We showed up early for our 7 p.m. reservation and had drinks in the lounge (see Inn Bar/Lounge below). At 6:40, Keith strolled into the main entrance of the restaurant to let the maitre d' know where we were. Keith stood there for 10 minutes before he was even acknowledged. There was another party who were waiting as well. They shrugged their shoulders at the lack of attention. When Keith finally got his attention, he was none too pleasant. Keith indicated we would be waiting at the bar. We found this lack of attention somewhat strange.
Keith ordered the marinated filet tenderloin in sesame Dijon glaze and declared it to be one of the tastiest appetizers he had ever tasted. Lori had the fresh mozzarella with roasted garlic and flatbread (sans olives) - extremely tasty. Keith lived on the edge and ordered the Kangaroo for dinner. It was tasty but a little chewy. Lori had the shrimp and crab cakes - very tasty but also very rich. We had a bottle of white wine and split a dessert. The food is tasty, they pay attention to detail, and much care is taken in the presentation. The waiter was good, but a somewhat strange situation divided his attention. It seems the inn offers the complete menu as room service. Out waiter, while serving us and others in the restaurant, also had to deliver food to diners in their rooms, sometimes in other buildings located on the grounds. While our waiter was not inattentive, it seems if the inn wishes to continue offering this sort of room service, it would behoove them to have staff dedicated to this pursuit.
We visited the lounge for drinks before and after dinner (remember, it was our first wedding anniversary and we were celebrating). The lounge has stone walls, high ceilings, a nice bar, a good selection - very charming. But the bartender was not a happy camper. We had left her a very nice tip early in the evening. When we came back, we thought she would smile and ask how our dinner was. No such luck. The lounge is the one smoking area of the inn, and smokers in the non-smoking banquet room behind the bar come out to the bar to smoke. If smoke bothers you, this is not the place for you. There is an outside entrance to the lounge that doesn't make sense in the winter (when we were there). At one point, a large party entered the lounge and the door was open for a good two minutes, and everyone in the lounge shivered.
The people first encountered on the phone and at check-in were helpful and friendly. Our waiter was good, but pulled in different directions. The maitre d' and the bartender could both have used a major attitude adjustment. The restaurant bills itself as gourmet (and the fare certainly lives up to that); they could smile a little more and act as if they are happy you chose to spend your hard-earned dollars with them.
The inn is located a half-hour north of Philadelphia. It is also within two hours of New York City and a half hour from central New Jersey. People who go to this inn are either there for business (during the week), looking for a nice place to stay away from the typical business hotel, or for leisure (like we were that weekend). There is a large mall and shopping area nearby.
We recommend the inn's restaurant. There are also many restaurants located in nearby Montgomeryville (home of the Montgomery Mall).
There is a bar/lounge at the inn. Most who go to the inn are looking to spend some private time together. There are several bars (and some dance clubs) within a 10-minute range. Consult the phone book or ask the innkeepers.
This is the mid-atlantic region, just north of Philadelphia, and has similar weather. We were there in the middle of winter, which meant lows are 20s to 30s, and highs are 30s to 40s. The mid-atlantic region experiences all of the four seasons, and is particularly pleasant in late spring (May-early June) and fall (September-mid-October). Summer can be quite humid and hot (with highs reaching the 90s and even 100 and 90% humidity), and winter can be quite cold. Also, snow and ice can be a factor in mid-December to mid-March.
If dining at the restaurant a resrevation is a must. Book rooms early for special and holiday weekends.